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What is the Drupal CMS?

Are you seeking a powerful content management system (CMS) to help create and manage your website or digital presence?


Written by:
Natalie Steele


Updated on:
July 15, 2023

Estimated reading time: 14 minutes

Drupal is an open-source headless CMS with many features. But what is the Drupal CMS exactly, and how can it help you?

In this article, SiteWired Web Solutions will discuss everything you need to know about Drupal web development and how it compares to other CMSs on the market.

Get ready to discover why Drupal sets the standard for website building and management!

drupal graphic logo

What is Drupal?

The Drupal CMS is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP.

Drupal is distributed under a GNU General Public License. It is favored by organizations of all sizes.

It offers a suite of features, such as:

  • Text and media management
  • User account administration
  • Site navigation control
  • And search engine optimization

Its flexibility allows developers to create and manage complex websites with ease. Whether you’re looking for a feature-rich platform to build an online presence, an online store, or a robust CMS, Drupal has got you covered.

With its free availability, open-source codebase, and wide range of features, it’s easy to see why so many are turning to Drupal as their solution for website building.

What is the Origin of the Name Drupal?

The name Drupal comes from an accidental misspelling of the Dutch word “dorp”. Which translates to ‘village’ in English.

Chosen by Dries Buytaert, the founder of the Drupal CMS, as a reference to the community of users that makes up its user base. The mistake occurred when he registered the domain name for his project in 2000, when he typed “” instead of “”.

Although this was a happy accident, it was the perfect name for what would become one of the world’s most popular open-source content management systems.

The success of Drupal has grown exponentially since its launch and continues to do so today.

With its open-source codebase and ever-growing library of features, it is no surprise that many website owners turn to Drupal as their go-to solution for website building and management.

What is Drupal Used for?

This platform can be used for various purposes, from building large corporate websites to developing small blogs.

It features a range of modules that allow users to customize their website and content managers in whatever way they wish.

With the Drupal CMS, you can easily add pages, articles, images, and other media. And incorporate third-party services such as shopping carts or social networking integration.

Users also have access to thousands of themes and templates that make it easy to create a unique website.

Drupal allows for extensive flexibility in terms of scalability, making it an ideal choice for both small and large enterprises.

In short, Drupal is a powerful tool that enables users to build dynamic websites quickly and easily. While maintaining complete control over every aspect of their site’s design and functionality.

Drupal Developers

Developers are the backbone of any successful web project. They create the code that brings a website to life. They have an important role in ensuring it is both efficient and secure.

Developers are highly skilled professionals who understand the intricacies of coding languages, databases and hosting platforms.

They take raw concepts or designs and turn them into fully functional websites, applications or integrations.

By keeping up with the latest trends in technology, developers can help ensure projects stay ahead of the curve. They can also identify areas where existing solutions may not perform as expected. Allowing for quick fixes or complete overhauls to keep everything running smoothly and securely.

In short, developers play a crucial role in any successful web development project. They provide a level of knowledge and experience that is invaluable to any organization.


Marketers are the creative force behind a successful web project. They understand how to engage and motivate their target audiences, crafting stories and experiences that capture their attention.

Marketers use a combination of research, data, and creative thinking to develop strategies that appeal to customers.

They know how to use different types of content creation tools, such as videos, blogs, podcasts, and social media posts. Creating an enjoyable and effective experience.

Marketers also understand the importance of staying up-to-date with trends in technology and marketing strategies. EnsurING they stay ahead of the competition.

As such, they are essential partners in any web development project as they bring insights into designing experiences that will capture customer interest while providing measurable results for businesses.

CMOs and CIOs

CMOs and CIOs play an essential role in successful web development projects.

They provide the strategic vision and leadership needed to ensure that projects align with organizational goals. CMOs are responsible for developing effective marketing strategies, while CIOs are tasked with optimizing system performance and scalability.

Working closely together, they create a roadmap for success by leveraging the latest technologies to engage customers, improve customer experience, generate leads, increase sales and expand market share.

Through continuous collaboration with other departments such as IT, finance, HR and marketing, they ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

By investing in effective technology solutions such as Drupal, CMOs and CIOs can reap the rewards of increased staff collaboration and productivity for their organizations.

Drupal vs. other Content Management Systems

Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) offering comprehensive features that make it ideal for medium to large organizations.

It can be used to build websites, develop applications, and manage content. Drupal’s modular design allows users to extend its capabilities with contributed or custom modules easily.

This flexibility makes the Drupal CMS suitable for small and large enterprises looking for a powerful digital platform.

Compared to other popular CMSs, such as WordPress and Joomla, Drupal has several advantages.

It offers superb scalability and flexibility, allowing users to create intricate websites without any technical knowledge or coding skills.

Its vast library of themes and modules allows users to customize their websites according to their requirements quickly.

Additionally, due to its security architecture and robust security features, Drupal is considered one of the most secure CMSs available today.

