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What is Drupal?

Drupal is a free, open-source web development platform for websites. It powers some of the busiest sites on the web, and can be adapted to virtually any visual design.

Over six hundred websites at Ohio State run Drupal including most college and department sites.

Who Uses Drupal?

Everyone. Drupal runs over a million sites, including some of the most imporant sites in education, government, arts, and industry.

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Drupal's Positioning

Within the world of content management systems, Drupal straddles between a traditional CMS and an application development framework

Straddling allows Drupal to have a rich ecosystem of contributed modules and themes as well as a strong collection of customizable distributions.

The tradeoff is that starting from scratch with a vanilla Drupal install can be a very large amount of work relative to less framework oriented systems such as Wordpress.

When to Use Drupal

Drupal is best in situations when you need any of the following:

  • Larger, more complex, feature rich sites.
  • Large numbers of similar sites.
  • Social, collaboration, commerce or other uses targeted by a distribution.

Generally it should only be used when you have the resources to keep up with ongoing changes.

  • Heavy custom design and development every 3-4 years.
  • Ongoing technical maintenance for updates.
  • Or the ability to outsource these activities.

As Drupal has a steep learning curve, it's important to start inhouse complex projects with some experience or to lean on the community to get started.

When not to Use Drupal

Drupal should be avoided in situations where:

  • You need smaller, simpler sites such as dedicated blogs.
  • You lack technical expertise for ongoing maintenance.
  • You have complex needs but no prior experience in Drupal.