If you’ve never heard of Drupal before reading this article, that might tell you all you need to know. Drupal is a content management system that was originally launched in 2015. If WordPress never happened, Drupal hosting might become one of the world’s foremost CMSs.
That being said, in 2019 Drupal still hosts about 2.3% of all websites, which is still a decent percentage if you think about how many sites are actually registered on the web. The biggest struggle with Drupal isn’t functionality. Rather, it is accessibility. Put simply, Drupal is really hard to use, especially if you are new to website building. In Drupal’s defense, however, that increased complexity does come with increased functionality. There are things Drupal can do that WordPress can’t if you’re motivated enough to figure out how to learn the platform.
The problem with Drupal is that it was designed by developers to be used by developers, while WordPress was designed by developers to be used by anyone. Unless you’re really comfortable with code and website design, Drupal has such a steep learning curve that many people end up leaving the platform feel like “it doesn’t do anything,” which isn’t at all true.
In response to this kind of feedback, you see a mass exodus from Drupal to other platforms, Drupal 8 has come equipped with some new initiatives that are trying to make it more user-friendly. However, it’s still sticking to its original intention – to be a platform with maximum functionality and customization. One of the reasons Drupal frustrates users so much is that it’s not pre-set with anything.
So who still uses Drupal? There are two main groups that make up the bulk of Drupal users – people running huge websites with thousands of pages and people concerned with security like governments and law enforcement. No matter how difficult it is, Drupal is still better at hosting big sites, so people running massive databases or sites with thousands and thousands of page entries have stuck it out with Drupal. It’s also an extremely secure platform, Drupal 8 especially so. Because of its advanced security features and prowess at hosting huge amounts of content, Drupal is actually very popular with governments and their affiliated sites, like whitehouse.gov.
The answer, ultimately, is yes. There are people out there that still use Drupal and there are even people out there who enjoy using Drupal. Despite its reputation, it’s not that difficult a platform to use, it’s just a difficult platform to learn how to use. That inaccessibility has definitely been costly, but the platform is not going to disappear anytime soon. The launch of Drupal 8 has included a lot of additions and updates with the intention of making it a bit easier to use without losing its functionality. The question will be whether or not it’s enough to entice new users.