Contentful and Drupal: Choosing the Right CMS for Your Organization

Contentful and Drupal: Choosing the Right CMS for Your Organization


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide of two popular Content Management Systems (CMS), Contentful and Drupal. In today's digital world, choosing the right CMS is crucial for organizations aiming to efficiently manage their content and provide a seamless user experience. In this guide, we will dive deep into the features, advantages, and considerations of both CMS platforms, helping digital leaders and decision-makers make informed choices for their organizations.

Foundations of CMS

When it comes to the foundations of a CMS, both Contentful and Drupal offer robust and reliable frameworks.

Contentful: Contentful is a headless CMS, meaning it separates the backend infrastructure from the frontend presentation, allowing for greater flexibility and customization. Its API-first approach enables users to easily deliver content to any platform or device with ease.

Drupal: Drupal, on the other hand, is a full-stack CMS that provides both the backend and frontend functionalities. It offers a wide array of modules and themes to build complex websites and applications. Drupal's flexibility and scalability make it suitable for organizations of all sizes.

Both CMS platforms provide solid foundations, but the choice boils down to your organization's specific needs and preferences.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, Contentful and Drupal offer different approaches.

Contentful: Contentful focuses on providing an intuitive user interface and streamlined workflows. Its content modeling feature allows users to structure and organize their content with ease, ensuring a smooth design and user experience.

Drupal: Drupal offers a highly customizable design experience with a vast collection of themes and templates. It provides a comprehensive set of tools to create visually appealing and responsive websites. However, Drupal's interface might require a steeper learning curve for new users.

Ultimately, the choice between Contentful and Drupal in terms of design and user experience depends on your organization's design requirements and the level of customization desired.

Content Management

Managing content efficiently is a critical aspect of any CMS. Let's compare how Contentful and Drupal handle content management.

Contentful: Contentful's content management system boasts a user-friendly interface that enables content creators to easily create, edit, and publish content. The platform supports various content types, including text, images, videos, and more. Its versioning and content approval workflows streamline collaboration and ensure content accuracy.

Drupal: Drupal offers a robust content management system with advanced features for content creation and organization. Its content authoring tools allow for easy content editing and publishing. Drupal's taxonomy system enables the creation of complex content structures. Additionally, Drupal's granular permission settings allow users to maintain control and set different access levels.

Both Contentful and Drupal excel in content management but differ in terms of ease of use and complexity. Consider your organization's content management requirements before making a decision.

Collaboration & User Management

Effective collaboration and user management are crucial for organizations with multiple content contributors and teams. Let's explore how Contentful and Drupal handle these aspects.

Contentful: Contentful provides robust collaboration features to enhance teamwork and streamline content creation processes. It allows users to assign granular roles and permissions, defining who can view, edit, or publish content. With its real-time content editing feature, multiple collaborators can work simultaneously without conflicts. Contentful also integrates with popular collaboration tools, such as Slack, to facilitate seamless communication between team members.

Drupal: Drupal offers extensive user management capabilities, allowing administrators to create and manage user accounts effortlessly. It provides fine-grained access control, enabling different permission levels for different users or user groups. Drupal's workflow module enhances collaboration by allowing content to go through approval processes before being published. It also offers features like content moderation and revision control to maintain content integrity.

Both Contentful and Drupal provide comprehensive collaboration and user management features, but their approaches differ. Contentful emphasizes real-time collaboration, while Drupal focuses on user roles and permission control. Consider your organization's collaboration needs to determine which CMS aligns best with your workflow.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance, scalability, and hosting capabilities are essential considerations for any CMS deployment. Let's compare how Contentful and Drupal perform in these areas.

Contentful: Contentful is a cloud-based CMS, providing a highly scalable and reliable hosting infrastructure. Contentful's global content delivery network (CDN) ensures fast content delivery to users worldwide. They handle automatic scaling and maintenance, eliminating the need for users to manage servers. This allows organizations to focus on content creation and user experience rather than infrastructure management.

Drupal: Drupal offers flexibility when it comes to hosting options. It can be deployed on various hosting providers, including shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), or dedicated servers. Drupal provides caching mechanisms to optimize performance. However, managing server infrastructure and scalability is the responsibility of the organization or their hosting provider.

Contentful's cloud-based hosting and automatic scaling provide a hassle-free experience, particularly for organizations without dedicated IT resources. Drupal, on the other hand, offers more hosting flexibility but requires additional effort for infrastructure management.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization, extensions, and a thriving ecosystem are crucial factors to consider when choosing a CMS. Let's compare Contentful and Drupal in terms of customization capabilities and the availability of extensions.

