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Drupal is outdated. Here are the best CMS alternatives for 2023.

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Published:December 20, 2022
Last Modified:December 20, 2022

Drupal is an open source content management system written in PHP that was created by Dries Buytaert in 2001. The system started to get popular and see wider spread mass adoption from 2008 to 2011 with the release of Drupal 6 and 7. Rich and Todd, founders at Tragic, first started working with Drupal at a prior agency back in 2006. They both enjoyed the power, flexibility, and security of the system. 

When compared to other leading content management systems at the time, Drupal offered an improved experience for both developers and marketing teams. Joomla had an extremely subpar experience, and Wordpress was a mess prone to frequent hacks and heavily limited in its inability to provide multiple fields and content types.

Tragic built amazing solutions with Drupal from our start in 2009 all the way through 2021 when we finally called it quits, as we no longer believed in the platform’s roadmap. In 2020, no code and low code platforms were starting to gain huge momentum, Wix launched new advanced capabilities with Editor X, and Webflow took on a large series A and B round of funding to accelerate the platform. Both platforms started to provide powerful building tools built for low code savvy designers. By 2019, Wordpress had skyrocketed to dominate the standard CMS website landscape, and headless content management systems had started to grow in popularity.

A little history from a team that built with Drupal for 12 years

Drupal 7, released in 2011, was the best version of the Drupal CMS. Fast, versatile, extendable. We built so many great websites with the Drupal 7 platform. The whole team still has a great memory thinking about working with that version.

Drupal 8 was released in 2015. It involved a major re-architecture of the whole system, and required both frontend and backend developers to relearn how to use the platform. This version also started to overcomplicate the development experience.

Drupal 8 was so divergent, that Drupal 7’s end of life got extended to 2023 (this also happened because so many people refused the painful upgrade).

In 2020, Drupal released Drupal 9, which caused Drupal 8 to go into end of life. The problem, Drupal 9 was not the smooth upgrade path that was promised. It created major headaches, even for simple sites.

The organization basically strong-armed everyone into Drupal 9 after creating a violent divergence in the community just a few years prior. Then they immediately started the march to Drupal 10.

Having rapid releases is imperative for modern platforms, but if you run fast you are going to break things, and you can't put that problem on your community.

The problem with the Drupal roadmap

The fact is, Drupal did their community dirty with Drupal 8. They made the system far too complicated, with not a lot of benefits. What’s worse, they had a really bad upgrade path. Especially for large complicated sites.

They tried to force the whole community to upgrade quickly, and before the new system was really production ready, as is the Drupal way. 

The digital world is moving fast, and while Drupal tried to start pushing their releases faster, they forgot about the most important factor, bringing value to your community.

We stopped working with Drupal in 2021 and haven’t looked back. We have a few properties that we still support, but they are all headless and will be slowly migrated to new backend solutions.

What content management systems would we recommend in 2023? See our top list of Drupal alternatives below.

The best Drupal CMS alternatives for 2023


It pains us to say this, because we still have battle scars from early Wordpress tragedies, but use Wordpress. It has come a long way, and here are some of its top benefits:


  • Easy to use
  • Fast to build
  • Free
  • Lots of affordable hosting solutions
  • Great community
  • Great selection of plugins to extend the system


  • Must keep updated for security
  • Still limited content architecture, must be expanded with a plugin
  • Poor admin experience for marketing teams

Learn More >


We are big fans of headless content management systems, and have built many solutions with Contentful. It is our go-to headless CMS. Here is why:


  • No upgrades
  • Serverless
  • Headless provides huge flexibility for both the content management, and the frontend experience
  • Easy ability to integrate with other APIs
  • Free tier
  • Powerful plugins
  • Stable and Scalable


  • It can be more expensive
  • Its flexibility can lead to poor content management choices

Learn More >


Strapi is a popular headless CMS written in Node. We have built a few solutions, and have several colleagues that are big fans. There are several differences when compared to Contentful, the biggest being that you can host it yourself:


  • Open source
  • Host yourself, or deploy to Strapi
  • Headless provides huge flexibility for both the content management, and the frontend experience
  • Powerful free tier
  • Stable and Scalable


  • More development effort required
  • Content experience not quite as robust as Contentful

Learn More >


There are many other CMS options available in 2023, and even popular website builders provided by Wix and Webflow if you don't need heavy content management. Choosing the right platform depends on your content, team, and long-term goals for the site. However, if you want to save yourself from a lot of headache, and future-proof your content managed website, we recommend you consider a Drupal CMS alternative.

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