We Share 4 Ways to Help You Instantly Boost Your Drupal Website Performance
Jan 30, 2017
Four Effective Strategies for Boosting Your Drupal Website’s Performance
You want to increase your website’s engagement, but will adding bells and whistles really cut it? Regardless how cool your features are or how intuitively your UIs function, people won’t come back unless you can deliver content on demand. Your ability to attract, satisfy and retain visitors is directly related to how fast you can make your website.
As the owner of a Drupal website, you’re not exempt from the need for snappy content delivery. Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize load times and improve overall performance. Here are four of the Drupal strategies that you should master to make the most of this popular content management framework.
1. Enable the Drupal Cache
Drupal incorporates a caching feature that makes it easy to boost your website’s speed. By lowering the number of database queries that your anonymous clients have to make, it minimizes the computations that stand between page visitors and your content.
A snapshot of Drupal Cache
To enable Drupal’s default cache, you simply turn it on in the “Performance” settings found under your dashboard’s “Configuration” tab. It’s important to use the cache wisely, however. For instance, if your site content changes frequently, what’s stored in the cache may not always align with your most recently published data. Configuring the cache to retain data for the minimum possible lifetime and periodically clearing all of the caches are effective workarounds.
2. Use the Boost Module
Among Drupal’s many add-ons, the Boost module is known for its ability to outperform the built-in cache. By omitting certain unnecessary PHP and SQL processes, it serves previously rendered HTML in response to user requests. This technique can significantly improve performance on portals, blogs and other sites that largely cater to anonymous users.
You may need some Drupal experience to successfully configure the Boost module because it requires you to make changes inside an .htaccess file. Failing to configure the settings correctly might crash your site, but the module includes a built-in .htaccess file generator that you can work from as a guide.
3. Integrate Memcached
Memcached is an open-source caching system for memory objects. It’s used by big names like Flickr, Wikipedia, Craigslist and other platforms.
The Memcache API module lets you use Memcached libraries and PHP extensions with your Drupal site. When properly configured to work with Memcached, your deployment will simultaneously leverage all three components: The independent Memcached task running on your web server, the PHP extension and the Drupal Memcache API module.
It’s important to understand that using Memcached effectively requires some experience. For instance, you’ll need to install software on your web server with the appropriate administrator permissions, and you may have to schedule it to run as a separate startup process.
Want to take full advantage of this form of in-memory storage for database calls and rendered pages? It may be advisable to use Boost and Memcache modules in tandem. This could make it far easier to deliver improved performance to registered and anonymous users alike.
4. Integrate Varnish Cache
Varnish HTTP Cache is one of many web application accelerators. Commonly referred to as a caching HTTP reverse proxy, it can speed up Drupal site content delivery by factors ranging anywhere from 10 to 1000.
Like Memcached, Varnish Cache requires you to install independent software on your server and use the appropriate Drupal module. Although you’ll have to deal with some advanced tweaking and configuration, Varnish can improve the speed of certain types of requests, such as static files and queries from anonymous users, even at high volume. It can successfully serve around 3,000 requests per second, which may significantly outpace alternatives like Apache.
Implementing Superior Drupal Techniques
Performance tuning your Drupal site with the built-in cache settings or Boost module is a good way to start delivering content faster. Although they’re more costly in terms of time and server administration requirements, upgrading to Memcached and Varnish Cache are the logical next steps.
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