By: Akshita
December 11 2018

11 Drupal Distributions You Should Know in 2019

If you are looking to build your website on Drupal in 2019 but don’t know where to start, you need to know more about the Distributions. 

Here’s a list of top Drupal 8 distributions you could use in 2019.

illustration image showing a collated image for eleven drupal distributions logos in different colors pasted on white background

The Basics. What are Drupal Distributions? 

Distributions are full copies of Drupal that include core, in addition to themes, modules, libraries, and installation profiles. For a layman’s understanding distributions are a website (dummy) copy for an industry with an explicit requirement for that niche. 

“A Drupal distribution packages a set of contributed and custom modules together with Drupal core to optimize Drupal for a specific use case or industry”

Accordingly, there are distributions for Media and Publishing, Government,  E-commerce, Education, Travel among others. 

There are two types of Drupal distributions:

  1. Full-featured distributions, offer complete solutions for specialized use cases (as discussed above).
  2. Other distributions as the starting points for developers and site builders.

Why Bother Yourself with Distributions?

  1. Out-of-the-box additional features: Remember “...Distributions are a package of the core, modules, themes”? Well, this means zero time searching for the Drupal modules and other required features, you don’t need to work extra to set up your website. You get all the required features according to your requirements in your distribution. 
  2. Easy set up of the website: Since you don’t need to look for additional features, it saves your time to set up your website. Launching your website now means setting up the distribution and getting a preconfigured site in a single download.
  3. Less maintenance: Downloading a host of modules and features means more maintenance and more security. With distributions, you get the whole website ecosystem into one, maintenance is not an issue since everything will be updated in a single update. 

Best Drupal Distributions for your Website-Alphabetically Sorted

Brainstorm Profile

Brainstorm Profile is a simple and versatile profile based out of Brainstorm theme. Its primary concern is to put the company’s best foot forward. The structure of the profile is created in such a way that it portrays the company’s story by showing its benefits to the clients. 

illustration image showing the demo home page of a website having text, people images in black, blue colors

Furthermore, the latest company-related news, blogs, portfolios can be easily shared with the help of Brainstorm Profile. Facilitating responsiveness, it can match with any gadget screen modes (landscape and portrait), such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

The real-time view of the distribution can be seen here

Commerce Kickstart

Commerce Kickstart accelerates the process of online store development with its customized pre-configured templates, themes, modules, etc, streamlining to quickly set-up complex and a user-specific e-commerce website in a few simple steps, if the installation and configuration of elements are done individually.

 It has been made available for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. It came as a boon for those who want to build their online e-commerce store without going into the depths of Drupal. 

illustration image showing the home, checkout and product screens from a shopping website having people images, texts in blue, grey and black colors

Commerce kickstart is available in two versions:

  • Commerce Kickstart: Commerce Kickstart 1.x comprises of an optional set of minimal configuration items and development modules that can be used to quickly test new patches.
  • Commerce Kickstart 2.x: Along with the features available in  Kickstart 1.x, it is loaded with a huge stack of options to develop a fully-featured demo store with beautiful themes, catalog and search configuration, promotions engine, analytics and reporting tools, marketing tools, variety of payment tools,  custom back-office interface and much more.


(illustration image showing the black and blue colour logo on left and text written on right in white background

Contenta helps you make the headless transition smooth.  Contenta (and Drupal in the backend) has the capacity to control behind-the-scenes systems for languages like Python, PHP, Java React, Vue and Ember. 

Powerful and complex, Contenta is an API-first distribution that is based on Drupal 8. It provides a standard, JSON API-based platform for building decoupled applications and websites.

It optionally installs all the content types and dummy content necessary to build an application.  


Drupal’s deGov is a Drupal 8 distribution focussing on the needs of (German) governmental organizations. One can build all levels of government websites (federal, regional, local) to publish information. With the base of Acquia Lightning, it extends the valuable functions to meet the use cases for different scenarios. The diagram below shows the building blocks of deGov distribution.

illustration image showing the building blocks of degov distribution written in text format in blue and black colors

It provides a service-oriented E-Government portal to close the gap between citizens and your administration with various citizen engagement portals to discuss. 

Following are the features of deGov distributions:

  • Open311 portals for civic issue tracking
  • Open data portals to publish and create communities around data
  • Intranet/Extranet for government employees


iillustration image showing a logo in blue outlining in white background

Lightning enables the developers to create a great authoring experience. It delivers a powerful set of tools to your editorial team and site builders right out-of-the-box and is best suited for media and publishing websites. The distribution provides a lightweight framework, documentation and best practice examples for building working solutions in Drupal.

Built using the top 4 modules to enhance the editing experience - Workflow, Media, Layout, and Preview - Lightning has taken advantage of D8 functionalities and is tightly coupled to make up the new standard for enterprise authoring.  


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OpenSocial is an online community and intranet solution for nonprofits (NGO’s), government and hundreds of innovative companies. It is currently employed by customers like the United Nations, Greenpeace and hundreds of smaller organizations to connect with their employees, volunteers and other stakeholders.

It is an out-of-the-box solution to build online community platforms. Providing features such as notifications, timeline, events, follow, groups that can help in personalizing your news feed with the people you want to connect with.

Opigno LMS

A full-fledged Learning Management System based on Drupal, Opigno is the quickest way to get started with the e-learning framework.

illustration image showing opingo lms logo in blue and white colours

It allows to:

  • Manage training paths organized in courses and lessons
  • Assess students with quizzes
  • Award certificates
  • Facilitate interactions with live meetings, forums, and chats
  • SCORM (1.2 and 2004 v3) compliant, it integrates the innovative H5P technology, making possible to create rich interactive training contents.


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Panopoly is another powerful base distribution. At its roots lies the power of Chaos Tools and Panels magic. Designed to be both a general foundation for site-building and a base framework upon which one can build other distributions, Panopoly provides search, widgets, responsiveness at its core. 

The major public Drupal distributions that are using Panopoly are:

Presto! - Drupal 8 Starter Kit

Claiming to save the development time by up to 20%, Presto! is a Drupal 8 Starter Kit with more than a few tricks up its sleeve!

With intelligent content editing functionality, configuration defaults, and optional eCommerce integration, Presto is ready to use right out-of-the-box. Other functionalities include - 

  • An Article content type with some pre-configured fields
  • A couple of pre-configured user roles: Administrator & Editor
  • The ability to share nodes on social media
  • Pathauto for automatic URL aliasing
  • A Basic Page content type with a Paragraphs-based body field
  • Some pre-configured Paragraph types:
  1. Textbox
  2. Image
  3. Promo bar
  4. Divider
  5. Carousel
  6. Block (allows the embedding of Drupal block)


The distribution for professional publishing, Thunder functionalities are publisher-centric, completely focused on the media and publishing industry. At its core, Thunder has the paragraphs module, media entity module, and various SEO features to keep it working. As a free and open-source technology, it is cost-effective, knocks down developmental efforts and isn't time-consuming. 

illustration image showing the key features and benefits of thunder written in text with human icons, polygonal structure in blue, grey and white color


Varbase is an enhanced Drupal distribution packed with adaptive functionalities and essential modules, that can speed up your development process, and provides you with standardized configurations, making your life easier. 

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The essence of Varbase lies within the basic concept of DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself). It is probably the best starter distribution because it can help relieve you from repeating all the modules, features, configurations that are included in the Drupal project.


Drupal distributions are saving a lot of time and costs for an organization, offering customers the desired website. We would love to hear your favorite Drupal distribution. 

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OpenSense Labs has sound experience in building new pillars for organizations. We would love to hear your requirements, drop a mail at [email protected].