What is Drupal Hosting- Drupal is one of the content management system (CMS) which is an open source platform and is free to be used. It has been written in PHP scripting language and MySQL as the database language. It is a CMS platform which is more than a CMS as it provides a framework which can be used build greater websites with more complex features and functionalities. The software is free to use and can be downloaded from the online official website or open source code repository websites such as SourceForge.net or GitgHub.com.
Drupal CMS is meant to be used for technical users and not for non tech users as it is used to build more complex website functionalities. Drupal offers a modular architecture which makes it high customisable so you can just plug and play the feature that you wish to use and change it as per your needs. Joomla is one of the CMS which is direct competitor to it. Drupal CMS covers almost 2.3% of the total websites on the web available. There are around 40000+ modules which can be used for your website and more than 2500+ themes available to be used. So you can imagine how powerful, extensive and versatile the platform is.
Extensive Drupal Community
As of April 2018, there are more than 1.3 million members in the Drupal community out of which more than 1 lakhs developers are actively contributing to the growth of the applications. It is because of this reason that there are more than 40000 extensions and plugins available that adds to the functionality of the website for various needs. All these modules are free to use and there are more than 2500 themes available to download for free as well as paid so you have a lot of options to download from.
The Drupal comes available in various editions; the the most basic edition or version is named as Drupal Core which offers the very basic features of common use. Some of the features include user account registration as well as maintenance, menu management, RSS feeds, taxonomy, page layout modifications, and system administration management. With the installation of Drupal Core, you should be able to create a simple website or a blog with single or multiple users, an internet forum or a community website where the user generated content adds to the value of the website. The Drupal core installation can serve as a simple Web site, a single- or multi-user blog, an Internet forum, or a community Web site providing for user-generated content.
How Does Drupal Compare with It’s Competitors?
When it comes to using CMS applications we will hear mostly WordPress, Joomla or Drupal as these three are the most popular CMSs around the globe at given point of time. So it makes sense to compare Drupal with other two CMSs namely WordPress as well as Joomla.
Free and Open Source
Drupal is an open source free to use software. It has a very strong community of developers.
WordPress is an open source free to use software. It has a very strong community of developers which can be considered to be the largest of all three.
Joomla, also is an open source free to use software. It has a very strong community of developers.
Drupal has been written in scripting language PHP which is a very simple and easy to learn. The language itself is open source. You have to have the knowledge of PHP in order to make changes in the theme.
WordPress has been written in scripting language PHP which is a very simple and easy to learn. The language itself is open source. You don’t have to know the PHP in order to make changes in the theme as it can be done from the easy to use interface.
Joomla also, has been written in scripting language PHP which is a very simple and easy to learn. The language itself is open source. You have to have the knowledge of PHP in order to make changes in the theme.
Community Driven Projects
Drupal being an open source platform, is driven by the large group of community who are responsible for the growth of the project
WordPress also being an open source project, is being driven by the huge number of developers community who are responsible for the growth of the project.
Joomla also being an open source project, is being driven by the huge number of developers community who are responsible for the growth of the project.
Drupal makes use of programming language MySQL for it’s database. It is used to query data in order to fetch data.
WordPress also makes use of MySQL as it’s DB language.
Joomla also makes use of MySQL as it’s DB language.
Plugins and Extensions
There are around more than 40K+ modules or extensions which are free to use. This is because of huge community of developers.
WordPress also shares more than 45K+ extensions which are free to use. All these plugins add to the functionality of the website and extend a dynamic look to the website.
There are a huge number of plugin available for Joomla as well however that it not as big as compared to the other two CMSs.
It is offered to be installed as one click install service by most of the hosting providers.
It is offered to be installed as one click install service by most of the hosting providers.
It is offered to be installed as one click install service by most of the hosting providers.
Multiple Support Sources
The support for Drupal is available through various mediums that include forums, community, professional support etc.
The support for WordPress is also available from the community as well as online forums and there are some companies specializing in resolving issues related to WordPress at some cost.
The support for Joomla is also available through online forums, community, chat, experts etc.
The user interface is not quite user friendly specially for complete beginners. You can change the theme using the interface however modifying is not intuitive.
WordPress offers quite simple and easy to use interface. You can easily change theme and even customise it as per your needs using the interface itself.
Joomla lies somewhere between WordPress and Drupal so it is better than Drupal but less user friendly than WordPress.
