So, you want to build a site on Drupal.
Although it isn’t as popular as other content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Wix or Squarespace, Drupal is a strong option if you want a more customizable and scalable website building experience.
Created in 2000, Drupal is an open-source, PHP-based CMS that supports around 2.3% of all websites on the Internet. It is a common content management system for universities, nonprofit organizations and even government websites. Its modular system makes it easy to adjust, add pictures, files, and applications independently. If you’re looking for something that supports a heavy amount of content publication or something with eCommerce-friendly functions, Drupal is smart choice.
To build a site on Drupal, you will need a bit more web development experience or assistance than more beginner-friendly content management systems. You will also need to choose a good web hosting service that will support your Drupal website.
Who should you choose for hosting your Drupal site? What sort of Drupal-specific functions or optimizations should you look out for? Keep reading to find out.
Things to look out for when choosing a web hosting service for your Drupal site
There are several common characteristics between popular and highly-rated Drupal web hosting services. Many of their features specifically align with Drupal’s framework, making the website owner’s experience with managing their site much easier and simpler.
- Drupal installation compatibility: This is a baseline requirement for any Drupal web hosting service: it needs to be able to install Drupal sites. Drupal sites have a specific infrastructure that uses various software, like PHP and MySQL, to run. Some web hosting accounts are optimized for these types of software while others may run into issues during the installation process.
- Strong database capabilities: Drupal sites often use extensive databases to manage applications like blog posts, accounts, and other content. If this is something you think your site will need to be able to expand, keep an eye out for web hosting services that have strong database support or capabilities.
- Highly-reviewed technical support: Running a Drupal site is bound to lead to some technical issues down the road. There’s a lot of moving parts to your website and at some point, you’ll need to consult an expert for some back-end help. When looking around for your Drupal web hosting service, make sure they have a strong technical support staff that can help you fix issues with your site. Consider things like availability (are the staff available during holidays or other critical times when your website may experience lots of traffic?) and technical expertise (are they simple customer support or actual technical experts?)
Who are some top players in the Drupal web hosting game?
Here is a list of some of the most popular and highly-reviewed Drupal web hosting services out there. These services exemplify some of the qualities listed above.
Greengeeks has dedicated Drupal hosting and is seen as one of the top platforms for the CMS. In addition to offering a one-click installation, the hosting provider also offers 99.9% uptime and servers optimized specifically for Drupal.
Pantheon is largely regarded as one of the best web hosting services for Drupal sites. They host over 100,000 sites. They claim to have the “fastest performance in the industry” and boast features such as built-in developer tools like Varnish, New Relic and NodeSquirrel, a Drupal backup extension service they acquired in 2015.
They also offer 24/7/365 support from “real developers” who helps website owners quickly identify the issues and offer solutions.
Acquia Cloud Platform
Acquia was founded by the creator of Drupal itself, Dries Buytaert in 2007 and remains one of the most trusted services in the industry today. Expectedly, it has a number of Drupal-optimized tools and features that will help make your website management system much more streamlined.
The security features Acquia offers is extensive, including but not limited to layered firewalls, multi-factor authentication, and restricted file permissions by default.
One of their most attractive features is the Acquia Dev Desktop, a free application that lets you build and test Drupal sites locally. With the Acquia Dev Desktop, you can work offline, publish local sites and even clone sites.
If you’re looking to build your own Drupal site, make sure you choose a hosting service that fits your site’s needs. From top-notch security to reliable tech support, it is important to know your priorities in service.