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January, 2024

Drupal Web Development Services for Strategic Growth

Ki H. Kim
Ki H. Kim
Director, Engineering

In the digital landscape, the world of web development becomes a powerful ally in fostering strategic organizational growth. Selecting the right Content Management System (CMS) is the perfect first step on this path. One leading option is Drupal, a powerful and exceptionally customizable CMS. 

Whether you're a nonprofit endeavoring to enhance your online presence, a cultural arts organization aiming to connect with a broader audience, a government institution striving for optimized digital functionality, or a B2B or B2C business focused on maintaining its competitive edge, the strategic use of Drupal Web Development Services can be a game-changer. Join us as we explore Drupal development for success-minded organizations.

What is Drupal Used For?

Drupal1 is a versatile content management system (CMS) that empowers organizations across diverse sectors to harness the full potential of their digital presence. Having an expert in web development, whether an internal employee or a consultant, can ensure Drupal Web Development Services help achieve your goals through a website tailored to your unique needs, such as: 

  • Crafting an engaging platform that showcases a cultural arts organization’s online/digital collections such as via a Piction or Gallery Systems eMuseum API
  • Ensuring robust security for a governmental institution leveraging Drupal Core and contributed Drupal modules such as SecKit
  • Facilitating seamless e-commerce for B2B and B2C businesses through customized Stripe, Shopify or other payment processing integrations.

Drupal’s adaptability and scalability make it a powerful tool for organizations looking to make a meaningful impact in the digital world.

What is Drupal Web Development?

Drupal Web Development is the engine that supports the success of websites in various industries through crafting and optimizing strategic websites that serve as tools for business growth. While Drupal Web Development involves the utilization of Drupal CMS to build, customize, enhance, and maintain websites, the process starts with Discovery and Strategy to understand how the website serves your organizational goals, what the key requirements of the website are, and how users will interact with it (User Experience or “UX”).

From there the process moves into Design–particularly creating engaging, user-friendly and web ready designs–before moving into the actual Development, which is then followed by meticulous Quality Assurance and finally Launch! 

Through Drupal Web Development, websites are transformed into dynamic assets that engage audiences, ensure security, and provide the flexibility needed to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape. 

What Is Drupal Application Development?

While Drupal is a great tool for developing websites, it is also a powerful system to create innovative web applications. Drupal application development harnesses the power of the Drupal platform to create feature-rich, interactive web apps, providing personalized experiences.
With its modular architecture, Drupal allows for seamless integration of various modules into web application development, providing custom features tailored to specific business and organizational needs. This process enables organizations to implement a range of functionalities such as interactive user interfaces and data management tools, e-commerce solutions, custom jobs boards, and robust learning management systems (LMS).

Benefits of Drupal for Web Software Development

Leveraging Drupal Web Development Services brings a host of advantages vital for strategic growth:

  • Customization: Drupal coupled with custom development helps your organization tailor its digital presence precisely to your needs, ensuring a unique and effective user experience. Drupal is a great tool but as with any tool, it requires a knowledgeable person or team to wield it to its greatest effect.
  • Large Community / Extensive Developer Community: Drupal’s open-source platform offers a thriving community for shared insights, continuous improvement, and a vast pool of contributed code (“contrib modules”) that can reduce the cost and enhance your web development journey.
  • Flexibility: Drupal is a highly flexible and adaptable CMS. Through a mindset of continuous improvement and custom development, it allows for seamless modifications and updates that align with your organizational goals.
  • Advanced and Robust Framework: Unlike SquareSpace or Wix which are simpler and less customizable, Drupal is a sophisticated framework that provides a solid foundation for intricate web software development but to achieve the best results a team of Drupal developers and architects with extensive experience should be engaged.
  • Security: Drupal's robust security features are vital for safeguarding sensitive data in an increasingly digital landscape. And as mentioned previously, contrib modules such as SecKit can further enhance Security.
  • Headless or Decoupled Websites: Drupal offers advanced digital experiences - serving as the backend for headless, decoupled or composable architectures. These modern web architectures ensure flexibility and scalability for your website's future while providing stronger security, enhanced SEO and site performance, and a better user experience.

What kind of applications can you build using Drupal?

