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Top 5 Reasons to Choose Drupal as your CMS.

We get a lot of questions about what makes Drupal a good decision as a content management system. Here are the top 5 reasons, in order of importance:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Good Governance
  3. Contributed Code
  4. Large Vendor Pool
  5. Scalability

1. Flexibility

The Drupal admin is one of the most highly configurable CMSs available. It allows for a variety of workflows and user & role based permissions, potentially down to a field level (not just pages). Versioning and tiered approval are all possible. More importantly Drupal provides (hands-down) the most configurable administrative area around. Any part of the admin can be tailored and reworked to fit a company's needs. This is not a super easy process, but it is a very important feature of Drupal, since administrators are arguably the most important people in the CMS ecosystem.

2. Good Governance

Drupal governance is community based, but is far from informal. Each version of Drupal has an appointed lead and there are well defined teams for managing the many facets of it. Dylan Tack (our Lead Drupal Architect) is actually a member of the Drupal security team. Additionally, every line of code that is added into the core of Drupal is vetted and verified by one of three people: Drupal founder Dries Buyaert (@dries), Angie Byron (@webchick) or Gábor Hojtsy (@gaborhojtsy). The value of this continuing involvement and curation cannot be understated.

3. Contributed Code

This one has a grain of truth, but Contributed code (as it's referred too) often benefits from hundreds of hours of quality assurance and testing - it also means you don't have to pay to build it. One of the values brought by a qualified Drupal consultancy is the encyclopedic knowledge of what modules are good to use - and what aren't.

4. Large Vendor Pool

This one an important one for people hiring an outside vendor. Drupal is not a closed-source proprietary system and there are literally thousands of Drupal developers. I would place Metal Toad Media among the top 8 Drupal consultancies, and here are some of our peers:

  • Acquia
  • Lullabot
  • Chapter Three
  • Development Seed
  • Four Kitchens
  • Palantir
  • Tree House Agency

And even within the more traditional Agency world, companies are offering Drupal services. There are literally dozens in Portland alone.

5. Scalability (a Drupal site) has served a peak of 2.5 million unique visitors in a single month (that's visitors, not page views). At Metal Toad Media, we have personally handled spikes of almost 2 million pages views in a day, on a Drupal site ( At it's peak, the spike was equivilent to ~8 million page views in a day. This site was backed by a few servers and a CDN and that's pretty neat.

Date posted: January 28, 2011


I noticed you mention workflow as a drupal strength. Is workflow built into drupal 7? It appears the workflow module was not upgraded to version 7. Maestro looks like an interesting module but I was hoping to use core functionality as I'm worried about Maestro upgrades.

If workflow is not in core, what do you use?

I don't believe that the Workflow module is built into 7 - but I wasn't speaking speaking specifically about that module. Some of the key pieces that allow Drupal to create a flexible workflow include:

  • Published/non-published toggling (core)
  • Revisions (core)
  • Promoted to front flag (core)
  • Role-based node-based permissions (core)
  • Sticky at top of list flag (core)
  • User contributed content (core)
  • The ability to extend nodes with specific fields (CCK)
  • Field level view/edit permissions (CCK+)
  • Date/time based publishing (Scheduler)
  • Flexible list building (Views)
  • Group level permissions (OG)
  • The Taxonomy Permissions module
  • The Taxonomy Role module
  • The Nodequeue module
  • The Workflow module
  • The Flag module

Basically, if you can imagine a workflow, chances are there is a combination of modules and settings that can get you there.

Yeah, Drupal is the best! When I needed to choose CMS for my new website 2 years ago I tried Drupal - and my choice was perfect for me.

Unfortunately I had the opposite effect. I installed Drupal and spent days (time wasted) figuring things out. I uninstalled Drupal, installed another that I heard about, and have stuck with that one. I didn't have to spend days figuring things out. The admin pages detailed how to code, recode, add, delete, and more to the site template pages with EASE. I've used it for a couple years now myself. Thank God for this other CMS.

Best of luck to Drupal, but it's not a favorite to everyone. And it's almost like a movie trailer. It gets all this hype until you see (or try it out for Drupal) it yourself. It looks awesome, but the full results "can" fail.

Drupal is challenging for the person setting up the CMS - but it can be great fun for an admin if properly configured. It's more of a CMS website toolkit when first installed.

What's the other CMS that you worked with?

I like Drupal. Its easy to use and has lots features that are easy to access from the Dashboard. The only thing I think they could improve on is making page themes, I don't thinks its as flexible as I would like.

Actually, flexibility might be the biggest reason why I ever got so interested in Drupal. Definitely hard to name any other CMS that is as flexible as Drupal.

Anyway, 2 million visits a day? Is that impressive or what? Or maybe just another reason to love Drupal. :)

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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