Overall, Drupal is a powerful solution for businesses seeking an efficient way to manage their digital presence without compromising on quality or performance.

Its impressive features and ease of use make it an attractive option for many organizations.

Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is an enterprise-level content management system that provides a comprehensive set of tools to build, manage and track digital experiences across various devices.

It includes both traditional and open-source headless CMS capabilities, allowing businesses to quickly create engaging content that can be delivered to customers in an efficient manner.

adobe experience manager logo

AEM also offers personalization features, such as targeted content delivery based on user profiles or Google Analytics data. This allows organizations to tailor their digital landscapes and digital experiences for each customer.

Additionally, AEM integrates with the Adobe suite of products for seamless integration with other marketing solutions.

Overall, AEM is a powerful tool for medium and large enterprises looking for an efficient way to manage their digital presence. The platform’s scalability, flexibility, and security features make it an attractive choice for organizations seeking a comprehensive CMS solution to deliver engaging experiences tailored to their customers’ needs.


  • Adobe Experience Manager is a robust and comprehensive content management system
  • It offers a wide range of features and tools for creating, managing, and publishing content
  • It is highly customizable and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of different organizations
  • It has strong integration capabilities with other Adobe products, such as Photoshop and InDesign
  • It provides efficient collaboration and workflow management for teams


  • Adobe Experience Manager can be complex and difficult to learn, requiring significant training and expertise
  • It is a high-end solution and can be expensive for smaller organizations or businesses
  • It may require additional resources for implementation and maintenance, such as IT support or dedicated staff
  • It may not be suitable for organizations that do not have a significant need for content management or digital asset management


Sitecore is an enterprise-level digital experience platform (DXP) that offers two core packages:

Experience Manager (XM) and Experience Platform (XP).

XM has a traditional CMS capability, including content taxonomies, community management, and SEO support. However, the platform lags in headless first architectures and API management, according to the 2021 Agile CMS Wave report from Forrester.

sitecore logo

On the other hand, XP is a comprehensive DXP solution offering features such as personalization tools, automated marketing capabilities, e-Commerce site support, and AI-powered insights.

Sitecore also relies on third-party providers for cloud deployment, which can lead to additional user costs.

Overall, Sitecore is ideal for medium to large enterprises looking for a robust DXP solution to provide engaging experiences tailored to their customers’ needs.


  • A comprehensive set of marketing tools
  • Highly customizable
  • Offers strong analytics and reporting capabilities


  • Can be expensive to implement and maintain
  • The learning curve can be steep
  • Licensing model can be complex and confusing


Contentful is an API-first CMS and a member of the MACH Alliance. It provides an agile content delivery system across any channel, current or emerging. To engage with customers through its API endpoints.

According to Forrester’s CMS report in 2021, Contentful has a strong vision and roadmap.

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This type of CMS is relatively new and focuses on API-only methods for delivering open-source headless solutions while enabling business users to create and update content autonomously.

It offers the freedom that traditional models lack, but organizations may face unique challenges implementing a headless-only approach.

Contentful is ideal for those looking for a powerful user interface and a good customer experience. This digital platform can deliver engaging experiences tailored to their customers’ needs.


  • Contentful is a flexible and scalable content management system
  • It allows for easy collaboration and team management
  • It offers a wide range of integrations and APIs
  • Its user interface is intuitive and user-friendly
  • It provides excellent customer support


  • Contentful can be expensive for small businesses or individuals
  • Its learning curve can be steep for those unfamiliar with content management systems
  • Its customization options may not be sufficient for some users
  • Its search functionality may not be as robust as other content management systems.

Why Should I Use The Drupal CMS?

  • Drupal is the leading open-source CMS enterprise-grade content management system (CMS).
  • Flexible modern app development
  • Traditional to open source headless and hybrid architectures.
  • Dynamic to static sites
  • Simple to complex digital portfolios.
  • API-first foundation
  • Extensive MarTech integrations

Drupal allows organizations of all sizes to deliver personalized customer experiences across any device or platform.

A large and experienced open-source community provides invaluable support for developers.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management confirms Drupal’s leadership position in this space due to its “extensive and very active” open-source community.

Companies looking for an agile CMS to help them create engaging customer experiences should consider Drupal a reliable partner.

Drupal Core FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions related to Drupal:

Q: What is the difference between Drupal and WordPress?

A: The main difference between Drupal and WordPress lies in the complexity of their architecture.

While WordPress was designed for creating simple websites quickly and easily, Drupal was designed with complex web applications in mind.

Drupal has more extensive security features than WordPress, as well as more data integration capabilities and multilingual support.

Q: What types of sites can be built using Drupal?

A: With its API-first foundation and extensive integrations, Drupal can be used to create almost any type of site imaginable.

From traditional sites that use HTML/CSS/Javascript codebases all the way to headless architectures or dynamic static sites.

It’s also great for building complex digital portfolios or multi-device solutions for personalized customer experiences.

Is Drupal Free?