Contentful: Contentful offers extensive customization options, allowing organizations to tailor the CMS to their specific needs. It provides a flexible content modeling system that enables the creation of custom content types, fields, and relationships. Contentful also supports webhooks and API extensions, providing integration possibilities with external systems and services. The Contentful Marketplace offers pre-built extensions and integrations, further enhancing the platform's capabilities.

Drupal: Drupal is renowned for its customization capabilities. It provides a wide array of modules and themes to enhance and extend the CMS's functionality. Drupal's module ecosystem is vast, covering various aspects such as SEO, e-commerce, and user authentication. Users can easily create custom modules to address specific requirements. The Drupal community is active and constantly contributes new modules and themes to the ecosystem.

Both Contentful and Drupal offer extensive customization options, but the difference lies in the approach. Contentful provides a more streamlined and user-friendly customization experience, while Drupal offers a highly flexible and powerful customization environment.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities are crucial for organizations aiming to reach their target audience effectively and generate revenue. Let's delve into how Contentful and Drupal address these aspects.

Contentful: Contentful puts a strong emphasis on SEO and marketing capabilities. It provides SEO-friendly URLs, customizable metadata, and the ability to add structured data. Contentful integrates with popular marketing tools like Google Analytics and Mailchimp, allowing organizations to track and analyze their website's performance. Additionally, Contentful's localization features enable creating localized content to target specific markets.

Drupal: Drupal offers robust SEO capabilities out of the box. It provides clean URLs, customizable metadata, and the ability to configure page-level SEO settings. Drupal's extensive module ecosystem includes SEO-focused modules, allowing users to further optimize their websites. In terms of marketing, Drupal integrates with various marketing automation systems and CRMs, facilitating personalized marketing campaigns. Drupal also supports e-commerce functionalities through modules like Drupal Commerce.

Both Contentful and Drupal provide strong SEO and marketing capabilities and can support organizations in their monetization efforts. Consider your specific marketing and monetization requirements to make an informed decision.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are paramount in today's digital landscape. Let's compare the security features and compliance offerings of Contentful and Drupal.

Contentful: Contentful takes security seriously and employs industry-standard security practices. It provides features like multi-factor authentication and role-based access control to safeguard the CMS. Contentful also offers encrypted content delivery through HTTPS and supports web application firewalls (WAFs) for additional protection. In terms of compliance, Contentful is compliant with regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and SOC 2 Type II.

Drupal: Drupal has a strong security track record and is known for its focus on security measures. The Drupal Security Team reviews and addresses reported vulnerabilities promptly. Drupal follows secure coding practices and provides modules to enhance security, such as the Drupal Security Kit (DSK). In terms of compliance, Drupal can be configured to meet various regulatory requirements with the help of contributed modules and extensions.

Both Contentful and Drupal provide robust security measures, but the choice may depend on your organization's specific compliance needs. Consider which regulations are applicable and ensure that the CMS aligns with those requirements.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migration, support, and ongoing maintenance are essential aspects to consider when evaluating a CMS. Let's compare how Contentful and Drupal handle these areas.

Contentful: Contentful provides a smooth migration process with its import and export capabilities. It offers a Content Management API (CMA) and a Content Delivery API (CDA), making it easier to migrate content to and from the platform. Contentful also has a comprehensive documentation library and provides support through their customer success team. Additionally, Contentful takes care of maintenance and updates, ensuring the platform is secure and up-to-date.

Drupal: Drupal offers migration tools to simplify the process of migrating content from other CMS platforms. It provides the Drupal Migrate module, which allows for seamless content migration. Drupal has an active community that offers support through forums, documentation, and community-contributed modules. As an open-source CMS, Drupal benefits from continuous improvement and receives regular updates and security patches. However, organizations are responsible for their own maintenance and updates, which may require technical expertise.

Contentful's migration capabilities and managed maintenance provide a user-friendly experience, particularly for organizations without dedicated technical teams. Drupal, as an open-source platform, relies on community support and requires organizations to manage their own maintenance.


In conclusion, both Contentful and Drupal are powerful content management systems, each with their own strengths and considerations. Let's recap some key points to help you make an informed decision.

Contentful, being a headless CMS, offers flexibility and easy content delivery to multiple platforms. Its user-friendly interface, robust collaboration tools, and extensive customization options make it suitable for organizations seeking simplicity and scalability.

