Halloween is a pretty spooky time. Mystery is in the air, people are in the mood of telling horror stories and sharing their frights. Back when we were kids, everyone had his own frights usually connected to witches, goblins, dragons and other dark citizens. Grown up, Drupal kids still experience fear at times. Today, on the way between making a pumpkin and creating a costume for the evening party I will tell you about seven spooky drupal developer's nightmares and how to overcome them. Let's begin.
1. Once you loaded your website and saw that a database is crashed, mysql is down and all data was disappeared. Horrible, isn 't it? Backup! Don't be lazy. Laziness here comes at a very high price. Install Backup and Migrate module (http://drupal.org/project/backup_migrate) on every of your Drupal based websites (I wrote about this module in my post "The 11 Most Important Things To Do After You Install Drupal"). This module will take care of daily backups uploading them to a place you tell and/or sending them to your mailbox.
2. One day you set up a new cheap hosting and it showed 80% uptime during the first week / Or hoster blocked your account for too much CPU usage. It is a pretty common situation with shared/VPS hosting, huh? Always try to use a dedicated server; however, not all projects need a dedicated machine right away, so you need to stick with a reliable hosting service provider. According to my polished by trials and errors experience best shared hosting services provided by: a) Hostgator, use the coupon WANT9POINT94OFF to get $9.94 off any package price, and b) Eleven2 hosting. These two know their duty. Of course there are some more available, I'm going to write a big review of hosting services soon so will tell more there.
3. One day you got a big traffic and your website is turned out to be extremely slow. Drupal isn 't a stallion, that's true. Under heavy loads it needs help. Thankfully, Drupal community offers a lot of caching modules. Just to name few: Boost (http://drupal.org/project/boost), Varnish (http://drupal.org/project/varnish), Advanced Cache (http://drupal.org/project/advcache). Do caching!
4. Once your hard drive with latest projects, git/svn/cvs repositories and favorite cartoons crashed. An average lifetime of a hard disk drive is 10 years, but on average, me and my cat have 3 legs each, so let 's don't stick to estimates. Do backups on your local machine as obligatory as you do them for your online projects (read our first horror situation). Buy a decent external hard drive (USB 2.0 or FireWire) and backup your work. I have a good list of them in my personal Amazon Store (along with cool Drupal books and DVDs) here: http://astore.amazon.com/timonwebcom-20.
5. Once you logged in your domain registrant panel and noticed that your domain names have been hijacked. This is a real story, I described it previously (Read Domain Theft Story). In short, thief sent me a mail from Godaddy with a phishing link and got my access data. It couldn't have happened if I was more attentive and had a good antivirus with a phishing check function installed on my computer. Kaspersky Antivirus does a good job here, their Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 package costs $59.95 and agree with me, almost sixty dollars per year isn't a big price for safety of your critical business data. You can get Kaspersky Internet Security here.
6. Once you got a project, made your work but client disappeared. This happens time from time...client can disappear/or start to ignore you after you finished a project...who knows what was the reason, but there are some dishonest people who take your job and pay nothing. To insure yourself always ask for prepay before starting a project. 50% prepay is a good business practice.
7. One day you realized that there 's not enough time at all. It is a very common feeling which comes to everyone. Usually, this is because we do multitasking. Multitasking takes away our attention and mind power. The statement that making several things/projects simultaneously makes us more productive is FALSE. We have only one core in our heads and, unfortunately, dual/quad core heads aren't in production yet. Concentrate yourself on one task at a given time and finish it.
8. Bonus Client 's Nightmare. One day you decided to build a website, hired a team and they build it with their very own in-house CMS/Framework. This is the biggest mistake which can be done by a client. Ordering a website, always know which platform it is gonna be based on and never rely on a 'self made' solutions. Just imagine, what will you do if your developers disappeared? Who will be working with the beast made by them? No docs, no apis, no community... nothing. Always build your projects on the very well known platform with a wide community of participants (Drupal, for example) and trust your project to those who know a thing (my Services ;)).
That's all for now. I know, I know, there are some grammar mistakes, so please excuse me for them. Hope you understood everything and now all those frights aren't spooky at all, especially when you know how to overcome them.
Folks! Share your nightmares here, I'll add good ones to the list. And Have a happy Halloween!
_(*) The Drupal Pumpkin image is by Mike Gifford_