Intro to Drupal

Photo by Tylor Sherman

While WordPress is far and away the dominant content management system out there, it has never been without competitors. Some competitors, like Joomla!, are relative upstarts, depending on a fast growing, and enthusiastic, user base to keep up with the WP juggernaut. But other competitors, like Drupal, have stayed relatively small, relying on their committed users to keep up with the latest standards.

If the other content management systems you’re considering don’t offer the flexibility or power you need, Drupal is almost certainly your best option. Here are a few things you want to consider before choosing Drupal as your content management system.

You’re ready for a steep learning curve

The price of a highly customizable, powerful content management system is often a steep learning curve and Drupal is no exception. If you’re used to WordPress’s website-in-a-box interface, you’ll find it difficult to adjust to Drupal’s clean slate interface. For example, while WordPress has a rich text editor set up as a default, Drupal’s default is an HTML editor, and you need to install a rich text editor to get the same functionality.

Once you set up your administration interface they way you like it, you won’t have a problem using Drupal, but it might be a tough first day or two. Before you start your Drupal site, clear out your schedule for a day to two to take care of any problems that might arise as you’re setting it up.

You want a powerful, flexible, secure system

The beauty of Drupal’s open architecture is that you can make a custom, powerful website with a slew of special features and applications. Unlike WordPress, which ties you into its blog structure and one-size-fits-all approach, Drupal easily handles multiple types of users, so you can run a blog, an e-commerce site, and a marketing operation all on one site.

Drupal also allows you to install enterprise-level security, which makes it secure enough for, among other sites.

You don’t want to run out of runway

When you start a website, you probably don’t know exactly what you want, or what it will become. While WordPress or Joomla! will be more than adequate most of the time, you always risk building your site for a few years and finding yourself unable to upgrade your site to meet user demands. With Drupal, you will always be able to modify your system to meet your growing needs.

The bottom line

For the expert user, who needs flexibility and adaptability above all else, Drupal is still the best option, as its power, customizability, and security give it an edge over its competitors. The learning curve for Drupal is steep, and development might take twice as long, and cost twice as much, as it would to build a similar WordPress site. But, once you’re done you have the reward of having a custom site that can handle almost anything you need.

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