Drupal Optimization

How To Speed Up Your Drupal Site?

Drupal has earned a well-deserved reputation of being a robust and very reliable Content Management System. It is highly scalable and can suit the needs of a wide variety of websites. However, sometimes users do tend to wonder: is there anything that can be done to speed up your Drupal site?

There is no doubt that Drupal comes with features that can only be added to other CMSs by means of plugins or extensions. It offers native caching measures and a lot more optimization tweaks that you can activate to boost the performance of your Drupal website.

In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the major ways in which you can speed up your Drupal site. 

How To Speed Up Your Drupal Site?

Use Caching

Drupal comes with some caching measures built in its core (unlike WordPress, wherein you have to activate plugins for even basic caching). You can easily activate Page Caching under Configuration → Development → Performance.

Beyond that, you can also activate Views Caching or Panels Caching if you are working with the views or panels modules. However, what if you need some greater control over the caching of your Drupal website? The native caching functions are helpful, but you can also employ additional modules for this purpose.

If your Drupal site is not serving lots of dynamic content, you should definitely look at the Boost module. It can turn all Drupal pages into pure HTML files, thereby helping you speed up your Drupal site. Cache Graceful is also another helpful caching module.

Optimize Your Images

Once again, Drupal does allow image compression features without the use of any external plugins or modules. You can specify the compression ratio, though for beginner-level users, it is wiser to leave the value unchanged.

However, you should take a look at modules such as Image Optimize that can compress your images to save page loading times. If you want to implement lazy loading of images (a good idea if you have many images on one page), Lazyloader is a versatile and powerful Drupal module for this purpose.

Another thing that you can bear in mind is to avoid relying on CSS queries to scale your images. Image Resize Filter can scale your images as and when you upload them, thereby saving CSS queries during page load and doing its bit to speed up your Drupal site.

Use a Content Delivery Network

You can make use of a CDN such as CloudFlare to further speed up your Drupal site. Such CDNs can serve your content through their global cloud servers thereby helping your website load faster.

For smaller sites and personal projects, a CDN is often not required. However, if you are running a heavy site with lots of traffic, a CDN can really help you manifolds and save a good deal of bandwidth and page load times.

Additional Tips to Speed up Your Drupal Site

You can take the following steps to further speed up your Drupal site.

  • Always ensure you are running the latest stable version of Drupal. Each new version comes with performance enhancements of its own and tends to be faster than its previous counterparts. From a security perspective as well, running the latest version of Drupal is the wiser thing to do.
  • Make sure your website does not have too many broken links. Drupal consumes a fair bit of memory when delivering a 404 error and on smaller shared hosting packages, it can make your website really slow at times. Using a module such as Fast 404 can also save memory consumption if a 404 error is generated.
  • Try to deactivate unwanted modules. If you are not into development, you probably do not need the Devel module activated. Similarly, instead of using the Statistics module (that thrashes your database on every new page load), you can make use of Google Analytics to speed up your Drupal site.
  • To improve page load times, you can combine your CSS and JavaScript files. This way your user’s web browser will have to fetch lesser files and generate lesser queries, thereby saving time. You can combine the CSS and JS files under Configuration → Development → Performance section in Drupal. Alternatively, you can make use of the Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation module.
  • If you are worried about your website being slow due to unwanted logs being made, you can try disabling database logging with the help of Syslog-NG module.

Choose the Right Web Host

There are various web hosting providers out there and everyone claims to know Drupal well enough. However, unlike other CMSs, Drupal does need a good deal of memory and server stability to be able to run at its optimum pace. You must also bear in mind that Drupal was designed with scalability as a target — it can run small websites of five pages as well as big sites of millions of pages.

As such, your web hosting provider too should be able to scale to suit the prowess of Drupal. It is a good idea to talk to your web host and learn more about how they can help you speed up your Drupal site. Also, if your web hosting provider offers server-side caching, or supports techniques such as memCache or Redis, it can further boost the performance of your site.

Lastly, keep yourself updated with the official Drupal documentation about speed optimizations. This page offers in-depth details about caching practices as well as other optimization measures.