Things to Know Before Using Drupal

Drupal can be a fantastic content management system (CMS) for people looking to create a website, but there are still some important things to understand before deciding to go with Drupal. Herein, I will list the important things to understand about Drupal before using it as your chosen CMS. Some of the things I am going to bring up will seem as though they are too critical, but for the most part they are the truth.

Drupal Has No Core WYSIWYG Editor

Unlike the wildly popular WordPress, Drupal has no core what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor. This basically means that entering content, particularly complex content with images and such, will likely take more time with Drupal than with another CMS. Take the two examples below, on the left WordPress’s default content editor and on the right Drupal’s default:

wordpress wysiwyg editor drupal editor

As you can see, WordPress’s is a lot more refined and simple to use, which no doubt accounts for the software’s immense popularity.

While this is the case, it does offer the ability to enter content via text boxes and said text boxes do have a degree of auto-formatting in terms of automatically ordering paragraphs. Regardless, uploading images and positing them is a lot more complicated than with WordPress. Furthermore, the currently existing add-on modules that enable WYSIWYG are not as user friendly as WordPress and lack features.

Many of the Modules Do Not Work ‘out of the box’

While the core modules that come with the basic Drupal install work wonderfully, many of the add-on modules uploaded by user’s are not so stable. Furthermore, many of them include coding areas that have to be fixed before they will function. This includes many of the modules that are listed as being past beta stage, including modules well into Version 3 or higher. The trick here, perhaps the most important part of this article, is to TEST MODULES BEFORE USING THEM ON A PRODUCTION SITE.

Drupal Always Takes Longer to Set Up Than Expected

While I am sure there are some people who have become particularly proficient with Drupal and as a result are quite capable of setting it up quickly, so far I have found that setting up a Drupal site always takes a lot more time than expected. This is not something I have found with WordPress or normal HTML sites. Part of this is that Drupal has so many features just navigating them can be difficult. Another part is that installing each module and getting it configured properly usually takes longer than expected as well. Overall, Drupal is time consuming and this is something you have to be prepared for if you intend to use it.

Drupal Is Slower Than WordPress

In terms of serving pages, without using caching modules, Drupal is slower than wordpress because of its extra code. Basically, Drupal is a far more complex overall piece of programming and as such takes that bit longer to load. This, however, is improving more and more over time with Drupal 7 being quite fast and many of the caching modules meaning that for anonymous users Drupal loads fast enough.


While Drupal offers many features and a wealth of user contributed content, it is not as polished as WordPress so if you are unwilling to work through some of the inevitable problems that will arise it might be best to avoid Drupal. However, if you have no need of any of the add-on modules go with it as they are safe.

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