A content management system (CMS) needs to deliver powerful features that provide the functionality that your website requires. Whether you’re building a blog, heading up an online community or running a business, Drupal offers a framework designed to support diverse content and deliver an engaging user experience. And conveniently you’ll find Drupal hosting offered by all the major web hosting providers.

Getting to Know Drupal

Drupal is an open-source CMS available under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Born out of a collaboration between Dries Buytaert and Hans Snijder while they were attending the University of Antwerp, Drupal has grown into an extensive community of over 1 million users and 31,000 developers.

Drupal was originally called drop.org and functioned primarily as a way for Buytaert, Shijder and their friends to keep in touch and share information. By the time it was released to the public in January 2001, it had grown into a community of people interested in experimenting with new web technologies. The goal of releasing Drupal was to allow more users the freedom to continue developing and updating the framework. Today, Drupal aims to provide a user-friendly environment that uses minimal resources to deliver content in fresh and dynamic ways.

Drupal Features

Drupal consists of a core installation that includes basic CMS functions, and nearly 30,000 modules are available to extend and customize these features. When you install Drupal, you get:

  • Extensive content creation and organization tools, including category tagging and listing
  • The ability to create SEO-friendly URLs for all content
  • Support for text, blog posts, images, videos, polls and podcasts
  • Tools to define custom content types
  • Module-based menu building
  • Real-time statistics
  • Administrator controls for user permissions, including creation of user “roles” to manage who can see and edit content
  • Themes and plugins to display dynamic content in customized layouts
  • Content blocks for the placement of related content, widgets and more
  • Multi-site support
  • Content aggregation tools to export or import content, link with social networks and promote social sharing
  • Auto-update notifications and security alerts
  • Drupal hosting is offered by all the best Linux based hosts

The Drupal development community has also created comprehensive documentation to help users navigate all the features of the platform.

Drupal Hosting Requirements

To get the best out of Drupal, it must be installed in a Drupal hosting environment that meets specific requirements. The current version of the CMS, Drupal 7, requires:

  • Disk space: 15 MB minimum and 60 MB recommended for extensive installations
  • Web server: Apache or Microsoft IIS
  • Database server: MySQL 5.0 or higher, PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher, SQLite
  • PHP 5.2 or higher

Drupal 8 is in development and will need newer versions of servers and scripts to run correctly. If you plan to upgrade when Drupal 8 is released, make sure your Drupal hosting provider has:

  • Web server: Apache, Nginx or Microsoft ISS
  • Database server: MySQL 5.5.3 or higher, MariaDB 5.5.20 or higher, Percona Server 5.5.8 or higher, PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher, SQLite 3.4.2 or higher
  • PHP 5.59 or higher

Older versions of Drupal will run on previous versions of servers, databases and PHP. All Drupal versions are compatible across operating systems. A more extensive explanation of each requirement is available on the Drupal website.

Note that Drupal states these hosting requirements are subject to change. Users should receive notification if any projected changes will cause problems with functionality.

Drupal in Action

Many well-known websites use Drupal to manage layout and content delivery. You’ll find Drupal powering these and many other large-scale sites:

  • The BMJ
  • The Economist
  • Forbes
  • Greenpeace Greenwire Global Community
  • The Official Beatles Website
  • Timex
  • University of Oxford
  • The Weather Channel

Scientists, celebrities, organizations, governments and people in various technology fields also rely on Drupal. Thanks to the thousands of modules available to customize the function of the Drupal core, it’s possible to create sites that cater to the highly individual needs of these groups and industries.

Using Drupal modules, you can build a personal or company blog with multiple users or an entire online community where users can interact with each other. Make use of content aggregation tools to put together your own news site that delivers fresh content every day. Allow other users to share content on a custom social network, image sharing gallery or video sharing site. Social integration, including microblogging, makes it possible to use Drupal hosting as a platform for connecting with others all over the world.

For businesses, Drupal provides the ability to create e-commerce websites complete with product catalogs, product descriptions, sales and customer management, order tracking and comprehensive statistics reports. Support for contests and sweepstakes increases customer engagement. The scalable environment of this CMS maintains growth without the need to switch to other software.

With Drupal, you can build the exact website you’ve envisioned for yourself or your business. Take advantage of the powerful core, extensive modules and community documentation to design and create a web presence that gets noticed by search engines and draws a steadily increasing number of users.

As one of the most popular CMS’, Drupal hosting is offered by all the major hosting companies.