Due to its versatility, Drupal Web Development Services empowers organizations to create a wide array of applications. Over the past 15 years, Urban Insight has leveraged Drupal’s prowess to develop tailored applications that align with diverse organizational goals and support strategic growth across sectors, including

  • Learning Management Systems for online education
  • Online / Digital Museum Collections for cultural institutions
  • Intricate Job Boards for seamless hiring processes
  • Progressive Web Apps for engaging visitor experiences

These bespoke solutions are just a few examples that showcase Drupal's adaptability, scalability, and versatility. 

What programming language does Drupal use?

Drupal, at its core, is built using code, more specifically the PHP programming language. PHP is well-known for its versatility and seamless integration with web servers, making it an ideal choice for web development.

As part of Drupal Web Development Services, PHP powers the backend of Drupal sites, handling data processing, content management, and user interactions, and can be customized and programmed to support your organizational and growth goals. It seamlessly integrates with various databases, like MySQL, offering robust performance and security. 

Understanding that Drupal is primarily PHP-based ensures growth-oriented organizations can tap into a vibrant ecosystem of developers and resources to continuously enhance their digital presence. Standard Drupal implementations primarily use integrated CSS and Javascript, while modern headless or composable architectures are typically built using frameworks such as React or Angular, which are built in Javascript or TypeScript.

Is Drupal a CMS or framework?

Drupal offers the best of both worlds—it's a content management system and a framework, providing versatility and adaptability.

As a CMS, Drupal excels at content creation, management, and publication. However, it goes beyond the traditional CMS role, allowing developers to extend its functionality with custom modules, making it a robust framework.

This duality is a unique advantage of Drupal Web Development Services, enabling businesses and organizations to tailor their digital solutions precisely to their needs, from content-rich websites to intricate web applications.

What is the difference between Drupal and WordPress development?

When considering Drupal versus WordPress development, it's essential to understand a key component of each of the CMSs. While WordPress is renowned for its user-friendly admin interface and is ideal for small to medium-sized websites and blogs, Drupal shines in its scalability and robust features. 

Ultimately, development for both WordPress and Drupal is very similar because the foundational programming language (PHP) is the same. However, Drupal is often the preferred option for developers because it caters to complex, enterprise-level websites, making it an excellent choice for organizations requiring sophisticated digital solutions. Its flexible architecture and vast customization capabilities set it apart.

While mastering Drupal can require a more substantial learning curve compared to WordPress (making expert support in the development process all the more valuable), Drupal 10 was recently recognized for its significant leap in providing a more user-friendly admin and authoring experience.  

Selecting between Drupal and WordPress for your web development project is a pivotal decision. Both Drupal and WordPress can serve as a Headless CMS (i.e., the backend CMS), providing flexibility and improved user experiences. In short, both platforms offer strengths, but it ultimately depends on your specific goals and needs. This is where an experienced Drupal web development company can provide invaluable advice.

Who uses Drupal? Is Drupal still in demand?

Drupal's enduring popularity is evident in its presence on over 9 percent of the top 10,000 websites by traffic worldwide.2 Contrary to some misconceptions that Drupal is not widely used or is only used for enterprise-level websites, organizations of varying sizes consistently choose Drupal. Its long-lasting appeal is driven by its robust features, unmatched flexibility, and scalable solutions, making it a top pick for complex websites and applications. 

The Drupal community is a critical aspect to Drupal’s success as an Open Source CMS, new modules, and code improvements are consistently provided by the devoted community ensuring continuous improvements and cementing its long-term reliability. 

Let's explore the diverse range of well-known companies and organizations that leverage and benefit from Drupal's capabilities.

What big companies use Drupal?

Well-known companies across diverse sectors harness Drupal’s power to elevate their digital presence and strategy.

Drupal for Nonprofits

Drupal drives engagement and growth for nonprofit organizations. Explore case studies illustrating cultural arts organizations and legal aid services that benefit from an array of Drupal's solutions.

Drupal for Cultural Arts Organizations

Urban Insight utilized Drupal for headless website work, as seen in our project with Gilcrease Museum, seamlessly enhancing their digital presence.

Learn more about the results Urban Insight’s Drupal Web Development Services produced for Gilcrease Museum.

Drupal Web Development Services + Gilcrease Museum | Urban Insight

Drupal for Legal Aid Services

Our Drupal website work for Law Help NY and Stay Housed LA showcases Drupal's effectiveness in delivering accessible and dynamic digital solutions. 

