How to Choose the Right Drupal Hosting Provider
WordPress may be the most popular Content Management System (CMS) around but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. In fact, long before WordPress popularity, other CMS platforms were in the market – one of them being Drupal.
What is Drupal?
Drupal is an open source CMS platform used by many for creating websites and blogs. It has an extremely active and vibrant community despite being overshadowed by modern contemporaries like WordPress.
In fact, Drupal has been around for a solid 20 years and started out years before WordPress was even introduced. It still maintains a loyal following for a number of reasons including the enthusiasm of the community, stability, and a solid user experience.
Challenges Faced by Drupal Site Owners
The advantages offered by Drupal doesn’t make it the perfect CMS though. A good part of the Drupal experience using it can come from the hosting partner you choose. Going with the wrong Drupal hosting can lead to multiple potential issues like:
Drupal site owners may at times find performance to be a little sluggish. This is often likely caused by either a large number of visitors, poorly managed or under provisioned resources, or simply substandard hosting equipment.
Lack of Storage Space
Dynamic web applications like Drupal are fantastic for growing site content. However, this means that as more gets added on you may find yourself quickly running out of space. If there’s room to grow that is a small problem, but what if you’ve reached the limits of your hosting plan type?
Sometimes you’ll find your site goes down though no fault of your own. In situations like this, the host needs to step in and take responsibility. Not all web hosts offer the high degree of reliability that ScalaHosting offers. Thanks to cutting edge servers and expert technical staff, ScalaHosting servers are always in top form.
Even though Drupal is quite flexible, there are basics that it needs to run. Not all hosting plans offer all the features you may need and this becomes a problem if Drupal is your platform of choice. Keep in mind the environment you’ll need for being able to run Drupal such as the appropriate database type and minimum versions supported.
Types of Website Hosting Solutions
Drupal users should be aware of the difference between the key hosting types available. This can help you make the right choice when planning for the development of your site. Remember, these are broad categories which can be narrowed down further:
The easiest to manage and cheapest of all web hosting types available, shared hosting is a very popular option. However, for dynamic applications such as Drupal, you may find sites struggling to maintain performance.
This is due to the way shared hosting plans allocate and handle resources. They do serve as a good launchpad for Drupal hosting though, especially if purpose-built for it.
Unless you are planning to run a highly commercial or big business site, dedicated hosting plans are a bit of an overkill for most Drupal sites. These powerful plans are often used to handle extremely large traffic volumes or mission-critical sites. The cost can be prohibitive even at the most conservative level.
Virtual Private Server
Virtual Private Server, or VPS hosting is one of the most cost-effective yet flexible choices for Drupal users. The plans cost a fraction of the price for dedicated hosting and are powerful and scalable.
For less technically inclined users, ScalaHosting has Managed Cloud VPS plans available. Don’t worry about cost either since ScalaHosting keeps its Managed VPS plans at equal or lower cost compared to Unmanaged plans.
What is Drupal Hosting?
Aside from the core types of web hosting, some expert hosting providers offer plans streamlined to perfection for various purposes. A good example of this is the range of Drupal plans offered by ScalaHosting. These encompass shared and VPS plans, just so you have a wider variety of choice.
Advantages of ScalaHosting for Drupal
ScalaHosting’s Drupal plans offer many advantages not easily found elsewhere. Aside from the powerful allocation of core resources, everyone also gets many features that support the ideal Drupal site.
This includes fee domain name, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, Content Distribution Network, and more. Of course, all this is based on extremely high performance hardware, including enterprise-class SSDs.
What to Consider When Choosing Drupal Hosting
Being a web application, Drupal has certain criteria that needs to be met for best performance. Some of the areas you need to consider carefully include:
Although Drupal itself isn’t known for having big security issues, web hosting itself can result in some compromise. For example, shared hosting is the least secure option to go for. You need to decide how concerned you are with security when choosing your Drupal hosting solution.
Possibility of Poor Performance
Web hosting providers can offer widely different ranges in performance. Many factors contribute to this, such as the quality of the data center used, equipment deployed, and even the skill of the network engineers in setting everything up.