On the other hand, Drupal, as a full-stack CMS, provides a highly customizable and feature-rich platform. Its robust content management capabilities, extensive module ecosystem, and strong community support make it an ideal choice for organizations with complex content structures and advanced customization needs.

When making a decision, consider the specific requirements and goals of your organization. If you value simplicity and ease of use, along with scalable content delivery, Contentful may be the right choice for you. If you prioritize advanced customization options, a strong developer community, and extensive module ecosystem, Drupal may be the CMS that fits your needs.

Lastly, it's recommended to evaluate factors such as design and user experience, collaboration and user management, performance and hosting, customization and extensions, SEO and marketing capabilities, security and compliance, as well as migration, support, and maintenance requirements for your organization.

We hope this comparison guide has provided you with valuable insights into Contentful and Drupal. Remember to conduct thorough research and possibly even test out both CMS platforms before making your final decision.

End of comparison guide.

Scalability and Performance

Scalability and performance are critical factors to consider when selecting a content management system (CMS) for your organization. Let's compare the scalability and performance capabilities of Contentful and Drupal.

Contentful: Contentful is built with scalability in mind. It leverages a cloud-based infrastructure and a global content delivery network (CDN) to ensure fast and reliable content distribution. As your organization grows and traffic increases, Contentful automatically scales to handle the demand without any manual intervention. With Contentful's distributed architecture, you can deliver content to users around the world with low latency.

In terms of performance, Contentful focuses on providing a high-performing CMS. The powerful infrastructure and optimized CDN help deliver content with minimal latency, ensuring a smooth user experience. Additionally, Contentful supports image optimizations, such as dynamic resizing and automatic format conversion, which further enhances performance.

Drupal: Drupal's scalability depends on various factors such as hosting infrastructure and site architecture. Drupal is known for its ability to handle large and complex websites with ease. By leveraging caching mechanisms and optimizing the backend code, Drupal can deliver content efficiently. However, scaling Drupal typically requires additional planning and configuration based on specific hosting environment and requirements.

When it comes to performance, Drupal can be highly performant with proper optimization and caching strategies. Utilizing caching tools like Varnish or CDNs, and optimizing database queries can significantly enhance Drupal's performance. However, it does require expertise and configuration to achieve optimal results.

Both Contentful and Drupal offer scalability, but Contentful shines with its cloud-based infrastructure and automatic scaling capabilities. Contentful's architecture is inherently designed to handle high traffic and global distribution. Drupal's scalability largely depends on the organization's ability to configure and optimize the hosting environment.

When evaluating scalability and performance, consider the size and growth projections of your organization, as well as the technical expertise available to handle scalability requirements. If automatic scaling and global content delivery are crucial, Contentful may be the preferred choice. However, if you have the technical capabilities and require utmost control over scalability, Drupal offers a flexible platform to meet your needs.

Third-Party Integrations and Extensibility

The ability to seamlessly integrate with third-party services and extend the functionality of a content management system (CMS) is crucial for organizations looking to enhance their digital presence. Let's compare the third-party integration options and extensibility of Contentful and Drupal.

Contentful: Contentful offers a wide range of integrations and extensions to connect with other tools and services. It provides a robust set of APIs, including RESTful APIs and GraphQL, allowing seamless integration with various platforms and applications. Contentful has pre-built integrations with popular services such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Slack, and Salesforce, streamlining workflows and enabling efficient content creation. Additionally, Contentful's App Framework allows developers to build custom extensions to extend the CMS's functionality according to specific needs.

Drupal: Drupal boasts an extensive ecosystem of modules and integrations, making it highly extensible. The Drupal community actively develops and maintains thousands of contributed modules, providing integration with services ranging from analytics and CRM to e-commerce and marketing automation. Drupal's API-first architecture allows for straightforward integration with external systems and the development of custom modules to create unique functionalities that can interact with other services effectively.

Both Contentful and Drupal offer robust integration capabilities and extensibility, but their approaches may differ. Contentful focuses on providing pre-built integrations with popular services and a flexible App Framework for custom extensions. Drupal, being an open-source CMS, relies on community-contributed modules and provides flexibility to build custom modules to meet specific integration needs.

When evaluating third-party integrations and extensibility, consider the specific services and tools that are essential for your organization's digital infrastructure. If there are specific pre-built integrations available or if you require flexibility to build custom extensions, Contentful and Drupal both offer viable options. Evaluate the availability and maturity of integrations within the ecosystem to ensure compatibility with your existing or desired services.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.