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Drupal Performance Optimization: 17 Drupal Caching Best Practices To Speed Up Your Page Load Time- Part 1

Drupal Performance Optimization: 17 Drupal Caching Best Practices To Speed Up Your Page Load Time- Part 1

by Silviu Serdaru on Jun 19 2020

"Why is my Drupal site so slow?" "How do I speed up my Drupal website performance?" In other words, what Drupal performance optimization techniques should you use?

Which is the:

  • most budget-friendly
  • quickest
  • most straightforward
  • most effective

... solution to those Drupal performance issues that are slowing down your website?

Caching...

And luckily, Drupal 8 (it is a Drupal 8 website that you have, isn't it?) "spoils" you with one of the most advanced caching systems out there.

The trick is that you follow the Drupal caching best practices and use it to its full potential.

Speaking of which, here's a list of 17 such best practices:

* I'll be covering 8 of them in this post, leaving the 9 remaining ones for the next blog post.

But First: What Is Caching?

"What is the purpose of caching?"

"How does caching improve performance?" 

2 legitimate questions that you might be yourself right now.

Let me start by defining the Drupal caching process:

Once a user accesses a page on your website, content elements and web data from that specific page (images, HTML, CSS, etc.) get stored in an accessible space. When that user visits the same web page again, your website will serve him/her the cached version of the content. 

That if you haven't updated it since his/her last visit, of course...

And this translates into:

  • reduced bandwidth
  • faster page loads

Tip #1: Use the Internal Page Cache Module to Cache Pages for Anonymous Users  

Say you have an "Add to cart" functionality for anonymous users on your eCommerce website.

You can use this module to cache precisely this functionality.

A Drupal performance optimization tweak that'll take you less than a minute to set up.

Tip #2: Go for the Best Suited Tools for Heavy Traffic Drupal Sites

Say you have a fairly busy Drupal 8 website.

You've turned on caching in your performance settings, but... you haven't noticed any significant impact on your site's loading speed.

So, you need to bring in the heavy artillery.

To use powerful caching tools designed for high traffic websites.

Here are some of the best tools and optimization techniques to try:

  • switch to a Drupal-specialized hosting provider like Pantheon or Acquia
  • move your database to its own VM/container (that if you still have it running locally, on your Drupal web server)
  • upgrade to PHP 7.1.0
  • Enable OPcache via php.ini. 
  • Put a proxy (i.e. Nginx) in front of your server

Tip #3: Enable Block Cache - A Quick and Easy Drupal Performance Optimization Solution

How to increase Drupal 8 performance?

You cache those blocks that don't get updated frequently (like from one user to another).

Tip #4: Use Views Content Cache to Update Upon Content Changes Only

How does this Drupal module help you optimize your website for better performance?

It allows you to expire views caches every time you update or remove content.

The great thing about this caching method is that you get to cache blocks that appear on thousands of pages.

Drupal Performance Optimization:Use Views Content Cache to Update Upon Content Changes Only

Tip #5: Use a Content Delivery Network

By far the most powerful Drupal performance optimization solution for your website.

Why?

Here are the 2 strongest reasons why you'd want to use a CDN to cache the static content (files, CSS, images, JS, fonts...) on your website:

  • you keep the network delay to a minimum since your CDN has endpoints across the globe
  • you get a better page loading time: your CDN has a domain different from your website's, so web browsers load content requests to your domain in parallel with the content coming from the CDN

Tip #6: Set a Far Future Expiration Date for Your Static Assets

Set up a "Newer expire" policy for your static components (e.g. use a far future Expires header)

Drupal Performance Optimization: Set a Future Expiration Date for Your Static Assets

Tip #7: Use Redis as a Drupal Performance Optimization Technique to Store Large Amounts of Data

Data that wouldn't fit into your server.

"But what is Redis?" you ask?

An in-memory store optimized for high-performance.

Tip #8: Set the Maximum Time that Your Pages Can Remain Cached

Another one of the Drupal caching best practices is setting the maximum amount of time that browsers should keep your cached data.

The END of Part 1!

And these are but 8 Drupal performance optimization solutions focused on caching. I have a whole list of 17 tips ready to share with you...

So, stay tuned for another round of simple and effective caching techniques that'll help you speed up your website...

But what if you don't have the time or the people in your team that you could assign tasks like:

  • enable a block cache
  • set up Redis 
  • install the... views_content_cache module
  • ...? 

What if you could have a dedicated Drupal maintenance team implement all these performance optimization techniques on your website for you?

We're ready to help you speed things up on your website.

Drop us a line and let's set up the best caching strategy for your Drupal website.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay  

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