Drupal 6 Performance TipsDrupal 6 Performance Tips, by Trevor James and TJ Holowaychuk, is a newly-published title from Packt Publishing aimed at Drupal beginners, developers, designers, and webmasters who utilize the Drupal content management system to create robust websites. It provides crucial performance-related information for Drupal users of all experience levels, including module contributors, webmasters who simply configure and maintain Drupal websites, and even themers.

The book contains basic and advanced topics on Drupal performance that will appeal both to the Drupal novice and the advanced user or developer. With this book you will learn how to maximize and optimize your Drupal 6 framework using best practice performance solutions and tools. The book covers how to vastly improve performance through upgrades, caching, configuring and optimization using core and contributed modules.

As a reader of drupal.org, you can receive a 15% discount (see below) and benefit the Drupal Association!

Some of what you will learn

  • Upgrade your Drupal 5 site to Drupal 6 using best practice upgrade paths
  • Back up and maintain your Drupal 6 site using core and contributed modules and utilities
  • Configure the Drupal core and contributed modules for high traffic
  • Run core Drupal page compression, CSS and JS compression, and use Drupal page caching
  • Run scheduled cron tasks to perform crucial garbage-collection processes
  • Use the Development (Devel) module to monitor page loads and queries
  • Use the Boost module for anonymous page caching, tweak Boost settings, and use Boost blocks and advanced Boost settings to monitor site performance
  • Install and use Memcache API and Integration module, and Authcache and Advanced Cached modules to enhance and monitor site performance
  • Configure a Drupal multisite environment for best performance

About the Book

Drupal is one of the most respected and widely used open source content management frameworks. Small, medium, and large-scale websites are built using Drupal and the framework supports e-commerce, CRM, multisite and web service integrations.

Once you get your Drupal site installed and up and running, you will be concerned with site performance and how fast you can make your Drupal site run. This book will focus on implementing performance modules and solutions to help speed up your Drupal website.

We will look at introductory topics such as upgrading your Drupal site, maintaining your site, and enabling core Drupal page compression and caching.

Then we will turn to an advanced look at some contributed modules that help speed up performance, including Development, Boost, Authcache, Advanced Cache, and the Memcache API and Integration module.

Finally, we’ll look at how best to implement a Drupal multisite environment and run it with high-speed performance in mind.

Get 15% off!

I have secured an exclusive 15% discount for you when you buy through PacktPub.com. Enter the following discount code at checkout in the shopping cart: Drupal6PT15 (case sensitive). As with all of Packt’s Drupal books, Packt will be donating a percentage of its sales to the Drupal Association.

Want a Sample?

To help promote the content provided within this book, Packt is generous enough to provide sample content of what you can expect from reading this book.

About the authors

Trevor James
Trevor James (trevorjames) is a Drupal developer and web designer based in Middletown, MD, USA. Trevor has been designing websites for 13 years using a combination of HTML, XHTML, CSS, and ColdFusion. He has been using Drupal intensively for more than 2 years. Trevor's focus is on building web portals for higher education, public education (K-12), non-profit, and small business environments. He is interested in the best methods of developing Drupal themes, Drupal site performance, and using CCK, Views and Panels to develop front-end interfaces to support data-intensive websites. He loves teaching people about Drupal and how to use this excellent open source content management framework. He is also a contributor and community member on drupal.org and related Drupal community projects.

TJ Holowaychuk
TJ Holowaychuk (tjholowaychuk), president of Vision Media, is an avid contributor to the Drupal project as well as to other open-source applications. Contributing over 16 Drupal modules, several themes, and having fully designed, developed, and maintained hundreds of Drupal websites, he has displayed a wealth of knowledge across different aspects of the industry.


mew_fla’s picture

Trevor - Congrats. Can't wait to read this!!


caschbre’s picture

I've been waiting for a drupal book on performance to come out. Very excited to get my hands on this.

tjholowaychuk’s picture

Loving the space in my name haha.. apparently my first name is "T", ah well :)

josedanielestrada’s picture

It looks very good, I'm very excited to read "Use the Development (Devel) module to monitor page loads and queries".

