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Drupal Performance Optimization

It’s a fact that fast websites win over slower ones. Not only do web users agree to this, but Google, the behemoth as it is in providing you visibility, also ranks your website according to its speed. Hence, the faster your website is, greater will be the user experience and higher will be the search engine rankings.

Now if you are considering a content management system in building your website, you should first keep this in mind that every readymade PHP framework, though, would run immensely fine at the beginning, but as you would grow they become sluggish. At this point each CMS whether, Joomla, WordPress or Drupal etc, requires a bit of tweaking.

This tweaking can either be achieved by certain speed rendering modules or by playing a bit with the code of your CMS. Now, this might be a hard process for some users. Secondly if you are more on the module side (like me), choosing which ones are going to work wonders for you, is also tricky. Considering this tweaking phase being very resource intensive and tricky for Drupal users, in this content piece we aim to assist them.

So sit back Drupallers, relax, and enjoy your coffee/tea as the team Cloudreviews takes you through a step by step procedure for Drupal performance optimization.

Step 1: Use Drupal’s Own Cache

Now this is the most basic thing you can do to increase Drupal performance. All you need to do is to see whether your Drupal built-in cache system is enabled or not. Once through that your Drupal will start storing certain database queries within itself and will ensure a faster loading time to your visitors.

Moreover, if you set your Drupal’s cache to a “minimum cache life time”, you further prevent your cache from going out of sync. Deleting old caches is also great way to prevent de-synching of your files. All of these options are present under the performance tab of your Drupal configuration and it is the foremost thing that you should conisder for Drupal performance optimization.

Step 2: Get Memcached on board

This is another great caching tool that’s really going to come in handy for increasing your Drupal performance. However, unlike your Drupal cache, Memcached involves installation. To better integrate Memcached you would have to install total three tools that are, the Memcached software, Drupal Memcache and a PHP extension. Here is a proper documentation on how to acquire and install these three tools into your CMS.

Step 3: Install Varnish Cache

Varnish is a technical reverse proxy system that too tends to increase the speed of PHP framework. This fine tool is often compared with Apache as it is much faster in serving pages of your website. However, with varnish too, you would have to install additional software. Here are the details that will let you get going with varnish. All in all, varnish too is one of a great step for Drupal performance optimization.

Step 4: Tweak Your Site Images

It’s great that you let your browser handle your image resizing, but believe me it’s going to increase your site’s loading time on your visitor’s browser, way more. Hence, it’s sensible that you resize your images and compress them prior to uploading or you can get Image resize filter to do it.

This is a smart piece of code that will automatically resize all the images on your website (not the dimensions), and makes Drupal performance much faster for your visitors.

Step 5: Compress Some More Innards (JS, CSS, HTML, and PHP)

Each time a visitor tries to access your site, cluster of files are sent to the visitor in order to make your site visible. Now imagine if these files are compressed, how quickly they will be retrieved.

These files that are Java Script, CSS, HTML and PHP are the innards of your CMS, and you can compress them thorough MOD filterAggregate cache and Core Library. This step coupled with compressing your Audio/visual files will greatly enhance Drupal performance.

Step 6: Use An Alternative PHP Cache- APC Module

An alternative PHP cache that APC module provides is another must to have tool for speed crazy Drupal users. This advance tool caches your website’s PHP elements and makes sure they are not re-compiled, once you site opens.

However, this tool might need you to increase your Domain’s memory. Here is the documentation on APC Module. It will help you to understand how you can do it, and it is yet another tip for Drupal performance optimization.

Step 7: Install “BOOST” Module

Boost module is the most critically acclaimed extension for supercharging Drupal performance and this is why we recommend it to be the used by Drupallers as well. Another great thing about Boost is that; it also works great in a shared hosting environment.

Some experts even believe that if Boost module is the only other thing you integrate besides your website’s built-in cache, you still garner a very healthy and speedy Drupal performance optimization. Here is how you can install the amazing Boost Module in your Drupal website.

Step 8: The Mongo Database

Here is another great Drupal performance optimization tip you may want to know that is entirely different from the rest. The Mongo data base is an advance system that has a NoSQL type of database. Unlike MySQL databases, Mongo DB stores JSON documents which makes the resources of a website run fast.

However, it’s just not a regular tool that could be integrated seamlessly. For MongoDB you would need an expert hand, particularly a techie from your hosting providers’, to get this system integrated.

Still MongoDB is known to have worked wonders for gigantic websites. This is also why we add Mongo into our list of Drupal performance optimization. Large production website such as Disney and Craigslist are a common example.

Step 9: Install Some Profiling Tools

If you are on the road to Drupal performance optimization, it’s imperative that you for once and for all address its issues. Now if you want to keep yourself updated with the issues that are in your CMS, it’s always sensible to have some great profiling tools installed in your platform or your browser. Here are some cool monitoring and profiling tools for Drupal performance.

  • YSLOW:  you would first have to integrate firebug into your browser for YSlow to work. This tool not only analyzes your website, but also tells you the tips you need to solve each of its issue.
  • NEWRELIC: This tool will also monitors each page of your website and its components such as MySQL, PHP and Java- and would also provide you with suggestion on how you can optimize low Drupal performance pages.

[ Read: 15 Cloud Monitoring Tools to Increase your Website’s Performance Efficiency ]

Step 10: Invest In a Content Delivery Network

In a nutshell, content delivery networks are like alternative servers for your website that are spread all over the world- and serve pages to your visitors from the closest network there is to them. CDNs are a segment of Cloud computing and provide lighting fast speed to websites.

Acquiring CDN services are best recommended for gigantic online businesses that have web visitors saturated all over the alcove. With CDNs they can not only increase their website speed but also expand their reach.

[Read: Super Charge your Website Experience with an Ideal Cloud CDN Services ]

Finally – Be Realistic About Your Hosting

We believe that our mentioned tips can be your ticket from a sluggish website to a charged one. However, if things still don’t work then just stop where you are and think of increasing your hosting configuration. Lack of server resources is also one of the reasons for a slow website.

On the other hand, particularly for Drupallers, shared or conventional hosting environment is known to be a performance barrier. If you feel that even higher resource allocation is not doing any good, then you must choose some other decent hosting solution.

Experts believe; Cloud hosting environment best suits any type of Website. Its limitless resources and metered payment format suits the resource needs of all kinds of businesses. This is why we also recommend you to look for one.

Furthermore, the “managed” segment of cloud hosting will allow you to integrate as many tools into your Drupal performance as you want-along with the expert assistance and management of Cloud engineers.

Our team at Cloudreviews.com have evaluated several cloud providers both in hosting and managed category to suggest the best option to our readers. In hosting category, the best hosting solution you can opt-in for your Drupal is Rackspace with rating and in managed hosting category we think the best Drupal performance you can get is from AppFog and Cloudways.

Over to you

Please feel free to add your choice of recommendations and tools you feel have re-powered your Drupal performance in the comments below.  We would certainly love to add them into the list for our readers.

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Muhammad Ammar Naeem [Striver]

Ammar is a tech-enthusiast who just loves to explore the latest advancements in the technological world. His core interest is more towards various computing models including cloud computing. With his immense knowledge in this field, he shares information and latest updates with others through blogs.

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