A Content Management System (CMS (opens in new tab)) is a software solution that can help you put together a professional website with ease. Similar to website builder (opens in new tab) services, there are many such CMS', and along with WordPress (opens in new tab) and Joomla, Drupal (opens in new tab) remains one of the most popular CMS tools that can be used to create everything from personal blogs to message boards to business sites and corporate portals that cater to thousands of users.
The default Drupal installation is rather bare, but thousands of available add-on modules can help you turn the vanilla Drupal installation into a data-serving masterpiece. From making your site more friendly to visitors to improving your search engine ranking, there’s a Drupal module for just about everything.
What are the best Drupal hosting providers?
There are two fundamental methodologies for deploying a Drupal website. The first is to host it by yourself. This is a far more complicated and involved process, and involves not just hunting after the right hardware to deploy your server, but also ensure its maintenance and upkeep. You’ll also have to bear the responsibility of applying security patches, updating and securing essential components such as PHP, etc. Even after all that, you are also responsible for the operating system as well as all the other software that’s installed on the server, and have to ensure the safety and security of your data.
The alternative is to opt for a web hosting (opens in new tab) solution, so that the task of setting up and maintaining the server are handled by professionals. Thankfully, there are many services that specialise in Drupal hosting.
SiteGround (opens in new tab) offers a host of Drupal specific features that should appeal to most users, irrespective of their familiarity or prior experience with Drupal. In addition to providing a free 1-click install of Drupal, SiteGround also boasts of expertise with Drupal and you can tap it’s support service for advice on optimum configuration of Drupal’s settings, as well as help with add-ons and themes.
Not only that, SiteGround also closely monitors all Drupal deployments on their servers. If any major vulnerabilities are detected, SiteGround deploys server lever fixes even before development fixes are released.
The StartUp Plan provides 10 GB storage space and caps the monthly visitors to 10,000. While the storage space might seem insufficient, you can deploy complex Drupal websites with much less. Even so, you can opt for the GrowBig or the GoGeek Plans which respectively provide 20 / 40 GB storage space and cap monthly visitors to 25,000 / 100,000.
While most web hosts provide a standard platform like cPanel (opens in new tab) to help manage your website, SiteGround goes its own way with a custom Site Tools panel. This might take some getting used to, if you have prior experience with cPanel, but SiteGround’s alternative although different, is by no means inferior.
With the low barrier of entry, coupled with the myriad free offerings, SiteGround has positioned itself for new and small businesses looking to build an online platform with Drupal.
In addition to providing a robust service, SiteGround also boasts of 24/7 customer support, which can be over phone or live chat and you can even opt for ticket-based email support. While the response time is near instantaneous in the case of phone and live chat, for emails, the hosting provider strives to respond within 10 minutes.
- Read the full review: SiteGround (opens in new tab)
A2 Hosting (opens in new tab) offers shared plans that aren't quite the cheapest we've seen, but you do get a lot for your money, and experienced users will appreciate the company's many performance-optimizing features and tweaks.
Each of the plans also include a variety of A2 offerings such as free HackScan Protection to block hacks before they can harm your website and data, along with protections against brute force attacks and DDoS protection (opens in new tab).
Although the Startup Plan seems mighty tempting with 100 GB SSD storage, free SSL certificate (opens in new tab), free site migration and a handful of other offerings, you would be better off with the Turbo Boost or the Turbo Max plans, the premium offerings, if you want performance from your Drupal website. With these premium plans, A2 Hosting offers assured higher SEO rankings, up to 20X times faster page load, NVMe drives, and various other features that are geared towards performance.
While A2 Hosting has a robust support network, premium plans also provide a direct line of communication with Drupal experts on staff, should you need help with configuration or deployment. Coupled with free automatic backups and easy restoration of data, it’s easy to see why these top tier plans make sense for businesses and professionals alike. In fact, Drupal itself recommends A2 Hosting’s Turbo plans.
- Read the full review: A2 Hosting (opens in new tab)
Although InMotion Hositng (opens in new tab) also provides shared and dedicated hosting (opens in new tab), it recommends VPS hosting plans for Drupal. If you opt for a 6-month plan, or longer, InMotion also provides free domain for the first year. Each of the Managed VPS plans also include free server migrations, cPanel and WHM control panels, unlimited email, free SSL certificate, dedicated IP address, 90-day money-back guarantee and more.
