Settling the Drupal Migration Dilemma: What you need to do for Drupal 9 migration/upgrade and how to be ready for Drupal 10

By Ashish Goyal Mar 16, 2022
Drupal Upgrade and Migration
Drupal Upgrade and Migration

Change, as often as it may occur, is not always welcome with open arms or accepted easily. There is always a certain amount of apprehension, hesitation, or even resistance involved, especially with technology upgrades. For example, let’s take the 57.7% of Drupal 7 website owners anxiously looking to upgrade to the latest versions of Drupal. Extremely important,  considering that the community is just about to draw its curtains on Drupal 7 and 8. 

Your website is an indispensable part of your business and helps you stay connected with your customers. You cannot take the risk of hampering your digital operations and falling below the competitive curve. So, you must quickly act and plan your website upgrade to galvanize the power of next-gen technologies, elevate the user experience of your website, and continue with the growth trajectory that Drupal offers.

The Drupal Migration Rationale

Upgrading your Drupal 7 website to the latest versions of Drupal is no mean feat. Initially, the Drupal community had recommended an incremental migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, and then Drupal 8 to Drupal 9. But, as Drupal 8's end of life occurred in November 2021 with no more support from vendors, migrating to Drupal 8 will not be feasible. Therefore, it is viable to opt for Drupal 9 migration directly from Drupal 7, helping you achieve a shorter time-to-market.

The ‘What’ & ‘Why’ of Drupal Migration

Unquestionably, Drupal 7 will wind up its support in November 2022. So, a Drupal 9 upgrade becomes more vital than ever to ensure the smooth functioning of your website. This migration comprises the movement of site content and site configurations, such as content types, user roles, various file types, different image styles, vocabs, users, nodes, taxonomy terms, and so on. Upgrading your website to Drupal 9 brings in:

  • Smooth transition from Drupal 7 to 9
  • New features such as Layout Builder; create visual layouts with a drag-and-drop interface.
  • Support for reusing blocks and page customization.
  • Offers development and staging environment support for using an integrated configuration management system.
  • Exceptional multi-lingual capabilities.
  • Support for quick content updates, without directing to the edit page.
  • Reduces third-party dependencies due to deprecated code elimination.
  • Offers ‘out-of-the-box’ media libraries to manage, reuse, and store media.
  • Offers better keyboard navigation and accessibility capabilities.
  • Introduces a mobile-first UI for seamless content updates even from your mobile phones
  • A cut above performance and scalability than Drupal 7.
  • Faster initial page loads with built-in BigPipe support.

Drupal Migration Challenges

Though the Drupal 7 to 9 upgrade is typically a smooth-sailing affair and has introduced a number of advancements for developers, content creators, and users, this upgrade is more about website rebuilding with extra time and resources. Drupal developers may be required to write a lot of new code and get the site ready to run on Drupal 9. Though an experienced Drupal web developer can seamlessly migrate most of the content, they may face the following challenges:

  • Blocked IPs
    You can migrate the IP addresses, but fail to move the ID column from Drupal 7's ‘ban_ip’ table.
  • Views
    You cannot migrate views. In Drupal 9, you have to create views manually. 
  • Broken themes
    While running the migration, the page is blank or white at times and may load only a couple of items. This occurs mainly due to a broken theme.
  • Themes and Modules
    You need to enable new modules and themes and set the admin theme, before starting the Drupal 7 to 9 migration.

  • Content translations
    The Drupal 7 to 9 migration merges the content translations and may point to some nodes that may not exist anymore.

How to sail smoothly through the Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration

The migration process involves the use of teams to audit the existing website, list the modules and content, eliminate the outdated content and code, import pages and data, build custom modules and themes, and then upgrade all the requirements for your website. To start with the migration process, the foremost step is to find out how big a project your Drupal 9 migration will be. To evaluate the scope of your business website and the resources that are needed to upgrade it,  here are a few considerations that you need to think of.

Considerations for your Drupal upgrade:

To upgrade your Drupal 7 website, you need to think about:

  • The size of your website
    Determine the size of your website by getting a count of the total number of nodes and pages. You can export the pages from Drupal, XML sitemap, or via the Google search engine to find the track of crawled pages.

