What is govCMS?

By now everyone has likely heard of Drupal. If not, be sure to read our blog on Drupal and why you should use it for your website.

govCMS is a Drupal 8 distribution developed by the Australian Government, for Australian Government agencies, with the new digital service standard.

The govCMS platform is hosted and maintained by Acquia and offered as either SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service).

Why use govCMS?

If you’re wondering why you should choose govCMS over another option, we have listed a few key points to provide an overview:

  1. Open Source: Instantly cut down your development time and costs, Drupal has no licensing costs either. Chances are functionality has already been developed and in use by another agency. With 104 live websites in govCMS, there is a lot to choose from. You have access to this code to use for your own purposes.
  2. Secure: IT security is always an issue for Government websites. govCMS is tested and maintained by the Australian Government to fend off threats, so you can be sure your Agencies security needs are being met.
  3. Accessibility Compliance: All agency websites are required to be WCAG AA Compliant, and out of the box, govCMS is just that. For many proprietary web software, accessibility is an afterthought which adds more time and expense to your project.
  4. Responsive: Out of the box, govCMS is responsive on any device. With users increasingly visiting more and more websites from their portable devices, having a mobile-first design should be a top priority for user experience.

Time to build

The great thing about govCMS is that there is a plethora of options to build.

You can use a custom design or use the govCMS theme. The govCMS team can assist you with development or you can outsource to a provider such as OPC IT, to lead you through the process.

How can OPC IT help you?

If you’re thinking about going down the govCMS path, contact us and we can walk you through the process.

Our developers are experienced in developing, training and maintaining the govCMS distribution and can answer any questions you have.

SaaS vs PaaS

If you’ve decided to commence your development journey using govCMS for your website, which option should you go with?

It is reliant on your internal available resources and requirements, but there is an option for everyone, so you’ll be sure to find a solution that suits your needs.

SaaS (Software as a Service), is a govCMS managed environment.


  1. Your Agency won’t require any in-house technical expertise to support the website ongoing.
  2. Less worry about whether your site will go down, or applying security updates.
  3. Quick development turnaround time.


  1. This does limit the level of customization available to you, as everyone on SaaS are required to use a given set of modules and features.
  2. Any new modules or features are required to go through a thorough testing and approval process.

Who is this good for?

Any agency that requires an out of the box solution for their website and doesn’t have easy access to internal or external developers.

PaaS (Platform as a Service), is a self-managed dedicated cloud environment.


  1. High level of customisation available to you.
  2. Freedom to add self-developed features and additional modules should your site specifications require them.


  1. You will require a decent level of technical expertise to build and manage the ongoing maintenance, chances are if you’ve gone down this path you have internal developers readily available or have an external company, like OPC IT to provide you with technical support.

Who is this good for?

Agencies who need the flexibility to fully customise their website and that have access to either internal or external developers.

With either option, you still get the same govCMS Drupal distribution, and the ongoing management of your websites content won’t require any special technical knowledge.

If you or your team need any advise, technical assistance or support please don't hesitate to contact our team of Drupal specialists.

Date posted:
04 November 2016
Authored by :
Jeannie Panting