How much does it cost and how long does it take to migrate from Drupal 7 to D8?

Read the Agile Guide to Getting out of Drupal 7

Do not underestimate the time, resources, and costs required to safely and effective migrate from Drupal 7 (D7) to Drupal 9 (D9). Based on our experience, everything takes longer than expected. A quick way to ballpark the cost to migrate is to find the answers to these questions:

  1. How much did it cost to redesign your website the last time around?
  2. What was the final price tag when you upgraded your website to D7?
  3. How much money have you spent upgrading the site since launch?

Now, add all that up and you have a general idea of the cost to migrate from D7 to D9.

Most of our new business comes to us shortly after a website has been redesigned and relaunched. For some reason, the design, development, and deployment process is so stressful and expectations are so misaligned that by the time the new website has been launched, both client and development team are at each other’s throats. Both sides need a break from each other. So, we inherit a lot of websites designed and developed by other shops.

So, when the time comes to migrate from D7 to D9, the first thing we want to do is set realistic expectations and ensure these expectations are managed and aligned throughout the process.

For some of our moderately complex Drupal websites with thousands of pages of content and dozens of custom modules, it could take a minimum of 3-4 months to retheme the website in D9 and redevelop the custom modules. Using a team of 5 people including:

  1. Project Manager (PMP) / Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  2. Front-end developer (Acquia certified Drupal developer)
  3. Back-end developer (Acquia certified Drupal developer)
  4. Fullstack developer (Acquia certified Drupal grand master)
  5. Business analyst and quality assurance (QA) professional

… working mostly full-time, this could cost as much as $250,000 to $300,000. Highly complex sites with significantly more custom functionality, users, traffic, and content could cost as much as $1-5M USD and as long as a year before it’s done, especially if you want to refresh the design, groom the content, and enhance the features. Even the simplest of Drupal websites could be $75,000 to $150,000 and take a couple months.

Obviously, organizations need to plan and budget for such a significant effort and expense. Organizations also need to set aside time to be involved in the process. The last thing you want to do is allow the development team to disappear into a bubble for months at a time and return with a website. That is the best way to be disappointed with the results. You need to stay involved with the development team and be part of weekly stand-ups.

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