The myth revealed – Kentico vs GovCMS (Drupal)

5 min read


Would you really use Gov CMS if you didn’t have to? Our techsplorers break down Gov CMS compared to Kentico. Find out the easier way to implement your website, save content management time and create a more efficient team (essentially saving you money) with the right CMS for your local government department. In a series of screen shots we show you what you would get with a Drupal based website, and exactly what administering the content would look like.

At the very least this will inform you with all the facts and break the myth that government organisations must use Gov CMS.

It’s a big decision for a government organisation or local council to decide what CMS platform is best for them both now and in future. The goal is to ensure that resources are spent to best effect in terms of delivering quality digital services to your website audiences which could be local residents, tourists, businesses, board members, politicians or the general public. The problem is we have seen this over and over again and don’t believe using Drupal will help in this area. Not only that, but there is an expensive old school idea still lingering that you .gov sites need to be built with GovCMS.

A GovCMS website is simply a Drupal website.

Yes the same complex and expensive to manage Drupal anyone in the web industry know all too well about. Don’t get us wrong if you are a multi-million global organisation company it may have its benefits, but in Australia within the public sector, there is a better way to spend the your limited budget (and your time when you try to make simple changes).

Officially from the website, “GovCMS is a product provided by the Department of Finance, that gives agencies the tools to build, migrate and manage websites. GovCMS includes the Drupal-based content management system and accompanying website hosting service. A content management system (CMS) is software that’s used to create and manage digital information.” But let us break it down for you.

At a fundamental level, the Drupal Core 7 GovCMS package is structured as follows:

Drupal Core 7 > Zen Theme > GovCMS Theme > Custom Styling Theme (Implemented by your Developer)


Drupal core 7

This provides all the basic functionality to run a simple Drupal website with basic content management. Drupal 7 comes with 4 very standard ‘themes’ that add styling to the Drupal instance. One of these themes must be activated for anything to display other than just plain text.

Zen theme

The Zen theme is a popular starting theme for Drupal instances and provides a component based, responsive, mobile-first design. It is often used as the base theme for developers to build their own theme on top of, but on its own is nothing  special.

GovCMS theme & modules

GovCMS is built on top of the Zen Theme, by adding its own set of pre-built styles, as well as extending Drupal Core’s functionality a little by providing access to custom gov_cms modules. It also implements a host of contributed modules for further functionality.

The GovCMS modules include functionality for maintaining things such as Australian Government Password requirements, user permissions, search functionality, text resize box (see screenshot), menu navigation and having an account lockout after 3 incorrect password attempts. All this functionality can be recreated very easily in Kentico (we’ve done it hundreds of times). And Kentico is also highly secure, unlike many other CMS platforms, making it perfect for government websites.

After all this you then need to customise your GovCMS theme

To modernise the look of the basic (and outdated looking) GovCMS theme, developers place their own custom theme on top of the Drupal Core, Zen, GovCMS Stack. Any significant changes to layouts and component positioning within the website becomes  difficult due to this layering and  in-built dependencies. Not to mention an added cost.  What we are saying is you will probably seriously dislike this as soon as you decide to build your website with this platform. How do we know? We have spent a lot of time helping clients migrate their websites from Drupal to Kentico, and they love the results (plus saved a stack of money), see what we did for The City of Canning. Also find a local Drupal developer (they are hard to find), ask them how much they charge an hour, and calculate that for the rest of your websites lifespan, you’ll thank us later.

Still not convinced, that’s okay let us compare Gov CMS to our most popular substitute.

Kentico VS GovCMS - Content creation path review

1. Let’s look at the admin home page for both



Here we can see the Kentico Admin Dashboard and the Drupal GovCMS Admin Interface. In the Kentico screenshot a user is presented with a customisable dashboard with tiles to each shortcut / functionality. Clicking on the pages application allows you to edit pages and the content with ease. With Drupal / Gov CMS you can see from the outset that things look more  complex.

2. Navigating, creating and editing website pages & page content


Here you can see a comparison between the Kentico Page tree layout and the Drupal / GovCMS content tree. The main advantage using Kentico over GovCMS is the content tree provides an intuitive overview and navigation of your site and live view of content simultaneously. GovCMS (out of the box) provides no content tree functionality and if it was required an additional module would need to be developed, installed and/or configured.

3. Selecting content page type


What we are looking at is the ability to add new content to your website in Kentico and Drupal / GovCMS. In either you have the option to select from a variety of different page types, these can vary depending on standard or developed templates you have available. Different page/content types can have different fields for content to be added. For example, a Blog article may have fields for title, author, publish date etc. Whereas a Product page type will have fields such as product name, price, description and variations. Both Drupal and Kentico provide the ability to customise content / page types. This allows a content administrator the ability to add additional content fields such as images, more text, videos and more.

4. Editing & displaying content 


Editing content and page templates is where Kentico really outshines Drupal. Both CMS’s require a web developer to develop the templates, however unlike Drupal, Kentico allows content managers to choose from a variety of different display templates giving content managers the power to choose how their content is displayed.

With Drupal, to change the template (how the content is displayed) for a specific content type, a developer or content editor needs to go into the back-end of the Drupal instance and fiddle with code…which looks like this...


5. Adding content to the appropriate fields in a blog



You can see that between the two, editing a blog in Kentico and GovCMS is more or less the same. One of the few areas where things are reasonably comparable.

6. The editors view and edit functionality after a page is published


Both Kentico and GovCMS provide WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) functionality for content. However, with Kentico, templates can be designed so that content can be edited while the page is displayed and visible. With GovCMS, out of the box, this page editing view is not available.

The main advantage for content managers and editors when using Kentico over Drupal is it’s intuitive user interface, easy to navigate and understand page trees, easy content creation/editing and simple selection of page templates to choose how you display your content.

Which CMS would you recommend (Drupal vs Kentico or other)? Which CMS is best for you depends on your unique needs, and especially on  your future goals. Our team look at your website requirements holistically and help you easily create a digital strategy to align with your digital transformation. 

Drupal is open source & expensive to develop

A common feature of a publicly funded website or government site, and application requirements, is that it needs to be compliant in terms of meeting standards for accessibility, security, archiving and follows a strict procurement process. Public sector and local council website budgets are limited and every dollar spent needs to be justified.  Many departments find themselves with fewer staff and less funds to manage website development projects. We have saved our clients from expensive annual licensing costs and relieved their heavy reliance on a Drupal website developer.

Get our free website tips before you decide which CMS to use for your .gov site

Do you think GovCMS is really built for the new digital government? We have only scratched the surface in this article on exposing the myth that “if you are a Government organisation you must use Drupal’s GovCMS”. You can still have a government website that is well above the digital service standards and accessibility requirements within Australia without Drupal’s GovCMS, and the results of being correctly informed will transform your digital future for the better. Ask us to prove it in a free consultation.

Our Summary – we choose Kentico as the alternative choice to Gov CMS...

Are we biased? Yes, especially when it comes to saving time and money. We did years of research to find the most cost effective CMS platform to build websites and software solutions. Our team looked at everything on the market and even the option of building our own CMS. We recommend and  use Kentico because it proved to be the best option from all aspects including a powerful alternative to Drupal / GovCMS.

We have found a much easier way to build powerful websites that comply with government standards for security, accessibility and branding (that includes WCAG compliance). At the same time, we can migrate your old website to Kentico with ease.

Drupal-based software tools can all be built in a more robust manner and you will not  be missing out on any Government API for web publishing functionality, you can have all that included in your solution. Plus, we will throw in some free tips from what we have learnt from other local government and council websites that we have developed  in Perth. Get in touch for a free consultation.

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