Is Drupal dead?

March 5, 2018

We’re approached all the time by charities who are finding it impossible to scale up or even maintain their existing Drupal website. They need help with updates, security, site maintenance and new features after their existing agency / developer has either folded, relegated them or failed to deliver in one way or another. This has prompted me (and others I might add) to ask the question – is Drupal dead?

Looking at the stats it’s clear that the market share for Drupal has steadily declined over the last eight years, with one trusted source W3 Techs showing the current share down from 7.1% in 2010 to 4.5% in February of this year.┬áContrast that with WordPress which has continued to see year-on-year growth and now commands 60% of the market.

What’s wrong with Drupal?

Depends who you ask. Google it and you’ll find references to bad upgrades, poor support, inflexible code and other issue too numerous to list. That said, there are still people passionate about Drupal who are doing great work but, as far as I can tell, these tend to be hard-core developers who have built successful Drupal agencies. These are not end-users who have to struggle with Drupal every day just to keep their website up-to-date.

Whatever the merits, or otherwise of Drupal, for me the stats point toward the real issue – Drupal developers are becoming a rare breed. And that’s the problem. They are much in demand, over-stretched and certainly able to pick and choose which projects they work on and at what price. And that’s not the only problem. With a declining market share, less and less people will choose to develop in Drupal over time making the situation worse.

If you have a Drupal site

My recommendation is to take the plunge and switch now. WordPress can do whatever your site needs, and it is the safest bet. It can be coded quickly, efficiently and cheaply by a growing army of developers. If one agency steps aside (or is dropped) you can find any number of competent and experienced replacements. WordPress is a fully-rounded, feature rich CMS with many, many advantages over Drupal and it’s hard, even for Drupal developers, to find a case for Drupal over WordPress.

It seems like a lot of work, and you need to find new budget, but If you don’t do it now the likelihood is you will have to consider it at some point. You can either have control over when that is or be faced with having to do it simply because you have run out of Drupal options. The trend is there for you to see. Unless Drupal can pull some miracle update out of the hat with the ease, support and user-base that WordPress has I’m afraid the writing really is on the wall.