If you want users to be able to have anytime access to your Drupal site, you need to look out for a host with a high uptime spelled out in their Service Level Agreement. If this isn’t specified you may need to consider carefully. Frequent service outages can result in lost visitor traffic.
Unmanaged versus Managed Drupal Hosting
The choice of Managed or Unmanaged plan is really an individual preference. Some who prefer the technical aspect may like to choose Unmanaged plans to enjoy the setup and management experience.For more hands-off site owners, go for a Managed hosting plan to ease your worries.
Is Your Site Media-heavy?
Images and video content not only consumes more space, but takes up more bandwidth to serve as well as increase page loading times. If you plan on using many images as a core part of your site content, you will need plans which come with more resources.
Aside from just having those resources, handling is also important. For media-rich sites, VPS plans can allocate resources at any time without risking them being used by another account such as in shared hosting plans.
How Do Your Visitors Behave?
For sites that offer a variety of activities for users – such as polls, basic content, interactive media, and so on – knowing what your visitors prefer to do can help you better plan for resource allocation.
Are You Targeting Specific Traffic?
If your content is geared to cater to visitors from specific areas, choosing a hosting server in closer proximity to them can help improve performance. Distance results in latency and servers close to your target visitor market will serve pages more quickly since the data travels a shorter distance.
To get a better idea of how this works, take for example a site targeting visitor traffic from Europe. For this, ScalaHosting would be a superior choice since it runs servers out of two locations – one of those being in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Drupal Hosting Requirements
The latest stable release of this CMS is Drupal 9 which came to market in mid-2020. Although most characteristics are the same, it has removed some code and updated dependencies accordingly.
Some requirements have been updated as well and to run the latest version of Drupal, your web hosting server must be able to field PHP 7.3 or greater, Apache 2.4.7 or higher, and have a database ready to use.
For the database, you can choose to deploy either MySQL or Percona, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, or SQLite.
Don’t consider SSL as optional since many search engines (in fact, all) will look at SSL certification to consider the security of their recommendations. If your site isn’t SSL-equipped you may be facing reduced volumes of organic traffic from search.
Tips to Get a Good Drupal Hosting Provider
There is always a debate when it comes to who the ebay Drupal hosting provider is. Naturally, we’d recommend ScalaHosting for their service excellence and dedication to customer service.
However on a broader front, consider the following when looking for the best Drupal hosting provider:
- Performance – Web applications are dynamic and require strong performance to shine. Be aware of both speed and uptime when it comes to web hosting performance.
- Customer support – Even the most perfect plans go awry sometimes and when this happens, you need to know your host is capable of helping you out at any time.
- Drupal plans – Does the web host you’re looking at have dedicated Drupal plans? Not all providers have this and when you find things like ScalaHosting’s Drupal plans, they should be a top consideration.
Web hosting providers typically build their plans to cater to popular applications. After all, it’s money in their pocket. Those like ScalaHosting who cater to a wider range of applications like ScalaHosting are rare. Treasure the moment and opt for one of their outstanding plans to power up your Drupal site today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Drupal free?
Yes, Drupal is completely free. You can deploy as many Drupal sites as you like with no worries at all. Because of the active community, help is also readily available if you spend the time to interact and learn.
How secure is Drupal?
Compared to many other CMS, Drupal is remarkably resilient and quite a safe choice for your site. The development team includes security experts dedicated to making Drupal as safe as possible.
Can I scale my Drupal site easily?
Yes. Drupal is frequently updated and capabilities constantly increase. It has a very flexible architecture and APi that supports growth. It can also work in concert with modules that can increase the potential by a lot.
Is Drupal easy to use?
One of the defining traits of Drupal seems to be the excellent user experience it offers. Some users have commented that it not only looks great, but is simply delightful to use. Of course, such matters are subjective and open to individual interpretation.
Where can I get help with Drupal?
Since Drupal is open source it doesn’t offer official support per se. However, there is a very big Drupal community where members support each other and address problems actively. Aside from help, you’ll also discover ideas, optimizations, and more.