A Million Strong: The Association Behind Drupal’s Massive Install Base

The open-source CMS platform Drupal recently announced a footprint topping 1 million websites worldwide. And like many community-driven efforts, the platform has an association helping to push it forward.

It may not get nearly the level of press of its blogging competitors Tumblr or WordPress, but Drupal is a force to be reckoned with—especially in the enterprise sphere.

Recently, the nonprofit behind the open-source content management system (CMS) announced that the number of active websites using the platform had surpassed 1 million, with many of those sites at the large end of the spectrum. According to a recent study from BuiltWith Research, Drupal is used as the basis of roughly 12.2 percent of the top 100,000 websites worldwide. That’s far behind WordPress’ nearly 43.7 percent market share, but it’s certainly a solid second place and far ahead of competitors like Joomla and ExpressionEngine.

How Community Built Success

Like many open-source projects, the Drupal community is strong—which is reflected by the Drupal Association‘s existence. The membership-based nonprofit, founded in 2009, helps fund and direct the future of the project. It has some similarities to other associations that support open-source projects, such as the Linux Foundation and WordPress Foundation.

Like those projects, Drupal had humble beginnings. Original developer Dries Buytaert built the platform as a way to experiment with modern web technologies. Later, inspired by Linux, he put an open-source license on the product and saw a community build around it.

“Eventually I moved my website from an internal, intranet kind of forum to the public internet and that actually attracted an audience of people interested in the future of the web,” he told Computerworld Australia.

(Buytaert is still active in Drupal, by the way. He cofounded the Drupal services company Acquia in 2007 and remains the Drupal project lead.)

As the community has grown, the Drupal Association has helped drive it. The group shepherds, where the association’s community base of more than a million individual users work on the site. And the group helps lead events such as Austin, Texas-based DrupalCon—the next edition of which will take place in June.

“Drupal is now one of the most popular content management systems in the world,” said Holly Ross, the executive director of the association, said in a statement. “It’s well known that Drupal powers some of the web’s largest sites, but every day we hear stories from all over the world about how Drupal is changing individual lives for the better. The vast, global mix of contributors and users makes Drupal unique.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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