Contenta, OpenSocial, Varbase, and other Drupal Distributions to Know in 2019 - Lemberg Solutions
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Contenta, Open Social, Varbase, and other Drupal Distributions to Know in 2019

There is a number of Drupal 8 distributions to help you build complex and beautiful websites in little to no time. In this article, we present a Drupal distributions comparison for 2019 — a comprehensive guide on what is going on in the world of Drupal development. 

If you are interested in using Drupal 8 to build complex menus for your website, check out our article Get a Fieldable Drupal Menu: Menu Item Extras Overview

What is a Drupal distribution? 

A Drupal distribution is a collection of software components that simplifies creation and configuration of different kinds of websites, such as landing pages, social networks, and e-commerce platforms.  

In essence, Drupal distributions consist of the Drupal core topped with a variety of modules, libraries, themes, configs and other elements vital to building a website. 

Drupal distributions present developers with simplicity and efficiency:

  • Set up with ease. A full-featured Drupal distribution offers a pre-configured package; unwrap it, and you receive a functional product in a matter of hours. 
  • Everything you might need, out of the box. Drupal distributions contain everything you need to set up a website that will work perfectly for your industry. This saves the time you would spend downloading modules and packages necessary for a more conventional custom Drupal setup. 
  • Easier maintenance. Because distributions are collections of elements, you can update everything within them in one sitting. To put it differently, instead of updating a large number of separate packages, you can update a single distribution and be good to go. 

Now that we know what Drupal distributions are and how you benefit from using them, let’s look at the industry-specific distributions the Drupal community has to offer. We selected only Drupal 8 distributions that have a reasonably recent update and commit history. 

Starter kits

Starter kits are Drupal distributions for a quick setup of the basic website functionality. They are helpful when you are looking to build a customized product with Drupal and don’t want to experience limitations of the full-featured distributions. 



Seeds is a light starter-kit distribution for building web projects of any scale. The specialty: websites based on right-to-left written languages, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, etc. 

Quick Start


Quick Start offers a quick installation for Drupal 8 with theming based on Drupal Coders, a subtheme of Bootstrap Sass. 

This distribution has several useful features:

  • Improved paragraph grids for easier creation of responsive landing pages
  • Remastered Retina imagery for improved view on tablets and mobile devices
  • Hero Slider, which makes creating front-page sliders easy
  • Gallery for a simple grid color box gallery



DruStack is a starter-kit distribution that helps to build a fully functional customizable Drupal environment. It offers a number of great features:

  • Mobile-first approach based on Bootstrap — You can quickly create a Bootstrap theme as well as style custom views and CSS blocks with Bootstrap instruments. 
  • SEO  — There is a number of third-party integrations to make DruStack search engine-friendly by default. 



Panopoly is a versatile distribution that can serve as both a website starter kit and a foundation for building new Drupal distributions. Here’s a list of Panopoly features you might find useful: 

  • A variety of functionality integrated from Panels
  • More than 20 cross-platform responsive layouts and image styles
  • Drag-and-drop system of page and node customization
  • Admin interface that integrates the full potential of TinyMCE
  • Extensibility through the Panopoly App server

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official stable release compatible with Drupal 8. 



Champion is a Drupal distribution for creating Drupal solutions based on web components. It leverages tools from Polymer and HAX. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official stable release compatible with Drupal 8. 



Sector is a well-featured starter kit for developers that need a fully configured yet highly customizable Drupal product. 

The distribution offers a variety of useful features, including the usual content types, Bootstrap-based responsive themes supported across all screen sizes, instruments for simple creation and maintenance of content strategies, and much more. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official stable release compatible with Drupal 8. 

ALSO NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution has not been updated according to the Drupal 8 security standards.

Content-oriented systems

Content management systems (CMS) allow for simple creation and management of different types of content. If you are looking to build a content-driven product, chances are you’ll need a CMS. 



Lightning is one of the most popular Drupal distributions. It’s meant for developers that want to build powerful customizable systems for writers and editors and other content-driven products. The distribution provides major improvements in functionality along with a large number of automated tests that simplify the process of continuous integration. 



Varbase is a functional Drupal distribution for faster and simpler development of content-oriented products. The distribution provides a great variety of features and can boast thorough test coverage. Among the features are

  • Built-in SEO
  • Responsive designs supported across a number of screen sizes
  • Simple drag-and-drop content and media management
  • Customizable admin interface



Thunder is another popular Drupal 8-compatible distribution. It provides a variety of features for comfortable content management as well a number of community-created extensions that the original developers of Thunder use to further enhance the solution. 

The set of features and benefits provided by Thunder includes

  • Dynamic and comfortable content and media management with a WYSIWYG editor 
  • Content scheduling
  • Real-time blogging
  • Mobile-friendly layout
  • Integration of Google AMP
  • Great community 

Contenta CMS


Contenta CMS is a powerful API-first Drupal distribution hosted on GitHub. It’s aimed at those with little to no professional Drupal experience. The distribution leverages a “create once, publish anywhere” approach along with a decoupled nature, which, in part, allows you to start simple and gradually get to a complex and highly customized product. The developers of Contenta CMS promise that the distribution provides all the modules you need for comfortable development from the very start. 

Open Y


Open Y is a CMS that leverages the functionality of Drupal 8 and integrates modules from YMCAs and their partners. Open Y is completely free of charge, and its developers welcome anyone willing to contribute to this platform’s development. 



Vardoc is a documentation-oriented Drupal distribution built with Varbase. Vardoc aims at simplifying the creation, structuring, and maintenance of content-rich products, such as product manuals or documentation and information portals for organizations.  

