Rapid change means adaptability is needed

The investment in Drupal over the past ten years is a prime example of its global reach, not to mention its longevity, stability, and adaptability. With that growth comes advancements made in its core software development. This rapidly changing component of Drupal is necessary to meet the changes in infrastructure, cloud hosting, bandwidth demand, and many other variables being introduced over time.

Given the rate currently related to the speed of Drupal’s software changes, engaging a support group to maintain your website should remain a vital focus goal.

Understanding why

If we look at ourselves, for example, eating well with a bit of routine exercise are two ways we maintain our bodies to avoid illness. If we neglect either, over time, we will begin to feel unwell as we stopped taking care of ourselves. The same association can be in relation to your website. IT will react to neglect and begin to underperform quickly.

Let's take a look below, why Drupal support is an essential factor in your website's lifecycle:

Security: Drupal site’s code contains several parts

• Core application

• Contributing modules

• The base themes

• Its bank of Libraries

• Any (or additional) custom modules and themes

Any of these components may contain bugs that compromise the security of your website. The benefit of engaging a Drupal support team has expert developers within reach who will evaluate issues and take the lead to quickly fix the problem, maintaining the integrity of your online business.

Part of this process is proactively updating all security patches while maintaining enhanced functionality and performance.

Website performance: With technologies becoming more complex over time, performance will be affected, irrespective of whether there were no changes on the website. It is merely the nature of the change in hardware and software infrastructure of where your website is hosted and/or running processes. As the technology is updated on the infrastructure side, it would greatly benefit your site to have the Drupal support team quickly remediate a major performance issue of slow page loads. These changes can happen when infrastructure changes have been made on the site’s web host side.

The Drupal community is a large group fully committed to providing quick, stable solutions to changes in web infrastructure. Your Drupal support team is a part of that vast repository of knowledge.

Third-party apps and some broken features: One of the greatest benefits of Drupal is its incredible ability to integrate with hundreds of third-party applications. A few examples include Google Analytics, MailChimp a wide variety of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools, which are all very important for any business to have. For a third-party application to work correctly with Drupal, an Application Programming Interface (API) must be used.

In short, this is the interface that will speak both code languages of your website and the third-party software to get the job done. Without maintenance, over time changes are made to how the services interact with each other and can break the features on the website that were the purpose of using the third-party application. Your Drupal support team would assess and provide fixes or upgrades to modules affected.

Time vs. Money: On the surface, it is understandable to think that engaging a Drupal support team is an added expense worth giving much deliberation on. We tend to think it is just a natural extension of the website required maintenance. More time and money are saved over the long term when regular maintenance is engaged. Incremental and major updates allow for more periodic minor code changes. This would also include taking care of database repairs, file cleanups, compromised sectors etc.

Your Drupal support team will be able to identify and repair issues much faster, knowing the website is up to date. Finding the root cause is almost immediate, thereby keeping the website up and running, avoiding expensive downtime and significant loss to potential business.

Considerations Depending on your situation, recovery can be quick and painless or much more painful with business loss as a result if a Drupal support team is not engaged.

Scalability is an important factor to consider. As your business grows, website demand increases. Depending on the technology used, you may face an uphill battle to figure out a solution. Your Drupal team will be able to navigate on your behalf to identify the distributed environment needed or whether it is time to use CDN support or new caching design or in implementing performance optimizations.

Drupal has its own version updates as well. In an effort to always be mindful of security, Drupal updates themselves contain more than just new functionality. The contain security updates and bug fixes to help the site maintain a robust and secure status. It is always the goal to avoid missing out on effective improvements to the software environment. A basic example would be the change from Drupal 7 to 8. In Drupal 8, the introduction of mobile and global capabilities is introduced. You have now just tapped into a potentially major revenue market source.

Final thoughts

You will always have the option to support the website with your own in-house team. This will mean that support is not only 24/7, but security updates and the responsibility/ownership of their successful deployment are completed regularly. Also, that a full understanding of all errors on any module is not only understood within the module but also what the impact would be to other modules, databases etc.

This is only the surface of concerns though for the team as they will need to deal with changes to browser updates, JavaScript/CSS libraries and formats used on the website. Additionally, PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding knowledge is critical; no to mention hot and cold database back-up knowledge.

Keeping this software synergy running smoothly does take time and effort. There may be a concern that the local team’s time may be pulled away from other priorities in the business. If this is the case, business loss will occur as productivity will be compromised somewhere.