Moving from Drupal 7 to 9 is Now the Best Option

It’s too late for Drupal 8.

There are almost 600,000 websites still running Drupal 7. If those websites want to stay in Drupal, moving to D8 no longer makes sense.

The reason is because Drupal 8 reaches its end of life in November of 2021. That’s about 5 months away from the time I’m writing this article.

Drupal 7 reaches end of life in November 2022. So, Drupal 7 site owners should still have some urgency about moving, but D7 websites have a bit time to move to Drupal 9. For a few different reasons, Drupal 8 reaches its end of life a year before Drupal 7.

If you’re site is in Drupal 7, here’s what Drupal 8 end of life means for you:

Drupal 7 Community Support Lasts Until November of 2022

A Drupal 7 site won’t cease to exist in December of 2022. But over time, problems will likely arise.

For one, Drupal 7 modules will no longer updated or maintained by the community. Even as Drupal 7 end of life gets closer, some modules will no longer be maintained as developers in the Drupal community shift their efforts towards maintaining Drupal 9 and, eventually, Drupal 10 modules. This means that problems with modules will go unfixed. And some modules will eventually stop working.

Perhaps more worrisome is that Drupal 7 will no longer receive security patches. If there is some vulnerability that hackers find, there will not be patches. Drupal 7 sites will be very vulnerable.

So Start Planning a Drupal 9 Migration Now

The migration from Drupal 7 to 8 was a big haul. The migration from Drupal 7 to 9 will be about the same amount of effort. This is because Drupal 8.9.x will be very similar to Drupal 9 aside from a few differences like removing deprecated code and updating dependencies.

The major differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 and 9 is Drupal’s core. It is now built on Symfony. There are a number of advantages to this, more regular updates, seamless migrations between versions, and more modern object oriented program.

This also means that a move from D7 to newer versions of Drupal is more like a website rebuild than an upgrade.

The process of rebuilding your website can be overwhelming and might take a whole year depending on the size of your site. It’s important to audit your content and consider if a site needs new information architecture or a redesign. Drupal 7 has been around for about a decade now and there’s been some talk about how it is starting to show it’s age.

So, consider the option of moving from Drupal 7 to 8 gone. And if you’re already moving to Drupal 8, then you’ll likely need to move to Drupal 9 when you get to D8 (but don’t worry, the move from D8 to D9 isn’t that bad, that’s the advantage of Drupal and Symfony).

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