What is Drupal and why you should use it

Welcome, my Drupaler

Maybe you've heard about Drupal somewhere, maybe a friend told you about it, or maybe you just saw some cool website and found out it has been made with Drupal.

Drupal is CMS - Content Management System. It means you somehow "manage content" with it. So, what kind of content can you manage with Drupal? Any kind!

You see, every piece of content in Drupal is called a node. Node is the smallest chunk of information in Drupal, if you want to call it like that. Node is actually this article that you are reading right now.

Nodes can be of different types. That's where "content types" come in the game. Drupal comes with some pre-defined content types like "story" and "page" content types. The good thing about content types is that you can define your own content types and also you can extend them (more about that later).

The important thing to understand is that most of the content in Drupal is made up of nodes. Nodes can have comments, and comments can be submitted by users.

What can You create with Drupal?

With Drupal you can create:

  • Simple n-number-of-pages static website
  • Simple personal homepage
  • Company website
  • Weblog
  • Dating website
  • Myspace-like website
  • (insert your favorite type of website here)

Basically, there are no limits with Drupal, and you really can make any type of website you want.

Of course, it all comes to you and your skills. It helps a lot if you know some html, php, css and that kind of stuff. It is not necessary but it will help.

Why you should use Drupal?

  • Easy to use (even if you don't know html, php...)
  • Lots of modules
  • Lots of themes
  • Great established user community
  • You can make a website in terms of hours, even minutes

Hosting your Drupal site

If you are serious about your Drupal projects, then I suggest you go with a standalone IP address. Therefore, choose either VPS (virtual private server) or a dedicated server (if you can afford it).

DO NOT even think about having big Drupal website on shared hosting. Drupal is hard on system resources, both CPU and RAM, so my friendly advice to you is to avoid shared hosting. I am telling you this from my personal experience. One community website that I have made (which I will tell you about in later postings) was initially on shared hosting. It was my first Drupal project, and I didn't know much about Drupal, I just learned how to this and that in Drupal, not paying attention to Drupal usage of system resources.

Then one day I got an email of warning from my hosting provider that my website is causing problems with CPU and RAM usage, therefore other websites on shared hosting were not working. That was the moment when I realized I have to move to a VPS.

The only case where I could imagine running Drupal on a shared hosting if you are going to run a small website with mostly static content, then it is fine.

With that in mind, I hope you now have a basic understanding of what Drupal is and what Drupal can do for you.