Introduction to Drupal for Drupal 8, 9, and 10

Introduction to Drupal

Learn to build and administrate a Drupal site with the Drupal User Guide

Go to the User Guide

What will you learn

  • What is a CMS?
  • What is open source?
  • What is Drupal?
  • How to get started learning Drupal


Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) with a large, supportive community. This guide is for people who are just sorting out what Drupal is and what you can do with it. It focuses on resources that provide an informative overview instead of hands-on tutorials. It is designed to give some context and history of the Drupal project, along with the major concepts involved in building a site with it. If you want to begin learning Drupal hands-on, the best start is the Drupal User Guide, which walks you through the foundations of working with Drupal. If you're evaluating Drupal, you may want to check out About Drupal ( which highlights features of Drupal and provides some case studies.

What is a content management system (CMS)?

A CMS (Content Management System) is software that helps you manage digital content. More specifically, a CMS like Drupal is a web application that allows one or more users to create, edit, publish, and control access to a website using a graphical user interface (GUI). Many modern content management systems use a database to store the content and a scripting language (in Drupal's case, PHP) to dynamically build the HTML needed to present the content to a web browser.

Read more about CMS in relation to Drupal in chapter 1 of Drupal User Guide:

More information

Overview of Drupal and the reasons to choose it as a reliable Content Management System (CMS).

What is open source?

Open-source software (OSS) is software that has made the source code available with a license that allows anyone to inspect, modify, and distribute the software freely. Drupal is released under the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later. (You can read more about the Drupal license on's Licensing page). One of the side effects of this license for Drupal is that the software itself is free to download. There are no license fees, as are often found with proprietary software, e.g. Sitecore or SharePoint. Due to the large community of contributors who can easily extend the functionality of Drupal, there is also a huge free community library of extensions, called modules, and themes that can change how the website looks.

More information

If you're reading this message, you use Open Source software. The last fifteen years has seen the meteoric rise of tools like Linux, Apache, Firefox, WordPress, Drupal and more; simplyusing Open Source is old hat. When it comes to building your company's web strategy around open source tools, though, the decisions can be fuzzier. The best-known arguments for Open Source are often ideological rather than pragmatic, and fail to account for the different needs of different projects and businesses.

In this Do it with Drupal session, Jeff Eaton will explain the no-nonsense pros and cons of Open Source, covering the big wins as well as the tradeoffs and common pain points. Whether your business is testing the Open Source water, betting the farm on community-maintained software, or open-sourcing its own creations, you'll learn how to avoid common pitfalls and set yourself up for success.

More information

Overview of Drupal licensing and the guidelines to be followed by users and contributors.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a robust content management platform. Functionality is bundled in "modules" which you can use to alter and extend your out-of-the-box Drupal site. Themes control the look-and-feel, and like modules, are used to customize your Drupal site. Drupal helps you create dynamic, content-driven websites.

Chapter 1 of the Drupal User Guide will give you a good overview of the main features that Drupal provides and the basic terminology you will need to know as you wade into Drupal, including modules, themes, distributions, types of data, and Drupal's licensing.

The Drupal slogan is "Come for the code, stay for the community." You can download the software for free and do what you like with it. There are also tens of thousands of people around the world who come together to improve the code, write documentation, run events, and support each other. To gain the full benefits of using Drupal, you should be sure to also understand what the community offers.

More information

Overview of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Drupal project, and Drupal Association.

Drupal is software that you can download from and use to build a website. As a modern CMS, it has many features for managing a site through a GUI, including:

  • creating and editing content with editor tools
  • controlling publication status and workflows
  • creating and managing custom URLs and menu items
  • managing users and the access they have to content and features of the site
  • organizing content with categories and listing pages
  • moving blocks of content to different areas of the page
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Installing Drupal using the instructions in this tutorial will give you a working Drupal site that can be used for learning, or real-world project development.

Before you can work on a Drupal site locally (on your computer), you'll need to set up a local development environment. This includes all the system requirements like PHP and a web server, that Drupal needs in order to run. Our favorite way to accomplish this is using DDEV.

In this tutorial we'll learn:

  • How to install and configure DDEV for use with a Drupal project.
  • How to use DDEV's integrated Composer to download Drupal and Drush.
  • How to install Drupal inside DDEV so you can access the site and start doing development.

By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to set up a local development environment for learning Drupal or working on a new Drupal project.

Underneath the powerful UI, there is a very flexible object-oriented framework, which has been built from the start to be modified and extended. This allows developers to finely tune a Drupal site to have the features and functionality you need. There is also a robust template layer using the Twig templating language, which lets you precisely customize the look of the site.

If you're a backend or front-end developer new to Drupal, explore these guides to learn more about how you can use Drupal's APIs to alter, extend, and customize a Drupal site.

Module Development, Backend and Infrastructure
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10

Get started

Once you're ready to dig in to learning how to use Drupal, you should start with site building, which is the foundation level for almost all tasks in Drupal. The Drupal User Guide provide a guiding scenario of the Anytown Farmer's Market. Written by the Drupal community, with videos added by Drupalize.Me, the Drupal User Guide is the best way to get started with Drupal concepts and site building skills.

Basics, Site Building, Site Administration, Community
Drupal 8, 9, and 10

The Drupal User Guide serves as a starting point for people with minimal knowledge of the Drupal content management system. The topics will help you become skilled at installing, administering, site building, and/or maintaining the content of a Drupal-based website. The guide is also aimed at people who already have some experience with a current or past version of Drupal, and want to expand the range of their skills and knowledge or update them to the current version.

Finding help

Drupal has an amazing community of people who create the software and help each other make the best use of it. It is the best resource to understand, and become a part of, in order to help you on your Drupal journey. Many people new to Drupal overlook this critical resource, but looking into what the community offers will shorten your learning curve considerably.

Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10
More information

Drupal has an amazing community of people who create the software and help each other make the best use of it. This is one of the main benefits of using Drupal — and everyone should take advantage of that.

More information

An overview of some of our favorite Drupal documentation resources.

“Drupalize.Me has trained thousands of Drupalistas. Their video lessons help to address our constant need for more Drupal talent. Drupal needs training like this to support its growth.”
Dries Buytaert
Drupal Founder and Project Lead
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“They’re easy to understand. They’re thorough. They’re funny. They’re always entertaining, and it makes it easy to learn parts of Drupal and how you can integrate it into your workflow and learn more and have a good time doing it.”
Roger Carr
Drupalize.Me Member
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“The mission of the Drupal Association is to foster and support the Drupal software project, the community, and its growth. Drupal education, like that provided by Drupalize.Me, is important to this mission.”
Megan Sanicki
Former Exec. Director, Drupal Assoc.
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