We all know what Drupal is capable of in terms of digital content presentation and manipulation. Fast, well-performant websites based on this CMS serve a wide range of purposes, starting from blogs and ending with online stores. However, if you need a really comprehensive Drupal-powered solution that covers many different areas (e-commerce, email marketing, client […]
Does your website run on Drupal? If yes, you have made an excellent choice. This open-source content management system that saw the light of day over two decades ago remains a top favorite among many organizations, including world-famous NASA and Tesla.
Just like other tech systems, Drupal continuously evolves. New versions are regularly released. They bring enhancements and improvements for content creators, developers, and website visitors.
However, with every major update, previous Drupal editions gradually stop receiving support and grow out of date, putting the websites they power at a serious risk. That is exactly what is going to happen after the release of version 10 in December, 2022.
Therefore, if your website is still based on one of the older Drupal versions, it is time to upgrade to Drupal 10 as soon as possible. In this post, we explain why this move is so crucial, what benefits await you after you migrate, what problems you may face if you decide to keep things as they are, and what steps you need to follow to make your website safe and sound.
Drupal Versioning in a Nutshell
Drupal entered the market in 2001. Since then, its core has undergone regular updates, including major and minor updates, as well as patch releases to address specific issues.
In 2015, Drupal 8 was released. It was a game changer. The system was redeveloped using the Symfony framework, making it easier to add new features. However, this also meant that Drupal upgrades were required each time a new Symfony edition was rolled out.
Another major change was that Drupal 8 allowed for easier system upgrades. Website owners no longer needed to completely rebuild their websites before installing a newer version of the platform. As a result, upgrading to Drupal 9 was much quicker and almost painless.
Drupal 8 is now a thing of the past. The community discontinued its support in 2021. Currently, Drupal 7.x is the most widely used version among Drupal enthusiasts, with Drupal 9.5.x trailing far behind. Both of these editions will reach their end-of-life in November 2023, meaning there will be no further support or security patches.
|Number of Websites
The statistics above show that many websites are still using older versions of Drupal, while very few have migrated to the latest version, Drupal 10. That is unwise and risky, as we explain below. Before we do that, however, let’s discuss the benefits of upgrading to Drupal 10.
Key Features and Improvements That Drupal 10 Brings to the Table
Upgrading can be challenging, especially if you are on a very old version of Drupal. We understand. However, once you have D 10 installed, you will enjoy some innovative features that greatly facilitate content creation and website management while providing a much better user experience as well. Here are some of the most notable ones.
New default themes
Drupal 10 comes with two new default themes – Olivero and Claro, covering both ends. Olivero is a front-end facing theme that is much more visually appealing than the themes available in older versions. It enables new users to have a simple website up and running in no time. It also allows developers to use it as the basis for a bespoke theme they are building.
Claro, in its turn, is a back-end facing theme used for administrative and content creation purposes. It replaces the old faithful Seven theme that proved to be very efficient in the past.
Improved content editing capabilities
Drupal 10 includes a new default content editor – CKEditor 5. It greatly simplifies front-end development, allowing users to manage tables and media with ease. You will find CKEditor 5 equipped with cutting-edge features to format and style text in every way you want.
What’s more, the majority of contributed CKEditor modules have been adjusted to work with the new version as well.
A more powerful tech stack
The newest version of Drupal boasts a modern, robust tech stack under the hood. That includes Symfony 6.2 and PHP 8.1., with the latter being required by the former. The latest edition of the PHP language is more stable and predictable than its predecessors.
Another important technological innovation in D 10 is the introduction of modern JS components instead of jQuery and JQuery UI, which are becoming obsolete. The platform also features a new version of the PHP templating engine Twig – 3.x., with a considerably faster operation time.
Finally, it’s worth noting that support for Internet Explorer 11 has been discontinued.
These are only some of the many great features Drupal 10 came out with. Still not convinced enough to upgrade to it? Then let’s talk about complications you may encounter if you don’t make that move.
Main Issues You May Have to Deal With If You Don’t Upgrade
Don’t get us wrong. We don’t want to scare you, but not upgrading to the latest Drupal version may cost you dearly in the long run. Migration might be money and time consuming but the consequences of staying where you are can be damaging or even disastrous. Here are just a few potential problems.
