Drupal Best Practices for Government

Drupal is a customizable open-source content management system that allows you to easily organize, manage, and publish your content. Hundreds of organizations and government agencies all over the world use Drupal. See a list of U.S. Government sites built with Drupal.

Benefits include:

  • Adoption by many government organizations, creating opportunities to collaboratively develop and share Drupal enhancements across government
  • Built-in support for RDFa, which is a key component of open data
  • Ability to manage thousands of Web pages
  • A community that is fun, welcoming, challenging and fair
  • Segmented roles and responsibilities for editing, reviewing, publishing, archiving content
  • Easy application of policy or other changes across the entire site
  • Support for, and integration with, social tools
  • Cross-agency innovation and sharing via Drupal4Gov community
  • Reduced internal costs of HTML coding and programming, by taking advantage of Drupal community to solve problems and code solutions
  • Lower the bar for technical Web content tasks, empower teams to learn and share new skills

Specific Policy or Legal Requirements

How to Implement

Drupal Core provides the basic building blocks to create a website. To make the site your own, you’ll also need to install and configure modules that provide additional features and functionality. You can also install themes to customize the look and feel of your site.

Get started with Drupal by downloading the software and configuring it to meet your needs. Note that you’ll need admin access to your workstation, and the technical knowledge to perform the installation and configuration. Web staff should coordinate with IT to gain the necessary systems access. Also review the Drupal Licensing FAQ to learn about licensing.

Custom Implementation

Start from scratch and select modules to meet your specific needs

Distribution Implementation

Install a set of modules that are already bundled together and configured to work “out of the box”. Examples include:

Cloud-Based Implementation

Create and host your site in the cloud

  • Drupal Gardens—create a free account, then create your site. You can download or install elsewhere later, if needed; may be the quickest way to get started with Drupal
  • Pantheon—another hosting solution
  • Co-host your site on another agency’s Drupal configuration

Drupal is supported by an active Drupal developer community, and you can get lots of help there, but since so much of Drupal is customizable, you’ll likely need someone on your team with Drupal skills who can support your Drupal implementation over the long term.


Federal agencies/sites that are built with Drupal include:



Content Lead: Rachel Flagg
Page Reviewed/Updated: February 22, 2013

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