Way back in 2006 I invested a lot of time researching what platform to build my first website on. After a few days, I had the choices narrowed down to Joomla or Drupal – at that time WordPress wasn’t even in the running. If you wanted a capable, customizable CMS, Drupal or Joomla were the only real choices. Joomla had several very public security issues at the time and people were already beginning to complain about lack of support – signaling that Joomla was on it’s last legs. I downloaded drupal-4.2.6.zip and a great relationship was born.
Over the next 2 or 3 years I built several websites, all on Drupal and over time I upgraded them to Drupal v5, and although a pain-in-the-ass, then to Drupal v6. Also around this time I started toying with WordPress. Back then if you wanted a full-fledged, “real” website, the choice was easy: Drupal. If you “just wanted a blog“, the choice was quickly becoming WordPress.
As time went on, I created many more websites and my CMS/Framework of choice became WordPress – but for my two most popular websites, I stuck with Drupal, Version 6. Partially because for those websites Drupal 6 was working just fine, and also because migrating a website from Drupal to WordPress is virtually impossible. Sure, migrating a Drupal site to WordPress can be done, but it’s not easy, and with complex websites, unless you are an expert or want to pay an expert, it might as well be impossible.
Drupal 6 was working great. All of the modules I use, about 30 between the two websites had been around for quite a while and had all of the bugs worked out. As long as nothing changed, Drupal 6 would last forever! Then, something changed. I needed a responsive theme. With Drupal 6, there are virtually no responsive themes.
Around 2013 I upgraded my smaller, simpler website to Drupal 7. A few of the modules I was using on Drupal 6 were not available for D7, but no show-stoppers, but this is when I started to realize how much better WordPress was than Drupal. The Drupal 7 upgrade was a horror show. Error after error, PHP White Screens of Death (WSOD), database errors, headers-already-sent errors, errors I had never heard of or seen before. Finally, after much time and pain, the simple website was up on Drupal 7 and running “ok”. I was only using a few modules on that site, but virtually all of them had issues. Some issues made the modules totally unusable, some were just annoyances. I figured that over time these problems would get worked out by the developers and module-maintainers.
Two years later I finally decided to upgrade my larger, more complicated website from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. The upgrade process was no better than my previous upgrade two-years earlier. Stupid errors, problems and issues. Finally after several days the site was up and running on Drupal 7, minus about 10 modules, and with issues with almost all of the other modules. No problem I figured, I’ll just hit the Drupal support forums.
Drupal Support? What Support?
It was now, when trying to get support for Drupal core issues and module problems, that the impending death of Drupal became obvious. The core support forums that used to be brimming with users and developers helping each other and solving problems, was now mostly regular website owners like me, begging for help, and rarely getting it. The module support-areas were worse. Most modules had not been updated in years, many had been completely abandoned. I felt like I was wandering around in an old abandoned building yelling for help, but only hearing my own voice echoing down the long, dark hallways.
I reported a few bugs and requested help a few times. To date, I have gotten ZERO responses. Looking through the core support forum, it’s clear that I am not the only one. There is some activity, some users helping users and a few developers chiming-in here and there, but still many, too many, unanswered questions. Nothing like it was a few years ago. Want to see what free, user-supported support should look like? Go check out the WordPress support forums.
Wait! What about Drupal 8 and Drupal 9?
Drupal 8 is the new current version and Drupal 9 is brewing. So far, ONE of the modules that I use has a stable Drupal V8 release and only 2 have dev version 8 releases. As I mentioned earlier, most have been abandoned for a few years and I doubt a version 8 version will be coming. As for Drupal 9 support? Don’t make me laugh.
Drupal is officially dead
If you have a team of Drupal developers or if you are a developer yourself, Drupal might still be a good choice since you can support yourself. But if you are like 98.9% of us ‘regular webmasters’ that rely on the Drupal module developers for support, Drupal is probably the worst choice you could make for a website in 2015. As a matter of fact, I would not wish Drupal on my worst enemy at this point. I have not even mentioned the usability issues! Try upgrading a module in Drupal 6 or Drupal 7? Better have a good FTP client and know how to use it – not a problem for a wirehead, but if you want to appeal to the masses you have to make it user-friendly. Upgrade a plugin in WordPress? No problem, click a button!
No doubt some wire-head will tell you “it’s easy to fix your own problems in Drupal”, but he will obviously be so disconnected from the real-world, that he has no ability to realize that we aren’t all programmers. Others may also tell you “there is still lots of good support for Drupal” – to those, I would ask them to define “lots” – because unless you are blind, a quick look through the core and module support areas will prove that Drupal support is virtually dead – and it is that lack of support that killed Drupal. Rest In Peace.