Moving from Drupal to WordPress: What Nonprofits Need to Know

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | September 2020

As the third-largest content management system (CMS), Drupal has a fairly large share of the market. Although only 1.6 percent of websites use it, it tends to be popular with nonprofits since users include the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center.movingfromdrupal-05

If your nonprofit is one of many using Drupal, it’s important to take a look at your version. Most Drupal sites are still on either version 7 or 8, and both of those versions are being phased out. Although the end-of-life date has been extended to November 28, 2022, due to COVID-19, upgrading a website can take time, especially if you’re thinking about shifting to another CMS.

The Benefits of WordPress

You can stay with Drupal. If you choose to do so, though, experts recommend upgrading to version 8, if you haven’t already, as this will be the smoothest, quickest upgrade to 9 when it’s available. But this may be a great chance to upgrade to the number one CMS, WordPress. 

Why WordPress? For one, it powers 35 percent of all websites, which means you’ll probably find that it integrates with the other software you use. But the best reason for nonprofits to make the switch is cost. Not only are many of WordPress’s features much more affordable than Drupal, but you can also do much of the work for free. Even if you plan to use a development team, you’ll likely find it easier to find professionals to create and support your WordPress site.

The WordPress community is vibrant and committed to making improvements. 

Migrating to WordPress

If your nonprofit is only beginning to think about moving over, your first step will be to do some research. You’ll need a temporary domain to host your files as you move them over. Don’t worry. It’s easy to redirect your main URL to the site once everything’s moved, but you’ll want to keep your current site active until you’re ready to shift to WordPress.


During the planning phase, you’ll also need to create a sitemap. This helps you map out the current layout of your site so that you make sure you maintain your environment. This is also a great time to shorten or update your URLs or redo the layout to meet your current needs. 

Performing the Migration

Although you don’t need a developer to move things over for you, after reading the instructions, you may decide to. There is a plugin that can help with moving your pages and images over, but your database has to be migrated separately. If you decide to do it yourself, these step-by-step instructions will walk you through it.

Perhaps the biggest reason for getting help, though, is that things inevitably will go wrong during the transfer. If you have some technical expertise, you can do this yourself, but you may find the frustration isn’t worth it. Make sure you thoroughly test every aspect of your site to ensure everything works.

Although nonprofits have until late 2022 to continue with older versions of Drupal, getting started in advance has some advantages. You’ll have plenty of time to choose a CMS, move things over, and test while your existing site is still live.

Topics: Nonprofit Help