  • The complexity of your website
    The complexity of your website will determine the scope of your upgrade. Complexity includes the configuration (content types, vocabularies, user roles, file types, image styles, etc) and content (users, nodes, paragraphs, taxonomy terms, etc) migration from Drupal 7 to 9. Therefore, if your website has 10 content types, and each of these 10 types possesses a unique data field and style, a Drupal developer needs to recreate and restyle each of those pages. Additionally, other factors such as multilingual features, applying filters to specific contents, customization, and so on, will only add to the complexity of your website. Your website's complexity will directly influence the time and resources required to migrate your website. 

  • The number of custom modules

    To ensure zero content loss, you need to check the number of custom modules. Custom modules will undergo a complete rebuild in the new Symfony framework, and migrating content in these modules is a laborious process.

    Note: Some standard modules in Drupal 7 may not work in Drupal 9. In such cases, it's better to pre-determine those modules and check which Drupal 9 modules can replace them.

  • Check the integrity of website Integrations

    Check if your website is capable enough to integrate third-party software, whenever required. To determine the scope of integration, you have to prepare a checklist such as,  

    The integrations that your upgraded website needs to support down the line, f with third-party software at scale, and custom integrations such as new code, API modules, etc., to sync data from one platform to another.

  • Redesigning
    Though the Drupal 7 to 9 upgrade guarantees the rebuilding of your website, the changes that you desire are entirely up to you. Whether you want to redesign or build it from scratch solely depends on your brand's requirements and budget. 

 Drupal 7 to 9 migration Strategy

You need to strategize your Drupal 9 migration roadmap to ensure that the migration process is hassle-free, with minimal time and effort spent.

Plan your website migration

Your planning phase will revolve around:

  • The scope of the migration

  • Time and budget

  • The skillset of the developers

  • Release window

Frame the requirements for architecture, features, and design

Structure and organize requirements for a stable, usable, and flexible architectural style, elegant features, and customized designs tailored to your needs


To start with the migration process:

  • Plan your migration cycle

  • Generate migration files

  • Set up a Drupal 9 site to run the migration

  • Run and confirm the migration

Note: For a complex website with custom codes and contributed modules, it's better to use automated migration tools. 

Gear up for Drupal 10!

With a wide array of tools, upgrading your website to Drupal 10 will be hassle-free. Let's check out the prerequisites for Drupal 10 migration:

  • Seamless Drupal 10 migration: Whether you are on Drupal 7 or 8 or maybe 9 currently, you can easily upgrade to Drupal 10 with the help of a Drupal expert or a leading Drupal development company. 
  • Drupal 9 Migration: If your website is on Drupal 8, immediately migrate to Drupal 9 before its end of life.
  • Elimination of deprecated components: To support the migration process to Drupal 10, you must get rid of all the deprecated components to support all the latest libraries, components, and PHP versions.
  • Upgrade Guzzle 7: Prepare yourself for Drupal 10 migration by upgrading Guzzle to 7.3.0.
  • Role of Twig 3: Before migrating to Drupal 9, see that it is installed with Twig 3 to combat the dependencies in Drupal 10. 

Other updates:

  • Symfony 6 compatibility with Drupal 9.3 versions for Drupal 10 migrations
  • Php 8.1 compatibility with Drupal 9 and 10
  • Deprecate CKEditor 4 in Drupal 10 with CKEditor 5 support in Drupal 9
  • Replacing Classy with a starter kit theme 
  • Eliminating jQuery UI components and replacing them with a set of supported solutions.
  • Enhanced flexibility, performance, and security with updated dependencies
  • Drupal 10's support for smooth and secure automated updates
  • New Site Builder tools in Drupal 10 will help the Drupal development service providers to install and update modules without using the command line.
  • Welcome the new front-end Olivero theme as the default theme in the core, that too without glitches.  

Our Superlative Drupal Upgrade & Migration Services 

Drupal has always placed great emphasis on delivering mind-boggling customer experiences by keeping pace with the latest technological advancements in the digital space. To deal with multiple integrations and dependencies of third-party components, get ready with Drupal 10 for the next big move in your digital transformation journey.

Whether you are on Drupal 7 or 8, Srijan has your back for unbeaten Drupal support. We commit to making your Drupal 9 migration fast and easy with our team of certified Drupal developers. So, if you are ready, get in touch with us today!

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