The Drupal platform is a reliable CMS known for fast performance, great security features, and the ability to customize content for a dynamic and engaging visitor experience. However, if your business website currently runs on an older version of Drupal (such as 6 or 7), you may want to consider investing in an update it to avoid future time-consuming and costly coding updates or changes to the site. With the release of Drupal 8 and 9, older versions of the platform have reached what is termed end of life (EOL).

What does Drupal end of life mean?Drupal end of life (EOL) basically means that a particular version of the platform is no longer supported by the Drupal community. This means that the community will no longer be making updates, fixing security bugs, supporting or providing assistance on projects, or producing new themes or templates. Any businesses using these outdated platforms will potentially risk their website security, and ability to easily make updates on the site. Drupal 6 has reached its end of life stage, and while Drupal 7 is still supported, it will eventually be phased out as well. The EOL for Drupal 7 is projected to be around 2021.

Why choose to update to Drupal 8?In addition to continued community support and security fixes, updating to Drupal 8 comes with some amazing new features you can utilize to further enhance your web presence. Content management is even easier on Drupal 8, and it also comes with built-in themes with responsive design that makes it easier to add new features and change up the look on your business website. For editors, it offers the ability to make changes on the client side of the site and offers drag and drop upload features. It also makes the job of an admin easier through the ability to easily organize content and incorporate built-in fields with the click of a button.

How do I prepare to upgrade to Drupal 9?If you are considering an update, there are a few key areas to look at to help make your migration a smoother process. Migrating the site into Drupal 8 is not a simple, quick update, so this is a good time to take a look at all aspects that make up your business website. You may also want to consider a content audit. Take a look at any areas where content can be removed prior to the migration or coding that needs to be updated for a smoother transition. Since this is essentially a rebuild of the website, you may also want to consider updating some of the designs, developing a new theme for the site, and evaluating the current back-end structure and other areas that could make content management easier.

Drupal 9 is expected to be released in June 2020. The great news is that Drupal 9 is being built in Drupal 8, making the future upgrade experience a smoother process. In anticipation of future upgrades, you should make sure all code considered to be “depreciated” is removed from the site before this new version gets released. Code is considered depreciated when there is a better code option available to be used. There are ways to generate reports that will evaluate the code on your site, as well as modules available that give information on what code will be considered depreciated. There is also a current module in the works that will scan your site and create a “readiness assessment” so you know exactly what updates to make.

Need Help Upgrading Your Drupal Website? Upgrading to the latest version of Drupal will allow your business to remain supported by the Drupal community, as well as take advantage of new content flexibility, responsive design and improved performance. Alliance Interactive is a Washington, DC based digital agency that offers a full service team for assistance with Drupal website support, design, and development. Our team works with clients ranging from large consulting firms, government agencies, international NGO’s and enterprise security firms. Take a look at some of our Drupal services more in detail here.