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ASU Drupal Best Practices: Improving Performance

Quick and easy recommendations

These settings can be found at Administer > Site Configuration > Performance.

  • Set the caching mode to be at least "Normal," and if there are no warnings about the "Aggressive" cache, use it.
  • Enable page compression.
  • If you aren't using any modules that perform content access restrictions, enable the Block Cache.
  • Turn on CSS and JS compression.

Other recommendations

  • If you run a fairly large site, consider moving search out of Drupal. There are several options for search outside of Drupal core, the best for ASU being the Google Search Appliance. However, if your content contains access control restrictions, the GSA is not a good solution and you might want to consider something like Apache Solr.
  • Modules that define content access restrictions, such as Taxonomy Access Control or Organic Groups, can adversely affect performance due to their need to perform extra queries on each page load in order to determine content access for the current user. If these modules aren't necessary, disable them!
  • If you're still on Drupal 5, upgrade to Drupal 6. Drupal 6 contains many performance improvements, so simply upgrading can provide noticeable improvements in speed.
  • Install an op-code cache (APC is recommended). Op-code caches store the compiled PHP code in memory, alleviating the need to recompile code on every page load. They do so very smartly, and using them can dramatically improve site performance. Note: Op-code cache is already enabled for sites running in ASU's web hosting environment.
  • Run Memcache. This is an advanced technique for improving performance, and requires close coordination with your server administrators, but can improve site performance considerably.