The end of Drupal 7 support is here - it's time to welcome Drupal 9!
Story by Alex Augustyniak
6 min read
We now know the Drupal 7’s EOL(End of Life) date. Official support ends in November 2022. What can you do to turn this into an opportunity? Read on, and see what are the simple steps that you should take.
The only constant in the continuous development of technology is changes. Out-of-date tools and apps will eventually simply stop working because of compatibility issues. They’re being replaced by newer and better versions.
EOL - which is an abbreviation for “end of life” means the end of the product’s official support. Usually, it’s a set date, past which no updates or promotion is being done. It is part of the natural life cycle of any IT product.
The same is true for Drupal 7. It’s hard to believe it’s been over 10 years since its introduction on the 5th of January 2011. This brilliant open-source solution helped thousands of firms and institutions to grow and develop. It is estimated that over 2 percent of all websites on the internet use Drupal - among those are 15 percent of the top 10.000 companies in the world.
Even though we’ve grown accustomed to Drupal 7 at Direktpoint, the time has come to part with it. The update has become inevitable. Where do you start? First - let’s take a look at the calendar.
When is the end of Drupal 7’s support?
Originally, support for Drupal 7 was scheduled to finish in November 2021. However, as you can read in the official information from drupal.org, the date has been moved to November 28th, 2022. What are the reasons behind this? First and foremost - difficulties related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and more specifically - their effect on a budget. This decision has once again shown that developers at Drupal - a tool firmly established in the online community - deeply understand the community’s expectations, to which they can (and will!) react immediately.
What does this mean for you? An additional year of support for your Drupal 7 website. However, after that - there won’t be any updates. You’re free to keep using this older version, but if you do - you’re on your own.
We highly recommend that you consider migrating your website to a newer and officially supported version. The lack of CMS support could potentially result in significant issues, particularly in terms of security.
So what’s going to happen with Drupal 7 after EOL?
- Drupal 7’s status in the app manager will switch to “end of life”.
- Diminishing community support. No new projects will be undertaken, no bug fixes will be added, and no documentation will be written.
- No security recommendations or support for modules or themes from Drupal Security Team.
- All Drupal 7 versions on every project will be flagged as not supported.
- It's possible some net services might treat your Drupal 7 website as a potential threat.
If thinking about all of the above is already giving you a headache - don't fret! We understand your perspective and are here to help! In cases such as these, it's best to rely on professionals. Direktpoint experts know what they’re doing, and will make sure the whole process is as smooth and painless as possible. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need our help!
If you do not plan on updating your website, you might want to use Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support. Only a limited number of clients will be able to purchase this paid service, which is planned to last until the end of 2025.
How to move to Drupal 9
While updating Drupal is almost an automated process, moving from the 7th version to 8 or 9 is quite a challenge. It would not be an overstatement to describe it as a small revolution.
Drupal premiered on November 19th, 2015. This time, the CMS developers have decided to go with the Symfony framework. It’s a very popular choice in the PHP development community, mostly due to its elasticity and numerous applications. Previous versions were not based on any larger framework. The project received the community’s approval. Apart from that, a new theme engine - Twig appeared. Suddenly adding and modifying themes became much easier.
Making Symfony the foundation of Drupal 8 caused their life cycles to become intertwined. The “eighth” EOL has been set for November 2nd, 2021, which is more than a year earlier than its predecessor.
The best course of action is to move directly to Drupal 9. The only situation in which you might consider 8 over 9 is if your website depends on a module that is not yet available in the newest edition.
Differences in architecture between the versions will force you to rewrite almost everything. We’re talking about modules, migrating the database (Migrate, Migrate Drupal, Migrate Upgrade, and Migrate Plus), and all content.
This is a good moment to take a look at your project. Is it ready for Drupal 9? Find out using the Drupal Check tool, which scans for outdated code and suggests necessary modifications. This will allow you to find elements that require direct intervention more efficiently.
Always remember about backups! This might sound obvious, but if you do happen to forget them, it might mean a lot of trouble. Do your backups!
Migrating Drupal 8 to 9 is in most cases an automated process, which will not require any additional input.
The update is inevitable. You can delay it, but sooner or later it will become unavoidable. Lack of support is a serious security concern, not to mention your website loses access to the most recent functionalities and improvements.
If you’re an experienced web developer, you will definitely manage. However, if you have any doubts, reach out to us. We are experts in our field. We will make saying goodbye to Drupal 7 and transitioning to the latest version a seamless and effortless experience for you!