Drupal is an open-source and free content management system that enjoys strong support of a large community. Right from building basic websites to complex monoliths, you can use Drupal for everything. It was in 2000 that Drupal was launched and in around 20 years of the time period it has been able to build 2700 themes and 38000 modules. If we look at the content management systems out there in the market,
Drupal is the third most popular option with a 4.7% share of the CMS market.
It can be said that there are more than 1 million websites built on Drupal.
There are 1.3 million members in the Drupal community
Now, this is enough to speak the worth of the CMS!
Why it’s Important to Update your Drupal Website?
Even though Drupal is quite a secure platform for the business, it is still not completely secured from the hands of spam bots and hackers. Being an open-source makes Drupal more of a secure thing and it is taken care by a number of security experts who work continuously to check for weaknesses in the core or for vulnerabilities and its modules. Once the security team finds such an issue then they will quickly come up with a security update or a patch for the module in question and release it soon.
Once the release is out there, it is then the responsibility of the Drupal site owner to come forward and make use of the release. You need to keep in mind that whether you have a small or a large project, it will be targeted by the spam robots. Now the issue in here is that once the word related to the security issue goes out, the hackers will be scanning the web to just look for those vulnerabilities. So for the same reason, it would be wise enough for the website owners to go ahead and update the new security patch available for their website on a regular basis.
A Drupal site that is regularly maintained and updated of issues and threats will perform as expected. This means there will be no big issues coming in and this will save a lot of expenses in the long run.
What does Drupal Maintenance and Support Services include?
The maintenance and support service includes a number of services. However, here we are with the important ones which you should consider:
Making security updates:
It is one of the main aspects of the website maintenance service which you need to follow for your website. When we are talking about websites that are built on CMS like Drupal, you will find in here a number of moving parts. So you need to install web security in it and often update the website with a security patch. Leaving your website vulnerable will compromise the security of the site.
Drupal’s Security Update Ensures:
- User Access Control
- Database Encryption
- Information sharing via security reports
- Auto-update and core validation work in partnership with GitHub
- Prevention of malicious data entry
- Mitigation of Denial of Service (DoS) attacks
- Patching of issues before they’re exploited
Here is a Twitter account from where you can get updated about every critical or regular security update
Every new version update in software is targeted to make bug fixes or security patches, which was found in the earlier version. This means, when you update your website to the latest version, you improve the features, functionality, and security of your website. This will keep your site secure and off from any threats. Right now the latest stable version is Drupal 9.0.
You can upgrade to latest Drupal 9 version directly from version 7 or if you are using version 8 then also it is recommendable to upgrade to version 9 . To know more on how to upgrade to latest Drupal Version 9 visit here.
Drupal 7 users will be able to directly migrate to Drupal 9 once it has been released. But prior to release, we would recommend moving to Drupal 8 in the short term.
Why move to Drupal 8 in the short term? For these benefits that will carry over into 9:
- 90% of the work required to migrate to Drupal 9 is accomplished by migrating on to 8 – after that, you’re ready for 9!
- Integrated configuration management – Control data and component display; no code necessary
- Out-of-the-box media management – Effortless authoring that’s centrally managed
- Fully multilingual capabilities – Choose from 100(!) languages
- Accessibility for everyone – Create dynamic content interactions that are more usable
- Mobile-first design – Communicate on the platforms where your audience is
- Fastest performance yet – Pages load faster with caching features
Third-party integration support:
The plugins and other integrations that you have on your website from third-party should also be constantly updated.The update is focused on reducing errors, improving functionality and increasing bug fixes. So if you are not updating them for your website, then you will be missing out on some good things for sure and this can even compromise the user experience. For the same reason, you need to have third-party integration support service included in your website maintenance and support service.
The regression testing is implemented to ensure that the changes in the Drupal web app do not affect the other existing functionality.
Whenever a new feature or functionality is added to a website or a new code change is made to the existing ones, we carry out regression testing. The main aim of this kind of testing is to make sure that the new changes have not affected the existing ones in any negative manner. Apart from that, regression testing is also about catching the bugs and fixing it quickly. The testing ensures that the new change is behaving well with the other features and functionalities in to the app.
During the software maintenance stage, developers carry out the task of bug resolution. The process is performed by the developers where they focus on to find, fix, test, and document bugs. The developers carry out this task in a collaborative manner and use their expertise to resolve bugs efficiently.