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution has not been updated according to the Drupal 8 security standards. 

Web Experience Toolkit


Web Experience Toolkit (WxT) is a Drupal-based CMS for simple creation and maintenance of content-driven products. The development of WxT is open-source and maintained by the Government of Canada. 

Online communities

The development of online community-based products is not easy; Drupal provides the means of making it simple and comfortable. 

Open Social 


Open Social is a Drupal distribution that allows developers to build online communities out of the box. Open Social proves itself as a great solution for digital agencies and web developers alike with a vast set of features that includes

  • User account and profile management
  • Content management and creation
  • User collaboration
  • Activity streams and notifications
  • The common social media features
  • Control over user privacy
  • Simple platform configuration
  • Enhanced performance
  • Compliance with GDPR

Open Social is one of the most popular Drupal 8 distributions out there, and Lemberg takes an active part in developing and improving it on a regular basis. If you would like to learn about the recent products we developed with Open Social, please feel free to check our case studies

Education and learning management systems

Educational platforms can be a hassle as developers have to figure out the implementation of many organizational and management aspects from scratch. A well-selected Drupal distribution can cut the development in two, reducing the routine processes and leaving only the fun customization part. 



OpenEDU is a project based on the Drupal Lightning distribution. Along with the strong writing and editorial feature set it inherits from Lightning, OpenEDU provides the means for building complex solutions for higher education, including the common complications of layout and management:

  • The core installation features 
  • Course and department management
  • Media and text management
  • Profile management
  • Search feature

Opigno LMS


Opigno LMS is a full-featured Drupal learning management system. It provides a quick and easy way of getting started with the Opigno e-learning framework, offering a number of innovative instruments for building functional e-learning platforms. With Opigno LMS, you can

  • Manage training programs based on lessons and courses
  • Assess student performance with a variety of quizzes
  • Grant awards and certificates to successful students
  • Sell courses online
  • Hold live meetings, chats, and forums. 

Distributions for government organizations

There are many Drupal government distributions for creating beautiful and complex informational portals with ease. However, most of them haven’t been updated to Drupal 8 yet — hence the relatively small number of government-focused distributions on our list. 



DeGov is a government distribution fine-tuned to the specifics of German government establishments. It’s based on the Lightning distribution but extended with a number of capabilities for building:

  • Informational portals for all kinds of government organizations
  • Service e-government portals
  • Portals for the engagement of citizens
  • Open311 portals to track civic issues
  • Open community-oriented data portals
  • Systems for government employees



GovCMS8 is an updated version of govCMS compatible with Drupal 8. Managed by the Government Department of Finance in Australia, govCMS8 offers content hosting and management abilities that help government agencies build responsive and innovative web products. It’s managed by the Government Department of Finance in Australia. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official stable release compatible with Drupal 8. 

Corporations, businesses, and non-profit organizations

The capabilities of various Drupal distributions truly shine when it comes to building organization-specific products. Because of this, there are many Drupal 8-compatible distributions to serve the needs of different businesses, corporations and nonprofits. 

Brainstorm Profile


Brainstorm Profile is a multi-purpose Drupal distribution for businesses and companies looking to develop profile pages that perfectly represent their goals and values. It’s also great for standalone creators who want to have portfolios online, share important news and updates through a well-structured blog, and more. 



Druppio is a Drupal distribution for small businesses. It offers a modern flat design and doesn’t require prior Drupal experience due to its easy configuration and installation. Having installed Druppio, you receive a functional page filled with demo content, leaving you with the only task of customizing it to your own needs. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution has not been updated according to the Drupal 8 security standards. 

Multipurpose Corporate Profile


Multipurpose Corporate Profile is a Drupal distribution that businesses and corporations can use to build modern complex websites to promote events, news, services, etc.

Open Restaurant


Open Restaurant is a Drupal distribution for building beautiful and functional restaurant websites. It offers a responsive design, menu management feature, multilingual support, calendar and event management, and several other perks.



Bene is an open-source distribution of Drupal that nonprofits can use to create and maintain their websites. Because it is a growing project under continuous development, Bene will likely expand its feature set very soon, but the distribution already has a lot to offer: 

  • Default WYSIWYG editor with basic media management
  • Integration with MailChimp
  • RedHen: a lightweight Drupal CRM
  • Ability to integrate your donation and hosting platforms
  • Integration with Google Analytics

Open Door


Open Door is a simple Drupal distribution aimed specifically at designing landing pages for mobile applications.



Droopler is a Drupal distribution that offers a pre-configured website out of the box, which you can further customize to fit your business needs. It leverages a custom Bootstrap 4 theme, modular page constructor, and multilingual support. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official secure release compatible with Drupal 8. 



Justice is a very simple Drupal distribution for building one-page lawyer websites. It comes with a pre-configured customizable profile page that leverages animations, pop-ups, and more. 

NOTE that, as of February 22, 2019, this distribution does not have an official secure release compatible with Drupal 8. 


Of course, we couldn’t end this article without giving an honorary mention to Commerce Kickstart, a popular Drupal 7 distribution for e-commerce products. 

Commerce Kickstart


Commerce Kickstart is a Drupal distribution that makes working with the Drupal Commerce module easy. It provides templates that you can customize to create a personalized experience for your online store. You can also just go with the demo store Commerce Kickstart provides, having changed its default contents. 

Build Drupal projects with Lemberg

Although there is a great variety of Drupal distributions you can use without any prior experience, it’s always better to have a team of professionals for the more complex projects. 

With years of professional experience behind us, Lemberg Solutions can offer you services of more than 25 professional Drupal developers. Just contact us to discuss the details of your product. 

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