Getting ready for the next Drupal upgrade

In the (not so distant) past when new versions of Drupal were released, the upgrade meant a hefty investment for a rebuild project. But with the release of Drupal 8 came a new way of thinking about how sites can be upgraded - moving from major version to major version would be as easy as any minor update. 

On June 2020, Drupal made a major announcement with the release of Drupal 9 boasting:

  • Dramatically easier tools— a new layout builder, WYSIWYG media management system and content workflow tools make Drupal much easier to use.
  • Continuous innovation—powerful new features delivered continuously, keeping Drupal at the cutting edge of the web. 
  • Easiest upgrade in a decade—and Drupal’s commitment to easy upgrades in the future means never having to worry about a major replatforming to stay up to date.

The new version marks the beginning of the end of Drupal 8 - with support ending 2nd November 2021.

What do you need to do?

While the move from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is going to be much more cost effective than previous upgrades the reality is there is still some preparation required before you’re ready for your upgrade.

When can you upgrade Drupal 8?

Your agency partner can run a thorough audit to ensure your site is ready for the upgrade, taking care of updates to deprecated code, custom modules and contributed modules and themes. Once this process is completed the update to Drupal 9 is relatively straightforward.

 At BT48 we’ve been running audits and updates since the release of Drupal 9.1 in December and the process has proved to be as straightforward as promised.

What about Drupal 7?

Drupal 7 was due to be end of lifed at the same time as Drupal 8, however, the impact of COVID-19 on budgets and businesses means Drupal 7's end-of-life has been  extended until November 28, 2022.

Upgrades from Drupal 7 will still need a lengthy (and expensive) site rebuild. However, this is an ideal time for organisations to review:

  1. Are you using the right system?
  2. Is an upgrade the right thing to do?
  3. Should you move to a new CMS that more closely matches your needs?

If you decide that you do want to stay on Drupal then we would suggest starting your upgrade away from Drupal 7 as soon as possible as getting everything lined up for an upgrade from Drupal 7 does take time.

You might want to keep your current design, or you might want to grasp this chance for optimising the user experience and creating a whole new experience. Whatever your decision you will need developers to rebuild your website so now is the time to decide what meets your needs.

Next steps

If you’re running Drupal 8 you should be talking to your support agency about getting your site updated. If you don’t have a support agency give us a call and we can talk through your options. 

If you’re running Drupal 7 then you should start having those difficult conversations internally about the best approach.