Good luck with the book!

ajevans85’s picture

Just seeing if it goes into details on any of the below before I order, hopefully it does :)

  • Apache optimizations, apache bench, tweaking number of servers for Drupal (mainly reducing number of server processes because of Drupal memory usage)
  • Reverse proxying, mod_proxy, mod_cluster, hardware load balancers
  • Using nginx instead of Apache for Drupal
  • APC, opcaching in general
  • Other hosting alternatives such as http://quercus.caucho.com/
  • Pressflow
  • MySql optimizations
  • Content Delivery Networks
  • Optimizing modules, caching within modules, file includes in menu callbacks to conditionally load files, conditionally loading blocks (not just hiding regions)...
JohnForsythe’s picture

It looks like this just covers the basics, which is good because most people are still getting these wrong (many, many sites fail to enable CSS aggregation, for example).

That said, I'd love to see an advanced version of this book.

Also, any idea when this will be hitting Amazon.com?

trevorjames’s picture

Hi John,

It should be available on Amazon.com shortly. I'll let you know as soon as I get word that it's there.


-Trevor James

trevorjames’s picture

Hi John,

It's available on Amazon now.


asb’s picture

I just bought the book for 32,99 Euro and skimmed through it; as far as I have seen, it covers none of the topics mentioned by ajevans85 in comment 2604872. As stated in the introduction, it is intended as an "introduction" and thus doesn't touch the tough stuff like reverse proxying or SQL query optimization. But it doesn't cover the basics of performance optimization, either.

It starts not with discussing the importance of website performance and page loading times for the user experience (what I would have expected), but with the upgrading of D5 to D6 (pp. 8-50). It takes so many pages because every step is explained with text and a screenshot. pp. 52-80 are dealing with Drupal core's caching and miscellaneous stuff like installing the 'Poormanscron' module or using 'cPanel'. The authors are working solely with GUI-based tools like 'PhpMyAdmin' and don't work on the MySQL shell; I couldn't find a mention of PostgreSQL so far. Basic tuning of a default MySQL install isn't covered, either (I'd like to have read at least a introduction to tools like MySQL Tuning Primer Script).

pp. 81-108 explains how to install the 'Devel' module, again with tons of screenshots. pp. 109-129 says that there is a 'throttling' module in Drupal core, and that there is a "Caching" checkbox in 'Views' and 'Panels'. I still don't understand if the views cache or the Panels cache is to be favoured for which purpose; the book doesn't tell.

After having reached the last half of the book, the 'Boost' module is introduced on pp. 131-152; again, the settings are documented thoroughly with lots of screenshots, anything less obvious is missing, e.g. how to get Boost working on alternative webservers like Lighttpd or which rewrite rules would be crucial to replicate. And btw, as far as I have seen, Lighty isn't mentioned at all (it helped me to survive major performance problems with Apache based Drupal installations). pp. 153-168 introduces modules like 'Global redirect', 'Pathauto' and 'Transliteration'; it does not cover the performance impacts of URL aliasing.

pp. 169-182 introduces the 'Memcache' module, but doesn't discuss the configuration of the 'memcached' daemon. pp. 183-198 give pointers to other performance related modules like 'Cache Router' and 'Authcache', but doesn't disucuss stuff like the configuration options of Cache Router. APC is briefly mentioned on p. 197; it doesn't say if there's really a module required to integrate it into Drupal, or if it is enough to simply enable it php.ini (I think the cache is somehow used by Drupal even without a Drupal module; again, the book doesen't tell). Alternative opcode caches are not discussed, as far as I have seen. The last chapter, p. 199-214, disusses "Multisite Configuration". 215-220 gives a short index.

The book explains things, that are already well documented in the handbook pages or README.TXT of the introduced modules; it doesn't go beyond this. It might be disappointing to read if you already know what a Drupal module is and that they come with a README.txt.

