You’re doing your due diligence as you start your new new website—doing all the research into your different web hosting options in order to make sure you make the right choice before you buy.
That’s smart! While it’s always possible to switch to a new web hosting plan down the line, it’s a lot easier to stick with the same company if you make the right choice from day one.
You may have come across an option called Drupal hosting, and now you’re wondering what that’s all about.
What is Drupal Hosting?
Drupal hosting is any web hosting plan that promises compatibility with the content management system Drupal. All of the hundreds of thousands of Drupal websites require a web server and hosting to be accessible to visitors on the wide web. Where Drupal provides the basic framework for building a website, Drupal hosting is the necessary component that makes that website available to the masses.
For many of sites that use Drupal, choosing an application web hosting plan that specializes in providing hosting services for Drupal sites is the best choice,
What is Drupal?
Drupal is an open-source content management system that powers hundreds of thousands of websites online. It’s particularly popular with professional developers, who appreciate how powerful and flexible it is, and by government and enterprise websites that choose it for the high level of security it offers.
The Drupal core—the main framework it provides—consists of the main features and functionality common to content management systems in general (more on that in a bit) and can work as a good foundation for any kind of website. But while the core is powerful, where Drupal really sets itself apart is the customization options developers can tap into with the use of Drupal modules. As long as you, or someone you hire, has the skills to run a Drupal website, you can do just about anything with your website you could want.
What Is a Content Management System?
To really understand what Drupal is and whether it’s right for your website, you need to understand what a content management system is. A content management system, or CMS for short, provides a number of important functions to website owners. Some of the top features common to pretty much all content management systems include:
1. An intuitive interface for making website changes
One of the main reasons individuals and businesses use content management systems is because it saves you from having to know and use coding languages when you’re building your website and then again every time you have to make an update to your website.
For businesses, that can save you the cost of having to pay a developer for every time you have a minor update to make to a web page.
A CMS gives you the power to publish new content to your website, change the layout of pages, add media and images to the website, and manage your menus—just to name a few functions—all through a user interface that’s easy for most beginners to figure out. It removes the headache of trying to get code just right every time or having to know a coding language to begin with.
2. Content management and organization options
As the name makes clear, a big reason websites have for using a CMS is that it helps you manage your content. For any website likely to have a lot of content—which includes government websites, enterprise websites, media sites, entertainment sites, and businesses doing content marketing—you’ll end up with a lot of different content pieces to keep up with.
A CMS allows for collaboration on pieces of content, since you can control who has access to content in the system and what they can do with it (e.g. who has the power to view, edit, and schedule a piece of content). With a CMS, you can schedule out content in advance, making it easier to plan out and stay on top of a content calendar. And you can easily track which pieces of content are still in draft form, which are scheduled, and which are already published, which helps you keep everything better organized.
If your plans for a website include the potential for a high volume of content, a CMS is an extremely valuable tool for managing it all.
3. Account management and permissions
Business or media websites typically have a large number of people that will need some level of access to make changes and updates to the site. Content creators, editors, designers, developers—the more people using a website, the more risk you’re potentially opening the website up to.
What if a writer with limited technical skills actually does something that breaks a page on your website? Or what if an angry employee you let go uses their access to make malicious, embarrassing changes to the site?
A CMS reduces your risk by allowing the website owner and any administrators they trust to manage the accounts associated with the website and the levels of access each one is allowed. A writer only needs to be able to load the text on the pages they’re working on, for instance, and doesn’t need the ability to mess with your menus or plugins. Through this feature, a CMS increases the security of your website and gives you more control over it.
How Does Drupal Measure Up to Other Content Management Systems?
The features described above are common across the different types of content management systems, so can provide insights into whether you should use a CMS or not. But there’s still the question of deciding which one makes sense.
Drupal is one of the three most popular content management systems, falling behind just Joomla and WordPress in popularity. The reason those two beat Drupal in market share is pretty clear to anyone familiar with the CMS market: Drupal’s harder to use.
WordPress and Joomla are accessible for beginners with limited experience building or maintaining websites. They’re democratic software options that put website updates into the hands of almost everybody. Drupal, on the other hand, is mostly used by professional developers who come to it with some web design skill to begin with.
Drupal requires more work to learn and use, but the tradeoff to that is notable: it also provides more flexibility and power. Anyone with especially specific or complicated plans for a website will need a solution that enables them to make their vision a reality, and Drupal is better for that than the other top CMS options.
