Emergency Onboarding: Pantheon for Drupal and WordPress

Choosing the right hosting solution is key for the optimal performance of Drupal and WordPress sites. At Facet, our expertise in transitioning clients from traditional to more advanced hosting like Pantheon has been pivotal. Pantheon stands out with its enterprise-grade WebOps features, offering more than just hosting but a complete transformation in digital content management.

As strategic partners, we guide clients through the complexities of migrating to Pantheon, a platform that excels in scalability and performance. In this blog, we'll share our experiences in these transitions, exploring the limitations of traditional hosting, Pantheon's advantages, and our methodical migration approach. Our goal is to outline a clear path for businesses to enhance their digital performance and success with Pantheon.

Why Pantheon for Drupal and WordPress?

When it comes to hosting Drupal and WordPress sites, not all platforms are created equal. In our extensive experience working with a broad cross-section of clients and nearly all of the providers in the space, Pantheon consistently stands out as a premier choice for several compelling reasons:

  • Enterprise-Grade Performance: Pantheon is engineered specifically with Drupal, WordPress, and now Decoupled web experiences in mind. This focus translates into a hosting environment that's compatible and optimized for these content platforms. 

  • What does this mean for our clients? Optimized development workflows, Faster load times, robust caching mechanisms, and an overall performance that keeps their sites running smoothly even during high-traffic periods. This reliability is crucial for businesses where every second of downtime can mean lost revenue. 

  • Advanced WebOps Features: Pantheon's most significant selling point is its comprehensive set of WebOps tools. These tools are designed to streamline development workflows, testing, and disaster mitigation and recovery. In practice, this means our clients can trust their development pipeline, from initial development in a local environment or multidev (cloud development) to testing on a staging server and, finally, deploying on a live site. The ability to clone environments, integrate version control, and automate updates reduces the risk of errors, increases efficiency, keeps things secure, and helps reduce operational costs.

  • Scalability and Reliability: In the digital world, scalability is key. Websites must perform consistently, whether it's a seasonal traffic spike or a viral content surge. Pantheon's platform is built to scale, accommodating sudden traffic increases without the need for manual intervention. This scalability and commitment to uptime and reliability ensure that our clients' sites remain accessible and performant, regardless of traffic fluctuations.

  • Enhanced Security and Compliance: Security is paramount, especially for enterprise-level clients. Pantheon's platform is built in Google Cloud, fortified with top-tier security measures, and includes automated backups, advanced firewalls, and continuous monitoring. Compliance with industry standards ensures that our client's data is protected and their sites are less vulnerable to threats. This peace of mind is invaluable, especially for clients with high visibility and looking to reduce their risk.

  • Exceptional Customer Support: Lastly, what truly sets Pantheon apart in our experience is their dedication to customer support. From the initial migration process to ongoing maintenance and development, Pantheon’s team offers expert guidance and support. This is particularly crucial during the emergency onboarding process, where a swift and “follow the sun” support model can make all the difference for success. 

In summary, Pantheon's combination of performance, scalability, security, and support makes it an ideal choice for us and our clients' Drupal and WordPress sites. Our role in facilitating this transition is to leverage these features to their fullest potential, ensuring our clients not only migrate to Pantheon but also thrive on this platform.

The Emergency Onboarding Process:
Reducing Risk and Leveraging Efficiency

Migrating to a new hosting platform inherently carries risks, especially under urgent circumstances. However, our historical approach with Pantheon significantly mitigates these risks by adhering to established best practices, some of which are industry standards, while others stem from Pantheon's innovative features to handle complex scenarios effectively.

Initial Assessment and Risk Mitigation

Facet Interactive accelerates the onboarding process and mitigates risk through the following high-level steps:

  • Comprehensive Planning and Risk Assessment: Our process begins with a detailed assessment of the current state of your WordPress application(s) while considering any nuanced complexities to identify potential risks and plan accordingly. Our goal is to reduce risk and increase confidence in the project plan.

  • Facet leaves no stone unturned: we dig into your codebase, integrations, security framework, and more. We diligently audit custom modules, plugins, libraries, patches, and themes implemented to reduce potential risks with a migration to Pantheon. Through the initial assessment of the site architecture, we can identify any “hacked” files or implementations with technical debt that will put the migration at risk.

  • Strategic Migration Planning: By leveraging Facet’s expertise and thought leadership, we tailor our migration strategy for simplicity, accommodating various edge cases and ensuring a smooth transition. This is especially important when dealing with the application ecosystem's integrations and services. 

  • Leveraging Facet’s Status as a Strategic Partner: Our strategic partnership with Pantheon is crucial. We have experienced several complex and challenging situations with our clients in a migration where Pantheon's responsive and prioritized support has been key to swiftly resolving issues and ensuring the success of these transitions. 

