What is a distribution? What are the Drupal distributions? Why use one: what would you gain by using one instead of building your Drupal site from scratch? And, most importantly: what are the best Drupal distributions to choose from?
Let's get straight to the answers you're probably looking for when starting your first Drupal project? Let's just say that if you want to build a Drupal site and are eager to see it online very quickly, while making sure you also want to save time on maintenance, Drupal distributions are for you.
What is a Drupal distribution?
A Drupal distribution is an all-inclusive package to quickly get your website up and running. This package includes
- Drupal core (basic features),
- installation profiles,
- themes (for custom designs),
- sector-specific modules.
For example, if you run a publishing company, a distribution like Thunder can help you speed up your development process. You'll find modules such as Paragraphs, Media Entity, Entity Browser and features such as the Thunder admin theme, scheduled publishing and more, all in one place.
Why use Drupal distributions?
Drupal distributions are an extremely convenient way to launch a website, as there is no need to build everything from scratch.
- Launching your website becomes a matter of hours instead of weeks.
- You don't need a resource with a specific skill set for the different elements of your website.
- Site maintenance becomes even easier, as all modules and components of the site can be upgraded in a single Drupal update.
The 10 best Drupal distributions
Let's take a look at some of the major Drupal distributions and the function they perform.
True to its name, Acquia Lightning is a lightweight distribution of Drupal that you can use to develop and deploy a website at lightning speed (up to 30% less development time!). Developed by Acquia, Lightning aims to provide total flexibility and an exceptional authoring experience for editorial teams and content authors. Built on Drupal , it offers powerful features such as page layout, drag and drop assets using panels, rich text, media, slideshows, Google maps, content scheduling and much more. You can also streamline the process of publishing, reviewing, approving and scheduling content.
Are you lost in a mountain of Drupal modules and wondering which one to choose? Are you looking for a solution that allows you to start your web development process immediately? Then Varbase is the Drupal distribution for you! Varbase provides you with all the necessary and essential modules, features and configurations to speed up your time to market.
This Drupal API-first distribution provides you with an API-ready framework. It reduces the complexity and pain of using or trying out decoupled/headless API Drupal. Contenta also comes pre-installed with demo code and content as well as sample front-end applications. Even if you're new to Drupal, Contenta offers quick and easy ways to get the Drupal CMS part ready and then you can focus on the front-end frameworks you intend to use. If you are looking for a complete solution for a headless Drupal project, ContentJS is your best choice. Content JS integrates Contenta CMS with the NodeJs front-end framework for a powerful, high-performance digital experience.
4. Open Social
Open Social is a Drupal distribution that allows organizations to easily create intranets, online communities and other social portals. It is used by hundreds of organizations, including NGOs and government agencies, to make it easy to communicate and connect with their volunteers, employees, members, and customers. It also has features such as multilingual support, private file system, social login, geolocation maps, etc.
5. Open Academy
OpenAcademy is a Drupal distribution that brings the best of web publishing for higher education to a customizable Drupal platform. This distribution is a flexible and extensible package that allows academic departments to manage fully functional and polished websites right out of the box.
It is built from the base Panopoly distribution - a cleanly extensible Drupal 7 installation profile with feature-based, kit-compliant functionality. It serves as a good example for developing a distribution on top of Panopoly.
deGov is the first Drupal distribution focused on the needs of (German) government organizations. It uses Lightning media as a base and extends it with useful features to meet the use cases of different scenarios:
- Websites for government organizations of all levels (federal, state, local) to publish information.
- Service-oriented e-government portals to bridge the gap between citizens and your administration
- Citizen engagement portals for online discussion and decision-making
- Open311 portals for tracking civic issues
- Open data portals to publish and create communities around data.
- Intranet/Extranet for government employees
Droopler is a Drupal distribution that allows you to quickly create beautiful business websites on Drupal. It is a complete pre-built site that is easy to customize and manage.
Optionally, it can be used with Drupal Commerce to launch a Drupal Commerce project. It provides themes for Drupal Commerce out of the box, which are only activated when Drupal Commerce is installed.
8. Opigno LMS
The Opigno Learning Management System (LMS) is 100% open-source, 100% Drupal-based, and 100% flexible. Opigno offers a better future. Built on learning.
A secure LMS for any organization or industry. It is trusted by governments and government agencies, including medium and large businesses, higher education and non-governmental organizations, to name a few. Opigno is ideal for any organization with more than 500 users.
Brainstorm is a distribution that is perfect for companies that want to present their best features and services to their customers. With its attractive user interface, it greatly improves the user experience. This makes Brainstorm perfect for making a good first impression, as it is also possible to upload your portfolio and create blog posts on the site, which helps to showcase yourself. It works well on mobiles, laptops and tablets thanks to its adaptive and responsive design.
10. Easy booking
Easy booking allows you to create a website that will meet all your needs for online management of your hotel, hostel or leisure center.
It offers a set of options for visitors to book a room, contact the hotel administration or simply follow the hotel's newsletter to be aware of all special offers and discounts.
Easy booking profile is powered by Drupal Rooms and Drupal Commerce - widely used and popular contributory decisions, which means active maintenance and timely technical support.