We have seen two recent breakthroughs for people who want to spend more time on implementing awesome websites and less time fiddling with hosting.
Pantheon has launched a hosting service for Drupal that’s even simpler than cPanel and has seriously good performance and scalability built-in. We don’t need to setup caching anymore or worry about a reverse-proxy server; all we need to do is enjoy designing and configuring our sites. Developers like it just as much as implementers because it clearly separates the dev, testing and live environments and plugs nicely into GitHub. It schedules backups and it’s easy to move your site elsewhere if you want to.
CiviCRM Starter Kit is a Drupal-and-CiviCRM-in-one bundle that I have been interested in. It includes a sensible choice of modules and extensions to get you going. The package can be installed on your choice of hosting and the documentation and support is good thanks to its champion, Kevin Reynen. I share Kevin’s vision of making it simpler for small organisations to get started with a powerful engagement tool like CiviCRM. He has overcome engineering and other hurdles to bring that dream a little closer. Full credit to him and others in the community for this achievement!
At CiviCON San Francisco, I was excited to see Kevin combine these two projects to launch the CiviCRM Starter Kit on Pantheon, adding to the availability of other excellent one-click-install options for CiviCRM. There are pre-existing software-as-a-service hosts for CiviCRM listed on civicrm.org, which I encourage everyone to explore, but this is still a milestone in the maturing of Drupal, CiviCRM and their hosting platforms.
It really is a niche offering for people somewhere in-between heavy-duty developer and non-technical user. For people like me who want to retain the ability to customize their website but want a simple way to install CiviCRM and Drupal core updates while still controlling best-practice workflows and backups, it's a good option.
However, the entry price point is above existing hosts that have a good and long standing reputation with CiviCRM installs and the next price point is higher than the starting price for managed hosting. So not everyone is going to see value in it for them.