D7 End of Life: What happens when you don’t migrate from Drupal 7 to 9?

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By Ashish Goyal Apr 6, 2022

So here’s the situation…

When Drupal 7 was released in January 2011, organizations soon realized the potential of this power-packed, open-source content management system (CMS) and grabbed the opportunity to make it their own. After almost a decade, D7 is finally coming to its end-of-life (EOL). In comparison to the latest D9 version, the benefits of D7 are definitely diminished. Yet, it is the version that powers about 57% of all the websites using Drupal.

After running a successful course of serving different types of businesses, D7 is officially going to retire on 1 November 2023. Earlier, D7 EOL was scheduled for November 2021. But, it was extended to 28 November 2022 due to the hit businesses and budgets took during the pandemic. 

When the news of D7 EOL broke, it sure did send shock waves across the digital CMS arena because it meant that businesses using the platform had to migrate to a newer version of Drupal. This predicament and the pandemic-induced challenges made businesses think harder about their migration options. Drupal migration was not optional, but a serious business imperative.  Delivering great user experiences became integral to business strategies.

The silver lining in the migration cloud

All good things must come to an end. In Drupal’s case, the story is slightly different, as the end was actually just the beginning of the next generation of CMS technology. D7’s EOL gave Drupalers the option to migrate to a future-ready D8 and D9. But, here’s the twist in the plot; D8 had already reached its end of life in November 2021, even before D7’s. 

Yet, there is a silver lining for organizations. Those who already have made the shift from D7 to D8, migrating to D9 is going to be a back-end system update with no major overhauling needed. For those who are still using the platform to host their website, it’s not exactly the end of the world, but soon they will be facing the dwindling Drupal support and maintenance of D7. This leaves them with the best possible option of migrating to D9. This migration will mean a complete re-platforming of the existing platform with the added benefits of D8, the latest offering in D9, and then some more. The release of D9 and further updates have made this version a future-ready Drupal platform that promises to only get better with time.

Cutting to the chase: What happens to those who are still with D7

If you are one of those organizations still mulling over whether or not to migrate, then you’re limiting your business from tapping into the potential advantages of flexibility and ease offered by D9. Our advice? Start your drupal migration planning today. However, if you are still in a migration dilemma, here’s what’s going to happen if you choose to not migrate from Drupal 7 to 9:

  1. Stunted business continuity

    Today’s business strategies are all about delivering top-notch user experiences. But with D7’s EOL right around the corner, implementing the required strategy will be difficult, if the necessary steps are not taken. After November 2022, there is going to be no Drupal community support available. Even the multi-third party support modules will cease to be supported. This is going to jeopardize business continuity, and affect the scope of innovation required to sustain and meet the changing customer demands, eventually leading to major security issues. Therefore, migrating to D9 becomes critical for organizations still functioning on D7.

  2. Vulnerable website security

    About 77% of security attacks on Drupal are due to the fast-approaching tech redundancies. This increases the regulatory and compliance liabilities. Generally, an organization's security policies advise availing services that provide continuous security. With D7 EOL in sight, security support is already shifting focus to D9, which leaves behind a gaping security hole for D7 users. They run the high risk of not complying with data security norms, which means that ultimately they cannot continue to maintain a D7 website.

  3. No bug or active dev support

    One of Drupal’s biggest strengths is its community. But once D7 becomes obsolete, there will no longer be any community support for timely bug fixes and active development. With D9, there is already a 124%* increase in adoption since its release in July 2020. The focus of the community has shifted from D7 to D9, which is creating a huge pile of unattended D7 bugs fixes. Comparing both versions, D7 bugs are now getting fixed in days and months, whereas D9 bugs are getting fixed in seconds and hours!

  4. Outdated editorial experience

    Here, it is important to touch upon D8 and how it paved the way for future Drupal versions. D8 came in with a complete architectural overhaul that made it more sustainable, relevant, and easier in the long run. D8 changed the way the content and configuration were now stored in the database. It offered a far better performance by simplifying editing, offering multilingual options, increased accessibility, detailed workflows, and high scalability. Any business running on D8 and has decided to migrate does not require re-platforming from scratch. D7 restricts its users from availing of these editorial benefits.

  5. No more host service providers

    D7 EOL also means that host companies, like Acquia and Pantheon, will be withdrawing their support for D7. Existing users would be left with the option to take up hosting responsibilities themselves to ensure continuous maintenance of applications and carry out server-level configurations.

  6. Increase in maintenance cost

    With the Drupal community and host service providers slowly withdrawing their support for D7, the impact of the cost of maintaining a D7 website will definitely be felt. It is estimated that there will be about a 15%# increment in the maintenance cost of a website that runs on an outdated CMS, compared to working CMSes that run on new technology. As the tech becomes more and more redundant, it will be difficult to find developers willing and experienced to maintain an outdated version of Drupal. The more experienced and skilled developers are already moving away from outdated software and familiarizing themselves with cutting-edge tech. This makes finding external support both difficult and costly.

  7. API integration challenges

    Drupal is known for offering a secured API infrastructure that helps in creating an integrated digital experience for the end-user, rather than sending them off to work on different applications for various tasks. From a marketing perspective, maintaining an integrated environment is important as it helps record consumer metrics based on which businesses can further enhance their digital strategies. When the tech becomes obsolete, integration with multi-third-party tools and systems will become difficult.

Make Migration a Cinch with the right partner

The end of life of a once-powerful CMS does not mean the end of life of your website. Technology constantly evolves to solve and give birth to the next best solutions. It is important to adapt to the changing tech trends, as and when they unfold. Of course, migration can be a herculean task, but with the right partner, it might just turn out to be a painless and seamless experience.

At Srijan, we help you make better CMS choices. We bring on board our expertise to run a health check of your existing Drupal system and chalk out an exhaustive, step-by-step migration strategy that is best suited for your business needs. So, if you think you’re ready then reach out to us today!

Shared Success

Building a Drupal-based content collaboration tool
How We Helped a Leading Biopharma Company Streamline their Publishing Cycle with a Drupal CMS
How We Helped 8world Deliver New Digital Experiences Through A Hybrid CMS

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