How to deal with Drupal performance issues

As powerful as Drupal is, it’s not without its issues. The platform can allow you to accomplish a lot with relatively little effort, but this can sometimes turn out to be a problem as much as it is a helpful feature. When your site starts running slow after you’ve recently taken it through a large number of changes, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what went wrong and where the main issue is. And when this is the customer-facing version of a site that’s critical to your business, things can quickly get messy and you might find yourself scrambling to find a solution.

There are some common issues with Drupal’s performance that can come up in its use, and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them and how they tend to manifest themselves, so you can be prepared in case you run into one of those problems during your use of the platform.

Use cache properly

One of the most powerful features of Drupal is the way it handles caching, and you can usually achieve quite a lot with that if you put it to good use. If you’re not caching your data and delivering the appropriate copies, your site is probably already running far more slowly than it should. The built-in configuration menus of Drupal give you easy access to all options related to caching, so try enabling it to see how this will reflect on your site’s performance.

It’s also possible that your cache data is simply out of sync, and you should investigate the connection with your database and the way the whole system is structured to make sure that there are no issues on that front. Take note that synchronization issues on the cache side can sometimes drag down the performance of a site significantly, and it may be hard to figure out that this is what’s causing the issue in the first place.

Check your database

Another common point of performance issues is the database. This is separate from Drupal itself, and it also requires a bit more expertise to navigate correctly, so don’t start digging around in that area unless you’re really confident that you know what you’re doing. If you have a developer whose primary role is to work with the database, leave that to them – but make sure you get a detailed report about the current state of affairs once they’re done with their investigation. Chances are that you’re going to find some issues with the way your database is structured and there might be a good opportunity for restructuring it.

This should be approached with caution though, as one wrong move here can jeopardize your entire website. It’s a good idea to make a full backup before attempting to do anything more serious with your database, and thankfully there are some readily available tools that can assist you on that front. However, if you don’t already have a proper backup solution in place, there’s definitely something wrong with the way you’re handling your organization’s back-end.

Talk to your host

Last but not least, things might be wrong with the company you’re using for your Drupal hosting. If you’re unable to resolve the issues on your end, get in touch with the hosting provider and explain the situation to them. It’s possible that they might be aware of some issue that they are already working on, but haven’t gotten around to notifying their users yet. On the other hand, it’s also not unlikely that you may be the first one to bring this to their attention, in which case you can probably expect the problem to get addressed more quickly and you may even get compensated for your inconvenience in some way. Don’t count on that though – especially if the situation wasn’t that bad to begin with – but it’s good to know that you’re working with a reliable host in these cases, as the better companies on the market will usually go to great lengths to keep you around as a customer, and this might include making some changes to their core network just to accommodate your performance issues.

Generally speaking, you should rarely run into any Drupal performance issues that are not already covered by some article on the Internet, and people have said a lot about how the platform works and the best practices for its maintenance and long-term management. As long as you’re aware of the intricate requirements of Drupal and keep yourself up to date with recent developments around the platform, you should never run into any performance issues that you can’t resolve with a little time spent researching. And if you have a competent team of specialists helping you out with the development of your site(s), then you really shouldn’t have anything significant to worry about in the long run.

3 Comments

  1. Wow! It’s really interesting! Just that I don’t know much about the Drupal stuff.
    It’s very helpful though.

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