Who Should Use Drupal?
Drupal is most commonly used by companies and organizations that:
- Have professional developers on staff
- Care about security
- Have complex and specific needs
For the most part, small businesses or individuals aiming to create a fairly basic website will be better off with either WordPress or Joomla. But enterprise companies and government entities that have more advanced needs and the budget to hire the right talent to realize the potential Drupal can offer will benefit from the greater flexibility and higher level of security it provides.
The Benefits of Drupal Hosting Plans
Choosing the best CMS for your website is an important early step in building a website. But a CMS doesn’t usually provide web hosting on its own. If you decide to use Drupal to build a website, you’ll still need to purchase a web hosting plan separately.
Most web hosting plans you consider will work for a Drupal website, but you can benefit from specifically seeking out an application web hosting plan that supports Drupal.
Here are a few good reasons to go with Drupal hosting specifically.
1. Drupal hosting will offer easy installation.
Working with Drupal requires skill, but adding a Drupal site to your web hosting account shouldn’t. A Drupal hosting plan will offer one-click installation that you can complete within minutes.
You might have to hire developers for some of the other updates and specifics you want for your website, but linking your CMS to your web hosting plan is something anyone on your team will be equally capable of getting done in a matter of minutes with Drupal hosting.
2. There’s no cost for adding Drupal to your web hosting account.
Because the Drupal platform is open source, using it is free. You’ll likely pay for the developers you hire for it, and you’ll need to pay for your web hosting plan. But with a Drupal hosting plan, you can avoid one more cost because you’ll know for sure that using Drupal with your web hosting account won’t cause any additional fees.
3. Compatibility is assured.
One of the biggest annoyances of the technology age is finding yourself with two tech products that aren’t compatible with each other. After you’ve put money and resources into developing a website on Drupal, you definitely don’t want to face compatibility issues with the web hosting plan you choose.
When you start by choosing a web hosting plan that specializes in Drupal, then you’ll know with absolute confidence your web hosting plan will work well with your Drupal site.
4. You have two sources for helpful support.
The Drupal community is well known for being large, devoted, and supportive. A large, skilled community means a huge library of modules and extensions—many of them available to the larger community for free (although some for pay). But it also means access to many people willing to offer support and guidance on using Drupal.
The Drupal community gathers online in Slack channels and on other chat tools. Regional groups meet up in person around the world to commiserate over using Drupal, and you can find conferences and other events that are all about Drupal. In addition, many members of the community work hard to develop resources and documentation to help other Drupal developers.
Choosing Drupal taps you into this thriving community, but choosing a good Drupal hosting plan also gives you access to a helpful team providing customer support. While web hosting customer service professionals won’t necessarily be experts in using the Drupal platform, they’ll often be able to provide helpful information on a large number of other issues or questions you’ll encounter when working on your website.
And if you choose a web hosting company that provides customer support around the clock, you can count on getting those answers at the moment you need them.
Ready to Find a Drupal Hosting Web Plan?
If everything in this blog post has convinced you that you should use Drupal and specifically seek out a Drupal web hosting plan, then you’re probably wondering now how to find the best plan for you. Here are the main features we recommend looking for:
- Room to grow. If you’re using Drupal, it likely means you have big plans for your website. You need to know that as your traffic grows and as you add new functionality to your website over time, the web hosting provider you choose will still work for you. Don’t just look for the web plan you need now, also look at the other plans your provider offers to see if they match up to what you’ll need down the line.
- Security. Drupal is one of the best options for building a secure website, but you can never be too careful in our era of frequent data breaches and website hacking. Choosing a web hosting provider that values security and does their part to keep your website safe is one of the best choices you can make to avoid vulnerability.
- Uptime. Anytime your website’s unavailable you run the risk of losing trust or angering your attempted visitors. For businesses, it also means lost money and a blow to your reputation. Make sure you find a Drupal hosting provider who can not only provide at least 99.9% uptime, but also backs that up with a money-back guarantee.
Web hosting is a service every website depends on. To make sure your Drupal website can do its job—remaining accessible to your visitors at the moment they need it and keeping any information they provide secure—choose a Drupal hosting plan that covers all the most important bases.At HostGator, we offer a variety of different hosting plans. Whether you are looking for a cloud hosting service or a dedicated server hosting package, our online resources are ready to help. To learn how to build a website, register a domain, or for any other web hosting questions, please contact our support team at HostGator today.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.