Drupal 7, a robust and widely used content management system, has been a backbone for many websites since its release in 2011. 

According to usage statistics for Drupal core until May 22, 2022, 482,747 websites are still using Drupal 7.

However, with technological advancements and the evolution of web platforms, the end of Drupal 7's life cycle is approaching. 

This article aims to provide comprehensive insights about Drupal 7 EOL and the critical steps you can take moving forward. 

What Does Drupal 7 End of Life Mean?

End of life in software terms refers to the phase when a software program no longer receives updates, maintenance, bug fixes, security patches, or new feature developments. 

For Drupal 7, this phase has been set for January 5, 2025​​​​. This date was extended from the initially planned date to provide users additional time to upgrade their sites​​. 

It's important to note that after the EOL, Drupal 7 will no longer receive security support, making it critical for website owners to consider upgrading​​. 

Should You be Worried if You’re Still on Drupal 7? 

Are you using Drupal 7 for your website? There's no need to panic. The Drupal community has extended its support for Drupal 7 until January 2025. This means you'll still receive important security updates and community assistance for your website.

However, it's important to see this as a final reminder rather than a permanent solution. Continuing with Drupal 7 after January 2025 could leave your site vulnerable to security risks. Newer Drupal versions not only offer better security but also come with advanced features that can enhance your website's performance.

Upgrading your website might sound like a big task, but it's essential for keeping your site safe and efficient. That's where our team at OPTASY can help. We are experts in Drupal and can guide you through every step of the upgrade process. Our goal is to make your transition to a newer version of Drupal as smooth and straightforward as possible.

If you're thinking about upgrading or if you have any questions about what it involves, reach out to us at OPTASY. We're here to support you in moving to a more secure, feature-rich version of Drupal. 

 

What Are the Risks of Using Drupal 7 beyond its EOL?

Security Risks 

Post August 1, 2023, not all security issues in Drupal 7 will be proactively addressed. Some moderately and less critical issues might remain unpatched, leading to vulnerabilities becoming publicly known and possibly exploited​​.

Unsupported Modules

Modules used in Drupal 7 may no longer receive updates after August 1, 2023. If module maintainers fail to respond to security concerns, these modules might be permanently marked as insecure or unsupported​​.

No More Security Advisories

The Drupal Security Team will cease issuing security advisories for unsupported libraries commonly used in Drupal 7, placing the onus on-site administrators to identify and fix such issues​​.

Increased Vigilance Required

With reduced security coverage, site administrators will need to be more vigilant in monitoring and securing their sites​​.

Why Upgrade to Drupal 10?

Upgrading to Drupal 10 is highly recommended for several key reasons:

End of Life for Previous Versions 

As of November 1st, 2023, Drupal 9 has reached its End of Life (EOL), meaning it no longer receives official support, including security updates and bug fixes. Drupal 8 has been out of support since 2021​​​​. This makes both Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 obsolete and potentially vulnerable to security threats.

Enhanced Security and Features in Drupal 10

Drupal 10, being the latest version, offers the most up-to-date security measures and features. It's designed to provide a more secure, efficient, and user-friendly experience compared to its predecessors. The continuous development and support for Drupal 10 ensure that your website is protected against the latest online threats and is equipped with modern functionalities.

Long-Term Support and Stability

By upgrading to Drupal 10, you're not only enhancing your website's capabilities but also ensuring long-term support and stability. With Drupal 10, you position your website on a platform that is set to receive ongoing updates and improvements, keeping it relevant and secure in the evolving digital landscape.

For those on Drupal 7, the upgrade process to Drupal 10 isn't direct. 

First, you need to upgrade to Drupal 9. This step is necessary because Drupal 9 serves as a transitional platform that prepares your website for the more substantial changes and improvements in Drupal 10. 

Once your site is on Drupal 9, upgrading to Drupal 10 is a more straightforward process, as Drupal 10 is built to be backwards compatible with Drupal 9.

How to Prepare for the Upgrade

Preparing for a migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10 involves a comprehensive approach, encompassing technical evaluation, strategic planning, and team coordination. 

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this process:

  1. Assess the user experience
  • Assess the current UX of your Drupal 7 site.
  • Consider how moving to Drupal 10 can enhance your UX and site functionality.
  • Make UX improvement a key objective, as it will shape many aspects of the migration project.
  1. Recognize your audience and key players
  • Understand who your audiences and stakeholders are now compared to when you last updated your site.
  • Analyze their needs and expectations from your site.
  1. Establish clear objectives

  • Revisit your organization's mission and success metrics
  • Determine how the new Drupal 10 platform can align with and support these goals
  • Plan how the platform can better serve your stakeholders
  1. Build your migration team

  • Identify internal resources and team members who can contribute to the migration.
  • Assess any skill gaps and consider hiring or training to fill these gaps.
  1. Perform comprehensive reviews

  • Perform content and technical audits of your current Drupal 7 site.
  • Evaluate what content and functionalities need to be migrated, reworked, or discarded.
  • Determine the scope of your project and whether your current resources are sufficient.
  1. Seek external expertise

  • If internal resources or expertise are lacking, consider partnering with a Drupal agency.
  • An experienced agency can provide the necessary support and guidance for a successful migration.
  1. Technical preparation

  • Upgrade to Drupal 9 first, as a direct migration from Drupal 7 to 10 is not feasible.
  • Ensure your hosting environment supports Drupal 9 and 10.
  • Update Drupal 7 core and modules to their latest versions before starting the migration.

  

Conclusion

The EOL of Drupal 7 marks a significant milestone, necessitating action from website owners still using this version. 

While the extension until January 2025 provides additional time, it is crucial to utilize this period effectively for upgrading to a more secure, modern, and feature-rich platform like Drupal 9 or 10. 

See how our team of Drupal experts can help with your upgrade.

Photo Credit: Unsplash.

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