Learn more about how Law Help NY benefitted from Drupal Development Services.

Drupal Web Development Services + Law Help NY | Urban Insight

Explore StayHoused LA's legal aid Drupal website and database redesign to optimize user experience and inclusivity.

Drupal Web Development Services + Stay Housed LA | Urban Insight

Drupal for B2B and B2C

For both B2B and B2C, Drupal Web Development Services offer tailored solutions, enhancing digital strategies to propel businesses forward in the digital landscape. 

Learn more about how Kennedy Wilson leveraged Drupal Web Development Services to uplevel its digital presence.

Drupal Web Development Services + Kennedy Wilson | Urban Insight

Drupal for Public Sector and Government Organizations

Drupal can unlock robust, scalable, and feature-rich platforms for public sector and government organizations. 

Explore how Drupal Web Development Services transformed the website for the City of Los Angeles’ Zoning Code.

Drupal Web Development Services + City of Los Angeles' Zoning Code | Urban Insight

Urban Insight’s Drupal Web Development Process and Services

Web Development process and services vary from development agency to development agency. Urban Insight is a leading digital agency offering custom Web Strategy, Design and Development Services for Drupal projects, including but not limited to the below.


The discovery phase enables our entire web team including our development team to engage with you and your organization through workshops to fully understand and confirm the project requirements, and plan the balance of the project.

Web & UX Strategy

Our UX process is rooted in user-centered design, achieved via collaboration and meticulous research, designed to create exceptional user experiences. Key steps include:

  • Workshops and Client Collaboration: We kick-start the process by engaging in collaborative workshops with your team to understand your vision, goals, and brand essence.
  • User Experience (UX) & Strategy: User Experience is focused on improving usability and making the website easier to use. We ensure the design, structure, and purpose of the project are clear and useful to your audiences. Depending upon the project, this may include interviews with real users, deep dives into website analytics and behavioral analytics tools, and/or usability evaluations.


Great design is not only beautiful but, more importantly, functional and effective. We use the data and analytics collected during UX research to validate our design decisions and ensure they align with your goals.

  • Style Tiles: Based on the insights gathered, we develop style tiles that encapsulate the visual direction. A style tile is a visual representation that communicates the color palette, typography, imagery, and overall design elements of a website.
  • Wireframes: Wireframes follow, outlining the structure and functionality of the sites. Our design team translates wireframes into visually appealing designs that are both beautiful and–equally important–effective.

As Drupal experts, we can design keeping in mind best practices for Drupal. Ultimately, we create design concepts that “wow” while also achieving your strategic objectives as an organization.

Front End (Drupal Theming) & Back End (Custom and Contrib Drupal Modules)

Here, we turn concepts into reality. Our seasoned developers leverage Drupal's capabilities to build powerful, scalable custom websites tailored to your unique requirements.

Front-end development is centered around building themes. A theme is developed using web technologies, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Twig is the templating language of choice to generate the HTML structure of the web pages. JavaScript frameworks like React and Angular are often employed to build more complex web applications with rich interactivity.

On the Back-end, the primary way to extend the capabilities of Drupal is through Drupal modules. The open-source community contributes thousands of Drupal modules, often dubbed “contrib modules.” Some of the most common features can be found in Drupal core modules and contrib modules.

The unique features of the site are implemented by building custom modules and themes. Creating these new features includes Drupal module development, particularly custom Drupal modules, to build server-side functionality by implementing business logic and handling content persistence through files and the database.

API Integrations and Custom Features

One critical aspect of Drupal development is integrating Drupal with third-party APIs (external systems) and the ability for experienced web engineers to program custom features. Examples of integrations can include:

  • Integration with a CRM (e.g., Hubspot, Salesforce, or NeonCRM)
  • Integration with Ticketing Software (e.g., Tessitura or Ticketure)
  • Integration with Membership Software, Association Management Software (e.g., iMIS)
  • Integration with Single Sign-on (SSO) solutions (e.g., Shibboleth or Okta)
  • Integration with Drupal eCommerce / Payment Development Solutions (e.g., Stripe or Shopify)

Custom features can range from simpler carousels to more complex analytics dashboards. These are functionalities or components that we specifically develop for a particular website. The features are not part of the Drupal core but are extended and created through the combination of Drupal core, community contributed modules, custom developed modules, and themes.

