Drupal Gardens is shutting down on 1st Aug 2016

Drupal Gardens was started about 6 years ago to fill the gap of offering hosted Drupal sites, much like WordPress.com (for WordPress hosted sites). 

Why Drupal Gardens eventually decided to shut down it's service?
it's still a little unclear and the details are a little vague. But our speculations is that it is completing in an already saturated website builder market (such as SquareSpace, Wix, Weebly to name a few) and Drupal is still behind on this type of market because its own layout builder tools are not as feature rich than their competitors. Where Drupal becomes a more powerful choice than standard website buiilder services is when you run it on your own hosting with access to install your own modules and modify themes or add custom functionality. This is something no website builder services can out do and is limited to simple or limited functional pages. But the low cost of these website builder services does make it an attractive option for small businesses.

WordPress.com on the other hand is still doing well. Perhaps it is because it has been around longer and covers a niche market, ie, blogging. Also, the complexity of running such an infrastructure is less intensive than the complexity of mananging 100s of thousands Drupal hosted sites.   

All websites hosted on Drupal Gardens runs on Drupal 7. With 100s of thousands sites that will eventually need to be upgraded to Drupal 8, this is an immense tasks and takes massive resources and man power to handle this. The whole infrastructure will probably need to be refactor as well to accommodate Drupal 8 sites since it is a whole different beast to manage and operate. Factoring all that in, it just doesn't seem feasible marketing it as a low cost hosting solution. 

What happens now? 
What are the options if you want to continue usng your Drupal site hosted on DrupalGardens? Drupal Gardens is partnered with Bluehost and recommends that you should migrate your site to Bluehost. Drupal Garden makes it easy to export your entire site so you can install it on a 3rd party web hosting provider.    

Bluehost is not a Drupal managed service like Drupal Gardens. It is a regular website hosting company (much like GoDaddy or Siteground). Drupal does not require any complex web server so any standard web hosting is suitable. However, in terms of resources, that will depend on many different factors - how many clients' websites exist on a single web server, how much traffic to the site, how optimised are the media and css files and how many contrib or custom modules are loaded and in use. All these can impact on the performance of a website.

One of the important factor to take into consideration is unlike Drupal Gardens, Bluehost like many other regular web hosting company only provide a service where you rent some space on their server to host your 3rd party website or application. In this scenario, Drupal can be considered as a 3rd party website so you are solely responsible to apply any security updates at all times and fixed any website issues you might encounter. If you are confident and comfortable to manage this on your own, then Bluehost cheap shared hosting is sufficient and if you need better performance, VPS server should be the next consideration. Others will often, hire a developer to manage the update process their site or do some development to add any further custom functionality required.

So if Bluehost doesn't support any customers' websites hosted on their server, what do they do?
Bluehost will manage and maintain their infastructure of servers to ensure it will be in operation 24/7 all year round and provide customer support for server issues or emails only. Customers are fully responsible to maintain their own websites. If in an unfortunate turn of event that your website gets hacked, you are responsible to fix it. Some web hosting providers can help restore or fix your hacked site but normally for a fee and subject to how deep the hack has gotten. 

There are companies offering hosted services tailored for Drupal managed sites. Are they better choice if i run a Drupal site?
Generally, yes and there are a few good reasons for this:

  • Hosting server is optimised for Drupal specific sites
  • Staff are experienced with Drupal should you need support
  • Some hosting companies offer managed Drupal sites and keep the site up to date for you (on a monthly fee)

 

Alternatively, you may want to consider hosting your Drupal site with duvien.com 

What I offer:

  • Free site migration from Drupal Gardens to our Cloud server.
  • Free SSL (secure site) for your domain.
  • Varnish cache and Memcache for better and faster site perfomance
  • Backup service
  • We'll keep Drupal and any contrib modules up to date for you
  • Customer support (we are Drupal experts)
  • and more...

For further details about our web hosting and support, visit my web hosting page.