March 5, 2016

I am often asked to make a hosting partner recommendation for our customer's Drupal sites. I try to keep an open mind about the different providers and their individual strengths and weaknesses, but lately I've noticed that the same recommendation keeps coming up at the top of my list.

Enterprise Level Support

Acquia has a huge support team that is used to tackling the types of questions that come with running large Drupal websites. As an outsider that has been working with the Acquia support team for many years it is obvious to me that there has been a large investment in the professionalization of the Acquia support team and the results are visible in every interaction. Not only are they helpful with the highly technical requests that often come from me, they are equally adept at tackling less-technical requests coming directly from my clients. Acquia support has always shown a tenacity when getting to the bottom of issues anywhere in the Drupal stack, often out-pacing my own ability to debug a tricky issue.

Stability and Predictability

Uptime has almost become an afterthought for me when hosting sites on Acquia. I can count on my uptimerobot notification not triggering unless I have been notified well-ahead-of-time about scheduled maintenance. Software and platform upgrades roll out on a regular and predictable schedule allowing myself and my clients to plan to and respond to any updates that might require additional care and attention (like the upcoming PHP 5.6 upgrade). Communication of changes, disruptions, and the occasional failures is always prompt, thorough, and delivered without any additional prodding. I can rely on modern tools being available without second-guessing whether or not the Acquia hosting engineers are using my client's sites as a test bed for their latest experiment.

Drupal 8 Excellence

At Chapter Three we have made the decision to build all new sites in Drupal 8 unless we find a compelling reason not to (spoiler: we haven't found a good reason yet). Acquia announced full Drupal 8 support on their platform in July of 2015, months before the software hit 1.0 and well ahead of any of their competitors. Chapter Three was already right there with Acquia launching Drupal 8 sites on their platform. Acquia employees were super helpful, both in helping to resolve a few small platform issues as well as being extremely active in the Drupal 8 Beta queue itself with our own developers. The depth of experience we have come to expect from Acquia support has definitely carried over to supporting Drupal 8 on their platform. We know that Acquia is right on the cutting edge of improvements like Big Pipe and PHP 7 support and can count on their platform to adapt with improvements like these in mind.

I still take the time to listen to the clients specific needs. I will recommend other solutions if there are many developers simultaneously contributing code, or custom non-Drupal applications need to be hosted on the same platform, but for the vast majority of our customers, Acquia is the perfect fit.