Drupal 7 end of life was extended to November of 2023 this year. Originally scheduled to lose support in 2020, Drupal 7 will be 12 years old in 2023. Drupal core also left open the possibility of moving end of life date back even further in an announcement about end of life plans.
There are still more than 500,000 instances of D7 out there. The large effort to move from D7 to D9 has been well documented. Going to D9, however, is usually worth the effort (if you decide that you love D7 and don’t want to move, check out BackdropCMS).
From a communications perspective, the Drupal 9 upgrade is worth the effort. It is built with contemporary internet and marketing practices in mind. D7 was released in 2010 and how we communicate with clients and website users has changed a lot since then.
In 2010, you may have posted a blog and hoped your keyword research would lead to a high ranking on Google. Today, you’re probably engaged in omnichannel marketing, pushing content to multiple platforms so your audience has more touch points with your brand.
Drupal 9 is much more suited to engage with potential customers because it has a:
Better Authoring Experience:
Drupal 9 is designed with ease of use in mind, specifically the ease of use for content editors. Modules like the Media Library, CKEditor, Workspaces, and Layout Builder are powerful, intuitive, and require no HTML code to use in the authoring experience. In addition to this, the authoring experience is much more usable on mobile so you can make changes on your phone or other devices.
API First Architecture:
Communications professionals need to reach people on multiple channels and Drupal 9 is built for this approach. D9’s API first design allows for headless and decoupled architecture. This way, you can deliver an experience that embraces the different ways your customers might interact with your site, like with chatbots or voice assistants.
Drupal is already considered one of the most secure content management systems out there. But, by moving to D9, you ensure that your site stays supported (and thus, protected) by the Drupal community. In addition to this, Drupal 8 and 9 have an improved templating system that is more secure than its predecessor. As Drupal continues to update versions, it is patching and fixing security vulnerabilities in dependencies and core.
Better Overall Performance than Drupal 7:
Whether you use all the features of Drupal 9 or not, one thing to look forward to is D9’s general performance. D9 is less processor intensive than D7, so your site will likely load faster and that will improve search rankings. At over 10 years old, D7’s architecture is a little bit complicated and difficult to maintain.
Of course, the move to Drupal 9 from Drupal 7 is expensive and time consuming. And with Drupal 7’s end of life being extended another year, it is easier to stay put in D7. But, as the Drupal community moves on, there will be fewer supported modules and the functionality of your site may be hobbled by this.
Plus, D9 is designed for communicating with your audience through modern channels. Sites run faster and can be used as a content repository for an omnichannel marketing plan. Drupal 9 provides is a great tool for marketers and communications professionals and it is worth the time and effort (plus, you will have to move out D7 eventually or risk losing support!).