Handling a Big Year: ACLU.org in 2017


2017 was a year of unprecedented growth and record fundraising for the American Civil Liberties Union. As the nation’s premier civil liberties organization, the ACLU was active in over 100 legal actions across a wide range of constitutional issues. From resisting the current administration’s “Muslim Ban” to fighting for net neutrality, the ACLU has been on the front lines of some of the most important issues of 2017 - and so have their websites and activism platforms.

Join Patrick Jensen (ACLU), Narayan Newton (Tag1 Consulting), & Matt Cheney (Pantheon) as they discuss the underlying technology & infrastructure behind ACLU.org, with a focus on the challenges posed scaling a legacy donation platform. Learn how to prepare your organization or client to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances and unforeseen growth.

  • Is your organization’s website ready to respond to quickly changing circumstances?

  • Do you face challenges scaling complicated Drupal distributions?

  • Do you have tooling to rapidly deploy & test code within hours?

  • Can your hosting (and testing) infrastructure handle the load that comes with sustained national interest?

  • Do you have the ability to simulate traffic spikes and verify site performance under that load?

  • Do you worry about the performance & stability implications of third party services and integrations, such as payment processors and CRM integration?

Deep dive into the traffic changes that caused the original issues, the challenges associated with handling those traffic changes on the donation platform and the tooling that allowed us to deploy patchsets in response to news events sometimes only hours old. Learn how to leverage tooling like New Relic, SaltStack and the Locust load testing framework to diagnose site issues under load and validate performance under extreme load. Understand how using a flexible hosting & development platform to set yourself for success when the nation’s eyes are on you. And generally learn about one of the best Drupal success stories of 2017.


Session Track

Ambitious Digital Experiences

Experience Level


Drupal Version

When & Where

Tuesday, 10 April, 2018 - 17:00 to 18:00
205AB | FFW