Data Migration with Enhanced Safety

Facet Interactive ensures a meticulous and secure approach to your emergency Pantheon onboarding, focusing on:

  • Content and Database Transfer: The transfer of application data, including the media content and database, is executed while adhering to best practices, ensuring the integrity and security of the data throughout the migration process. Having robust WebOps tooling available for our teams has been invaluable when we are pressured to deliver quickly. For example, using Pantheon's tooling, we can safely work from copies of data scrubbed of critical information that would typically live in the Live site, so our teams can move quickly and efficiently.

  • Testing and Validation: After moving a copy of the site, we conduct rigorous testing, leveraging Pantheon’s multiple testing environments to validate every aspect of the site. 

Utilizing On-Demand Testing Environments

  • Parallel development and issue remediation: One of Pantheon’s key features we utilize extensively is its multiple on-demand development environments, or what they call “MultiDev.” These allow us to address various issues in parallel, significantly reducing bottlenecks and maintaining a fluid communication and validation processes with our clients.

  • Continuous Testing and Optimization: outside of the initial migration, we leverage these environments to upgrade, continuously test, and optimize the site, ensuring that performance, functionality, and security issues are addressed quickly.  Thanks to these powerful workflow features, we can safely upgrade, test, and deploy on the same day!

Configuration, Launch, and Ongoing Support

Our emergency onboarding process with Pantheon combines efficiency and security. Integrating Pantheon’s innovative features and best practices minimizes risks and ensures a smooth transition. This approach allows us to handle the complexities of migration effectively, leading to minimal disruption for our clients and maximizing the benefits of their new hosting environment.

  • Efficient Configuration and Launch: We expertly manage domain and DNS configurations, adhering to Pantheon’s best practices, and oversee a carefully monitored launch. This ensures a seamless transition during the critical cutover phase.

  • Proactive Monitoring and Support: After launch, we remain vigilant, proactively monitoring and offering continuous support. Using Pantheon's robust tools, we quickly resolve any issues, ensuring optimal performance and client satisfaction.

Overcoming Challenges

Common Migration Issues: Navigating and Resolving Challenges

Migrations, like any complex process, can present challenges. At Facet, we excel in the early identification and resolution of these issues, drawing on our extensive experience. We utilize systematic approaches to address and solve specific migration challenges effectively. Below are some standout challenges and our strategies to overcome them:

  • Data Transfer Complexities: Transferring data without loss or corruption is a common challenge in migration. We tackle this by implementing rigorous backup and validation protocols, ensuring data integrity throughout the migration process.

  • Performance Discrepancies: Post-migration, performance issues may arise due to differences in hosting environments. We preemptively address this by thoroughly testing and optimizing the site's performance on Pantheon's platform, ensuring alignment with the new environment's capabilities.

  • Plugin and Theme Compatibility: Compatibility issues with plugins or themes are not uncommon. We conduct detailed audits and updates of these components to ensure full compatibility with Pantheon’s infrastructure.

  • Integration Complexities: Integration with third-party services and internal systems can be intricate. We navigate these complexities by assessing the current integrations, understanding the specifics of Pantheon’s environment, and reconfiguring or updating the integrations as necessary. This careful approach ensures seamless functionality and connectivity in the new hosting environment.

By addressing these common migration issues with our expertise, we ensure a smooth transition for our clients to Pantheon’s robust platform.

Adapting to WebOps: Guidance for a Smooth Transition

Shifting from a traditional hosting environment to a well-structured WebOps solution reduces risk and management complexity. Still, in the case that there is a need for additional support post-migration, we provide the following as part of our support offerings:

  • Familiarization with Pantheon’s Interface: We have long-tenured experience working with the platform and can quickly train and demonstrate any operational or development tasks that might be needed with your team.

  • Leveraging WebOps Best Practices: Adapting to Pantheon also means embracing WebOps best practices. We assist teams in understanding and implementing these practices for efficient workflow management, from development to deployment.

  • Application Management and Monitoring: Monitoring the health of your web application is important, and we will make sure that if your team needs help interpreting or aligning priorities based on these metrics, Facet is here to help. 

  • Continuous Learning and Support: Transitioning to a new platform is an ongoing learning process. Our team offers continuous support and learning resources to enable your team with Pantheon’s evolving features and capabilities. Documentation and knowledge-transfer-readiness are always top of mind for Facet’s team.

By addressing common migration challenges and providing strategic advice for adapting to Pantheon, we ensure our clients not only overcome initial hurdles but also capitalize on the long-term benefits of this powerful WebOps platform.

Reach out to us

Considering a move to Pantheon for your Drupal and WordPress hosting needs, especially in urgent situations? Facet Interactive is here to streamline your transition. Our on-demand free consultation offers you access to our web engineers, whose vast experience with similar migrations ensures a smooth and efficient process. With Facet, you can look forward to an effortless shift to Pantheon’s robust platform, renowned for its security and scalability. Trust in our seasoned expertise to navigate complexities and seamlessly elevate your business's digital presence.

Streamline Success with a Pantheon Emergency Onboarding Consultation