Jacob Rockowitz: Deploying an enterprise Drupal website with minimal downtime

When it comes to slow and broken digital user experiences, none of us has any patience. When someone can’t access a website to get the information they need, they click the browser’s back button and move on to the next link in their search results. Drupal has continually improved performance by adding a powerful cache management layer to Drupal 8. Meanwhile, any time database changes are deployed to a Drupal website, the recommended and default behavior is to display the below maintenance page across the entire website including the homepage.

There are technical reasons why Drupal’s maintenance page exists – end-users don’t care about the technical reasons behind a maintenance page. End-users come to a website to get information. To their minds, if they can’t get this information immediately (from their perspective) the website is broken. Sure, the maintenance page can provide some more information and reasons why the website is unavailable. Still, a website’s digital door is temporarily shut. The expectation is that the internet superhighway is available 24/7, yet in the Drupal community we are okay with a little downtime every week or so.

Why does maintenance mode exist?

The best metaphor as to why Drupal needs to display a maintenance page when deploying code and database changes is…

Putting a Drupal site in maintenance mode is part of the steps to updating core, modules, and themes. Drush, Drupal’s command-line interface, automatically switches a site into maintenance mode when deploying database changes.

Drupal’s maintenance mode has been around since Drupal…Read More