Drupal 7 End of Life Is Extended to Give Businesses More Time to Shift

8 min
Eduard Grigalashvili
Technical Writer

The end of Drupal 7 is coming. Normally when a Drupal’s new major release occurs, the community continues to support previous versions that are no more than two versions older than the newest one. This was the case with Drupal 6 when version 8 came out.

Now when Drupal 10 is on the way, how long will Drupal 7 be supported? 

Well, it’s hard to tell since the end of the support period has been moved several times. At first, it was scheduled for the second half of 2021, but on June 24, 2020, the Drupal Community announced a customer support extension for yet another year—until the end of November 2022. And at the beginning of 2022, the latest Drupal 7 end-of-life date was once again moved to November 1, 2023.

As a Drupal development company that values our customers, AnyforSoft wants to make sure that you receive the latest information regarding the end of life Drupal 7 might face in 2023. In this article, we will discuss it in detail and provide you with answers to the following questions:

  • Why is Drupal 7 end of life extended even though this version was released more than 11 years ago?
  • How do the new updates impact those who are still on Drupal 7?
  • What should the owners of Drupal 7 sites do?
  • And what are the main advantages of the latest Drupal version?

Read further to learn more! 

What Is the Reason Behind Drupal 7 EOL Shift?

Drupal 7 end-of-life

If you are one of 500,000 Drupal users who are still running websites built with Drupal 7, you're probably wondering why Drupal 7 end of life was extended. According to the official report, the community continues to support Drupal 7 due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on companies' budgets. 

The thing is, the community received many complaints regarding the first end-of-life Drupal 7 was facing. Various economic issues along with lockdowns all over the world became an insurmountable obstacle to the formation of many businesses' budgets at the time.

Just imagine: the owners of large global websites needed up to 3 million US dollars to entirely migrate from the current Drupal version to the newest one. Many couldn’t afford to invest that much. If the company had ignored them and stopped offering community support for the 7th version of Drupal in 2021, lots of people would be highly disappointed.

Luckily, the Drupal community had the decency to extend the support. As a result, website owners that use Drupal 7 now have some extra time to put things in order, grow the budget, and migrate to the updated platform the way it’s supposed to be done—without fuss and panic.

Haven't migrated your site to Drupal 8/9 yet? Read more about the new features and benefits of Drupal 9.

What Does the End of Drupal 7 Support Mean for Businesses?

Now let’s talk about how the Drupal 7 end of life 2023 is preparing for us might affect businesses that still rely on the older version of CMS.

In fact, if you don’t have time or budget for the upgrade process, you can still use the 7th version of the content management system. Your site will be functioning fine, but you will soon stop receiving bug fixes as well as feature updates to modules and Drupal 7 core. In addition to that, by refusing to migrate to the latest Drupal version, you will face various issues:

  • Slowdowns. If you are working with Drupal 7 for a long time, you've probably noticed that the development of new modules and updating the existing ones get much slower over time. That’s because the company devotes more time to security issues and optimizing modules for Drupal 10.
  • Security vulnerability due to lack of official security updates. Even in case of urgent threats to the platform’s security, they will not be addressed and fixed by the Drupal community specialists after the Drupal end of life (7th version). So if you care about website security, consider updating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 or 10 as soon as possible.
  • Support issues. Drupal 7’s release happened quite a long time ago—in January 2011. Are you wondering why Drupal 7 is still supported? Actually, it is the most popular and therefore long-supported version in the two-decade history of the CMS. Even years after Drupal 8 was released, many users have remained loyal to the outdated version. As a result, today you can find an incredible amount of useful practical materials on Drupal 7 on the internet. Yet, you are unlikely to get fully official Drupal 7 support in the future.

What is the best strategy for Drupal 7 sites?

Drupal is an open-source platform entirely dependent on the community developers' work. They will stop developing patches for the existing modules one day (which might happen after the Drupal 7 support end date on November 1, 2023). 

But even though you have over a year to migrate your website, it doesn’t mean that the upgrade from Drupal 7 to its latest version is your only option. If you are still using Drupal 7, consider the scenarios below.

Stay where you are with Drupal 7

The good news is that the Drupal community offers D7's extended support by vendors. The community support will be over officially, but some competent developers will work on optimizing security fixes from version 9 for version 7 whenever it’s possible. This additional support program will come to an end only in 2025.

However, by ignoring the release of the new Drupal, you’re still limiting yourself in many ways. First of all, many new modules are not supported in older versions of Drupal: thus, you won’t be able to use them to improve the functionality of your website. Also, while the Drupal 7 end of life extension lets you stay on the outdated CMS version and save money, you’re putting your website’s security at risk. As noted above, you won’t get official security updates in the near future, so your website data may be eventually compromised.

Move to another CMS

Switching to another content management system is one of the extreme measures. Basically, it requires building a website completely from scratch. Therefore, moving to a different CMS is often even longer and more expensive than migrating from Drupal 7 to 9.