Headless Drupal Development

For organizations looking to future-proof their website, Drupal as a Headless CMS or a Composable Architecture is a great solution. While this is more costly than a traditional Drupal website, the benefits are extensive. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to reach out, we are always happy to discuss the tradeoffs! 

Drupal Performance Optimization

Over time, as websites are not maintained and as technology evolves, your website may run into bugs or performance issues. If that is the case, engaging expert Drupal developers to perform a site audit and improve the performance may be an option. Although, if your website is built with an earlier iteration of Drupal such as version 7 or 8, upgrading to Drupal 10 or beyond may be the most effective solution.

Migration Solutions

  • Drupal 9/10 Upgrade and Migration: Urban Insight has been involved in over 25 Drupal 9/10 upgrades and migrations. As such, we have developed a keen understanding of the complexity and requirements that go into this process and created a tool to estimate the effort and cost based on all of our experience. If you’d like to learn more for your website please reach out.
  • Migration to/from Drupal and Other CMS: Urban Insight has been involved in numerous migrations to Drupal from other CMSs such as WordPress or even websites without a CMS built in older technologies such as ColdFusion. We also have extensive experience migrating from Drupal to other CMSs, whether that’s keeping Drupal on the backend and converting to a headless implementation or migrating to WordPress. 

Learn more about this topic here: Drupal Migration Services: Must Knows.

Quality Assurance and Testing

In order to ensure a smooth experience, our rigorous testing identifies and resolves issues, guaranteeing a flawless website that aligns with your vision. During this stage, the client is also heavily involved to provide User Acceptance Testing (or UAT) to confirm the design and functionality meet the requirements and your expectations.


This is the exciting culmination where your website goes live, reaching your audience and making a powerful impact on your digital presence.

Support and Maintenance

We believe that a website project is not one-and-done, but that a continuous improvement mentality is required to make sure the investment you made in developing your site continues to work for the long-run, that’s why we work with 4 out of 5 clients for 5+ years providing ongoing enhancements and maintenance service. 

Post-launch, we provide ongoing support, ensuring your website continues to thrive with new features and functionality, updates, maintenance, and proactive assistance whenever needed.

Drupal Website Audit

Ancillary services for existing Drupal websites include a site audit to evaluate the site’s performance from a technical perspective (including technical SEO) and provide a report outlining recommendations for implementation to improve user experience, performance, and better rank in search engines.

Learn more about Drupal website auditing here: Drupal Website Audit: A Checklist and The Value of a Drupal Performance Audit.

How much does it cost to build a website with Drupal?

Drupal Website Development Services encompass a range of factors—site complexity, features, and customization. While open-source Drupal itself is cost-effective, the investment in Drupal Web Development Services can vary. Complex functionalities and extensive customization may incur higher costs, but this aligns with the unparalleled advantages Drupal offers. 

By partnering with seasoned developers, you will receive an informed quote to ensure a strategic investment, leveraging Drupal's robust framework for a website that not only meets but exceeds your organization’s growth expectations.

Curious if your website needs Drupal Web Development Services? Contact us to discuss if it’s right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Drupal is a highly customizable CMS that empowers organizations across an array of sectors for strategic growth. It serves nonprofits, cultural arts organizations, government institutions, and B2B and B2C businesses seeking a competitive edge.
  • Drupal's popularity is evident with over 9 percent of the top 10,000 websites globally using it, dispelling misconceptions about its exclusivity to enterprise-level sites.
  • Customization, extensive developer community, flexibility, advanced framework, and robust security are key benefits of leveraging Drupal Web Development Services.
  • Drupal is built using PHP, known for its versatility and integration with web servers, providing a vibrant ecosystem for developers and resources.
  • Drupal supports advanced and future-proof digital experiences, serving as the backend for headless, decoupled, or composable architectures.
  • Drupal goes beyond websites; it's a powerful tool for creating feature-rich, interactive web applications with modular architecture.
  • While WordPress is user-friendly for smaller sites, Drupal excels in scalability and robust features, making it suitable for complex, enterprise-level websites.
  • Urban Insight's Drupal Web Development services cover a comprehensive process, from Discovery to Launch to Support and Maintenance, offering strategic advice, expert knowledge, and solutions for various sectors.

Contact us to discuss if Drupal Web Development Services are right for you.