Despite Drupal 8 (D8) being launched back in 2015 and Drupal 9’s release date looming; there are almost a million websites on the internet still running on Drupal 7 (D7). However; many of the website owners justify their reasoning for sticking with Drupal 7 until now to the long update to Drupal 8 process and the budget required.
So... should you upgrade your website to Drupal 8 now? That really depends on your business needs… however; since you decided to build your website using Drupal, I assume you already know the unique advantages that Drupal brings to your brand’s digital experience.
We take a look at a few logical reasons to upgrade your website to Drupal 8 sooner rather than later:
1. D7 End-Of-Life (EOL) Is Around the Corner
Both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 versions will continue to receive support and fixes from the community until November 2021, a whole year after the release of Drupal 9 in 2020. Beyond that EOL date; D7 and D8 will no longer receive any support. What does that mean?
The community at large will no longer create new projects, fix bugs in existing projects, write documentation, etc. around Drupal 7. There will be no more core commits to Drupal 7. The Drupal Security Team will no longer provide support or Security Advisories for Drupal 7 core or contributed modules, themes, or other projects. Reports about Drupal 7 vulnerabilities might become public creating 0 day exploits. All Drupal 7 releases on all project pages will be flagged as not supported. Maintainers can change that flag if they desire to. On Drupal 7 sites with the update status module, Drupal Core will show up as unsupported.
After November 2021, using Drupal 7 may be flagged as insecure in 3rd party scans as it no longer gets support. If you have a site that is running on Drupal 7, now is the time to start planning the upgrade. You don’t want to be making that decision with only a couple of months to the EOL date remaining.
If you still plan to stick to Drupal 7; you can engage the services of specific vendors who will be announced at a later date as officially recognized members of the Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support program (D7ES).
Or, you could save money and time by upgrading now and gain the significantly richer benefits of Drupal 8. I strongly recommend this approach. Win-Win.
2. Power Your Digital Business
This one is logical. If you think you’d be saving money and time by jumping directly to Drupal 9 from Drupal 7, think again.
You are already missing out on Drupal 8’s awesome features. Drupal 8 was built with a focus on creating engaging user experiences. Website performance is at the core of all improvements, updates, and modules being created for Drupal 8. One of the first significant improvements introduced was Facebook’s BigPipe, which is now a built-in stable module in Drupal core.
Major brands that are running websites on Drupal 8 can give their site visitors the mobile-first, search engine optimized and secure user experience they crave. Businesses that cater to a global audience are reaping the benefits of the multilingual and translation tools built-in Drupal 8’s CMS.
Additionally, Drupal 8 replaced PHPtemplate with a new, faster, simpler and much more secure theming engine, Twig. Though Twig is PHP-based, all that front end developers need to create beautiful websites is their skill in HTML/CSS. They don’t need to boast much PHP experience or expertise anymore.
The aforementioned are but a sample of highlighted features. Think of all the modules that have been improved and enhanced to build a digital experience that engages your base better than ever. Are you willing to be behind the pack until you decide I need to upgrade closer to the Drupal 7’s EOL date?
3. Smooth Migration to D9
Migrating your website from Drupal 6 to 7 demanded an entire rebuild. It’s true that migrating from Drupal 7 to 8 would be a major hassle as well, however, this would be the last major rebuild you will ever have to make again thanks to Semantic Versioning.
Drupal 9 is built on-top of Drupal 8. Hence, the transition when migrating from Drupal 8 to 9 will be seamless and effortless, especially when you compare the hassle of migrating between other major versions.
“The first release of Drupal 9 will be very similar to the last minor release of Drupal 8, as the primary goal of the Drupal 9.0.0 release will be to remove deprecated code and update third-party dependencies. By keeping your Drupal 8 sites up to date, you should be well prepared for Drupal 9.” - Dries Buytaert, Drupal Project Lead
If you are still reluctant to rebuild your website in order to benefit from the sample of highlighted Drupal 8 features we mentioned earlier; consider Varbase.
Varbase is an enhanced Drupal distribution packed with adaptive functionalities and essential modules, that speed up your development, and provides you with standardized configurations, making your life easier. The essence of Varbase, lies within the basic concept that initiated it; DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself). Varbase handles that for you, relieving you from repeating all the modules, features, configurations that are included in every Drupal project.
You can build a beast of a digital experience that caters for a global and diverse audience, search engine optimized and mobile-first; whilst saving over 200 development hours.
The time to prepare for your business’ digital future is now. Adopting a neutral stance is only going to be a waste of time, traction and money. Choosing to upgrade to Drupal 8 right now means that you have already upgraded to Drupal 9.
Drupal’s focus on engaging digital experiences reflects the actual shift in user behavior in real life. That is the main reason why global brands and many industries such as the entertainment industry, higher education, healthcare, and even public sectors are adopting Drupal… and Drupal 8’s features offer your digital business more than you can begin to imagine. Our award-winning team can help you build a digitally thriving business in the future by guiding you through the upgrade process.
Contact us now and get a thorough complimentary performance audit of your website!