Drupal plugin installation has to be done manually unlike one click installation with WordPress.
You can easily install any plugin of your choice. You just need to search it from the panel and press the button to install and then activate it. No need for manual installation.
Joomla plugins are also installable with manual intervention. You cant just simple add and install as with WordPress.
Web page Load Time
Drupal offers better load time than other two
It is less as compared to Drupal
It is comparable to WordPress.
Ease of Customisation
This requires a complete understanding of the PHP language, HTML, and MySQL in order to customise the application as per your need.
It does not require you to know any programming languages in order to make customisation. However deeper customization will require to know PHP/HTML/MySQL.
Joomla will also require to have good hands on with PHP as well as HTML and MySQL.
Ease of use
Not suitable for beginners.
Perfect for beginners with no technical knowledge.
It is not suitable for beginners.
Well Suited For
Building custom made websites that are more complete in functionalities. Can handle larger websites such as ecommerce website.
Building small to medium level websites where the website functionality is not quite complex. Ideal for individual bloggers as well.
Building custom made websites for large organizations. Ideal for ecommerce websites as well as other websites.
It is quite complex to understand as it extends a framework rather than a CMS application to build simple website or a blog
It is not very complex and in-fact very easy to use and suitable for non technical users as well. The user interface is quite simple to use.
It lies somewhere between the Drupal and WordPress.
Benefits of Using Drupal CMS
We have compared the all three popular CMSs in the above table so you should be in a position now as what are the benefits using Drupal CMS. We will however explain the explicit benefits.
- Open Source: one of the biggest advantages with Drupal is that it is an open source software so it is free to use and there are lot of other plugins and themes are available for free to use. This results in low cost as compared to if you are developing anything from the scratch
- Extremely Customizable: when it comes to building a website or blog which should meet the the needs of your business it is best suited as it is highly customisable in features, layout, design. With loads of modules available it is quite easy to expand the functionality of the website.
- Rapid Development: since Drupal comes with lot of modules which are of common use and much more so it provides a framework for developers to build websites quickly as most of the things are just ready to be used with little tweaking you can personalise it.
- Best Suited for Enterprise Level: an enterprise level of application or website demands few core features with the software such as scalability, flexibility, reliability, manageability, security, support, updated regularly to meet the growing needs of technology and more. Drupal offers all of these features which makes it completely best fit for enterprise level websites.
- Extensive API Support: when it comes to API Drupal provides an excellent support for API such as APIs provided by bigger companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google Apps, Google Analytics, YouTube, etc. can be integrated in the website to make custom made modules using well documented API.
- SEO-Friendly:SEO plays a critical role for any of the companies that has online presence as it enables the company to be searchable by the end user so it makes sense for you to have such a platform that already incorporates such feature so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. It saves a lot of time for you as well as the SEO resources who are working on the website.
- Mobile Ready: with the increase use of mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets etc. it is very important that your website is displayed well on all such devices as it has become one of the SEO factors as well so it becomes quite critical for your online marketing strategy as well as extending better experience to the end user and hence increasing the overall performance of the website. Drupal has you covered here as it provides the essential environment to build such functionality.
- Plenty of Extensions: there are around more than 40000+ extensions which are free to use. Using these extensions can give a dynamic look to your website without even getting things done at your own end you just need to install the desired plugin and you ae sorted.
- Plenty of Themes:There are around more than 2500+ Drupal themes which are free as well as paid. So you have a plenty of options to choose from such huge repository of themes. In addition, you can modify the the look and feel of the theme further.
- Huge Community Support: there are around more than 1 million members of the community out of which more than 1 lakh members are actively contributing to the growth of the platform so it is very easy to get support for issues related to Drupal.
The core or base Drupal is nothing but it is the basic codebase which has limited or basic features. The Drupal Core can be extended in functionality with the use of modules (also called extensions). Apart from the 3rd party modules Drupal has its own set of modules which add to the basic features of the core code. You can download these modules separately other than the Drupal core. Functionality or feature such as Bootstrap and Common libraries make the core of the Drupal application and all other functionality is considered as Drupal modules which include the system module itself.
