Site performance is usually something developed on a per issue basis. Meaning, your site was popular but your code couldn’t handle the popularity! Thankfully, Acquia Dev Cloud and Managed hosting options provide a pretty neat little tool that can help you out with site performance and SEO. It’s called Acquia Insight. The information provided is broken down into two areas called SEO Grader and Insight.
An area that is commonly overlooked when creating a site is how well your site performs in the SEO world. Once you log into the Acquia Network there will be a link on the left hand side called “SEO Grader”. Clicking this will take you to the overview page that gives you brief look at how your site is doing. If you have any critical issues with your site, you’ll see them here with an exclamation mark beside it. Clicking the “Analysis” link under the SEO Grader menu will give you a more in depth look. Here is it broken down into sections called Page Structure, Crawlability, Findability, User Experiences and Best Practices. Each section will list issues with your site and each issue has a problem explanation and solution provided so not only do you understand why its effecting your site, you also understand how to fix it. As well, each issue has the ability to be ignored since not everything listed will be relevant to your site.
As a developer, the insight section is very helpful since it gives me an overall look at my sites performance in terms of code, server configuration and MySQL statistics. Once logged into the Acquia Network there is a link for “Insight”, clicking this gives you an overview page with your overall score as well as access to the Code, Server and Statistics information pages from here.
The Code section allows you to see every module you have installed on your site and the files it contains. If any files within a module have been modified you can click into that module and see a code level diff view of the file which allows you to identify any possible problems. The Server section gives you an overview of the PHP information and server. The Statistics section provides you with MySQL statistics that allows you to see things like your cache hit ratio, queries in cache, slow queries etc. Each statistic here has information as to what the stat is relating to and a possible solution if the stat is on the wrong side of the fence. For instance, if your slow queries number is high, you can view the MySQL slow queries log on the server and fix the queries that were slowing your site down.
If you click the “Analysis” link under the Insight menu, you can access the Performance, Security and Best Practices sections. As with the SEO Grader, you can access a list of issues with your site and each issue has a problem / solution provided to help you out.
Acquia Insight allows you to receive emails concerning Performance, Security or SEO issues as they arise. This is helpful since you can’t always be checking in on your site as it lives out its life cycle. Acquia provides a slider tool to configure which emails you receive (Critical, Warning, Notice or All)
Over time the performance of a site can degrade and issues can arise from use. Normally, if your not keeping watch these degradation issues will occur at the worst times and usually wreak havoc for a live site. With Insight, it provides a graphical view of your Insight score which allows you to foresee issues as they can occur over time.
I really enjoy the fact that Insight allows you to become a better developer since it provides best practices and highlights issues with problems / solutions. So overtime you’ll notice your sites will perform better out of the box because you’ve been learning from this helpful tool and implementing these solutions beforehand.
Overall I enjoy Acquia Insight and all its capabilities. It provides helpful information and allows you to monitor, troubleshoot and tune for optimal performance. If that isn't enough for you and you want more information about your sites performance, Acquia has another service available with New Relic that provides an extensive web monitoring and management tool that can be easily setup through the Acquia Network interface as well.