Tech & Engineering

Drupal 9: what you need to know to upgrade your website

Written by Marianela Queme on 10, Math 2021

Did you know that one out of thirty websites in the world is powered by Drupal?

Drupal is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) out there and a global leader when it comes to delivering exceptional digital experiences. Their latest release, Drupal 9.0, represents the future and continues to build on the success of Drupal 8 with new features released twice a year.

This means that Drupal 8 will reach end-of-life (EOL) by November 2021 and Drupal 7 by November 2022 and cease to exist. It’s important to plan ahead, because the sooner you upgrade, the earlier you can take advantage of Drupal’s exciting new features. Don’t worry! Here’s what you need to know and can expect from Drupal 9.

What does EOL mean exactly

In simple terms, Drupal no longer supports, maintains or improves Drupal 7 and 8. There will be no code documentation, bug fixes or new feature releases. Using unsupported software is always risky and not updating your website will ultimately lead to four major disadvantages:

  1. Higher security risks
  2. Declining website performance, because new functionalities can’t be implemented
  3. Increased cost, because you will have to purchase support and maintenance from third parties
  4. Decreasing SEO ranking

What’s in it for you?

Upgrading your website to Drupal 9 will bring you a series of benefits we are very excited about that go past up-to-date security and support:

  • Your website follows the latest technology standards and will be future-proof for the next 5 years.
  • Any future changes you make to your website will take less time and effort, because of core architecture standardization.
  • Updated front end techniques which translates to better SEO rankings, accessibility and performance.
  • Big improvement in website loading time (Progressive web app lightweight).
  • The dynamic CMS provides increased flexibility for creating new pages with available web components, we call this the “flexible component mindset”.

How it works

The upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a sizable one, because of the significant changes in architecture. This is mostly because Drupal 8 was built from scratch without using the architecture of Drupal 7. Drupal 9 on the other hand is built from the same architecture as Drupal 8. The update from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is therefore generally speaking a much smoother process.

The upgrading process consists of roughly two parts: website modules and content. The configuration of the modules refers to for example content types, lay-outs and CMS fields. Think of website modules like Lego blocks. Your basic building blocks stay the same, but sometimes you want to build a skyscraper, whereas other times a low-rise building is what you need. The content includes all blog entries, pages, webshop items and basically everything else on your website.

The timeline you are looking at is of course dependent on the size and complexity of your website. Because we are upgrading many platforms, DPDK can pull off an upgrade rather quickly. The average duration of a trajectory is 80 - 120 hours for a standard website and 120 - 250 hours for a more complex and large website.

As mentioned the upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be a minor one, but again this all depends on how your website is currently built. If for example, your website is not neatly maintained or has a lot of customization this could go from minor to major quickly. Nevertheless, it’s an important update you should not miss out on from a security and efficiency perspective. Not to mention the EOL at the end of November in 2021.

Time to upgrade

Whether or not you should upgrade your website to Drupal 9, is not the question you should be asking yourself. A high-performing and secure website is a must nowadays and puts you one step ahead of your competitors. Rather ask yourself when you are planning to upgrade and if you have a solid strategy in place.

Why wait any longer? Get started with your Drupal upgrade today and reach out below to see how we can help you.

Marianela Queme
Head of Technology

Marianela Queme

Head of Technology

Looking to upgrade to Drupal 9?

Contact Marianela