Site Factory

Setting up your Factory

When preparing to develop your new Site Factory-hosted websites, your development plan should incorporate the following actions to ensure a smooth and successful launch:


For a list of specific tasks to help ensure a smooth, successful launch, see Checklist for migrating your sites to Site Factory.

1. Perform governance assessment

Your success with Site Factory depends on a strong governance strategy, which ensures you design and build your websites in a sustainable manner. Review our product-agnostic governance strategy documentation and Governance on Site Factory to prepare for creating the infrastructure underpinning your websites.

2. Create your distributions and installation profiles

After creating a development plan, you should select a base distribution on which to base your websites’ creation.


3. Create and manage theming

As part of your governance policy, your distribution of Drupal and installation profiles should provide base themes containing the majority of layout and design. Each website in your platform should leverage an external theme repository to provide per-website branding and styling within the guidelines set by your platform’s base theme.

4. Familiarize yourself with the Site Factory Management Console

See Managing your Site Factory sites to familiarize yourself with the Site Factory Management Console, which helps you manage the configuration of your platform.

5. Configure users, teams, and roles

Your governance strategy should focus on defining roles you can apply globally to all websites hosted on Site Factory, instead of providing website-by-website permissions. The Site Factory Management Console provides predefined roles to help you manage your shared infrastructure and websites. As part of your initial setup, you should perform the following tasks:

6. Create websites, and the groups and site collections to manage them

Best practices would have you create groups in the Site Factory Management Console before creating individual websites. Site Factory groups allow you to separate your websites into logical sets, and control user access to the websites in the Site Factory Management Console. For more information about managing your groups after creating them, see Managing site groups.

As you create websites, you can also create site collections, which bundle and organize related websites together for easier management. A site collection contains a primary website (typically the production website) and one or more secondary websites. By grouping related websites in a site collection, you can associate the current production website with a custom domain URL. After completing the staging website, you can promote it to be the primary website in the collection, which will then be available at the custom domain URL you created for the site collection—without needing to perform a DNS change.


Review the naming conventions in Organizing your websites, collections, and groups to ensure your groups, site collections, and websites receive names that remain helpful as your platform expands.

7. Connect your platform to other Acquia services

As you develop on Site Factory, review the steps necessary to integrate your websites with other Acquia products and services, such as Acquia Search and Remote Administration.

8. Optimize performance

When developing multi-tenant websites in a platform architecture, each website must use both Drupal and Varnish® caching to improve performance. You can improve performance by modifying caching settings or by incorporating performance improvements, such as a content delivery network like Edge.

To test the performance of your sites, you can use a load test environment. Load test environments have an isolated deployment of the infrastructure used in the production environment. Load test environments can be provisioned for minimum four weeks and traffic sent to such an environment does not count against subscription entitlements. Contact your Acquia Account Management team for pricing.

9. Add and manage domains

You should create a Unified Communications Certificate (UCC) and provide the certificate to Acquia as you add custom domain names for your websites.

10. Familiarize yourself with extended features

Site Factory offers extended features, such as the Site Factory API and Site Factory hooks, which can help to simplify and automate your development process. Several monitoring and logging services are also available to help you troubleshoot and monitor your Site Factory infrastructure and websites.