Greetings, -asb

atemsid’s picture

No version 7 ?

trevorjames’s picture

This title is focused primarily on Drupal 6.

-Trevor James

atemsid’s picture

When is version 7 coming ? We are using 7 as we understand 6 is soon outdated.

StevenPatz’s picture

Drupal 7? it's not even released yet!

s.Daniel’s picture

Well that was a mistake.
You don't currently use windows 8 do you?

malexandria’s picture

Well the Alpha - or Beta I forget which, is out now, I've been playing with it on my test environment. I'm tempted to use it. As it is I'm sticking with WP until Drupal 7 comes out, then I may make the switch, it really is a nice release.

tjholowaychuk’s picture

When the book was being written it was to premature to be writing about Drupal 7.

mbutcher’s picture

And especially so when it comes to performance, since that part is likely to be optimized between now and release.

Tj -- glad to see the book!

J. Daglees’s picture

Looking forward to read this. Good job :)

Dennis Cohn’s picture

When I fill in the code Drupal6PT15 it doesn't go 15% off...but 1,5% ... €1,55... what's up with this?

Juliancpackt’s picture

Hi MacDennis, sorry about this, I noticed this too. The webmaster said they have fixed this, the whole 15% should come off now

Dennis Cohn’s picture

Maybe because they already got a "Special Offer (promotion) save 15% "?
So When you fill in the code...you supposed to get 15% again...but that don't work...to bad.

Will try it again tonight :)

tkcent’s picture

Just noticed the promo code is only valid if you purchase the book or the book and ebook bundle. Does not let you purchase just the ebook. Why must the trees die? ;)

jankkuhs’s picture

I'll def. be picking this up

trevorjames’s picture

There is more information about the book and it's release over on my Web site here (including info on how to submit a review):




David Strauss’s picture


joshk’s picture

This is good to have out there, but it doesn't really appear to have much in the way of currrent Enterprise best practices. This book looks to be a great one for people who want to start understanding the basics of Drupal performance, but won't satisfy folks looking at having drupal deliver six-figure daily pageviews.

Personal: Outlandish Josh
Professional: Pantheon

coderintherye’s picture

There seem to be a lot of comments of 'good for beginners.' I disagree, I don't think it is good to charge $40 to beginners who don't know better, that this information is available on drupal.org. The book is almost a copy/paste job of taking already available information and squeezing it into a poor format. Not only that but the drupal.org information is usually better presented (e.g., http://drupal.org/upgrade/tutorial-introduction vs. 50 pages about the same subject in the book. Yes, folks 1/4 of this book is just about updating Drupal which I would argue doesn't belong in a book titled 'Performance Tips', especially when it was already done better in 'Using Drupal'.

Having bought and read the book, I want to make it very clear that my opinion is this book is a shameless money grab, and a disgrace to the community.

trevorjames’s picture

I wanted to point folks over to a good & balanced write-up of the book featured on Drupal Coder:


Additionally, Davy Van Den Bremt's blog on all things Drupal is a must-read.

-Trevor James

trevorjames’s picture

I've updated my site with some new posts regarding the Drupal 6 Performance Tips book:


-Trevor James

trevorjames’s picture

Drupal 6 Performance Tips is a top title for the 2nd week in a row over at Packt Publishing. Check it out via the Top Title block on the main Packt Web site:


-Trevor James

trevorjames’s picture

SlideShare tutorial posted - Drupal Core Performance Tutorial

I've posted a short tutorial on configuring Drupal core performance over at SlideShare. Enjoy!



tjholowaychuk’s picture

hmmm, well to be honest I do not want to take much credit for this book (just got my copies).
It has changed significantly after I stopped working on it... still a decent
read for beginners, but like others have mentioned it goes off topic often,
and omits important performance topics that I previously had (front-end optimization, mysql, monitoring, compression, etc).

That being said if you bought a copy of this book, email me proof of your receipt
and I will send you a free copy of my eBook "Advanced JavaScript" http://www.dev-mag.com/2010/02/18/advanced-javascript/

trevorjames’s picture