Laying Drupal 7 to Rest

November 2023 is coming. Why updating your Drupal site is essential.

Tamrah Chalom

Category: Development


Drupal 7 is approaching its end of life, and upgrading is imperative. NJI’s Global Managing Director of Development, Claudio Meira, shares the new features offered by Drupal 9 and 10, and the ramifications of not upgrading before November 2023.  

What Is Drupal?

  • Drupal is a widely-used content management system (CMS) that allows users to easily publish, manage, and organize a wide variety of content on all types of websites, from personal blogs to corporate portals. 
  • Drupal is known for its flexibility, extensibility, and ease of use. Built on PHP programming language and released under the GNU General Public License, Drupal is used by a wide variety of organizations, including governments, educational institutions, and nonprofits. Working iterations include versions 7, 9, and 10

When Is End-of-Life (EOL) for Drupal 7? 

  • The end of life for Drupal 7 is November 28, 2023. This means that after this date, Drupal 7 will no longer receive security updates or support from the Drupal community. 
  • The end of life for a software product marks the end of its official support by the vendor or development community. Failing to take action could leave your website vulnerable to security threats and other issues. 
  • Additionally, most sites using Drupal 7 use outdated third-party modules that are no longer supported by the author. Failure to update will leave the site vulnerable to attacks and malicious code, which can compromise the site or, in some cases, result in complete loss of the site. This is especially important for websites that store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), as remaining on Drupal 7 opens client data up to security threats.

Who Should Upgrade?

  • Any sites built on Drupal 7 should upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10 or migrate to another content management system before November 28, 2023. Currently, over 415,000 websites are still using Drupal 7— over 53% of Drupal built sites.

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading?

  • Each iteration of Drupal offers successively more security, flexibility, and speed. 
  • Drupal 9, released in 2020, represents a significant update to the Drupal platform. It introduces a number of new features and improvements, including a revamped user interface, support for mobile devices, and a more flexible content modeling system. Drupal 9 also offers new and improved core modules, including a powerful new search engine and greater support for multilingual websites. 
  • Another key feature of the Drupal 9 upgrade is its support for responsive design, automatically adapting a website’s shape and size to best fit the device on which it’s being viewed, to provide consistent user experience across desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Drupal 9 additionally supports the latest versions of PHP and Symfony, resulting in improved performance and security. Finally, Drupal 9 introduces the “Entity-Component-Field” model, a new system that enables users to create and manage complex content structures with greater speed and ease. 
  • Drupal 10, released in December 2022, is the latest version of Drupal and offers additional features and improvements from Drupal 9. Its updated user interface makes it easier to manage and publish content. Automatic updates provide developers with a secure and smooth update process. Other new features include a new way to manage dependencies, improved support for multilingual websites, enhancements to the translation system, and a new media library with a central location for managing and organizing media assets. Drupal 10 also supports a number of deprecated APIs and features from Drupal 9, making it easier for developers to create and maintain Drupal 9-compatible modules and themes. Finally, version 10 improves support for web services, allowing Drupal websites to easily interact with other applications and services.
  • Each Drupal upgrade also yields greater site speed. In addition to creating a better user experience, faster sites appear higher in Google search rankings, since Google prioritizes faster sites.
  • The latest stable version is always the best version. In this case, Drupal 10 is the best option. However, best practices recommend waiting a few months after a new version has been released to ensure any potential issues are addressed.

What Are the Challenges to Upgrading?

  • Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 or 10 is not a simple process, because there is no direct upgrade path. Users will need to rebuild their website from scratch using Drupal 9 or 10, requiring substantial labor and capital. Still, upgrading before Drupal 7 reaches end-of-life is critical to protect your site.
  • If a site is already using Drupal 9, upgrading to Drupal 10 is a simple process. Each version of Drupal is typically supported for 2 to 3 years.

What Is NJI Doing?

  • Our development team has already upgraded clients to Drupal 9, and soon Drupal 10. Some clients have even opted for a full site redesign during this opportune time, as the code must be rebuilt regardless. Other clients have chosen to migrate their site to other open source content management systems such as WordPress. Regardless of their direction, NJI is supporting all clients in upgrading, updating, and migrating their sites.

How Can I Make the Most of the Upgrade?

  • If your site is hosted on Drupal 7, now is the time to upgrade. Interested in learning more? Reach out to chat with us about your specific website needs.

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