Dear Ditto,

Talk to me about hosting. What changes or differences can I expect if I'm planning a move from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8?

Advice from:
Olumide Adebo
Systems Adminstrator

We’ve really been enjoying working with Drupal 8 so far, and as Peter wrote about previously, there are some big improvements that make the investment worthwhile. But your beautiful design and carefully crafted content doesn’t mean a thing if your website doesn’t perform well — especially when we know that improving page load times by just a second has a meaningful impact on bounce rates and attention from visitors.

So while hosting a Drupal 8 site is not entirely different than Drupal 7, there are a few differences and we thought it would be helpful to share a few of the lessons we’ve learned about hosting Drupal 8 websites so far.

Be prepared to update Drupal 8’s core more frequently

The reality for any major software release is that not everything gets done in version 1.0. Or, in this case, 8.0. There are bugs to fix, occasional features to add, compatibility with other systems, etc. That’s why after any major software release you can expect updates—especially on the bug front—to come more frequently than for software that’s matured over years.

These issues are exacerbated on a system like Drupal 8 where the architecture has been rebuilt and there exists a large number of modules provided by such a large community. Although we expect the pace of updates will gradually slow down to where Drupal 7 is today, you should expect that Drupal 8 core will receive frequent updates at least over the next year. If you do your own updates or pay hourly for the service, you should expect to budget a little more, either in time or money, to perform this maintenance.

Note: If you host your site with Echo, have no fear. At Echo, we offer concierge hosting which, in addition to standard hosting services like backups and monitoring, includes security updates to Drupal core as well as your modules.

Look beyond the basic system requirements

As with any piece of software, Drupal 8 has some basic system requirements. But, if you want to make sure you’ve set your site up to run as smoothly as possible and to cause as few issues as possible when it comes to fixing things, we have a little advice: use PHP 5.6.

There are a few reasons. First, PHP 5.5 has already reached its end of life. Then, there’s the boost to performance and stability your Drupal 8 site will have. Lastly, paired with the requirement to use DRUSH 8, when managing a Drupal 8 site, PHP 5.6 provides the best cross support between the two.

What’s next?

As with the versions before it, Drupal 8 will continue to evolve over the coming years, and as it does we’ll be here to guide you through it. If you have any questions about Drupal 8, get in touch and we may just cover it here.

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