Drupal is used by nearly 1 million people in 228 countries. Organizations ranging from the White House to small startups have turned to Drupal. For example, Christy Cook, president of Teach My, which provides teaching tools for infants and toddlers, turned to Drupal for her company’s website.
“We chose Drupal because everything can be on a single platform,” she explained. “In my opinion, the primary advantages of Drupal are security and future growth. We have been hacked 5 times in the last year. We believe Drupal is at the forefront of providing secure systems. We also chose Drupal with an eye on future growth. The system makes it easy to grow the business and add to our website.”
Drupal’s other advantage is that it is extremely flexible, according to Ken Colwell, Associate Director of Web Design at Ohio Northern University. “The base install of Drupal, known as Drupal Core, features lightweight and clean code that can then be extended by downloading and installing modules or by creating modules on your own,” said Colwell. “Almost every conceivable problem that a person starting out with a new Drupal site may need to solve has more than likely been solved by an existing module that the community has developed.”
The open source component also plays into the decision to develop with Drupal. Open source has two advantages, according to Trace Cohen, Co-Founder of Launch.it, a free self-publishing news platform for PR professionals. The first, of course, is the cost benefits of Drupal, which is available for free, but even more importantly, it is helpful to be able to get to all components of the application. Sometimes the developer needs to get to the source of the framework to make a change or extend a feature. Full access to the code base is critical in a serious application.
There is one aspect to using Drupal that is unique to the content management platform is its community.
“Without a doubt, the Drupal community is the single greatest advantage for projects,” said Devanshi Garg, COO at Icreon Tech, a Web design company. “It provides access to a variety of custom modules and extensions, many of which are available to the public. It’s also possible to create custom modules that provide useful functionality. This is crucial for end users who may need functionality that doesn’t come with Drupal out-of-box.”
Garg said his Drupal team consistently refers to the Drupal Community for discussion, inspiration, new modules and technical insight. “The community is constantly pushing the capabilities of Drupal, and is continually updating the software. Community members can share and download modules for free or for a small price. The community is constantly sharing new modules to incorporate advanced functionality into your website.”
Finally, when choosing a hosting provider for your Drupal site, Cohen recommended that the provider have tools for easily installing and managing the Drupal instances are very helpful in both the beginning of the project and later as it scales. “Providing analytics reports that provide the administrators insight into the performance and response of the application is critical,” he added. “And you need a hosting provider that makes it easy to scale the application over time.”
A Drupal site, once built and configured correctly, is really easy to use, and that may the biggest advantage of all.
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for cloud service provider Rackspace Hosting.