Drupal core comes available with some optional modules which can be utilised to expand the functionality of the core website, it can be enabled by the admin user from the dashboard. Some of the modules included in the core Drupal include:
- Advanced statistics and logs
- Advanced search module
- Some popular modules such as Blogs, books, comments, forums, and polls
- Caching in order to improve the website speed performance
- Wide descriptive URLs which are good for Search Engines
- Ability to create Multi-Level Menus
- Multi-site support
- Multi-user management
- OpenID support
- RSS feed aggregation
- Security and new release update notification
- User profiles
- Access controls and filtering basis user roles, IP addresses and email
Installing Drupal Modules
It is quite easy to download and install a plugin with WordPress and you are able to install plugin within a matter of clicks (sort of one click install). However, when it comes to installing module with Drupal you will have to do a little extra effort in order to be able to use the extension or module. Below is a quick overview for the same:
- Look for the Drupal module you wish to add to your website using search option
- Make sure that you have chosen '.gz' file.
- Download the module and save it your system
- Open the Drupal web panel
- Choose the install button on the dashboard and select the module file
- You are done
We just learnt installing Drupal module which was nothing but a little more steps than we do with WordPress. Although Drupal comes available as one click installation by most of the web hosting providers yet some of the providers may not offer the same, in which case you will have to install it manually onto the server:
- Download the file setup from Drupal website
- You will need to create settings.php and files directory for installation
- Create a database to used with Drupal installation
- Set up web server for installation
- Upload the the files onto the server
- Download and Extract
Support For Installation
Since Drupal is an open source software so you can find the help from the community as well as there are proper documents and guides which detail the complete process of installing the application manually. You can follow the link https://www.drupal.org/docs/7/install as well to have a detailed overview of the install.
Apart from the same you can look for forums where you can have support from the community using chat application. There are professional companies available as well who provide help with regards to any issues you may face, at some cost.
Drupal Hostig Server Requirements
The latest version of the Drupal is Drupal 8 which has been recently launched. Below are the system requirements for Drupal hosting. please see below for requirement for Drupal hosting:
- It requires a LAMP stack to run the application. LAMP stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. It is the most common setup which is offered by most of the web hosting companies across the globe.
- Upto 15 MB of disk space
- Drupal recommends 60 MB or more space for complex websites
- PHP 5.5.9 or higher
- MySQL 5.5.3/MariaDB 5.5.20/Percona Server 5.5.8 or higher
- InnoDB as the primary storage engine
- PostgreSQL 9.1.2 or higher
- SQLite 3.6.8 or higher
These are the most common requirements which are offers by most of the hosting providers across the globe.
Drupal Hosting – What to Look For?
First of all you will need to check with your hosting provider if they support the hosting requirements as mentioned above. This is highly unlikely there is any company that wont support such setup. But it makes to sense to cross check before buying the plan. There are various hosting plans available from various web hosting providers including shared hosting, cloud hosting or dedicated hosting or VPS hosting.
- Shared hosting for Drupal: As long as you have a small website which is not supposed to receive higher traffic you are OK with shared hosting plans as it will be cheaper than other higher plans. So if you ae new and want to get the taste of the platform then it is best suited to have shared hosting plans. With such hosting you wont have to bother about the installation of any sort of updates etc. as it all will be managed by the hosting provider.
- Cloud, VPS or Dedicated Server Hosting: If your requirements are not being met by the shared hosting plans then you can choose to go with Cloud hosting as well as it offers faster speed than shared hosting plans due to the inherent architecture which enables the use of multiple servers rather then a single server. However it will be expensive than shared hosting plan.
- VPS: If your needs are not being met with the Cloud hosting then you can opt for VPS hosting which will offer you to have more disk space, better hosting control and you can choose to install the supporting environments such operating server, web server etc. VPS serves better speed and is more secure than Cloud or shared hosting.
- Dedicated Hosting: If you are bigger requirements of space and need more bandwidth which are not being met with the VPS hosting then you may choose to go with dedicated server hosting which will come a quite higher cost however it will serve better speed, more reliable environment, better hosting environment control.
It will not be a difficult task for you to find the desired Drupal hosting as there are plenty of such options available where you can host your Drupal application.
Drupal Pros and Cons
- Open source and free to use
- Very large community of developers developing the application actively and support extended it very good.
- Huge number for themes and extensions available to be used for free
- Extremely customisable
- Scalable, Flexible, Reliable, Secured, Frequent updates
- Best fit for enterprise level website with more complex websites
- User roles and permissions are sophisticated
- Less popular than its competitors
- You require the expert knowledge in order to make it work for you
- Not user friendly and meant to be used for technically inclined users
- Modules are not that easy to be installed as with WordPress
Drupal Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is Drupal?
