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8 Advantages of Drupal

December 1, 2023 7 minute read
Find out why the open source platform is a winner

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content management system (CMS) is a foundational part of digital experiences. As the digital landscape continues to extend to more channels and touchpoints, a CMS must offer flexibility, powerful content-creation tools, and efficient workflows to power the content for customer journeys. Drupal is the CMS of choice for more than a million websites worldwide and continues to be a leader in delivering ambitious and productive digital experiences.

If you’re looking to transform your organization’s approach to digital with a CMS that can meet demand at every size and scale, it’s time to consider Drupal. Let’s look at eight reasons it has the advantage over every CMS on the market today.

1. Open source

Software that’s open source like Drupal has source code that anyone can access. Free to download, use, and modify under the GNU Public License, Drupal doesn’t charge licensing, maintenance, or other fees, which cuts costs for users.

Those traits distinguish it from proprietary software, which is privately owned and controlled. In addition, proprietary software uses licensing that prohibits users from accessing, distributing, or modifying its source code. Those limitations can slow enhancements to the software, which must be made by its owners. Users have limited visibility into the timeline for such improvements and even which modifications or capabilities will be rolled out next. This uncertainty can prevent organizations from reacting quickly to changes in the market, creating an opening for more agile competitors.

In some cases, the software company may fast-track the development of a feature or function — but for a fee. Then, when enhancements are introduced, users may see a jump in licensing, access, or usage costs.

2. Community 

Drupal’s open source model encourages continuous improvement and innovation through the support and passion of the Drupal community. Today, there are more than 1.3 million Drupal users committed to seeing the platform succeed. With a pool of such diverse experts regularly working to make Drupal better, creating exceptional digital experiences expands far beyond what a single team of proprietary software developers can dream up. 

For every new Drupal release, individuals and organizations around the globe contribute their time and resources to reviewing code, creating documentation, testing, and incorporating feedback directly from the users themselves to deliver the best experience possible. See for yourself why Drupal stands above any other CMS in our e-book Why to Migrate to Drupal.

3. User experience

Today’s Drupal forms the foundation for a digital experience platform (DXP) that developers and marketers alike can leverage to create unforgettable customer experiences. Recent versions of Drupal have prioritized user experience (UX) to empower everyone from site editors to content creators in building powerful customer experiences. Some enhancements to Drupal’s user interface include:

  • Layout builder offers content authors an easy-to-use page-building experience that lets editors control the appearance of their content without relying on a developer.
  • The Claro administrative theme provides a cleaner, easier-to-use interface for site administration, configuration, and authoring.
  • Mobile responsive web features that deliver out-of-the-box mobile responsive themes, responsive images, and mobile administration.

Organizations looking for the simplest and fastest path to designing and launching their sites can also leverage the capabilities of Acquia Site Studio, a low-code site builder tool with a dynamic UI that makes it easier than ever for non-developers to shape experiences on the front end. Site Studio’s reusable components can be used to apply new features across different digital properties in a single action to create exceptional UX. For instance, AB InBev needed to launch an activation for Budweiser, its biggest brand, during the FIFA World Cup. Using our CMS, Site Studio, and Acquia Site Factory, the company was able to deliver a robust and multilingual experience for audiences worldwide.

4. Scalability

Drupal is a powerful and future-ready CMS that gives brands the freedom to scale with their needs. Its flexible API architecture supports exponential content growth across a global multisite ecosystem. Drupal is optimized for a number of caching modules that support faster page loading, optimized bandwidth, and, overall, a more robust web performance even in high-pressure circumstances.

For example, in 2019, when the Drupal-powered website released Special Counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, the site experienced a 7,000% increase in traffic. Thankfully, it experienced no interruptions or availability issues. Choosing Drupal lets web teams feel confident that their sites can handle the highest traffic spikes even when the whole world is watching.

5. Security

When it comes to building digital experiences people trust, security is the first priority. For highly regulated and public-facing industries like government and healthcare, not adhering to digital security standards can both damage consumer relationships and attract hefty legal fees. Security is a top priority for Drupal. That’s why organizations, like the State of GeorgiaSteward Health Care, and Fannie Mae, rely on Drupal to protect their websites and maintain trust with their audiences. 

The Drupal Security Team is made up of security experts from around the world who are dedicated to analyzing and identifying potential risks in both Drupal core and contributed Drupal modules. Every contributed model undergoes stringent review by a team of Drupal core maintainers before it’s released publicly. Despite the common misconception that open source software is more vulnerable than proprietary models, Drupal’s large, dedicated open source community gives it an advantage by empowering millions of developers to detect issues in the code and submit bug reports.

6. Accessibility

Drupal’s commitment to accessibility standards prioritizes an inclusive web experience for all users. Accessibility is a gateway requirement for any new module and feature added to the Drupal core. Drupal ensures that all of its features and functions conform with the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines — WCAG, WAI-ARIA, and ADA guidelines — out-of-the-box.

Leveraging accessibility features can translate into tangible benefits for individuals with disabilities, enabling users to navigate websites effectively. Drupal’s seamless integration with assistive technologies like screen readers and speech-to-text software further enhances the user experience for people with disabilities. Screen readers can accurately interpret Drupal’s semantic markup and alternative text, providing blind or low-vision users with comprehensive access to website content. Speech-to-text software can effectively navigate Drupal's keyboard-friendly interface, making it easier for users with motor impairments to interact with websites.

Drupal's dedication to accessibility is an ongoing journey, with the community playing a crucial role in identifying and addressing accessibility issues. The Drupal Security Team actively monitors for potential accessibility vulnerabilities, while contributions from developers and user testers help refine accessibility features and ensure that Drupal remains at the forefront of inclusive web development.

7. Composable architecture

When applied to software, composability describes a design principle that prioritizes modularity. Modular software consists of chunks of code with standardized interfaces that can be reused and reorganized to produce solutions more quickly.

This software design principle has been applied more broadly to enterprises. Composable enterprises are those that take an end-to-end approach to assembling solutions, granting organizations greater flexibility in responding to rapidly changing business needs. Drupal’s composable architecture supports this goal, which is why large organizations like Nestle, Bayer, Doctors Without Borders, Princeton University, and the City of London rely on the platform.

8. Multilingual management

Globalization and remote work have elevated multilingual communication needs as organizations continue to adapt to cross-border audiences and global workforces. Savvy companies understand that platforms that ease communication and collaboration find greater engagement (and profit) among users and customers, as well as employees.

Drupal excels at facilitating both. It can be easily configured to present multilingual interfaces so that teams can work in their preferred languages, and its content translation capabilities ensure audiences enjoy digital experiences in their preferred or native language. Because the platform stores content as structured data, translations can occur at the field level, giving teams the ability to choose which fields to translate and which can be inherited from a site’s primary language.

What’s next?

If you’re ready to start your Drupal journey, now is the perfect time. Acquia has a powerful toolkit to help you prepare, or if you’d like to explore further before jumping in, check out the Ultimate Guide to Drupal 10, the latest version of the open source platform.

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