The Business Case: Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 Migration

6 min
Rogneda Kniazhina
Technical Writer
Oleg Bogut
Drupal Tech Lead

You get a little something for your website with every new software update. Drupal 9, presented in June 2020, was a long-awaited release for those who lacked the flexibility and scalability of previous versions. However, Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 received their final end-of-support dates, thus stimulating migration to the latest version. What do you get by upgrading Drupal 8 to 9?

Upgrade to Drupal 9 Today

With Drupal, scaling the website in harmony with your business growth is easy. This is what Drupal excels in the most. Yet, a sudden rise in the number of pages, functionality, or content could impact the site’s performance. Drupal 9 is here now, and it is all geared up to take on this challenge.

Shift toward Drupal 9

Under the revised roadmap, developers plan to release a new major version every 2-3 years, thus, upgrading to Drupal 9 sooner would prevent sacrificing the security of your solution and the safety of customer data. Just look at the benefits Drupal 9 can bring to your business. Can you still resist continuous innovation?

  • Enhanced security capabilities. In the 9th version of Drupal, all obsolete code was removed or replaced, which means that there would be fewer security problems (since most of the bugs that formed known vulnerabilities were eliminated). By the way, starting from November 2021, the Drupal team promises to regularly provide this version with security policy updates that allow you to upgrade the review page. The third-party dependencies have also been updated and are all compatible with Drupal 9. As for compatibility, most of the code interfaces remained untouched, which means that developers will not have problems with Drupal 8 to 9 migration and support of existing add-ons.
  • Increased performance. Upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9 grants you access to numerous installed modules to maintain performance at a high level, even deploying the most complex solutions while maintaining the margin of adaptability. There are several ones worth mentioning: Big Pipe (performs caching of metadata and speeds up the page sending), an extended Internal Dynamic Page Cache (for caching dynamic content), Internal Page Cache (for caching data of anonymous users), Blazy (for lazy loading and multi-serving of pictures), CDN (for the integration with CDNs), and many more. Also, do not forget about the support of Memcache and Redis, which help optimize the loading of rich media and speed up the rendering process.
  • Wide facilities for international sites development. With Drupal 9, which supports more than 100+ languages, developers can easily create and maintain multi-local websites. It is also additionally facilitated by a built-in on-the-fly translation engine. All the local-changing capabilities also concern the administrative panel.
  • Optimized content processing. Drupal 9 has a new feature that allows you to manage several versions of the source site simultaneously. Drupal 8 site could not offer the same. Migrate Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 to simplify the process of synchronizing changes between different versions of your portal.
  • Boosted Availability. By supporting international Internet accessibility policies and WCAG, Drupal 9-based solutions can be adapted to serve people with disabilities to make the website accessible for all. Every year the company strives to improve existing and unused modules and develop new ones to make sure that this software is as adapted as possible to the needs of people with disabilities. If you are also aware of this issue, the Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 upgrade would be your first choice.
  • Simplified migration process. Basically, upgrading from Drupal 8 is not complex, but it has become much easier taking into account previous versions. Still, to avoid costly mistakes and make sure your current site will get advantages instead of problems, take professional help to ensure your modules are Drupal 9 compatible.

So, now you can see that Drupal core was made with the thought of ensuring the smoothest possible migration process from the previous version while at the same time offering new opportunities for content management, advanced localization features, increased performance, optimized accessibility, etc.

Drupal 8 and Drupal 9: How Do They Differ?

Briefly speaking, Drupal 9.0 is very similar to the previous version and can both be used for multiple purposes. However, Drupal 9 has numerous new features that make it much more comfortable and make it reasonable to migrate Drupal. These are the major differences:

  • No deprecated code is used in the 9.0 version;
  • Symphony and Twig code is improved in the latest version of Drupal;
  • Layout Builder and PHPUnit are used in Drupal 9 instead of Place Blocks and SimpleTest modules;
  • Drupal 9 shows seamless performance and updated dependencies.

Drupal 8 vs Drupal 9: Core Reasons to Upgrade

The need to upgrade Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is as follows: in November 2021, the Drupal development team gave up the LTS support for older versions in favor of a newer system of forcing the continuous introduction of minor releases. Hence, if your site is based on an outdated platform, you will not be able to get technical support in case you have any problems with it.