InMotion also provides thorough monitoring of your website through the Dashboard and you are ensured of maximum uptime of your website thanks to high-availability, which allows for real-time hardware redundancy. The hosting provider also creates a lot of dedicated Drupal-centric content covering configuration, optimization to deployment, to help you get the most out of the platform.
But the biggest drawback with InMotion Hosting is its date centre locations, which are limited to the USA, and the fact that you have to purchase a backup plan separately. With more and more hosting providers expanding the number of data centres across continents, InMotion’s limited offerings mean that performance suffers the farther away you are from the data centre. This might not seem a major concern, especially for smaller websites or ones with limited traffic, but can be fatal for large websites with thousands of users spread across the web.
With InMotion Hosting you must avail the backup plan as an additional add-on for $2/mo, if you want automatic off-server backups, schedule backups, create/restore backups with a single click, etc. Many of these features are offered for free by most hosting providers in their mid-range or premium hosting plans.
VPS hosting is far more expensive than shared hosting, but offers greater resources. For instance, even the cheapest InMotion Hosting managed VPS hosting plan would get you 4TB bandwidth and 45 GB disk space, but with 2 GB RAM and 2 CPU cores. While the space and bandwidth should suffice for just about all manner of websites, the CPU and RAM leave a lot to be desired.
- Read the full review: InMotion Hosting (opens in new tab)
GreenGeeks (opens in new tab) offers shared hosting as well as managed VPS hosting. It’s one of the most well known eco-friendly hosting providers with all the features you would expect such as 1-click install, automatic backups, security deployments, 24/7 support, and more.
With its vast number of plugins, Drupal can be used to build many different kinds of websites, from simple blogs to photo journals to corporate websites. Managing all of these different kinds of websites with Drupal's graphical management interface can become a bit of a chore, because while a GUI makes it easy to pick the tasks and options you want, it doesn't let you run them quickly. That's where Drush, a Drupal command-line shell, makes a Drupal administrator's job easy. Drush can make it easy for you to perform an internal cleanup, do a fresh Drupal install, install and enable modules, or create users, among other things.
While SiteGround is one of the few hosting providers that offer Drush out of the box, you can easily install Drush on the GreenGeeks plans. Along with its shared hosting plans, GreenGeeks also offers managed VPS hosting. The website provides far more details about the VPS hosting plans than shared hosting. For instance, while the shared hosting plans offers 50 GB storage on the Lite plan, there’s no mention on whether or not this is SSD storage. You must hunt down specs for the data centres, or look up the standard hosting page for such details.
The dedicated Drupal hosting page is just another ploy to market the standard shared hosting plans. GreenGeeks doesn't offer any Drupal-specific optimizations such as server caching, site staging, or the other more advanced extras that many other hosting providers such as A2 Hosting include for free.
- Read the full review: GreenGeeks (opens in new tab)
Glowhost (opens in new tab) offers a number of different hosting plans, but it’s shared hosting plan should suffice for most Drupal website owners. At a minimum, the plan offers 1-click Drupal installation, free migration, free domain name, the ability to install Drush to manage your Drupal installation, and access to Drupal experts to troubleshoot your installation and answer any other queries you may have.
The hosting provider has taken great pains to ensure 100% uptime, and is confident enough in the performance and speed of its servers so as to offer a 91-day no questions asked money back guarantee. The hosting provider also assures of your having all your queries answered within 20 minutes, be it over phone, email or raising tickets.
All of the plans include SSD storage, and Glowhost also takes pains to perform regular backups, and redundant hardware, in addition to deploying various security mechanisms such as firewall, anti-spam solutions, etc., to provide you a hassle-free experience.
If you’re a business looking to expand your online reach, you must leverage social media and search engine rankings. Glowhost offers a range of add-ons, such as Social Media Management, Search Engine & Social Media Starter Bundle, etc. If you opt for the former, Glowhost itself will handle your business’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, adding two posts a day to keep your followers engaged.
You can also take advantage of the online chat to quickly resolve any queries you might have about all the features of the Shared Plans. This might even be necessary because Glowhost’s website is rather sparse in information about all the features of any given plan, especially when compared with A2 Hosting, or other services which provide far more details.
- You can sign up for Glowhost here (opens in new tab)