MSPs: Is Drupal Right for Your Site?
Drupal is catching on as a platform for building Web sites that have social networking capabilities. And since it’s a free and open source content management system, Drupal can be easy on your wallet when launching a Web site. But the big question: Is Drupal really an option for managed service providers that want to overhaul their own web sites?
First, the good news: Drupal was designed to be totally modular, meaning that it’s meant to be easy to add blogs, wikis, and message boards to your site, all administrated through one main control panel with no programming languages required. It also offers shopping carts and support for paid premium content subscriptions, both of which are handy for e-business. As Drupal’s own “Is Drupal right for you?” page puts it, it offers “functionality [you] can configure and extend to meet specific business needs.”
Now, the challenge: Drupal’s bells and whistles may be overwhelming to MSPs that are seeking a simple website platform. Installing and maintaining Drupal on your server can be a chore, especially when it comes time to slap on a patch. Again, according to their own site, “if you or your organization are not prepared to spend some time learning how Drupal works, it may not be your best option.”
To help with that, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert’s newest venture Acquia provides Drupal tech support, hosting, custom software packages, and other tools to help create and run a site on the platform for tiered annual subscriptions starting at $349. If you just need a helping hand now and then, there’s no shortage of freelancers willing to help you with the platform.
The final thing to ask yourself is whether or not you really need an infinitely modular website for your business. Squarespace, which we wrote about last week, has a strong CMS and includes hosting and a page editor. It’s not free, but you might save yourself some aggravation.