Once your version of the platform reaches the end of life, there will be no more security updates. Maintaining and keeping your website safe will be exclusively your responsibility. You will have to set up your own security infrastructure.
If you don’t, hackers will find your website easy to attack. You wouldn’t want your or your customers’ confidential information to end up in the hands of cyber rascals, would you?
Putting all things straight calls for hiring Drupal developers, which means more investments down the line. Besides, finding professionals with the expertise and experience in a particular version of the system can be challenging. It is also not a one-time job. You will have to engage those developers on a regular basis to avoid trouble. That can be thousands of dollars monthly.
Security is not the only area that will require your attention. As technologies evolve, your website will remain in the Stone Age, suffering from performance issues and bugs. More and more frequently, you will be experiencing slow page loading speed and crashes. What can be more detrimental to your business than that? Just put yourself in a customer’s shoes for a moment.
Well, enough horror stories. As it turns out, upgrading to Drupal 10 is far less expensive and safer than going with the flow. Considering the positive and negative aspects of upgrading that we have discussed so far, we hope you are now willing to migrate.
What practical steps do you need to take in that direction? It depends on your current situation.
Upgrading to Drupal 10: Here’s What You Need to Do
First things first, keep in mind that the older your Drupal version is, the more time and money you’ll need to invest to upgrade it.
Still using Drupal 7? Sorry to break it to you, but you’ll have to put in more effort to bring your website up to date. As we’ve already explained, Drupal was completely overhauled from version 8 onwards.
If you’re on Drupal 8 or 9, consider yourself lucky. Although Drupal 8 is no longer supported, you only need to assess your installed modules and content, and then do some basic core updates.
Regardless of your Drupal version, here are the essential steps you need to take before upgrading your system:
- Make sure your environment meets all the requirements of Drupal 10, including PHP 8.1, a database supported by Drupal 10, and Composer 2.3.6 (if you have Drupal 8.3 or later). You can use the Upgrade Status module for this purpose. Here are some of its great functions:
- It scans your site and identifies whether it is ready to be upgraded to a newer version of Drupal.
- It determines which modules and themes on your site are outdated and need to be updated.
- It checks which modules on your site are compatible with the new version of Drupal you want to upgrade to.
- It alerts you of any issues that may arise during the upgrade process, such as conflicts with other modules or issues with your site’s configuration.
- It provides guidance on how to update your modules and themes, as well as recommendations on which modules to prioritize for updating.
- It monitors the progress of your upgrade and provides feedback on the status of each module that is being updated.
- Backup your website so you can revert to the previous version if anything goes wrong.
- Create a list of all the modules you’ve installed and check if they’re compatible with Drupal 10 (the Upgrade Status module can help you here too). If yes, update them; if not, look for a similar solution, hire expert developers to create a custom module, or remove the outdated modules if they’re not necessary for your website’s regular operation.
- Check if your themes are compatible with Drupal 10. If yes, update them. Otherwise, consider removing them.
- Check your website for pages or content that you no longer need. If possible, delete them. The more clutter you get rid of, the more efficient your new website will be.
- If you have custom code, it’s worth reviewing it for deprecations so it can be as clean, secure, and speedy as possible. The Upgrade Status module will come in handy to address this task as well.
- Ensure your system is up-to-date with the latest Drupal version (Drupal 9.4 and higher).
After you’ve completed all the steps above, use Composer to run these commands:
$ composer require drupal/core-composer-scaffold:^10.0 drupal/core-recommended:^10.0 --no-update
$ composer update --with-all-dependencies
Once you have updated the Drupal core and the modules, you need to update the database as well. For this purpose, we recommend running the following Drush commands:
Note: You can also update the database by visiting [YOUR DOMAIN]/update.php in a browser. However, the Drush method is far quicker and easier.
These instructions should install the latest version of Drupal on your system. Congratulations!
Feeling intimidated by this process? Need help with migration? We’ve got you covered. Our skilled Drupal developers will review your current website, follow all the necessary steps to prepare it for the upgrade, and then transfer your content and data to the new platform version without losing a single byte.
Just drop us a line. We’ll get back to you right away.