Drupal Hosting

What Makes a Good Drupal Hosting Provider?

Ask five people who have dealt with content management systems which is their most favored CMS and chances are you will get at least three different answers.

The preference for content management systems, or CMS’ in short, is the same way we perceive beauty: it lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Some wouldn’t have it any other way than WordPress. Others are of the view that Joomla is superior. There is another school of thought that swears by Magento. And there are those who would rather Drupal.

Today, the topic of our discussion centers on the latter.

A Brief Background

Drupal is a powerful open-source content management platform designed with modularity in mind.

Originally invented by Dries Buytaert back when a broadband Internet connection was a luxury (2001 to be exact), Drupal has steadily caught on over the years. It is the third-most commonly used CMS to build websites today, accounting for 4.6 percent of all live websites.

Those who have had the chance to interact with it will already be aware that you can develop virtually any type of product on the Drupal platform, whether it’s contribution websites, message boards and everything in between.

As with every other content management system, though, it is essential to find a dependable Drupal hosting provider to get the most out of it. Otherwise, you are likely to find yourself the victim of multiple unpleasant website situations.

Just before we reveal the things that make a good Drupal hosting provider, let’s briefly walk you through what makes this platform an impressive piece of software.

Why Drupal?

Most of the CMS’ we have today are capable of handling content-rich blogs and websites. Open-source software, for its part, can be integrated with countless modules and other components in order to extend its functionality.

So then, what makes Drupal special? Why should you use it to build your website?

The most glaring answer to that question rests on one key facet that makes Drupal the only CMS of its kind in today’s crowded open-source marketplace: its flexibility.

Drupal has a level of flexibility that is hard to find in most platforms of its caliber. Although this CMS has been accused of being a bit too complex, in reality, Drupal is relatively easy to extend, even for those who do not pride themselves in being technically gifted.

Additionally, the rich array of powerful authoring and administrative tools available in Drupal makes creating and managing a website based on this platform an easy task. Once you have the platform itself up and running, the rest of the management aspects are a breeze.

It would also be remiss to talk about Drupal and fail to mention its well-designed code that not only gives it an edge over the competition, but also makes it highly reliable.

It has an architecture specifically designed to make it easy for developers to create add-on components aimed at leveraging system resources. Consequently, what this does is create a level of stability that makes performance a non-issue.

What’s more, the code is designed to easily accept updates which ensures you are always running the most reliable and secure version of the software.

All in all, Drupal is a flexible CMS that promises great performance, exceptional security, and easy content authoring. It is a great choice for building just about any kind of website, not to mention web applications, online communities and more.

In order to get the most out of this powerful CMS, you will need a good Drupal hosting provider. And by “good” we mean a host who checks the following boxes:

  • Type of Platform

The first thing that should come to mind when choosing a Drupal hosting provider is to check if their servers support PHP and MySQL. These two are necessary for Drupal to run without any issues.

If you inquire further about the platform, the issue of the operating system running on the server will also come up. Drupal can run on both Windows and Linux servers, and we would advise to opt for Linux since it runs PHP applications more easily compared to its Windows counterpart.

Depending on your level of expertise on such areas as FTP, MySQL and control panels, installation may or may not pose a problem. But most good providers offer the option of one-click installation for those who are not comfortable installing Drupal themselves.

  • Type of Server Resources you need

The Drupal platform you build your website on is a large content management system with a high degree of sophistication. This means you need a Drupal hosting provider who can satisfy your demanding Drupal website which typically boasts numerous power-hungry modules running on it.

An underpowered server will frustrate your website’s functionality since even small websites need substantial memory and storage to run without any hiccups. Plus, your website is always going to get bigger and a cheap single-core CPU with minimal RAM isn’t likely to meet its demands.

Another important thing you need to consider is the amount of site traffic you are getting, and in particular “anonymous users” versus authenticated traffic.

Reason is because Drupal is known to present webpages more efficiently to anonymous users, or those visitors who do not sign in on your website. This type of traffic doesn’t consume too many resources, which basically means that if you intend for your visitors to be logging in, you will need more power from the Drupal hosting provider.

  • Drupal-centric Features

You will come across many web hosts who offer Drupal installations. This, however, should not be assumed to mean they are Drupal-centric hosts.

Before signing on the dotted line, it doesn’t hurt to ask if the host offers modules and add-ons specific to this CMS since these will ensure your site is rich in features.

It will also save you plenty of hassle because it is akin to getting everything under the same roof – you don’t have to hop on the Internet to search for extensions and modules that could be useful for your website.

  • Database Support

Drupal is heavily supported by databases just like most open-source CMS platforms.

Make sure to check which database features are included in the package: the more, the merrier.

This can come in handy down the road because a point may reach when you find that you need a standalone shopping cart, or maybe a blog platform, or some other database-driven application. When that times comes, a hosting package with multiple databases will ensure you are covered on all fronts.

  • Reliable Infrastructure

We did mention briefly that the Drupal code makes it a highly reliable CMS platform. Although this code is optimized to maintain a high degree of performance, the way your site performs will very much be influenced by the Drupal hosting company you choose.

The provider needs to have reliable infrastructure in place to maximize performance and reduce downtime. Slugging websites and chronic downtime are an enemy of progress and should be eliminated at every cost.

It is good to keep in mind that we live in a fast-paced society where people have little patience to put up with slow websites, no matter how unique that website’s offering is. So, when looking for a provider to host your Drupal website, make sure you know what the provider is capable of.

  • Security

Every software is susceptible to security breaches, whether it’s hacking, malware, cyber-attacks and so on. Drupal is not exempt from this rule.

A good Drupal hosting company should have robust security measures in place, well aware that an infiltration into their server(s) can be disastrous for their legion of customers.

As a website owner, it is sensible to have your own security measures in place. However, your provider should also offer bare minimum safeguards, including those revolving around PHP and database settings, security patches etc.

This in mind, when looking for a good company to host your Drupal website, don’t forget to review the security aspect of your hosting account, from the server setup, down to the Drupal installation. The last thing you want is to endure the frustration of halting business operations in the name of a security breach.

A security breach is both unwelcome and the damage it leaves in its wake could be something you never recover from.

  • Great IT Support

It is recommended to find a Drupal hosting company with a solid reputation for customer service and IT support whom you can always call upon whenever an issue arises. This especially goes for people who don’t have lots of experience with Drupal.

True, you always have the option of online support forums and video tutorials, but it helps to have an established line of defense to revert to.

The ideal Drupal hosting provider is one who offers around-the-clock IT support and does so through multiple support channels – phone, email, live chat, or ticket system.

Keep these things in mind when looking for a Drupal hosting provider and you are sure to find one that can be relied on to deliver.