Deciding to use Drupal as your CMS of choice is a great decision. It’s open source, extremely customizable, and search engines like it. Now you have to find a Drupal web hosting company to fit your needs. Here are five things to consider when choosing a Drupal web host.
1. Does the Web Host Have Proper Support for a Drupal Installation?
In this case, “support” represents two different things. The first thing is the platform. Make sure that the web hosting account you choose has the actual equipment and software to support a Drupal installation. Drupal requires the following:
• An Apache, Nginx, or Microsoft IIS web server
• At least 15 megabytes of disk space
• PHP support
• MySQL or other database support
The more recent the version of Drupal, the more recent the versions of PHP and database software you require. In most cases, if the web host offers Drupal, then it likely meets the requirements.
I would check which versions the web host offers, and match it against the requirements from the official Drupal site to be sure. Even better, you can look for hosts that fine-tune the database and PHP settings specifically for Drupal.
The second kind of support you are looking for is tech support. If something goes wrong with your Drupal installation or if there are any problems, you want a host that can actually help you. Just because a web host offers Drupal, it does not mean it can help you troubleshoot Drupal related issues.
There is a lot of documentation online, but sometimes it’s far easier, and quicker, to just speak with your web host and see if they have a solution for you. So make sure the host you choose has a knowledgeable team.
2. Does the Host Offer an Easy Installation and Use?
What kind of solution appeals to you most? Would you like a turnkey solution where your host sets everything up for you? Or are you more interested in a host that gives you the tools you need, but allows you to make all the decisions and changes you want on your own? This is an important consideration for many reasons.
• Do you know, or are you willing to learn, how to set up a Drupal account?
• Do you know how to propagate your hosting account with all the things you need?
If you answer yes to either of those questions, then you may want a host that gives you the freedom to do such things, not all of them do. If you answered no, then you want a host that has an easy setup, or one that will do the heavy lifting for you.
I like to have as much control over my Drupal installation as possible. If I want to tweak my php.ini file, or customize my database, then I do not want any gatekeepers to pass in order to do so.
On the other hand, you may not want to ever look under the hood of your Drupal installation. Choose a host that can match your own expertise.
3. Does the Web Host Offer Many Drupal-centric Features?
Just because a web host offers or allows Drupal installations, it does not mean that it is a Drupal-centric host. When considering a Drupal web host, make sure it offers Drupal-specific add-ons and modules.
This can save you a ton of hassle by giving you all of the things you need in one place. You will not have to go searching the Internet for the most popular and useful modules and extensions. Other than modules, you will want some examples of Drupal themes that are ready to go for you.
4. Does the Web Host Offer Drupal Specific Security Measures
No piece of software is immune to hacks, exploits, and other harmful actions. Drupal is no different in this respect. A Drupal web host should have security measures in place to protect a Drupal installation specifically. This can include patches, explicit PHP settings, and database settings geared towards keeping Drupal as safe as possible.
You will have to take your own security precautions, but your web host should at least have the bare minimum protections available for you. When choosing a host, look specifically for what kind of security measures the host utilizes. These measures should affect every aspect of your hosting account, from the setup of the server to the way it installs Drupal.
5. Is The Web Host Company a Good Web Host Overall?
Many of the previous considerations apply specifically to Drupal web hosts. You should also make sure the host fits the requirements for being a good web host in general. Look for a host with excellent uptime, superb customer service, and features that make your life easier.
Do not think that because you are looking for Drupal web hosting, you have to sacrifice good web hosting services. The two things can go hand-in-hand.
Choosing a web hosting company comes with many considerations. Some of those will have to do with your budget, and some will have to do with your personal or business needs. Many people choose hosts that offer Drupal over other types of content management systems.
However, just knowing that you want to use Drupal is only the first step. Keep these considerations in mind and find the Drupal hosting company that is right for you.