Drupal has been the website platform of choice for many businesses ever since it came on the market back in 2000, and for good reason. It’s flexible, customizable, scalable, secure, and powerful. The White House and other US government websites have used Drupal for years. Currently there are over 560,000 websites operating on Drupal and it’s the third most popular website platform in the world.
End of Support for Drupal 7
Drupal continues to be frequently updated and comes out with new versions offering enhanced functionality, security fixes, and more. As they advance technologically with new versions, support for older versions gradually phases out. To this end, the Drupal Association officially announced that support for Drupal 7 will end on November 21, 2021. As of that date, Drupal 7 will be end-of-life (EOL) which means from then on, there will be no security updates, further developments, or improvements made by Drupal. Individual developers may still volunteer to support Drupal 7 via their own efforts, but there will be no official support.
UPDATE 1/26/21 - Drupal has announced the extension of Drupal 7 End of Life. Official support for Drupal 7 now officially ends in November 2022. This gives business owners and website managers an additional year to prepare and develop their website migration project.
What if My Website is On Drupal 7?
If your website is built on Drupal 7, beginning November 21, 2022, you will no longer receive security patches or support. This leaves your website at risk of security breaches and functionality breakdown. It also may show up as unsecure when scanned by third-parties since best practice is to not use unsupported, end-of-life technologies. There will also be no more official modules, themes, bug fixes, documentation, or core commits for Drupal 7.
Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8
The best solution for this is to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. However, this is not a simple upgrade. Drupal 7 is built on an entirely different codebase than Drupal 8 which requires a site rebuild. The rebuild does come with some great opportunities for your website such as the ability to boost your website’s speed, install new marketing technologies, and improve search engine presence.
What if I Don’t Want to Migrate from Drupal 7 to 8?
If you don’t want to migrate your website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, you do have other options, but they come with their own risks.
Unofficial Community Support for Drupal 7
The unofficial Drupal community is very large and active, and you do have the option of depending on the community for continued unofficial support of your Drupal 7 website. Many DIY developers and small businesses rely on this approach, hoping that the community will keep 10+ year old website platforms safe and operational. But since this is voluntary support provided by individual developers, and not official support from Drupal itself, there’s no guarantee that the support will continue. There is also the risk that support performed by the community will not be maintained which can leave your website at greater risk of security breaches, functionality issues, and breakdowns.
Rebuild Your Website on Another Platform
You could choose to move away from Drupal entirely and rebuild your website on another platform like Wordpress. Depending on your website’s requirements, you could stay on another platform longterm, or ultimately migrate to the newest version of Drupal, Drupal 9, when more developers have experience working with it. This gives you time to start collecting your website requirements and securing a spot with your web developer to get in line to be able to launch a Drupal 9 website in 2021.
Wait to Migrate Your Website Directly from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9
While it is an option to migrate your website directly from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, we don’t recommend it since developers are not yet completely familiar with the platform. Furthermore, community-developed modules have not yet been fully tested to ensure compatibility with the platform. You could wait until 2021 when there is more developer familiarity with the platform and community modules have a longer history of stable operation behind them.But there is still the risk that your site could experience issues and be vulnerable to security breaches if you do not get your Drupal 9 website launched by November 21, 2021 when Drupal 7 support ends. This is entirely possible since the migration is also not a simple upgrade, but a complete rebuild.
A Drupal 8 Migration is Worth the Investment Now
Long-term, the best value for your investment will be migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 now. Here’s why:
- Drupal 8 is ideal for building mobile-first experiences, which allows users to view their content on any device.
- Drupal 8 has an updated and more revamped content authoring experience consisting of an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor and in-context editing, which not only simplifies the editing process but also makes it a whole lot of fun.
- Faster and hassle-free content delivery. The dynamic features added in Drupal 8 play into the enhanced flexibility, besides making work easier for businesses with a heavy workload and limited staff.
- Extensive multilingual features. Drupal 8’s dashboard has a built-in translation feature that makes it easy to add translations to your content.
- Drupal 8 is more SEO-friendly.
- Drupal 8 allows businesses to overcome technical hurdles and make instant changes to their websites without incurring any issues. More features and speed efficiency also play a critical role in increasing conversions.
We recommend all Drupal 7 website owners strongly consider migrating to Drupal 8 now, then upgrade to Drupal 9 in the future. We offer a Peace of Mind plan which enables us to easily handle the Drupal 9 upgrade when the time is right.
The first thing we do before migrating any website is to meet with you to understand how your new website will serve your business and further align your 4 Pillars. Our 4 Pillars approach aligns your Strategy, Sales, Marketing, and Technology to further identify how Marketing and Technology can be used to support your Strategy and Sales.
If you’d like advice on what to do with your Drupal 7 website, contact August Ash for a Free Website Evaluation and 4 Pillars Consultation.