Information for: DEVELOPERS   PARTNERS

Requirements for Remote Administration

To efficiently troubleshoot client websites, update modules, and implement fixes, Acquia Support Engineers require several tools and Drupal modules. The absence of any one of these elements can delay and impede the delivery of Acquia Remote Administration (RA) services.

In addition to the above, Acquia’s security update automation has specific requirements. Ensuring that your website complies with these requirements will ensure the efficient delivery of security updates.


For Acquia to have the correct access to your websites, be aware of the following:

  • Clients must provide Acquia with administrative-level access to all systems and accounts required to perform RA tasks.
  • Acquia will perform RA services from its own premises using remote electronic access to Client’s systems and accounts.
  • Acquia requires access to one or more development/testing servers to facilitate the testing and deployment of updates in connection with this service.
  • Acquia will assist with configuring two QA/development/test servers to support the test and deployment process using a code repository and revision control.
  • Acquia will deploy an RA environment for each subscription which is used solely for the deployment of automated security updates by Acquia.
  • To administer your website from the user interface, Acquia requires an administrative-level user account on your Drupal website.
  • Acquia requires full access to your Acquia VCS repository.
  • For Acquia Cloud Site Factory subscribers only, Acquia requires a list of representative websites to stage, as described in Special considerations for Acquia Cloud Site Factory.

Drupal and Module Requirements

Remote Administration has the following requirements for Drupal and its associated modules.


  • Each RA subscription may contain a single installation of Drupal. Multiple installs of Drupal will not be supported.
  • The Drupal installation must be located in [reponame]/docroot. A symlinked docroot (typically to a vendor or www) is supported; however, Drush is required to work on all environments without error.

Module Installation

Acquia strongly encourages the implementation of Drupal best practices regarding module installation.

  • The default location of contributed modules must be [reponame]/docroot/sites/all/modules for Drupal 7 websites or [reponame]/docroot/modules for Drupal 8 websites. Modules can be further sorted into contrib and custom if desired.
  • Modules which should be available to only one Drupal 7 website within a subscription can be installed in [reponame]/docroot/sites/sitename/modules. This module will be inaccessible to all other websites.
  • Duplicate modules should be avoided unless a particular website must use a specific module version. In this case, this module must be in the website-specific module folder, and should be locked to avoid automated updates.

Required modules

Acquia RA has no specific module requirements for receiving updates. However, we strongly recommend that you install and enable the following module to assist with troubleshooting updates:

Clean core and contributed modules

As Remote Administration does not cover modified core or contributed modules, Acquia recommends that you implement any customizations using custom modules or theming files. This allows the Remote Administration team to implement updates, while allowing the client development team to modify custom code without any loss of modifications.

If your website requires modification of Drupal core, or of contributed modules, refer to Patching and locking modules to ensure that your website remains compatible with Acquia security updates.


Drush is required by RA automation to apply both code updates for Drupal 7 websites and database updates for Drupal 7 and 8 websites. Acquia Support Engineers also use Drush to troubleshoot and scan websites.

Any of the following items should not interfere with running Drush commands (such as drush pm-updatestatus or drush pm-updatecode):

  • custom themes
  • custom modules
  • customizations to the settings.php or sites.php files
  • customizations to contributed modules

Installations of Drupal 8.4.0 or greater require that Drush 9 is installed and configured in the website’s codebase.


Drupal 7 websites built using Composer are not supported by the RA update process.

Drupal 8 core, contributed modules, and distributions are increasingly reliant on Composer to manage dependencies. Although Drush will continue to be used to detect insecure modules, only Composer builds and updates will ensure that dependencies are included in any Drupal core or contributed module update.

Installations of Drupal 8.3 or greater require a functional composer.json file located above the docroot that includes references to all of your site dependencies like Drupal core and contributed modules. We do not recommend modifying the composer.json or vendor/ directory located inside of the docroot unless you are removing them completely. See Acquia Automation: Composer builds for a full explanation of requirements.


Updates using Drush on Drupal 8.3 and greater may still succeed — these builds should not be deployed to production, as Drush does not guarantee that dependency updates were completed.

Special considerations for Acquia Cloud Site Factory

During the initial Remote Administration (RA) setup process, Acquia Cloud Site Factory subscribers must provide the RA team with a list of approximately five to ten domain names to be staged during future RA updates. To speed up delivery, the RA team will stage only the requested websites.

To change the domains staged during RA updates at least two business days before a planned update, contact Acquia Support to provide your list of domain names.

Administrative language

Acquia’s Remote Administration service is currently delivered only in English. For multilingual websites, you must ensure that the administrative backend for Drupal is in English. This will significantly improve our efficiency in troubleshooting and updating your website.

Continuous Integration (CI)

Acquia RA cannot support websites that use continuous integration development practices, such as the Acquia Cloud pipelines feature, Jenkins, and Travis, where build artifacts are pushed to the Acquia-hosted Git repository. RA performs repository updates and examines tags for customer production code, and these processes are not compatible with continuous integration.

At this time, Acquia recommends that you either ignore or decline automated update branches provided by RA Automation. To receive notifications of available security updates when they are released, set your RA preferences to Inform only.

Version control system (VCS)

To carefully track changes to your code, Remote Administration requires customers to use Git. Remote Administration will not modify code without Git in place. Acquia-hosted clients are provided a full repository of their choice.

For recommendations about how to use version control, see Using the recommended workflow.

Non-Acquia Environments

Acquia does not provide Remote Administration services to customers who are not on the Acquia Cloud Platform.