Drupal is an open-source, free platform for anyone to download, use and modify.

The core software comes with a variety of features and functionalities. Users can use the wide range of Drupal modules available in the Drupal community. Customizing their sites according to their specific needs.

Additionally, many professional Drupal services are available for those who require additional support or expertise when developing their site.

Ultimately, whether you’re looking for a simple blog or a complex enterprise application, you can find what you need in Drupal. It won’t cost you a penny!

Is Drupal Open Source?

Drupal is an open source platform, meaning that the source code is freely available to anyone who wishes to use it.

This gives users unparalleled flexibility and complete control over their websites and web applications.

Drupal’s collaborative community of developers and users is constantly working together to improve the platform, creating additional features, modules, themes, and more.

The software is released under the GNU General Public License version 2.0 or later, allowing for free redistribution and modification of both the core software and any additional extensions developed by third-party contributors.

Drupal is a great choice for those who want to use open-source technology.

What Programming Does Drupal Use?

Drupal is written in the PHP programming language but also uses a fair amount of JavaScript.

PHP is a scripting language that is widely used for web development, making it an ideal choice for Drupal.

Using these two languages allows developers to create dynamic websites and tailor them to their specific needs.

The combination of PHP and JavaScript makes Drupal well-suited for creating complex websites with advanced features, such as: user accounts, e-commerce systems, and more.

Additionally, PHP offers a number of benefits, such as speed and flexibility. Allowing developers to easily make changes or add new features without having to rewrite existing code from scratch.

Using JavaScript can provide users with interactive experiences on their websites or apps.

Overall, Drupal’s use of both PHP and JavaScript makes it an incredibly versatile platform for web development.

With its wide range of features and customization options, it is no wonder why so many people choose Drupal as their go-to content management system.

What is Drupal Core?

Drupal Core is the base of the Drupal content management system, which provides all the necessary features and functions to build a website.

It includes several core modules that offer:

  • Content creation and structuring
  • Query building
  • Authentication
  • Permissions
  • Workflows
  • And multilingual capabilities.

Additionally, Drupal Core offers an extensive range of themes and templates to customize websites with different looks and functions.

Developers can further extend the core features by adding custom modules as needed. These modules can provide advanced functionality such as displaying videos or managing dates.

With its powerful and flexible architecture, Drupal is an ideal platform for creating complex websites and applications with dynamic user interface experiences.

Overall, Drupal Core is a powerful web development tool allowing developers to create custom websites with advanced features.

What is the Drupal Association?

The Drupal Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes and advances the open-source Drupal content management system.

It has a global mission to enable people to easily build and manage powerful websites with the tools provided by Drupal.

The association provides resources, tools, and services for members of the Drupal community, including developers, site owners, end users, and more.

It works independently from commercial entities to ensure neutrality in its decisions and support for all community members.

The Drupal Association provides a number of services to its members, such as hosting events, managing online forums, and providing technical support.

Additionally, it functions as an advocacy group that promotes Drupal worldwide. Its initiatives include “Get Involved” and “Global Training Days.” It helps ensure everyone has access to the resources they need to get started with or extend their use of Drupal.

Doing this ensures that anyone can benefit from the power of open-source technology.

Drupal Glossary

The Drupal glossary is essential for anyone using the open-source content management system. It provides clear definitions of all the terms and features that are used within Drupal, making it easier for users to understand its capabilities.

The glossary is maintained by the Drupal Association and is regularly updated with new terms as they become available. It contains over 200 entries ranging from core concepts such as “Content Types” and “Views.” To more advanced topics like “Configuration Management” and “User Roles & Permissions.”

This comprehensive resource helps users quickly find answers to their questions about Drupal, allowing them to get up and running faster. Making it easy to find accurate information about all aspects of the system, the Drupal glossary ensures that everyone can get the most out of this powerful open-source project.

What’s Next For Drupal 7?

With the official End of Life (EOL) for Drupal 7 approaching, many users wonder what to do next.

For those who choose to continue using Drupal 7, some options are still available. Community-supported long-term support (LTS) will provide ongoing bug fixes and security updates until 2023.

This does not come with any guarantees and should be considered carefully before deciding which option is best for an organization’s needs.

Ultimately, a move to a more recent version of Drupal will be necessary to keep up with changes in technology and take advantage of the latest features available.

Web Accessibility in Drupal

As technology advances, the need for higher inclusion standards and access to digital resources has become increasingly important.

Web accessibility is a key part of this effort, as website owners and developers looking to create content types that are accessible to users with a wide range of abilities.

Drupal is well-suited for this task due to its modular design and powerful coding tools.

With its built-in accessibility team, Drupal provides an excellent platform for creating websites and applications that are more accessible to all users.

It also offers extensive support for web standards such as HTML5 and ARIA, making it easy to build websites that meet the latest guidelines. By taking advantage of these capabilities, Drupal users can ensure their sites are better equipped to serve customers of all backgrounds and abilities.