Hosting a website has traditionally been an expensive endeavour.
According to FinancesOnline.com, the costs of self-hosting a website in 2019 can range from $1,100 to $3,800. That includes hosting as well as domain, web development, security, maintenance and, if you’re an ecommerce site, payment processing.
But there are more affordable options. The most obvious is finding an open source web content management software that can help you get started.
The big contenders in this arena are companies like WordPress, Wix, and Shopify. These tend to attract the most attention, but they certainly aren’t without their faults.
A Brief History Of Drupal
One alternative that has been quickly growing in popularity is Drupal.
Drupal was created in 2000 by Dries Buytaert to be a message board and in 2001 became an open source project. The name “Drupal” is an anglicization of the Dutch word “druppel,” which means “drop” (think “a drop of water”). The story goes, Buytaert planned to name the site “dorp,” which is Dutch for “village,” in order to highlight the community aspects of the platform. However, he mistyped it when checking to see if the domain name was available and ended up thinking the error sounded better.
Drupal got its first big bump during the 2003 U.S. Democratic Party primary when it helped build “DeanSpace” for Howard Dean. As of August 2019, more than 1,087,000 sites use Drupal, according to Drupal’s own statistics.
Indeed, Drupal has become one of the most comprehensive CMS systems available. The open source programming has been developed by many programmers who simply outgrew the simpler scripts of platforms like WordPress.
That in of itself makes Drupal a great alternative to WordPress. Instead of relying on the common and widely used WordPress themes, companies can take advantage of a different platform entirely.
But once you’ve decided that Drupal is the option for you, what happens if you don’t have the wherewithal to build your own site?
Fortunately for you, young webmaster, there is a veritable bounty of development companies out there with expertise in Drupal who can help you get your site off the ground.
Why Use Drupal?
The reason that high profile pages like these rely on Drupal is for a number of reasons. For one, Drupal has all of the basic features one would need to create either a simple website or a more complex one. Features like menu management, RSS-feeds, system administration, user account registrations, graphics tools, and more are all included.
Not to mention, Drupal is easy to install and comes equipped with thousands of themes and templates. All you need to do in order to get started is upload one of these templates and go.
But, for more advanced users, Drupal also offers pre-defined configurations that enable anyone with the know-how to quickly build more complex sites.
Not to mention, Drupal will flawlessly integrate your written text with videos, podcasts, polls, and other features that allows your website the flexibility to grow and mature as you expand on your brand.
More advanced administrator tools give designers the ability to set up multiple user accounts with different levels of access to the website.
There are also more than 7,000 plugins available that will buttress Drupal’s functionality. And thanks to the fact that it’s open source, anyone with the technical expertise can create their own plugins, giving your site even more capacity and functionality.
Also, Drupal has full SEO capabilities and can be used seamlessly with Google analytics.
Finally, as you will see, there is a vast worldwide community of developers who are passionate about Drupal. People who work tirelessly towards building up and enhancing the overall functionality of the platform as well as its overall security.
Now we’re going to take a look at some of the best options out there to try and help you find the best fit for your business.
Ebizon has operated since 2007. Since opening its doors, the company has grown as an open source web development and consulting organization.
The company’s Drupal Development team comes replete with expertise in conceiving, designing, architecting, developing, tuning, and scaling projects across a plethora of industries.
Whether your business is in the arts, entertainment, technology, media, or commerce, Ebizon and its 60-person team can help you build the perfect Drupal site.
Among the Drupal development services that Ebizon provides are:
- Drupal Consulting
- Drupal Design
- Drupal Support
- Drupal Application Development
- Drupal Hosting via Amazon Cloud
- Drupal Performance and Scalability
Additionally, the company provides business solutions like application design, architecture, and quality assurance; migration, scaling, and support; enterprise content management, and custom software development.
According to its website, Ebizon follows best industry Drupal practices, making its projects optimum, secure, readable, organized, and well documented.
Ebizon has completed a number of high-profile projects. But notably, the company architected and developed the world’s news site for children. The site currently has more than one hundred thousand registered teachers and around 5 million page views each month. The case study was even featured on Drupal’s homepage.
Another project saw Ebizon building an online education portal for one of the largest publishing companies in the world. They also developed a digital badging system for one of the United States’ oldest non-profit organizations.
Image: Unleashed Technologies
Unleashed Technologies touts itself as a client-centric team of professionals. That team creates, enhances, and manages award-winning websites and creates unique digital experiences.
This firm specializes in Drupal development and design and typically works with nonprofits, publications, and other online organizations that may necessitate multiple integrations and complex content management considerations, the company says.
Indeed, Unleashed Technologies is so entwined with Drupal that it has actually published a number of case studies on the platform, including ones for the United States Naval Institute and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Unleashed Technologies says it plans to publish more in the future.
