Drupal 7 and 8 End of Life - An Ideal Time to Make the Change to WordPress

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | June 2021

drupal-end-of-lifeDrupal, a website builder that makes up 2.4% of the content management system (CMS) market, has two product versions simultaneously nearing End of Life. 

If you’re unfamiliar with what End of Life means when related to software, basically, software vendors use the term End of Life or EOL when it’s ending or limiting support on a product or version of a product. Sunsetting software helps developers shift their focus to new product versions while also reducing the number of product variations they need to support. 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
-Benjamin Franklin

In this blog post, we’ll cover questions you may have if you’re currently using Drupal 7 or 8 and you need to develop a plan for moving forward. 

Drupal 7 Overview

Drupal 7, first released in January 2011, was originally scheduled to be sunsetted in November 2021. This date was extended one year to November 2022 because of the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and their budgets.  At the time of this post, there are still 589,017 sites still on Drupal 7, according to Drupal Core User Statistics. That’s a lot of websites that need to be migrated. 

Similar to other software, Drupal is built using other frameworks or dependencies. When these dependencies become outdated and are no longer supported, there’s a domino effect that occurs. This can affect the core product version, and oftentimes, makes that version unreliable and susceptible to vulnerabilities. 

This is the case for Drupal 8. Even though Drupal 8 is a more recent version than 7, it will reach its end of life on November 2, 2021, because of a core dependency, with Symfony 3 that is also getting sunsetted. 

What does this mean if your website is using Drupal 7 or 8?

  • Drupal 7 support will end in November 2022. The Drupal community will no longer create new projects, fix bugs in existing projects, or write documentation around Drupal 7. 
  • Drupal 8 support will end in November 2021. Drupal 8 will only receive patch releases following Drupal 9.0.0's release. No new features will be added to Drupal 8, nor will minor releases be made available.
  • Since Drupal will stop making security updates, this makes your Drupal 7 or 8 website more vulnerable to security breaches and hacking. 
  • Drupal does not recommend using unsupported software and they don’t advise using Drupal 7 or 8 to build new websites. 

Okay, so now what? If you’re wondering what to do, here are some common questions you might have right now. 

Can I just stay on Drupal 7 or 8?

Yes, you can opt to do nothing, but we strongly advise not going this route. Using unsupported software is sort of like being near a ticking time bomb. At some point, the bomb will go off. It’s just a matter of time. 

How do I migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9?

While migrating from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is fairly straightforward, making the move from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 can be more complicated. 

Many Drupal experts recommend a two-step migration process. Since Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 are vastly different, the brunt of the work comes with the Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 migration. Then, once all of the kinks are worked out with that migration, you can upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9. 

What are my options if I’m ready to say sayōnara to Drupal?

For those of you ready to get off the Drupal bus, there are other solid options. Migrating from Drupal to WordPress, for example, offers more plugins and theme options, while also being much more user-friendly than Drupal. If, for instance, your team changes frequently, it will be much easier to get new team members up to speed on WordPress than Drupal. 

Why make the switch to WordPress?

According to data from w3techs.com, WordPress sites represent 41% of the top 10 million most visited websites globally. While the WordPress share continues to grow, Drupal’s share is getting smaller. 

WordPress also has the most extensive collection of plugins that will extend your website’s functionality and features. If you’re looking for specific functionality, chances are there’s a WordPress plugin to help. 

Still not sure about making the switch to WordPress, check out our 11 Best Website Builders for Nonprofits blog post. 

How do I make the change from Drupal to WordPress?

If you’re seriously considering migrating from Drupal to WordPress, keep in mind that while WP migration plugins like FG Drupal to WordPress simplifies moving over your content, you will still need to build a new website theme. This may sound more daunting than it actually is. Let’s say for instance, that you are happy with the overall look and feel of your website, know this saves time because you can skip the whole ideation phase and go right to design where a designer can replicate your current site. 

Migrating from Drupal to WordPress can also the ideal time for a complete overhaul of your website. If your website offers a poor mobile or user experience, leveraging this time to create a modern website that’s effective is a better option. 

Okay, you sold had me at Word…., how do I get started?

If you’re ready to move from Drupal to WordPress, start here.

  1. Think about what’s working and what’s not working on your current website. 
  2. What does success look like? Determine your main objectives. 
  3. How much time and budget can you dedicate to your site’s migration and redesign?
  4. Analyze your competitors and your market. What are the trends? Where are there opportunities? 
  5. Find a website agency, like ArcStone, that’s experienced with WordPress. Work with your agency to create a migration, redesign, and hosting plan. Don’t forget about hosting, you’ll want a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress. 

We understand that migrating a website can feel overwhelming, that’s why you need a partner who can work with you to explore your options. 

If your website is running on Drupal 7 or 8, there’s still time to make a plan. Get started today

Topics: Design and Technology