Drupal Hosting Solutions: Acquia vs On-Premise

High Score Labs News   •   Jul 28, 2021

Hosting a website or web application can be a costly, and challenging endeavor. Without careful guidance, picking the route to go can be the beginning of a chain of arduous time-wasting maintenance efforts. This article will examine two hosting models available to Drupal, namely Platform-as-a-Service (which Acquia is an example of) and On-Premise, to help you decide which route would be best for you.

On-Premise Model

On-Premises refers to self-hosted and managed hardware – you manage the entire stack from hardware and networking to the web application itself. Hence, no cloud is required or involved. If you’re thinking, “Man, how tasking must that be!”, you’re very justified. The model requires significant resources to operate and involves the input of a large team of developers, administrators, and technicians to utilize and manage. Its advantage is the extent of customization and flexibility it offers.

Platform-as-a-Service Model

PaaS model removes a great deal of the complexity involved in web application hosting, such as hardware maintenance and so on. These technicalities are managed by PaaS providers.  Your team of developers and site administrators can focus on more significant tasks on the web application. Platform-as-a-Service also provides a great deal of customization without the need for a large, knowledgeable team to build infrastructure.

Acquia is an example of the Platform-as-a-Service model. With purpose-built solutions for deploying custom, scalable web applications such as Drupal, Acquia is one of the best cloud solutions out there. The solutions it provides are also carefully crafted based on many years of experience.

Which Service Model Should You Use?

While you may be seeing PaaS as an obvious choice, some circumstances warrant your tending toward an On-Premise approach for your application. These circumstances include:

  • Legal concerns
  • A need for unique security measures
  • Agreements and contract dictations
  • Very specific technical needs of application e.g, heavily customized features, and specific network needs.

If these circumstances do not arise, however, PaaS is the default. The majority of web applications enjoy the PaaS model’s strong value propositions. For starters, they’re more economical since the technicalities have been replaced by cloud solutions. Thus, the net cost for power, cooling, etc. has been all but removed.

The cost that’s otherwise incurred by PaaS models is also easier to manage as they’re more spread out. Hardware purchase and setup are eliminated, thus reducing initial costs significantly. Finally, software maintenance is usually managed by the PaaS provider. Any maintenance tasks left can easily be carried out by your internal developers. This arrangement allows them to focus on more pertinent tasks.

Why Acquia Trumps On-Premises for Drupal Hosting

Acquia was developed purposefully for Drupal. According to the about us page on the Acquia website, the solution was created to scale Drupal, make it easier, and empower Drupalists worldwide. Conversely, Drupal is about 1 of every 40 websites used.

Acquia offers Drupal teams advanced, tailored functionalities and solutions including a fully-tuned stack, improved access and support, robust security and recovery, and tooling. All of these present Acquia as the obvious choice in this department.


The complexity of customization and network specifications your application requires will determine if you must go the On-Premise way or the PaaS way. However, Acquia is the obvious choice for Drupal hosting.

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