'Drupal is not suitable'

I recently heard this comment where Drupal was rejected as a possible solution. However, when I looked at the requirements, Drupal, in my opinion, was the right choice. Therefore, in this blog, I explain where I believe Drupal is suitable or not.
Robert Roose
By Robert Roose

'Drupal is not suitable'

Ensure you have the right expertise

Whether Drupal is a suitable solution begins with acquiring or hiring the right person or people.

  • You want to work with someone who has a lot of knowledge about Drupal and the available free modules (all Drupal modules are free and open source)
  • Drupal modules are easy-to-install pieces of code that extend the basic functions of Drupal 
  • Drupal shines best when you combine existing modules
  • This allows you to build a website faster and cheaper because you don't have to create everything from scratch
  • It's a matter of smartly using what other people or organizations have already created

If you have this expertise in-house or have someone on your team who does, then Drupal is suitable for virtually all types of websites.

Is Drupal suitable for a simple corporate website?

If you want a simple business website with a few pages, you can use Drupal for that. Especially if you have the expertise described above. If not, you might want to consider WordPress or services like Wix or Squarespace. However, note that with the latter two options, you take a risk because you never own your own website.

Is Drupal suitable for a slick, beautiful website with animations?

Absolutely. You can customize the so-called Drupal themes to your heart's content. Choosing Drupal doesn't mean you're limited in terms of look and feel. 

Additionally, you can even choose to completely decouple the front end from what Drupal delivers. This is also known as 'Headless'. This way, you have all the freedom to design and build the front end of the Drupal website as you wish while retaining the benefits of Drupal's back end.

Is Drupal suitable for a community?

100%. Drupal out of the box already offers many features important for a community, such as user registration, but it's also easily expandable with free open source modules like the Group module. With this module, you can create different groups within a Drupal website, designate group administrators, and make content available only through a Group. This way, you can create a website that functions similar to Reddit or Facebook in terms of features.

Is Drupal suitable for an intranet?

An intranet and community often have the same functional characteristics. In that case, Drupal is also suitable for building an intranet. I have personally built several intranets with Drupal where colleagues could share news among themselves. It's also possible, for example, to display colleagues' birthdays to show who is celebrating on that day.

Is Drupal suitable for an online magazine?

Drupal is also extremely suitable for an online magazine. As mentioned above, you can design and style the front end of Drupal as you wish. This means you can also display beautiful large photos as is customary on trendy magazine websites. Additionally, Drupal includes the ability to be extended with a powerful search system like Elasticsearch. Users can then easily search among a large number of articles.

Is Drupal suitable for an online shop?

When it comes to building an online shop, I must admit that I haven't always had the best experiences with Drupal (but this was more than 5 years ago). Building an online shop involves a lot, such as managing inventory, calculating shipping costs, and handling payments. There are modules available like Drupal Commerce that can handle many of these things out of the box, but configuring this module is quite a task. If you have a small online shop, you're probably better off with a specialized service like Shopify.

Is Drupal suitable for a large dataset that users can search through?

When you connect Drupal with the aforementioned Elasticsearch, and ensure you have enough server power, it is certainly possible to use Drupal for searching through large datasets. Elasticsearch is also used by notable companies such as Uber, the aforementioned Shopify, and Slack.

This allows you to leverage the modularity of Drupal to its fullest. Drupal's standard search engine is suitable for a few hundred records, but if you want more, it's possible to connect an external service.

Where else is Drupal suitable for?

Do you have a specific use case and want to know if Drupal is suitable for it? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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