Photo of Hilmar Hallbjörnsson at DrupalCon Amsterdam trivia night 2019 by Illek Petr. 10 minute read How often do you get to chat with a viking about web development? After DrupalCon Europe last December a few folks got together on Zoom to emulate our usual “hallway track” coffee hour chats, and I learned that a couple friends have been leveraging DDEV-Local to teach web development to newcomers.
As part of the interview process for Drupal Career Online, we provide potential students with some background information about Drupal so that they can make a more informed decision about whether or not the program suits them. One of the things we communicate is the scope of the Drupal project and its pervasiveness in the web development industry.
As anyone who has tried to find reliable numbers to answer the "how popular is Drupal?" question knows, finding reliable data is often a difficult process. While working to update our recruitment materials this year, we thought we'd share the data we found and the conclusions we've made.W3Techs
To answer this question, in the past we have relied on the W3Techs (Web Technology Surveys) - a subsidiary of Q-Success, an Austria-based organization. Their methodology seems sound (they monitor the top 10 million web sites), but as their disclaimer states, "This information may be incomplete and inaccurate due to the vastness and complexity of the matter in hand"
As of January, 2021, they report that about 1.5% of all websites they monitor are Drupal-based. This is 2.4% of all web sites using a content management system.
W3Techs does provide a breakdown of usage among the top 1 million, 100,000, etc… sites, but only as part of one of their products (999 €).
W3Techs reports that Drupal 7 is used by 66.4% of all the websites who use Drupal.
So, how do these numbers compare with other data sources?Built With
Built With is an Australian company that provides lead generation lists in addition to web development trends among a plethora of technologies.
They currently report that ~618,000 sites are using Drupal, which equates to 0.97% of all web sites. This is 4th among content management systems after WordPress, WooCommerce Checkout, and Joomla. Their sample size is over 35 million sites.
Their data for the top 1 million sites has Drupal with a 3.28% content management system market share (3rd place), 7.73% in the top 100,000 sites (2nd place), and 12.56% in the top 10,000 sites (2nd place).
Built With also reports that of the ~618k site running Drupal, the United States is responsible for ~250k, with Russia next on the list with ~41k sites.SimilarTech
SimilarTech appears to be primarily a lead-generation company with offices in Israel and the United States. They state that their "proprietary technology scans more than 30 billion web pages per month."
For Drupal, they report that ~236,000 unique domains run Drupal, which equates to ~337,000 sites (I'm assuming that subdomains account for the significant difference in these numbers).
One potential major problem with their reports is that they often separate Drupal into multiple categories, including "Drupal", "Drupal 7", and "Drupal 8".
While they report that Drupal is used on 0.483% of all sites, it is not clear if this refers to just their "Drupal" category or includes their "Drupal", "Drupal 7", and "Drupal 8" categories. They appear to also break up other content management systems in a similar manner, making it difficult to draw reliable conclusions.
In their list of the top 1 million sites, they report that "Drupal" is used on 2.55% and "Drupal 8" on 0.81% (they only provide the top 8 positions).
SimilarTech reports that after the United States, Russian sites account for the most Drupal sites with ~32,000.Analysis
So, which data can we trust? What is the real answer? As you might imagine, it is difficult to say…
Removing the SimilarTech data from the equation for reasons stated above, let's look at a summary of we've found:Metric W3Techs Built With
All sites (CMS + non CMS)- 0.97% All sites (CMS) - - Top 10m sites (CMS + non CMS) 1.5% - Top 10m sites (CMS) 2.4% - Top 1m sites (CMS) - 3.28% Top 100k sites (CMS) - 7.73% Top 10k sites (CMS) - 12.56%
Clearly, using no-cost data from W3Techs and Built With, it isn't possible for a direct apples-to-apples comparison. But, combined, the data does seem to make sense. If you make the assumption that higher ranked sites have greater complexity and budget, along with the fact that Drupal 8 tends to be focused more on enterprise solutions, then it makes sense that Drupal has a higher percentage of usage among more popular sites.
Can we answer the question "how popular is Drupal?" - well, the answer is "sort of." Often answers to questions like this need caveats, as the table above illustrates.
So what's the answer? Based on these sources, we're going to extrapolate, and go with Drupal runs about 3% of the top 1 million sites using a content management system as this seems well supported by two independent sources.
"But… it all relates!" A reaction so often heard while facilitating (or participating) to group reflexion processes (brainstorming, agile retrospectives, …).
"You ask us to group things … but everything is connected!"
It often comes with a contrived smile ("things are complex, you know!"). Sometimes also with a counterproposal "let us make a single group around the central thing here which is X, since obviously all things relate to X."
A very human reaction, which if you’re unprepared as facilitator, can take you aback. Keeping the following arguments in your mind can help.
That it all relates does not mean that it all ought to conflate. It makes sense to distinguish the different aspects of a situation or a problem, the different knots of its web of complexity. Some seem to think that seeing the big picture implies refusing to distinguish the whole from its parts. Yet if we can see the links, the relationships, it is because we have identified the parts.
Although a holistic view provides a definite advantage when facing a complex situation, it is good to remind ourselves that action cannot be holistic. You cannot act on the system as a whole. You may only act on precise points of the system.
Two simple arguments to help us facilitate these "everything is connected" moments and realize that in a (group) reflexion process, taking things apart is the first step towards deciding meaningful action.
Photo: Ruvande fjällripa
On the heels of our recent Drupal 9 release of Rain CMS, we are excited to officially announce the beta release of our Rain University platform, RainU. RainU CMS is a Drupal-based development platform made just for higher education. Colleges and universities can now launch new sites faster with full, flexible control over content.
The RainU CMS Theme
New RainU CMS theme homepage
The RainU theme is based on the main Rain base theme but adds additional features that are relevant for university websites. The navigation and content have been staged to help content authors get started quickly. Some of the new features added to RainU are the event and quote carousels, as well as more components for highlighting content.
Rain CMS admin content edit page
Paragraph browser dialog
With Rain University, we give content authors the freedom and flexibility to build robust pages using a library of pre-stocked components (called “paragraphs” in Drupal). The Rain Admin UX offers many improvements over the stock Drupal admin which makes the overall experience more intuitive for editors.
Find out more
Currently, Mediacurrent’s Rain University CMS is available to new and existing clients. Our team of strategists, designers and developers can work with your organization to migrate your website from a legacy CMS onto an enterprise, open source platform.
For more information on the benefits of Rain University CMS and to schedule a free demo, please visit the RainU page or chat with us right now (see bottom right corner of the page). We would be happy to talk more about your project or schedule a demonstration.