Drupal Hosting with Acquia

Who do I host my Drupal site with? Acquia, Pantheon or Platform.sh

Are you looking for a Drupal hosting company for your website? Whether you are a small to midsize company or have enterprise-level hosting needs, it can be difficult to know that you’re making the right decision—after all, there are hundreds of options available, from Pantheon to Platform.sh, and everything in between.

And then there’s us. Acquia.

What differentiates us?

It’s more than the fact we were established by the founder of Drupal itself, Dries Buytaert.

It’s our commitment to what we believe is the basic foundation of a client-oriented cloud company: scalability, security, and support. And it’s unmatched by what you’ll find offered by any other hosting company out there.

Scalability

Acquia provides flexible scale for websites of all sizes; in fact, many of the largest Drupal sites in the world are hosted on our platform. With Acquia Cloud as your foundation, you’ll have the hosting services, development tools, and enterprise-grade security—all built specifically for Drupal 8—that you need to build and manage innovative, customer-centered Drupal-based digital experiences.

But we also know that businesses today need the flexibility to efficiently and scale their digital presence. When you’re already using Drupal, Drupal multisite offers an ideal solution for this problem, allowing you to use a single codebase to build manage dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of sites (though you may be surprised to learn that not all other Drupal hosting companies agree with this stance—even though some of the world’s best-known brands do, and are thriving with it!)

To take full advantage of Drupal multisite, we created Acquia Cloud Site Factory (ACSF), through which you’re able to host and manage multiple sites from a single dashboard. And ACSF’s easy site creation tools make it simple for your non-technical users to help create and manage your digital presence.

We’re always looking ahead at what’s to come. That means that when you’re ready to adopt the latest digital tools and technology, your website is ready, too. With our developer tools and resources such as APIs, command line tools, integrations, GUIs, and the brand-new Acquia Developer Studio, we help you get up to speed more quickly, and implement new websites and technologies faster (no more wasting time merely tooling your applications, rather than innovating). So when you decide to adopt a decoupled content architecture using Node.js or other JavaScript libraries, we’re there to support you.

Security

There is no job more important than keeping your—and your customers’—data safe and secure. We pride ourselves on being the company that has the resources and expertise to make sure that happens.

Acquia Cloud Edge, with a network capacity 15 times bigger than the largest DDoS attack ever recorded, has the tools needed to keep your site secure, without sacrificing speed.

In addition, we have an extensive compliance portfolio of audits and third-party certifications, in industries and services ranging from payment processing to health care to higher education, that demonstrates just how extensive our security controls are. Just some of them include the Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Federal Education Records Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP).

Support

Do you have custom code on your website? With many hosting companies, including Pantheon and Platform.sh, you’re out of luck if you need support.

Not Acquia.

Our support for custom code is just one example of the countless ways in which Acquia’s support services are unparalleled by any other hosting company.

Our developers and technical experts are available 24/7 in all time zones, and in seven languages. Even better, when you need us, you can talk to us—we’ll connect you with a live person who you can discuss your issues one to one. Other popular Drupal hosting companies limit you only to live chat support—even when you’re paying thousands of dollars specifically for their help and expertise.

But our support services aren’t limited only to the behind-the-scenes work of keeping your codebase up and running smoothly. We also offer services to help with your website’s architecture; audits for security, performance, and more; and general updates to your website—all lead by experts in the field.

Comparing Drupal Hosting Companies

With each hosting company offering a myriad of features, technology, and support resources, we know it can be difficult to easily compare them. If your business goal is to get a simple site up and keep it running using WordPress or another CMS, Pantheon and Platform.sh are both good options. But if you’re looking for more than just the basics from your hosting solution, such as scalability, security, and support, Acquia is the way to go.

Recently Acquia conducted several interviews with developers on the tools that were available to them and their preferences. In this research, we found that Pantheon and Platform.sh exceeded Acquia’s offering. With this insight, Acquia has focused its efforts on building tools that help developers create more, and build faster. Acquia Developer Studio will be an offering available in 2019 that should exceed our competitors offerings.

To help you in researching your options, here’s a convenient, easy-to-understand breakdown on how Acquia stands out among some of the most popular hosting companies.

Pantheon

Drawbacks of Pantheon:

  • Lacks the robust architecture necessary to support your Drupal enterprise-grade websites—a shortcoming that can hamper your website’s capacity to scale and grow.   

  • Support for Drupal applications, security patching, or upgrades to modules and core is not included in its standard pricing, which means you’ll incur additional costs for this work.