The company has been operating for 11 years and has designed more than 400 websites and applications in that time for more than one hundred clients. The agency is based in Columbia, Maryland, and has around 40 employees who are experts in web design, mobile app development, and web development.
One of Unleashed Technologies most notable projects involved the creation of a new website for a CPA society using Drupal 8. The site included custom design work, specific education vendors, as well as the client’s association management system.
Image: Blue Fountain Media
Blue Fountain Media was founded in 2003 and counts Canon, P&G, the NFL, and CDK Global among its clients.
The full-service digital agency says its goal is to help businesses grow their online brand. Blue Fountain Media provides web design, web development, and digital strategy, including comprehensive SEO services that will bolster your site’s Google search rankings.
The company is headquartered in New York City and has around 200 employees.
This full-cycle web and mobile development firm opened its doors in 1999 in Austin, Texas. The company now has more than 400 IT experts spread throughout its Austin headquarters and its London offices.
Since its humble beginnings, Iflexion has turned its sites toward big data, enterprise portals, and omni-channel solutions, it says.
Given its near-20 year history, it should be no wonder that Iflexion has carved itself a well-regarded position within the Drupal development community. After all, the company can provide business domain knowledge alongside technology competency and proven methods in order to deliver high-quality and cost-effective results.
Clients thus receive a competitive advantage along with productivity, bolstered revenue streams, enhanced communication channels, and streamlined business operations.
EIGHT25MEDIA was founded in 2011. Since then it has worked with more than 750 clients ranging from small start-ups, to Fortune 500 companies, and “everything in between.”
In 2017, the company was voted the best web design firm in all of Silicon Valley.
EIGHT25MEDIA says that its strategic approach to web design is focused on technology companies including Business to Business (B2B), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Business to Consumer (B2C) organizations. It also works with ecommerce sites, media publications, and other companies.
As the firm explains “each project begins with an in-depth strategy session and ends with the delivery of a website that is sure to give clients the results they want.” Those results include lead generation, higher site traffic, greater brand awareness, and more.
In addition to Drupal, EIGHT25MEDIA works with WordPress, Magento, Craft, and more. It also codes in technologies such as:
6. Wise Ltd
Image: Wise Ltd
Wise Ltd has operated since 2004, providing quality web development services around the world since opening its doors.
The company says that it widely uses Drupal as the base for solving the business needs of its clients. Wise claims its central business principals are adherence to quality, reliability, and open relationships with its clients.
Wise has extensive experience in the development and maintenance of a number of robust and flexible web solutions that have been created for a wide range of industries, including ecommerce, finance, industrial manufacturing, retail, entertainment, and advertising.
Among its notable Drupal accomplishments was the creation of the Fanstuff website. Wise says the company needed an attractive site as well as a stylish and responsive design that allowed visitors to review the design services provided by Fanstuff, a catalog with work examples, and read about the various technologies that Fanstuff used to work.
Wise said it chose the Drupal CMS for this particular project because all functionality that was needed for the project could already be found in Drupal’s base programming along with several contributed modules.
Since September of 2011, Wise Ltd conducts and supports DrupalCafe in Kharkov, Ukraine, and is an active participant in conferences and DrupalCafe within Ukraine.
WDG has been in business since 2004, when it began its life as a marketing and advertising agency.
WDG is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, but has additional offices in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington.
The firm’s services include web development, web design, and UX/UI. WDG counts The American Red Cross, Boeing, Godiva, PBS, The United States Congress, and more amongst its former clients.
The firm now has around 23 employees serving a number of large national companies as well as the public sector.
As WDG explains: “Our project and account management teams ensure that working with WDG and navigating third-party vendors is a seamless experience. We take a proactive approach to communicating milestones, key decision points, challenges, and flagging potential project risks proactively.”
“We work closely and collaboratively with our clients to ensure a smooth project flow, as the quality and success of the products we design and build define our value.”
WDG’s developers remain active contributors to both the Drupal and WordPress open source communities.
They consider themselves adept at customizing existing plugins to bolster their capabilities to match very specific technical requirements. Additionally, they are proficient at leveraging third party APIs to build custom functionality.
WDG is serious about its Drupal skills. The company explains its process thusly:
“Before settling for a particular CMS, our developers conduct final reviews of the sitemap, wireframes, and designs. We review interactions, form fields, and validation errors, as well as recommend front-end technologies for the implementation phase.
We evaluate third-party integrations and create a technical scope document for client approval outlining the overall process and solutions recommended for integration.
“As we progress along the project roadmap we gain valuable intelligence regarding the complexity and the true reality of some of these feature implementations and create a final recommendation for a CMS.”
WDG also provides SEO services and URL shortening.
WDG also hosts a regular podcast called The Feedback that explores the digital industry and features expert voices from the company.
Topics range from sneak peeks into agency life to the latest industry trends. “The Feedback is here to provide enterprise-level commentary with wit, insight, and storytelling,” its website declares.
