Important update on Drupal 7

New end-of-life date for Drupal 7 websites

If you own a website using Drupal 7, you’ve probably already been made aware that this version is coming to an end. But the Drupal 7 end date has changed and it’s only a provisional end-of-life date. Discover what this announcement means for you and what you should do today to keep your website secure.

What is Drupal? (Quick recap)

Drupal is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) used to create websites. It is estimated that around 14% of the top 10,000 websites in the world use Drupal to create their site. This includes portfolio and blog websites, eCommerce websites and even government department websites.

As Drupal gets updated and upgraded, new versions of it become available. At the time of writing, Drupal 9 is the latest version with Drupal 10 rumoured to be available by the end of 2022. As Drupal moves on with newer versions, older versions stop getting updated.

When is Drupal 7 ending?

Drupal 7 was supposed to stop receiving updates in November 2022. However, in February 2022, Drupal announced that they were pushing back the end-of-life date for Drupal 7. The new provisional end date for Drupal 7 is November 2023.

This is only a provisional date because Drupal also announced that they would evaluate the situation as it develops. Another announcement will be made in July 2023, which will either confirm the November 2023 end date or push the deadline back again.

Drupal announced the news by stating they have a moral obligation to ensure the support and security of those still using a Drupal 7 website, which is thought to be a significant number. If Drupal 7 usage remains high, there is a chance they will continue to think the same and extend Drupal 7’s end-of-life date again. But at this stage, it’s best to assume they won’t.

What will the end of Drupal 7 mean?

When Drupal 7 stops being supported and receiving updates, any remaining websites using the Drupal 7 version will remain active. However, they won’t receive any security updates and bug fixes. This means the performance and security of the website will quickly diminish over time, leaving the businesses with an outdated, insecure and possibly an unfunctional website.

Continuing to own a Drupal 7 website could severely damage your brand and cause you to lose some of your market share.

Can you update a Drupal website to the latest version?

Most people upgrading from a Drupal 7 website will be recommended to update to the latest Drupal version. Right now, that would be Drupal 9, but for anyone reading after December 2022 that would be Drupal 10 if current rumours are correct.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple button you can click to update to Drupal 9 or Drupal 10. And that’s because Drupal 9 has significantly changed the way that configuration and content get stored on the database. Consequently, an update cannot be performed. Instead, the Drupal 7 website must be migrated across to the latest Drupal version. This takes real time and effort, and it’s best left to a Drupal expert.

What this means for your Drupal 7 website

If you own a Drupal 7 website, don’t get complacent regarding the extension to its end-of-life date. Even though it won’t end for at least another year, it’s best to get your ducks in a row now and prepare for a migration to an updated version of Drupal, which may be Drupal 9 or Drupal 10 depending on when you migrate and when Drupal 10 is released.

The migration process from Drupal 7 to 9 or 10 won’t be possible overnight. It will take time and some money for professional website developers to move your website across while ensuring it remains entirely functional. The WEBPRO developers are highly experienced at handling Drupal. Whether we developed your Drupal 7 website or not, we can help you move it across to an updated, supported and secure version.

Recap: The new Drupal 7 end-of-life date is set for November 2023 with a confirmation announcement or extension announcement coming from Drupal in July 2023. When Drupal 7 does end, all Drupal 7 websites will become insecure and prone to issues. It’s important to prepare for eventual changes early because there’s no simple update to the new version. All Drupal 7 websites will need to migrate to Drupal 9 or possibly Drupal 10.

P.S. If you need to migrate from Drupal 7, it could be a perfect time to think about a website redesign at the same time.

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