Hosting infrastructure maintenance:
When it comes to any online business, everyone wants their IT part to work as expected. Most of the time website owners end up spending the majority of their time working on daily operations and managing vendors. Now it is possible to offer more focus on the IT infrastructure by going for a dedicated hosting provider. This will provide you with more time to concentrate on your business properly.
360-degree monitoring and abnormality alerts:
By going for dedicated maintenance and support service, it will become possible to keep an eye over different aspects of the business. This service will offer you continuous monitoring of the business and look for issues everywhere.
What if your website becomes inaccessible to the users one fine day? In such a situation you will need to quickly act and make things right. This is where you need to have emergency support service to your website and a dedicated maintenance and support service can offer you this.
Minor feature improvements:
Not all changes to be made to the Drupal website are huge and critical. Proper Drupal website maintenance service will ensure that even the small changes can be applied to the website as per the requirements.
The services offered under the umbrella of drupal maintenance and support services may vary from business to business. In case you have a business that is of an intermediate level then you can simply go for a standard plan which will cover the business for around 5 hours. Such a plan will be enough to cover all the maintenance needs of the business website.
In the same manner, if you are having a website of enterprise-level then you will find a number of websites which enjoys a number of similar functionalities. So you can go for an enterprise-level maintenance plan which will meet your business needs like checking for out-dated functionalities, malware, immediate security upgrades, 24*7 support, and finding and resolving bugs.
How to Reduce Drupal Maintenance & Support Cost?
Developing a Drupal site is not the end of the sweet story; rather it just begins the second half. If you want to keep your Drupal site running as expected then you should plan the maintenance service ahead. This will help you keep a track of everything beforehand and save you from surprise errors later. Keeping everything under control means you will be saving on your budget too.
Website maintenance is a regularly happening expense and so you need to check all the aspects to keep it under control. You must, first of all, identify the recurring costs that are happening on your website. Once you have listed them down, you need to know whether they are important to be carried out or not.
Maintain Clean Coding Standards:
The developer who writes code for your Drupal site will not be carrying the maintenance of the website later. This means if you are not clear about your coding, you will end up wasting more time and money on the developer who will be later carrying out the maintenance services. This can be avoided to a great extent by making use of proper comments and documentation along with your codes. This will offer clarity to the developer when maintaining the site and help him get the work done quickly. Such a step will save a good amount on the maintenance budget too.
Think before implementing new functionality:
When you release a Drupal site, you only add in the functionality and features which are needed to get started. Later everything is added in the new releases. So whenever you plan to add in a new functionality of a later release, you need to analyze its need first. You need to be sure whether it adds in some value to the website or not. In case it does not do much to your site then there is no meaning in spending money, time, and effort in building it in the first place.
Never use outdated third party modules:
Usually Drupal developers to make use of third-party modules on the website to add in extra functionality or features. But what if the modules are not updated? This will not offer the expected results and may even create compatibility issues with the latest version of Drupal. So it would be recommended that you always make use of the latest version of the third-party modules as it will save you from issues thereby leading to lower maintenance costs.
Always use Latest Drupal Version:
It is very important that you use the latest Drupal version for your site. It is advisable that you manually check for updates every few days. If keeps on pushing updates for later, it is time you get them done. Every new version release is focused on fixing some bugs and correcting some errors. This means it will do good to you and save you with maintenance costs later.
Hire developer from countries like India:
The developers in countries like India charge less amount of price for their development and maintenance services. This means, if you choose to go for a developer from India for your Drupal maintenance and support services, you will be able to save significantly well on your budget.
Should I hire a Drupal Development Company to maintain My Website?
Now, this is a million-dollar question! If you are not technically sound and don’t know how things work then you should hire a team of experts. If you are a technically sound and used Drupal for years, you will probably not need to have experts.
You should think about hiring a Drupal Development Company…
- In case you are planning to go for better Drupal versions
- If your Drupal site is making use of many custom modules
- When your site contains many custom integrations
- If you do not have the right people to carry out security updates
- When have no idea how to code for the site
- If your Drupal site contains a number of different servers
- When no prior experience of carrying out updates for your Drupal site
- If you need to have the documentation and training for maintenance services
Wrapping it up
Drupal is one of the most popular CMS solutions you have out there in the market. Its popularity has led many companies to use it for their website development. If building the website is crucial then maintaining it is critical too. This means you will be spending money and effort in the years to come just to ensure your Drupal site performs as expected. This can only be done without affecting your budget drastically by controlling the maintenance and support service costs.