Also, the Drupal team will stop releasing the bug fixes for previous versions, which will entail the possibility of successful hacks. Keep in mind that an untimely big migration can lead to leaks of user data and other troubles with data security.

Finally, you will no longer be able to connect the latest versions of the necessary modules, which will significantly limit the capabilities of your site.

That is why you need to become Drupal 9 compatible and upgrade the Drupal core.

Drupal sites make up 3,24% of the top 1 million websites.

Enable Drupal 8 To Drupal 9 Migration Process with AnyforSoft

The Drupal community has created several handy upgrade Drupal 8 to 9 guides and recommendations that are widely used by experts and beginners. However, it is impossible to take into account all exceptional cases or potential difficulties, which is why it is crucial to initially turn to an experienced and reliable team. AnyforSoft has built its own Drupal upgrade from 8 to 9 algorithm:

  • Auditing. It all starts with exploring and evaluating current Architecture, Functionality, and Structures. It is a mandatory stage that allows engineers to thoroughly study the site, determine the strengths and weaknesses, and predict possible difficulties. It is important to take into account the individual characteristics of each platform, as well as the requirements of all stakeholders.
  • Building a Strategy. Creating a Drupal 8 to 9 migration plan is a whole set of procedures that includes a step-by-step consideration of the issue queue. As a rule, the plan includes several mandatory stages, such as testing, for example, and custom module solutions.
  • Getting ready. It is the third step already, and the process of upgrading Drupal 8 to 9 has not yet begun? That is because we care about the quality of work and strive to do everything as reliably as possible. Preparing the Drupal environment includes working with the core and modules, the more complex the structure of the site, the longer the preparation.
  • Migrating/Upgrading. Drupal 8 to 9 upgrade also consists of three essential stages: data migration, installing extensions, and developing specific functionality.  All this is carried out according to a previously developed roadmap and it will be quite difficult to make any changes.
  • Testing and maintaining. The final stage of the upgrade of Drupal 8 to 9 consists of several types of testing. Among the main ones are Smoke testing, Regression Testing, and Performance testing. Other types can also be applied if it is required by the platform or project.

Thus, using an integrated approach, AnyforSoft provides a seamless and smooth upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9.

97% of all Drupal users are satisfied with it

How To Upgrade From Drupal 8 to Drupal 9?

We have covered the main reasons why Drupal migration is a wise choice. How to upgrade Drupal 8 to 9? Here is a simple instruction for conducting Drupal 8 to 9 migration once you have made the decision:

  1. Make sure there are no compatibility issues in the code.
    To upgrade to Drupal 9, you must check your custom code to make sure that your modules and themes, and other elements are capable of running if you migrate to Drupal 9 and are Drupal 9 compatible. Checking deprecations is an integral part of any migration system. A Drupal check has all the features to complete this check and acknowledge you about all the deprecations.
  2. Handle your contributed modules.
    Once you have figured out that there are no compatibility issues that could stop you from upgrading, you need to pay additional attention to your contributed modules. Contrib modules may vary depending on the project you are working with, but they must all be Drupal 9 compatible. You can either check your contributed modules and themes yourself or delegate this task to the Upgrade Status module.
  3. Start the process and change the composer.json file.
    After you have finished with the previous steps and know that your modules are Drupal 9 compatible, you can start using composer for the upgrade process. Most users prefer to run composer updates by first deleting Drush and then installing it again. After that, your composer.json file should be altered, and the constraint version should be changed from ^8.x.x to ^9.2.7.

Of course, you can conduct the migration process and check your upgrade status yourself. However, despite the outside brevity of the upgrade to Drupal 9, it is not an easy process with some unexpected pitfalls along the way. It is better to entrust its implementation to professionals who know how to upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9 with Drupal migrate API.

The Anyforsoft team comprises certified, highly trained, experienced developers, engineers, and designers. In particular, we can boast sizable expertise in the development, modernization, and migration of Drupal-based solutions. Our professional development teams always pay special attention to details and are very meticulous in the migration process because they care. If you need an expert team with a decade of experience, you are at the right place. Please, contact our manager to discuss your project and migrate Drupal 8 to 9 now!

Want to work with us?

Looking for a Drupal team?

Build your product with the industry leader

Talk to us!
Looking for Drupal solutions?