ImageX is an award-winning website design, development, and consulting firm that was founded in 2001. The firm is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and has an additional development office in Kiev, Ukraine.
What makes ImageX especially unique is the fact that it has specialized solely in Drupal since 2006, creating Drupal Web solutions for a number of key sectors including government, non-profit, tech, education, and media.
That accounts for more than 300 successful Drupal sites.
Given that the firm specializes in Drupal, it is equipped to handle everything from personal development, marketing and web strategy, design, planning, and information architecture to development, quality assurance, and more.
Some of ImageX’s notable clients include The Discovery Channel Educators Network, A&E, Adobe, Apple, Samsung, Disney, Warner Brothers Records, Fantasy Sports Matrix, and many more.
This well-established, mid-sized company has just over 40 employees who are considered experts in the development of open-source CMS.
Image: Digital Echidna
Digital Echidna has just over 80 employees and almost two decades of experience. Founded in 2002, the firm focuses on web design and digital strategy services that are meant to help complement its web development expertise.
The firm is headquartered in London, Ontario, and counts TVOntario, Fanshawe College, and the Ottawa Heart Institute, amongst its clients.
One of its most notable projects saw Digital Echidna charged with updating a university’s website. The firm worked with the client’s in-house development team to help build a better system of content migration and permission controls. The client reported that the redesign has saved them a lot of time since it was launched.
Digital Echidna has developed almost exclusively using Drupal for many years. Indeed, a number of the Digital Echidna team were intimately involved with building out Drupal 8, which took hundreds of hours to develop, test, and ensure quality assurance of the final product.
Image: Urban Insight
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, California, Urban Insight counts the City of Los Angeles, as well as the University of Southern California, and Kaiser Permanente among its most noteworthy clients.
Founded in 1997, this digital design agency with a team of around 20 experts provides web design, web development, and a bevy of digital strategy services. Since opening its doors, the firm has completed more than 500 projects for its clients.
The company has won a number of awards, including #1 of more than 60 Los Angeles web agencies from independent research firm Clutch.
Urban Insight was placed in the top three percent of technology firms nationwide for reliability, quality, and performance, by Dun and Bradstreet’s Open Ratings 2018.
Since opening its doors to the famous winds of Chicago, Illinois, in 1996, Palantir.net’s team of around 40 employees have gone on to create sites for clients in verticals that include higher education, healthcare, government, and the nonprofit sector.
This included the notable Drupal 8 experience for students at South Dakota State University, among many other projects.
The firm says that its collaborative process provides transparency and trust between the team and its clients. “We start by understanding our client’s business objectives, aspirations, audience behaviors and needs,” the company writes.
“That strategic work is then translated into exceptional, tailored visual designs that focus on users and create measurable results. When it’s time to build the final site, our architectural approach is to build in a way that is sustainable, flexible, and adaptable while performing under pressure.”
11. Inclind Inc
Inclind is a website development agency founded in Lewes, Delaware, in 1999. The firm specializes in Drupal maintenance and support and has intimate experience with the CMS since 2008.
Their team of 11 employees specializes in web design, web development, ecommerce development, and UX/UI design for mainly midmarket-sized clients.
Inclind has provided a number of case studies for Drupal relating specifically to Real Estate, Travel, and Healthcare.
The company calls its experience with Drupal “vast and diverse, featuring responsive/mobile themes, performance tuning, and (sadly) the rescue of Drupal projects gone awry.”
The firm counts the University of Delaware, Peninsula Regional Health System, the U.S. Travel Association, and Baywood Greens among its clients.
Inclind can also build sites using platforms like WordPress, Angular, Shopify, and more.
As you can see, there are a number of development firms that are well-acquainted, well-versed, and well-equipped to deal with whatever Drupal issues you may find yourself in need of help with.
It makes sense given that Drupal remains one of the most popular open source content management systems available right now.
Indeed, this robust CMS platform is used by professional web developers around the world, in more than 200 countries, and it’s available in 182 languages.
Many large companies rely on Drupal given the fact that it is known for being so stable while offering a near-infinite capacity for development.
Some of the most famous organizations that make use of the platform include: The White House, The British Government, The Economist, and many more.
So, if you opt to use Drupal, you’re in good company.
After all, as we’ve discussed, Drupal is a highly flexible CMS that can be used to build everything from simple websites or blogs to previously unimagined features. Indeed, it excels when a site requires some sort of customized functionality.
Drupal handles thousands of pages of content and millions of views each month on top of its nearly limitless range of development possibilities. Its stable nature also lends itself to managing marketing, global services, and sales across all worldwide digital media.
It’s for reasons like these that developers – notably the ones listed above – all love Drupal.
If you want to build a website that is flexible, powerful, and offers you wide-reaching possibilities, then you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than Drupal.
Maybe it’s time to check it out for yourself and find a qualified development company to help you find its greatest potential.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.