Of course, some CMS don’t have such major software updates that require a development team and weeks of work to install. Plus, you can find an alternative that has a more user-friendly interface and can be used without high-level web development skills. But if you already built a site on Drupal, moving away from it won’t be an easy feat. You'll have to reassess the website architecture as well as its capabilities and features.

Anyforsoft specialists have gone through lots of CMS migrations and now encourage users to be highly attentive when picking a new CMS. Recreating your website’s existing functions in a new environment is no 1-day task. You may face various technical issues in the process that will require time, money, and effort to be resolved. Considering this, we would not recommend switching to another CMS.

Finally, Upgrade Drupal 7 to Drupal 9

Note: on August 2022, it was revealed that the official support for version 9 of Drupal will also end on November 1, 2023, due to Symphony 4’s end of life. Thus, upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is no longer a good idea. We recommend waiting for the official Drupal 10 release, which is expected to occur ahead of Drupal 9's end of life. 

However, if you are using Drupal 8 (no longer supported), upgrading to Drupal 9 is still a prudent decision, since it will help you keep your website secure. Besides, upgrading from version 8 to 9 is fast and doesn’t require major investments. You will then be able to upgrade from version 9  to version 10 without much effort.

No doubt, updating the old site to the latest Drupal 9 would be the most reasonable solution.

But what about Drupal 8? Why don't we consider switching to this version of Drupal?

Oddly enough, Drupal 8 has not been supported since November 2, 2021. This is because version 8 is based on unsupported software Symfony 3, which is also deprecated as of November 2021. Unlike Drupal 8, Drupal 7 does not depend on third-party frameworks so the Drupal 7 end-of-life can be extended.

Now let's get back to the topic.

Why should you move from Drupal 7 to 9? What are the pros and cons?

First of all, the good news is that starting with version 8, the community has greatly simplified the platform updating process. This means that website owners will be able to save time and money when switching to the next CMS version. If the transition from Drupal 6 to 7 is nearly as difficult and costly as creating a new website, you will hardly feel a thing moving from Drupal 8/9 to 9. Now, how about other benefits?

The Power of Drupal 9

upgrade to Drupal 9 services

Here are the top reasons to start planning to upgrade to the new Drupal:

  • Better editor experience. The CMS’s editors have become even more accessible and user-friendly than in previous versions of Drupal. They’re now empowered with drag-and-drop templates, edit-in-place capabilities, workflow management features, and more.
  • Ever-increasing module base. Drupal 9 has lots of modules already, and new ones are added almost every day. Since the process of migrating modules from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is very simple, the latest version has enough modules from the first day of its launch. Today, easily upgradeable Drupal 9 features thousands of modules for your business.
  • Faster migration. Indeed, the shift from Drupal 7 to the latest version is a complex process requiring significant resources, but D9's migration module makes it much easier (at least for small websites). 
  • One-click update to Drupal 10. As mentioned above, it will be extremely easy and cost-efficient to upgrade to newer versions released in the future. Thus, you will be able to update to Drupal 10 hassle-free and without major investments.
  • Improved performance. The new version has improved performance compared to Drupal 8 and 7. It supports sophisticated caching schemes, the BigPipe core module with lazy loading of selected elements, and API-first architecture.

There is always room for perfection! While migration is long and complicated, it is also a great opportunity to update your design and introduce new features to your website. Read our Business Case: Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 Migration. Improve your website’s user experience, make the site secure, and add new amazing functions with the updated version of the CMS!

Drupal 7 EOL in 2023: get over the upgrade with AnyforSoft!

Drupal 7 end of support was extended so that you could plan your transition and prepare a budget step by step. If your site features a complex structure and custom functionality that you don’t want to lose in the future, moving to Drupal 9 is the best decision you can take.

Our expert Drupal developers know how to update Drupal 7 and make this process as smooth as possible. We will create a development team to fully meet your needs because we care about the results. We are always ready to help you rebuild the website on Drupal 9 or carry out its redesign. We will look closely at your web product and come up with a set of working solutions based on our broad experience.

Find out more on our Drupal 9 migration services page and get over the Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration with a pro team! Feel free to contact our manager to discuss the details.

FAQs

When is Drupal 7 end of life?

The current Drupal 7 end of life date is set on the first of November 2023, as per the official Drupal website. However, note that it may eventually change. If it happens, we will update the article with new information.

How long does it take to migrate a website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9?

Note: on August 2022, it was revealed that the official support for version 9 of Drupal will also end on November 1, 2023, due to Symphony 4’s end of life. Thus, upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is no longer a good idea.

Drupal 7 EOL is extended to 2023 so you have at least a year to migrate. However, you should not delay this process. The thing is, the migration can be pretty long. A simple website without custom modules, custom code, and too many content types can be migrated within 30 to 100 hours, whereas the migration of a complex site can take up to 6 months (sometimes even more).

How much does the migration cost?

To migrate from Drupal 7/Drupal 8 to 9, you will have to spend from $1000 to $85,000 or even more, depending on the complexity of your website. The cost can be estimated correctly only after we take a closer look at your site, so don’t hesitate to contact us and tell us more about your Drupal project.

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