Below you will find a list of the most common Drupal mistakes that appear on many Drupal projects we have worked on. Majority of them are so serious and critical for your site’s performance and security that trusting them not to be important for urgent review means trusting your wife being in the same room with Brad Pitt. Therefore check most common mistakes that your Drupal developers could have done with your website and decide whether you will keep working with them accordingly.
1. They go on with custom coding to much
The wheel has already being invented. No need to invent it again. Chances are that for every small tweak you would like to apply to make your Drupal site unique there is already a well-wisher who has made a contributing module. Use that. In other words:
- Custom code is difficult to maintain – Say NO!
- Contrib modules are already tested and voted by many users and developers – Say Yes!
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2. They over complicate the standard hierarchy and structure of the site
One common Drupal mistake a Drupal developer can do is creating too many content types. Take “news” and “articles” for example. Those can appear as different content types although both are basically identical. This makes things more difficult for your content contributors and editors. Another typical mistake on Drupal website is creating new fields for every content type, ignoring the existing ones. This makes things complicated for the end user as well because it diminishes the site’s performance.
3. They leave the permission of your Drupal website un-reviewed and Default
Check the permissions of your Drupal website manually and give a though whether the permission should be checked or un-checked. Whenever a new module is added, check the permissions added and see the roles that those permissions were granted to. You would like to do that as a mean for preventing and security gap for your Drupal website.
4. They do not disable Statistics module on your Drupal website
We are addressing this one due to the severity of its importance. The Statistics module is used to count how many times content has been viewed as well as collecting other data about user’s activity on any Drupal site. Statistics causes multiple database writes per page load for anonymous and authenticated users, which adds unwanted load on the site database. You can say goodbye to your site performance under this scenario. Disable statistics on your Drupal website immediately, use Google Analytics for now and pray that this will be resolved in Drupal 8. (Thanks for suggestion Tim)
5. They do not use Version Control System
Your site’s life-cycle start from the initial plans and lasts as long as your website exists. After the delivery, your site’s maintenance becomes critical. Most common mistake many Drupal developers do is not using Version Control System – VCS. Instead they just copy the code occasionally to a backup folder. Best practice of course is using version control system such as Git to keep track on changes being made to the code along with relevant comments to keep others on the track as well.
Some other mistakes which we can usually find inside existing Drupal projects we have worked with can be aligned to:
- Hacking code – Don’t do this and waster time and energy. Instead build custom modules using hooks to alter behavior.
- Too many modules. If your Drupal website exceeds 100 active modules, it’s time to review. Every unnecessary module has the potential to decrease your site’s performance and load time.
- Not installing Themes and modules in the right directories
- Installing modules in Beta or alpha state and not reading the caveats
- Aggregation of CSS and Java Script not turned on
- Database logging module being used which further suffocates site performance. This should be disabled and the syslog module should be used instead.
- Set up the cache frequency very high for content that doesn’t change too often. Every time a cache is cleared, the database query must be executed again and again for the end user and this affects performance and overall site experience.
There are even more trips and tricks we could share with you. Just give us a buzz here.
Please share some of the tricks and advices you have found useful and necessary for building optimized and cool Drupal website