  • Has a cumbersome approach to Drupal multisite, making it both more costly and time-consuming for your business to create, manage, and update multiple websites, while also introducing security vulnerabilities.

  • A limited support infrastructure means that the company relies on third-party, pass-through compliance certifications from Google Cloud

How Acquia compares to Pantheon:

  • We’re well-equipped with the security, scalability, support and speed to market required by enterprise-level websites—in fact, some of the largest Drupal websites in the world, such as NBC, Warner Music Group, Nestle, Wendy’s, Paychex, and Conagra, are hosted on our platform.

  • Acquia has nearly 800 employees and at least ten full-time Drupal contributors. Acquia works to resolve some of the most complex issues on Drupal.org. We are equipped to tackle almost all issues with your Drupal installation. Comparatively to Pantheon, which didn’t make it in the top 30 organizations for drupal commit credits, in 2017-2018 Acquia had 1271 credits. Pantheon, while spread thin across multiple platforms (i.e Wordpress and Drupal), does not contribute back to the community as much as other leading companies such as Acquia.

  • Acquia’s Cloud Site Factory allows you to manage all of your Drupal websites from a single, centralized dashboard, while a single Drupal codebase helps enforce brand consistency and allows for faster, more secure updates.

  • We perform independent security audits on our own platform, and meet the security requirements of some of the world’s most stringent third-party audits and certifications.  

  • If you need support, you can speak directly with a technical expert on the Acquia team at any time—our support services are available 24/7, and across all time zones.

Platform.sh

Drawbacks of Platform.sh:

  • A one-size-fits-all approach that supports a wide range of CMS platforms beyond Drupal, as well as multiple frontend app technologies. This means that if you need Drupal-specific assistance for your website, you’ll incur additional costs for this expertise.

  • Lacks important security compliance certifications beyond the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the German Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG)

  • A limited focus on building Drupal-specific applications hamstrings your ability to create a website finely tailored to your business needs

  • Like many hosting companies, offers no support for custom applications and code.

How Acquia compares to Platform.sh:

  • We focus exclusively on Drupal, which means our team is the best of the best in all facets of the platform, from development to design to support. If you need help, we’re ready with answers to your questions—and without any additional costs.

  • Our robust portfolio of audit and security certifications ensures that, regardless of your industry, our platform meets your security requirements.

  • Our support services are available to assist with any custom code on your site, because we know that the success of your website depends on all of its components working together seamlessly—you can’t just pick and choose.

Beyond Hosting

Whether you’re creating, growing, or expanding your digital presence, hosting is just one of many issues you’ll need to address. To help you do just that, we offer a variety of additional tools that make Acquia a one-stop shopping option for creating optimal, and innovative, digital brand experiences for your customers.

Our customers run a wide range of applications on our platform globally. When you’re ready to take your website to the next level, tools like Acquia Lift, Acquia Journey, and Acquia Digital Asset Manager (DAM) can help you create custom customer experiences, map the ideal customer journey, and manage digital brand assets in a central library for all your Drupal sites. (You’re not going to find options like these with other hosting companies, even some of the most popular ones around.)

But that’s not all we’re about. We know we’re only as strong as our Drupal foundation is, and that’s why we have a function of our company dedicated specifically to giving code and design contributions back to Drupal for the betterment of the community, which is the largest open-source community by number of members in the world.

We’re proud of this work, and it’s important. (And we’re not the only ones who think so, either. Learn more about why Fortune 500 biopharmaceutical company Pfizer only works with agencies and vendors that contribute back to Drupal here).

“We’ve been fortunate to work on some of the most complex, highest-trafficked Drupal sites in the world,” says Justin Edmond, co-founder and CEO of Drupal development and design agency Third & Grove. “Given the diversity of our client base, we work with a variety of hosting platforms, including unmanaged traditional rack hosting, managed cloud offerings, and the three leading managed cloud offerings specifically designed for Drupal. Pushing these platforms to the limit with complex integrations and high traffic has taught us that the most stable Drupal cloud infrastructure is Acquia.”

(You read more about the reasons why Justin has returned to Acquia again and again for 5+ years here).

But you don’t have to simply take our word on why Acquia can help you accelerate your digital presence in a way no other hosting company can. Check out these case studies to see some of what we’ve achieved for our clients—and then contact us here to let us know how we can do the same for you.

Adrianna Shukla

Former Senior Manager of Editorial and Web Operations Acquia