We are often called to fix problems on existing Drupal websites. The most common problem we hear is “Our pages load so slow!”
This usually stems from one of two things (and sometimes both):
Inadequate hosting environment
Bad website development and configuration
Lets take a look at both of these issues.
Issue #1: Inadequate hosting environment
Drupal is powerful. You can build a complex website relatively quickly in comparison to most other options. This power and complexity needs sufficient hardware to make it purr along. Your typical $10 per month hosting service is really not the best environment in which to run Drupal sites. It can be done successfully but the bigger the site, the bigger the hardware specs on which it should run. We recommend using a company which specializes in Drupal performance hosting; such as Acquia, Pantheon, or Platform.sh (we, personally, use Acquia to host all of our clients' websites).
The good news is this is issue is often easy to fix.
Issue #2: Bad website development and configuration
Okay. So, on to the bad news... A badly developed website is bad. A badly developed Drupal website is badder than a bad man at a badman conference in the badlands. Okay, you get our point. Back on track...
If you are not an experienced Drupal developer then it is easy to think you are doing everything right because you see the site coming together nicely in front of you. Once you start to get traffic to the site, you realize that beauty is only skin deep and performance is dragging badly. Sadly, this is often the point where the website owner has already paid the developer and signed off on the project. It is also often the time when we get called in to take a look at what could be wrong. So, from our experience this is what is usually wrong:
Hacked code - Drupal core or contributed modules often get hacked by inexperienced web developers because it is a quick fix to an immediate need. The mantra, "Never hack core." is absolutely valid for myriad reasons.
Badly written custom code - there is a "Drupal way” of writing code and it exists for valid reasons. Not knowing and adhering to this can cost you in page load time
Modules not updated - like fine wine, Drupal modules should get better over time. Out-of-date modules can negatively affect performance (not to mention the security implications of not performing regular updates!).
No caching - out of the box Drupal is not configured for page caching, this is a common oversight.
Poor information architecture - Drupal makes it easy to point and click to create things without thinking about the big picture. Poorly architected sites will slow down performance and frustrate users.
Fixing bad code and/or bad configuration starts with knowing where and how to look. A Drupal specialist has the knowledge and tools available to generate a site audit report along with recommendations to make your Drupal site faster!
Do you have a Drupal site which is not performing to expectations? Thinkbean will make your site run faster, smarter, better. Call or on 508.624.6033 or contact us.