Improving the performance of your Drupal site

Be objective – make use of available tools

“That kind of feels a bit faster than before hmmm?”

Simply REMEMBERING to switch cache mode back on once your site is in production maybe the simplest of effective techniques you could use to improve your sites performance

Take an objective approach, you will need to identify the problem areas and then have a benchmark by which to test the results of any performance related changes you make.

I suggest using the Firefox add-on Yslow. Yslow is add-on to Firebug so you will need to install Firebug first.

In a nutshell the Yslow add-on will analyse your site and provide you with a report highlighting problem areas along with recommendations for improvement.

With a tool like Yslow at your disposal you now have some direction along with a benchmark of data to test your performance related improvements.

Make use of already available performance settings

“Development settings on a production site…hmmm now that’s not very productive”

Drupal comes with some very handy performance enhancing functionality. So it is important that you have these enabled. Visit http://Your-Drupal-Site/admin/settings/performance on your Drupal site to get started

During the development phase of your site you will most likely have Drupal cache mode turned off. Simply REMEMBERING to switch cache mode back on once your site is in production maybe the simplest of effective techniques you could use to improve your sites performance

CSS optimization issues

In my own experience when I enabled CSS optimization in Drupal all my CSS disappeared and I found this link very useful in solving the problem
http://groups.drupal.org/node/85024

Still having problems – slow admin pages

“Doc, we better back up. We don’t have enough road to get up to 88….. Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads/YSLOW”

So if you have acted on the advice of the Yslow add-on and taken advantage of the admin performance page, you may find that you still have a slow running admin area.

In my experience I had achieved a grade B on “Yslow” and made all the necessary adjustments to the performance page, but I was still getting a slow admin page.

This will most likely be a problem if you have a lot of modules running on your site.

The simple fix for this was to disable the “Update status” module. This module checks for updates every time you visit the admin page, hence sending out a request and waiting for a response therefore resulting in a longer page load, which is not taken into account when using Yslow.

You would want to carefully consider the pros and cons of disabling the “Update status” module. The link below gives some more useful information.
http://groups.drupal.org/node/85024

Other useful links

http://wimleers.com/article/improving-drupals-page-loading-performance – This page gives a very detailed look into all the results you will get from your Yslow report. Excellent article that you should take the time to read

http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/ – Another must read especially if you are basing your work on the results that Yslow gives

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