[drupal] How do you evaluate the quality of build of your Drupal website?

| | 3 min read

Quite often we get support requests from clients who believe that 95% of their site is working fine but for a few lingering issues which their previous developers could not fix / complete. In most cases the lingering issues are more symptoms of bad builds than pending issues. In such cases we usually insist on a full Drupal review and audit of the site before we work on the issues. The client would normally be shocked to know that there were a lot of things on the site that were not done right but it would be too late for any corrections by the original developers. So how do you know if your Drupal site is built right?

The simple answer is that if you are not a Drupal developer yourself you will never know for sure on your own. But there are several things you can check on your own that will give you an indication of whether things are done alright. To know for sure you will have to engage an established Drupal development company to conduct a full Drupal audit on your site and give you a full report.

Here are some simple steps to get a high level feel of whether things are done right

  1. General best practices - Check if the developers are using some kind of version control system and whether you can get access to the version control system. Good developers will definitely use one and they would be happy to give you access. Good developers would tend to create good sites.
  2. Small things done right - Set up a copy of the site locally and set up coder on the site and see if the code built passes Drupal coding standards. If the developers had paid attention to small things like indentation and spacing it is more likely that they had paid attention to more complex aspects of the site and had built those right.
  3. Check for carelessness - See if there were spelling mistakes in comments and code. Check if there were unused files left on the server. See if there are non-core PHP files in the root folder (download the latest drupal core and see what are the core PHP files in the root). If the developers were not careless then they would have made lesser mistakes
  4. Take the site through the w3c validator - See if there were glaring HTML errors in the output. This will show whether the site has gone through non-functional testing and if it has then the likelyhood of architectural issues would be lesser.
  5. Test for security aspects - See if there are pending core or contributed module security updates when the site was deployed. If there were, then proper attention to security was not given when the site was built.
  6. Test for performance aspects - Check a few views and see if views caching were enabled. Try to edit the views from admin views listing to see the views caching configuration. Be careful to not try to change or save anything. If attention was given to performance aspects then views caching configurations would have been taken care of.

If there were too many issues that you find from these quick checks then you should reach out to an established Drupal consultant or a Drupal company who can conduct a full Drupal audit and give you a detailed report of the issues identified. You can then get the provider who built your site to take care of the problems identified or you can have another provider take care of the problems for you.

If you think that you need expert help in checking your Drupal site we will be happy to help conduct a full Drupal site audit on your site. We will also be able to help fix the problems identified in the audit. Contact us for a drupal audit.