It’s easy to assume that Acquia hosting is optimized for Drupal. After all, Acquia was co-founded by Dries Buytaert, the inventor of Drupal. Today, Dries is not only the Chief Technology Officer and board member at Acquia, but he is also Project Lead for the entire open source Drupal project.
Although Acquia has grown into a fully loaded digital experience platform, it still has Drupal at its core: it was built for Drupal developers, by Drupal developers. Year after year, Acquia employees make the company the leading contributor to Drupal, by a wide margin. After more than a dozen years in business, we are still the best place to host your Drupal sites.
So, yes, Acquia = Drupal expertise.
But how exactly does that expertise translate into awesomely optimized Drupal sites? That was the question I put to two experienced Acquians: Matthew Grasmick, the Principal Product Manager on Acquia’s Drupal Acceleration Team and Aaron “Checo” Pacheco, the Product Manager for Acquia Cloud.
When speaking with Checo and Matt, they essentially broke the concept of “optimized for Drupal” down into three high-level categories: Performance, Security, Developer Efficiency. In this series of three blog posts, I’ll be breaking down exactly how Acquia delivers the best Drupal experience possible, beginning with our multi-layered, reliable infrastructure.
When you host with Acquia, you have access to six robust and finely-tuned layers of caching:
- A CDN (content delivery network) -- This is included with many new Enterprise subscriptions today, and will soon be available at all levels of our platform. By leveraging a global network of servers to deliver content to our customers’ end-users, we can ensure that Acquia-hosted sites operate with maximum speed anywhere in the world. We’ve also gone the extra mile to ensure that we partner with a CDN partner that works with Drupal 8’s tag-based cache invalidation features.
- Varnish -- This not only allows customers without a CDN to improve site performance, it also provides top-tier customers with the flexibility they need to customize edge-layer behaviors like path-based redirects and IP whitelisting. The default Varnish settings on our platform are routinely updated as Drupal 8 continues to evolve.
- Memcache -- We don’t just provide in-memory caching to reduce database load and improve site performance, we continuously tune the default settings and provide expertise-driven documentation to ensure that customers are getting the maximum value for this service. We also provide our largest customers with more robust Memcached infrastructure to maximize performance and high-availability.
- APC (Alternative PHP Cache) -- improves the performance of php itself, and again is something we routinely tweak and optimize based on the behaviors we see on live customer sites as Drupal continues to evolve.
- Twig Caching -- for Drupal 8 customers, Acquia is routinely making updates to our Twig cache settings to ensure that compiled theme templates and related data have the resources they need to further improve response times on any Drupal requests that bypass Varnish.
- MySQL DB Query Caching -- for all those requests that still make it through to the database layer, we utilize MySQL’s DB query caching functionality to reduce database load and optimize query response times, reducing the frequency of slow queries generated by Drupal applications which have not been properly optimized.