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Drupal 6 Performance Tips - Core Drupal Performance Tutorial


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This tutorial/presentation walks you step by step through configuring your Drupal 6 site for best performance using the core Drupal performance configuration. Topics are excerpted from my book Drupal 6 Performance Tips.

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Drupal 6 Performance Tips - Core Drupal Performance Tutorial

  1. 1. Drupal Core Performance Tutorial Presented by Trevor James Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA
  2. 2. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Author Trevor James | Drupal Developer & Webmaster | Trevor has been designing Web sites for over 13 years, specializing in HTML, CSS, ColdFusion, and has worked with Drupal intensively for over 2 years. Trevor is interested in all aspects of Drupal including best methods of developing Drupal themes, Drupal site performance, and using CCK, Views and Panels to develop Frontend interfaces to support data intensive Web sites. Trevor is currently working on a number of Drupal related projects for non-profit, Education-based and small business organizations. Trevor created an 11.5 hour video tutorial series comprising 114 lessons titled Introduction to Drupal 6 for VTC (Virtual Training Company) in 2009. The videos are Available here:
  3. 3. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Configuring Drupal core performance <ul><li>Login to your Drupal site as the admin user #1. </li></ul><ul><li>Navigate to Site Configuration > Performance (/admin/settings/performance) </li></ul><ul><li>The main core Performance page will load – on this page you’ll find configuration settings for page caching; page compression; block caching; and for optimizing CSS and Javascript files. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Page caching <ul><li>Under the Page cache heading Drupal gives you a brief explanation of core page caching. Core page caching will affect your anonymous users. By caching your Drupal pages you can significantly increase page load times for your anonymous site visitors. </li></ul><ul><li>There are 3 caching modes in Drupal core: Disabled; Normal; and Aggressive. </li></ul><ul><li>We’re going to choose the Normal radio button selection – this is the recommended core caching mode for Drupal production sites. It has minimal impact on any contributed modules you may have enabled. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Page caching contd. 4. If you select Aggressive caching bear in mind that some contributed modules may not function correctly. If this is the case usually the contributed module will show a “flag” here to warn you of any possible side effects. 5. Choose a Minimum cache lifetime for your cache mode. This is the minimum time that will pass before the performance cache on your site is emptied.
  6. 6. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Minimum cache lifetime A note here on setting your minimum cache lifetime. There’s always a tradeoff with this configuration. If you set the cache lifetime high such as 1 day, you’ll get better performance overall on your site since the site will cache pages for 24 hours at a time. However setting the configuration to 1 day will also prevent your anonymous users from seeing new content on your site’s pages especially if they frequent your site on a more regular basis such as hourly. It’s better to start with a shorter cache lifetime (such as 1-3 hours) and see if that” helps to speed up your site’s performance while still offering your site visitors new content as it’s posted (or as closest to post time as possible).
  7. 7. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Page compression You can set Drupal to compress pages by enabling the Page compression setting. Page compression if enabled will help save bandwidth and improve download times on your site. Just be careful if you are also compressing pages via your Web server. If this is the case the 2 configurations may conflict. If you are using Page compression already on your Web server you do not need to set Drupal to compress pages here.
  8. 8. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Block caching Your Drupal core performance configuration also allows you to either enable or disable Block caching. If you do enable block caching, the performance increases here will mostly Benefit all of your site’s users including both anonymous and authenticated users.
  9. 9. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Optimize your CSS files If you have created a custom theme for your Drupal site you may be using a bunch of CSS files to control your theme styling. For example you might have a main “style.css” file as well as specific stylesheets for your Views and blocks; print style sheets for your printer friendly content; and browser specific stylesheets for IE, Firefox and/or Safari. At load time your site’s theme can use valuable resources having to load each of these stylesheets and all of their code. Drupal provides a method of optimizing the CSS load time by compressing all of the CSS into one stylesheet that gets loaded and cached in the site visitor’s browser session. The CSS files are aggregated and compressed into a single file if you select to enable CSS files optimization here on your main Drupal performance page.
  10. 10. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Optimize your Javascript files Like enabling your CSS optimization, you can also select to optimize your Javascript files. Again this will come down to how many Javascript files you are running on your site. If you are loading many JS files then you will most likely want to enable this optimization. If you only have a couple JS files in your site then you can safely ignore this setting. Like all Drupal core performance settings try each configuration out on your site and see if it makes a large difference in site performance. You can enable these core performance settings and then use a module such as Development (discussed in detail in Drupal 6 Performance Tips) to monitor page load times and queries. You can then compare the load times when you have the settings enabled and when you have them disabled.
  11. 11. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Clear your performance cache Finally on the Drupal core performance configuration page you’ll notice that there is a button at the bottom of the page that allows you to clear cached data. This is an additional option to allow you to manually clear your Drupal cache before your minimum cache lifetime cycle runs. You have full control over your core cache with this button – you can clear it at any time as long as you are logged in as your super user #1 admin account.
  12. 12. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA Sample Chapter and Articles Visit the Packt Publishing Web site for a sample chapter from the book and Articles excerpted from the book – both chapter and articles are available as PDF downloads: Sample Chapter 5: Using DB Maintenance and Boost: Articles: Drupal 6 Performance Optimization Using Throttle and Devel Module Drupal 6 Performance Optimization Using Views and Panels Caching
  13. 13. Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA What you will learn from the book <ul><li>Upgrade your Drupal site – both full version upgrades and security patches </li></ul><ul><li>Backup and maintain your Drupal 6 site using core and contributed modules </li></ul><ul><li>Run core Drupal page compression, CSS and JS compression, and use Drupal core page caching </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Development (Devel) module to monitor page loads and queries </li></ul><ul><li>Use the Boost module for anonymous page caching </li></ul><ul><li>Install and use Memcache API, Authcache, and Advanced Cache modules </li></ul><ul><li>Configure a Drupal multisite environment </li></ul>
  14. 14. Buy the book now at The title is also available via ; and via links on my Web site, Trevor James | Drupal Developer | | USA