John Faber Managing Partner Follow
March 10, 2022

You are ready to make your Drupal site headless; what do you need to know about hosting? Hosting a decoupled Drupal site means you are using two different types of hosting technologies—one platform for Drupal and an additional platform for Next.js. Here is what you need to know.

Think of it like your TV and entertainment center

Drupal, where your content lives, is the entertainment center. The structure holding your television, cable box, gaming console, etc. It’s the furniture that supports the screen and / or the items associated with it, making it convenient to organize your content and connected technology.

Television and entertainment center

In this example a traditional LAMP (Linux, Apache, Nginx, Mysql, and PHP) platform is the entertainment center required for your Drupal site. And it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Your Drupal site does not need high-performance, scalable hosting because it only serves API calls and content when called upon by a browser / front-end. Find a solid, traditional host for your Drupal content platform.

For the TV, or your website front-end, a Node.js hosting platform is required for your next.js code to live on. Two major players are Vercel and Netlify. Next.js will run on any adequately configured node.js server, opening up many self-serve cloud providers' options. Chapter Three partnered with Vercel as our next.js platform of choice. Vercel has optimized its platform for next.js, so we are confident they will be the leading provider in the space.

Other options from established hosting providers include offering hybrid solutions as one-click two-server setups. You get a traditional Drupal LAMP stack and a node.js server for your next.js pages. This is a great way to go as well, especially if you have an established relationship with your platform provider.  

Chapter Three uses a two-provider approach. We host Drupal on a traditional platform and Next.js on Vercel. Content editors log in to Drupal and manage the site, with edits showing up on the Next.js site. We moved the Chapter Three website to this model. Our site is fast, secure and easy to maintain and expand.

Hosting providers have individual costs associated with them; be aware that you will have to pay for two platforms. Vercel Pricing is straightforward, and for front-end hosting, it is remarkably low cost for the value it provides. Drupal hosting costs are all over the place. Keep in mind that you will not need a high-performance Drupal site to do content edits. There are no published costs for the hybrid solutions yet. Hopefully, we will have Drupal-specific hybrid options to compare prices soon. This market is evolving quickly, and we expect to see new and innovative solutions coming out this year in the Drupal hosting market.

If you are building a decoupled Drupal site and plan to use Next-Drupal, reach out to us, we would love to help you with your project and discuss hosting in greater detail. And maybe talk about our team’s favorite TV shows.