Drupal

Jun 8, 2022 | 5 Minute Read

How To Choose The Best Drupal Hosting Provider For Your Website

By: Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Drupal Engineer

Table of Contents

Introduction

Almost every day, I see a different type of website being created using Drupal. There are simple internal content storage portals, and there are news websites with hundreds of editors and millions of users. Drupal could also be powering a local store to sell products online or could be acting as a storage system for a mobile application. A few of these websites could be using out-of-box features. A few could have been assembled after adding a host of contributed modules and customizations.

What Difference Does Drupal Make?

The use cases that Drupal Development offers are beyond imagination, and that’s what keeps us excited. But have you wondered what the common requirement for all websites to work is? They have to be accessible over the web. To be so, they have to be hosted somewhere. So, it’s the Drupal hosting instance that does the magic. Otherwise, it’s just a pile of PHP files on your computer.

What Should A Best Drupal Hosting Environment Be?

Now, since the way Drupal is used, customization level, traffic, requirements, users, etc., vary. The hosting environment should also be able to accommodate whatever the ask is. The best Drupal hosting environment is needed to ensure maximum uptime for your application. If you don’t pick the best Drupal hosting provider, you’ll certainly lose users because nobody stays on a website that isn’t working or takes too much time to load. 

At the same time, you also have to ensure that hosting is manageable and affordable. In this blog post, I'll be discussing all the options for the best Drupal hosting providers for your website. This, in turn, will help you decide what’s going to be the best choice for your website.

Best Drupal Hosting Options For Your Website

Let’s start with the cheaper Drupal hosting options best for websites with less traffic and then move to enterprise-level hosting solutions.

1. Shared Hosting

As the name suggests, it lets you share resources like web servers, databases, storage, etc., with multiple numbers of websites. Consequently, only limited resources are allocated to your application, so it isn’t equipped to handle high traffic. 

You do not have any kind of access to the web server and cannot change any parameters such as PHP/MySQL parameters, php.ini values, or Apache/Nginx settings. The uptime guarantee is also little in shared hosting. Security and performance aren’t great either.

Shared hosting is much cheaper than other alternatives and is recommended for small websites with less traffic. Usually, you are provided with a cPanel that doesn’t require any programming skills or knowledge of hosting a website.

With a simple codebase upload and a few configurations, your website will be up and running. Here is a list of some of the best shared hosting service providers. Most of them also offer support for launching Drupal websites within a few minutes.

 

Advantages Disadvantages

No programming or server skills are needed to configure

No server access

Cheapest hosting

 

 

Fewer resources are allocated to the website

Poor load time if traffic is high

Not entirely secure

No provision to install add-on software like Redis or Solr

2. VPS (Virtual Private Server) Drupal Hosting

Personally, I find VPS to be the best Drupal hosting option; much better than shared hosting, even for a small website. It is not expensive and gives you root access to the server to customize it as per your requirements.

It is perfect for anyone who understands basic Unix/Linux/Windows commands and knows about setting up Drupal and AMP (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack. Since you have root access to the server, you can allocate more RAM to applications critical for your website. 

Most VPS providers offer the functionality of increasing server RAM and storage without setting it up again. You can leverage this feature to augment resources in case there is more traffic than anticipated. You can also install additional software such as Redis, Solr, and Varnish to further improve the performance of your website.

Maintaining your own VPS can be a bit of a hassle since you have to take care of updates, follow best security practices, and manually alter server resources as per requirement. You also have to be careful with root user passwords and SSH keys. If you lose them, you are at risk of losing all your data on the server. Accessing servers using a root user runs the risk of deleting data accidentally or doing some misconfiguration.

 

Advantages Disadvantages

Cheaper as compared to the cloud or managed hosting

Requires knowledge of server configuration

Provision to install add-on software like Redis and Solr

Can be hacked easily if you don’t follow best security practices

Can be used to host multiple websites

Multiple environments for the same website have to be managed manually

 

Full control of the server to install whatever you need and configure as per your requirement

Ability to modify resources allocated to applications

3. Cloud Hosting

It is common to spin up multiple instances on one of the popular cloud service providers such as AWS, Google, or Azure and then use those to host a Drupal website. All service providers have separate services for hosting different components of a Drupal application. 

The database, codebase, caching engine, search backend, etc., can all run on different virtual machines. This gives a huge boost to your application’s performance. The advanced level users can also set up load balancers or even use Kubernetes for hosting their applications. All the cloud platforms provide enterprise-level security for your data as well as access to the infrastructure. Websites with huge traffic should definitely prefer cloud hosting for lower load time and maximum uptime.

Drupal offers various contributed modules and an array of resources for hosting applications on the cloud. With the right kind of configuration, you can take maximum advantage of add-on services provided by cloud platforms. 

A cloud platform is considered as an expensive Drupal hosting option since it charges you for pretty much everything you use, multiplied by your usage. You would also need a professional with a good understanding of the setup and configuration of the cloud.

 

Advantages Disadvantages

Secure hosting environment

Requires a very good understanding of cloud infrastructure to host even a simple website

High performance for handling huge traffic loads easily

Expensive compared to VPS and shared hosting

Utilizes the best principles of Workload distribution

Debugging infrastructure-level issues can be difficult

 

 

Offers to easily modify resources allocated to a website

Allows you to take advantage of new technologies such as Kubernetes and Elastic Beanstalk to automate scaling

Comes with a 100% uptime guarantee

4. Managed Hosting

Many websites face challenges such as high downtime, the need for a professional to manage infrastructure, or very high costs with all the hosting types that we discussed till now. In a bid to provide an ideal solution to website owners, many reliable platforms started providing facilities for managed hosting. 

Managed hosting providers do the tough job of maintaining the infrastructure, system updates, and protection from various types of attacks. They provide you with a simple UI to push code for your application, upload files, and manage various development environments easily. 

Setting up CI/CD is also very easy with pre-configured templates, making it one of the best Drupal hosting options. The facility of scaling and load balancing is also provided. The best managed hosting platforms for a Drupal website are Acquia Cloud, Platform.sh, and Pantheon.

With this option, it might feel like spending way too much on hosting and having to make the tough choice between ease vs budget. You might find it difficult to integrate your website with any other application hosted on different platforms as you don’t have access to the virtual private cloud.

Situations could arise wherein you cannot integrate a different technology application as your provider doesn’t have support for that.

 

Advantages Disadvantages
Allows easily launching of websites at an enterprise scale

Very expensive

High-performance

Integration with external applications isn’t good in various cases

Good security

Relies on the providers for add-on features

 
 
 

Dedicated support team

No hassle of infrastructure management or updates

Comes with guaranteed uptime

Conclusion

I hope this roundup was able to help you decide what the best hosting choice for your project would be. The official vendor list by Drupal.org will provide you with more details and benefits of any particular vendor you’re looking for. Migrating your Drupal website to a different type of hosting or a service provider isn’t difficult as all you have to do is grab your codebase, database, and files and move them accordingly.

About the Author
Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Drupal Engineer
About the Author

Gaurav Kapoor, Senior Drupal Engineer

Gaurav is a storyteller. An Arsenal FC fan, he also enjoys reading Amish Tripathi's works on Hindu Mythology. He has been spending every Friday evening at his favorite bar for more than two years now. Need a dose of sarcasm? He is your guy!


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