What Is Drupal?


Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) with a large, supportive community. It’s used by millions of people and organizations around the globe to build and maintain their websites. You probably use Drupal every day without knowing it, as many top businesses and government organizations use Drupal, like the Government of Australia, Red Cross, Harvard, The Economist, BBC, NBC News, Whole Foods, Cisco, Twitter, and many, many more.

Drupal is open source software released under the GNU Public License. This means it has inherent benefits—cost, flexibility, freedom, security, and accountability—that are unmatched by proprietary software. For example, Drupal is free to download and anyone can modify and extend the platform. This ensures freedom from vendor “lock in” and it empowers users worldwide to monitor Drupal’s underlying code for compliance and security issues and fix them quickly.

Full of features and highly customizable

Drupal shines as a CMS. It provides a user interface that allows you to create and publish your content easily. The platform accommodates unlimited content types, including text and media content, with highly customizable forms. It dynamically retrieves, filters, and presents this content with powerful, yet simple-to-use tools. There are also intuitive content creation tools and powerful in-place editing tools. Drupal controls access to content and features with its sophisticated user role classification and permissions system.

All of the administrative and end-user-facing functionality in Drupal, from fundamental features, such as the ability to log in or create content to dynamic photo galleries and complex voting systems, comes from modules. What you download from Drupal.org is what is referred to as “Drupal core” and it comes packed with all of the most commonly used modules to build a site, but there is a huge variety of contributed modules, which thousands of developers make available for free on Drupal.org.

Drupal is also a powerful website development platform. Drupal adheres to modern object-oriented programming patterns, PHP best practices, HTML5 and YAML standards. It also incorporates other great web technologies, including CKEditor, Symfony2, Twig, jQuery, Backbone.js, and Guzzle. Extending functionality and gaining complete control over the design is accomplished through a robust assortment of add-ons in the form of modules and themes.

Learn Drupal

Drupal provides a lot of flexible tools for many different tasks, depending on your focus, from end users to developers. To learn more about the various building blocks and tools in Drupal, take a look at our guides.

Introduction to Drupal

If you are not already familiar with Drupal, you can learn more about basic concepts and terminology in this high-level introductory guide.

Basics, Site Building
Drupal 8, 9, and 10

Site builder

Site building is the Drupal role that everyone who wants to build a site should know, as it's the core Drupal competency for site creation. Site building involves getting Drupal up and running, and configuring the options to build a functional site.

Site Building
Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10

Themer/Front-end Developer

A themer, also known as a front-end developer, is the connection between the designer and the developer on a project. They’re responsible for the architecture and implementation of the user-facing parts of a web site. This includes working with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and related technologies. Drupal themers also use some PHP in template files, and in Drupal 8, they use Twig.

Drupal 7, 8, 9, and 10


Developers, also known as engineers or programmers, use their knowledge of PHP, MySQL, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS to extend, alter, and enhance Drupal by creating modules and integrating external services.

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


In addition to being a great tool for building websites, one of the main strengths of Drupal is being one of the largest open-source communities, which creates the software, writes the documentation, provides support, and runs events all over the world. To tap into the true strength of Drupal and open source, the community is your best tool for making connections and accelerating learning.

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.

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