Is it too late to start planning your Drupal 7 upgrade?

Is it too late to start planning your Drupal 7 upgrade?

Is it too late?

“No.” But don't walk the wire, it could be too late if you don’t start planning soon.

We saw with Drupal 8 end of life that too many companies were not prepared, with many still remaining on unsupported software due to the backlog of companies trying to upgrade at the same time.

What does end of life actually mean? Once Drupal 7’s life is over it will no longer be supported by the Drupal community, meaning no new projects, additional modules, or security updates.

All good things must come to an end, Drupal 7 has been a valuable tool for hundreds of thousands of companies’ websites since 2011. However, Drupal 9 is a much-welcomed upgrade, especially for companies looking to push their digital outlook to the next level. The transition from 7 to 9 is far larger than 8 to 9, so more preparation is necessary, but with change comes opportunity.

Why you should start planning now?

If your website remains on Drupal 7 beyond November, it will be vulnerable to hackers, due to the lack of security support, bug fixes, and other malware failures that could make your website open for attack. Security threats must be taken seriously in this new age of cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Hackers can enter your site and change your content for multiple purposes, sometimes via automated tools simply for spam and sometimes for more targeted motives. Large-scale data exfiltration can occur via access to websites that hold this data or link to systems that do, like CRMs. Access to website data means an attacker can then attempt to blackmail an organisation. Not only will your website be at risk, but its’ vulnerability can also offer a route into an organisation network via servers or other connected systems.

The costs of remaining on Drupal 7 could also be significant. In order to keep secure, site maintainers will have to spend a considerable amount of time searching for security issues in the modules. You will also no longer benefit from free updates, meaning you will struggle to fix any bugs or will have to hire third parties to resolve any issues.

You can decide to remain on Drupal 7 and hope to continue as normal, but be wary of these risks and costs when making your decision. Don’t worry it's not all doom and gloom, Drupal 9 is an exciting upgrade that will improve user experience and also make content creation that much easier for you.

How to start planning?

We begin by working backward from the deadline. November is the latest date, so we can use that. You'd in fact want to launch with a grace period, perhaps of two weeks for comfort, so mid-October. Depending on the complexity of the project you will need to allocate 10 to 20 weeks, giving you and us enough time to arrange user experience, design, development, and content planning. So if we took an average of 15 weeks we're already in July. But you may find limited internal capacity for a project in the Summer months, so it may be better to kick off earlier and use that time for content upload. This means that many will be kicking off their projects in March and April, assuming that they have a signed-off business case already in place and are ready to appoint an agency.

As for the what, why, how, and who of your project that’s the part we can help with and add some serious value as we go!

Get in touch and we can help with your preparations for the big switch.