Drupal is an open-source content management system (CMS) which has been developed and built in PHP and it uses MySQL as the database query language. It is one of the most popular CMS after WordPress and is used for websites that demand high complexity of functionality.
It is in-fact more than a CMS and is considered to be a framework to build websites. It covers almost 2.3% of the total web market. There are around more than 40000+ modules or extensions and around 2500+ skins/themes available to use for free.
How does Drupal compare with WordPress?
WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular blogging platform and covers almost 25% of the web market. As compared to Drupal:
- WordPress is well suited for blogging rather than website having more complex functions. Whereas Drupal is more suited to meet websites demanding high features which more complex in nature. It is not meant to be used for the non tech users.
- WordPress has more than 40k+ modules and endless themes available to choose from. Drupal also shares the same amount of modules as well as themes.
- WordPress and Drupal are both built in PHP and makes use of MySQL as the database language. Both are open source and are free to use.
- Installation for Drupal is more complex than WordPress.
- Both are offered as one click installation service.
How does Drupal compare with Joomla?
Joomla is considered to be the direct competitor od Drupal however Drupal is more versatile than Joomla. Drupal is more complex when it comes to user friendliness as compare with Joomla. Joomla has less no. of modules than Drupal. The community is also not that big for Joomla as compared to Drupal.
What sort of websites can be developed with Drupal?
Drupal can be used to develop any kind of website from personal website to personal blog to high level of website such as ecommerce website, social networks, forums, community websites etc. Drupal is well suited to build enterprise level of websites where security, reliability, complexity, scalability, flexibility are of main concerns
What are Drupal modules?
Drupal comes as core distribution where it has limited set of features. All other features come as modules, these are nothing but PHP program files that can be used to enhance the functionality of the website. Some of the Drupal modules include:
- Various technical tools such as server caching to improve website performance
- Visual tools which are used to enhance the visual display of the websites
- Functional tools which can be used to add functions to the website such as menus, forms etc.
How is Drupal for Beginners?
Drupal is considered to be the least beginner friendly as it is more inclined to be used by the technical users. Since it is extremely versatile, scalable, flexible, secure however all come a cost of increased complexity. Even the experienced users may face the challenges working with Drupal.
Once the site has been developed completely then there should be not any issue managing the content of the website. But you can’t really change the look and feel of the website.
What are the hosting requirements for Drupal?
Drupal has been built in PHP and MySQL as database language so it should support:
- PHP 5.2 or higher
- MySQL and PostgreSQL databases with Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 versions
- Web server Apache, Nginx, or IIS web servers.
Is Drupal available as one click installation?
Yes, most of the the hosting providers do offers the installation for Drupal as one click installation. Whereas some do not offer the same so you will have to do the manual installation by following the documented guide available on their website.
What are Drupal Distributions?
The most powerful features with Drupal is its distributions project which has been opted from the Linux culture as there are various editions or we can say distributions catering to the needs of different categories of industries. There are distributions available for education industry, non-profit organisations, churches or temples etc., government agencies, musicians, podcasters, and news websites.
What are hosting options available for Drupal?
Drupal can be installed on any type of web hosting be it VPS hosting or shared hosting or cloud hosting or dedicated server hosting. Although in case of shared hosting you don’t have the right to install anything on your own as it is pre-installed from the web hosting provider.
In case of VPS hosting and dedicated hosting you can choose the stuff of your own choice. While shared hosting is OK for smaller websites however it is not well suited for website that demands higher traffic management. In such case you will have to use VPS or dedicated server hosting.
What is a content management system (CMS)?
Content management system also short termed as CMS is nothing but a software application that provides an easy to use interface which can be used to update the content on the website and multiple other things can be done such as adding images, videos, change the layout of the website without the knowledge of HTML or programming language. It offers various other plugins and modules which can be used to enhance the website’s functionality.
What is a framework and is Drupal a framework or not?
A framework is nothing but a platform that provides all the essential tools which can be used to build the website with more complex functions. A framework offers multiple options in terms of functionality which enables developers develop websites with ease as it offers pre-developed modules which can be used without any complexity. These modules can be modified to match the website’s requirements.
Drupal is also a framework as it offers more than just a CMS. Using a CMS you can build the website using the interface however it can not be used to create extremely customised websites.