Thunder & Lightning: Best Drupal Distributions for Media and Publishing

8 min

Drupal technology is the best option for the Media industry, providing enormous opportunities. That’s the reason why more than 70% of Top 30 Media & Entertainment companies choose Drupal. In this article we’ll drive into the prime Drupal distributions for Media & Publishing website: Thunder and Lightning. These solutions provide numerous modules and ultra-features for the empower editorial processes while reducing the cost of website development. With the help of these Drupal distributions, you can create unique and easy-to-use publishing tools specifically for your business needs.

Drupal Distributions Change the Game

There are many Drupal distributions dedicated to one or another segment or industry. Distributions save your time and, therefore, money. Further works and updates could be made via a package mode as well since all included modules and features have been thoroughly integrated. The only remaining challenge goes to the selection of the most appropriate option. When it comes to Media and Publishing projects, there are two popular Drupal distributions worth your special attention.

Thunder: Web-based Open-source Drupal Distribution

Newbie users of CMS systems might consider Drupal distributions as the “lite” solutions designed for amateurish creators only: supposedly, the “true” professionals should dive deeply into the very core of Drupal. The best counterargument against such a concept is that many business sharks prefer just distributions to create their platforms. The Economist, Pfizer, University of Oxford, Playboy, Hubert Burda Media, and many other media-industry leaders constitute a cohort of happy users of Thunder - one of the best Drupal distributions for media and publishers.

Companies that trust Thunder

Thunder is an open-source CMS solution focused on publishing features. Created in 2016 by Hubert Burda Media, Thunder CMS was fast to gain wide market recognition by offering powerful, yet free-of-charge software capabilities, eventually accumulating a 110K developers’ strong community.

All in all, media and publishing companies get to employ a sturdy set of Drupal-based tools and features. There are a bunch of essential modules tailored specifically to the needs of publishers, making Thunder one of the top Drupal distributions and allowing for:

  • Content scheduling. Publishers can set the time and date for a certain piece of content to be shown (or cease to be shown) on the website, which enables great publishing flexibility.
  • Versatile content creation. Working on a Thunder project, you can easily enrich the created content with dynamic elements, like images, animations, and videos, galleries, etc. via simple drag-and-drop.
  • Interactive content creation. You can go even further and create interactive surveys or quizzes with the help of the Riddle tool.
  • Great video replay. The platform displays videos through a powerful player, which enables users to conveniently watch and control smooth-rate video content on different devices.
  • Instant articles creation. An Instant Articles feature enables published articles to load at once on Facebook users’ mobile devices.
  • Mobile-friendliness. Thunder distribution provides a convenient admin panel that can be managed from any desktop or mobile device, widening the scope of engaged users.
  • Infinite scrolling. InStyle’s Infinity theme enables infinite content scrolling on any website you may be working on, boosting the level of user experience with a great touch of convenience.

Thunder and Lightening Statistics

Lightning: Drupal Distribution For Enterprise Authoring

The second popular Drupal distribution designed for the media-&-publishing segment is Lightning. Similar to Thunder, this free, open-source, authoring-centric distribution and framework in one enables publishers to get rid of numerous headaches related to building Drupal-based CMSs from scratch. 

We place this great product second in our post even though logic dictates the opposite: lightning always appears prior to thunder during the storm. But it does not matter since those two Drupal distributions do not compete in fact. Our developers believe that both Thunder and Lightning show users the same way how to save time and money on development. 

Lightening distribution


Lightning was created in 2016 by Acquia to provide editorial teams and content creators with seamless workflows. This lightweight framework-like distribution includes the best Drupal practices in terms of security. The reliability of Lightning distribution was essential for its creators when they were conducting more than 60 automated tests to confirm that their product was much safer to use in comparison with standalone modules.

The main reasons why Lightning is the most downloadable Drupal distribution, in general, are based on the great capabilities it provides for publishers. Namely, Lightning offers:

  • Versatile editorial workflows. Lightning can really aid in settling the editorial work fuss with convenient and efficient collaboration powers, including handy separation by user roles and content approval feature.
  • Accessible content management. There are a dedicated media library and media management features that allow enriching content with videos or images via a URL or by manual upload and save all the new stuff for further reuse.
  • Drag-and-drop layout creation. Most diverse layouts can be composed using simple and fast drag-and-drop tools, with the resulting page layouts being well-adapted to mobile views.
  • Previews for content approval. You can check smooth previews that display all the dynamic content (videos and such) before publishing any content.
  • Content sharing via built-in API. There is a convenient out-of-the-box preconfigured API that allows going multichannel by displaying your content for other applications via the JSON format.


Both Thunder and Lightning are top-of-the-line Drupal distributions built based on some of the best software development practices. These media distributions certainly offer handy, workflow-boosting, and cost-saving capabilities for the media-&-publishing segment. The development workflows requiring weeks and months in the past have been compressed to hours and days. 

AnyforSoft votes in favor of using the most advanced development technologies for digital media. The industry leaders, as we can see, do the same when building their platforms with Thunder and Lightning. These two great distributions are open-source. Nothing prevents you from sharing the success and experience of business sharks. Contact us to get the best from Drupal distributions for M&P (we can combine features from both distributions).

Thunder and Lightening for Media and Publishing

Want to work with us?

Looking for a Drupal team?

Build your product with the industry leader

Talk to us!
Looking for Drupal solutions?