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Drupal 7 End of Life Extended: Things to Know

Soumi Biswas December 21, 2022 16 MIN READ

Web Development

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Drupal 7 (D7) is one of the best open-source CMS platforms and powers millions of websites. D7 was supposed to reach its end of life in November 2022. But as per the Drupal community’s latest information, the Drupal 7 end of life date has been extended to November 2023. 

The news of the Drupal 7 end-of-life extension is a big relief for business owners. This is true for all those businesses who are still running their sites on Drupal 7.  

If you are reading this post, then it means you are wondering why the Drupal Association pushed the EOL date. To get the answer, you will need to go through the rest of the blog post.  

Before talking about Drupal 7’s end-of-life and the extension, let us take you through Drupal 7 basics. 

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Drupal 7: Knowing About It 

Most of you might know Drupal 7 forms the backbone for many businesses and non-profits. For instance, educational sites with huge content repositories for their staff or faculty members depend on D7. Even government organizations rely on this version.  

Even though there are some higher versions of Drupal, such as Drupal 9 (D9), businesses still prefer to use Drupal 7 for their web applications or websites.  

Why? The reasons are many.  

1. Perfectly Fit CMS Software 

First, D7 is one such open-source CMS software that perfectly fits the needs of organizations. For instance, D7 is loaded with rich features, like improved functionality, hierarchical software architecture, hook-based extensions, and more. These features are not present in higher versions of Drupal. 

2. Higher Reliability 

Second, D7 offers a higher amount of reliability since it works with traditional PHP. For instance, D9 does not support old PHP. Hence, those who are not comfortable with PHP codes will find D7 to be a far better version.  

3. No Coding Skills 

Third, working with Drupal 7 doesn’t require high coding or programming skills. Rather, businesses and developers prefer staying on D7 than switching to other Drupal versions.  

There are many more reasons for businesses to stay with Drupal 7 over other versions of Drupal. 

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Drupal 7 End of Life Extended Again 

Yes, you heard that right! The Drupal 7 end of life is extended by another year. The Drupal Association along with the Drupal Project Lead (Dries Buytaert) and the Drupal Security Working Group have pushed D7’s end of life to November 2023. 

Wait a second! You might be thinking about the reason for pushing the end of life to November 1, 2023. 

There isn’t any sole reason for pushing D7’s EOL to November 2023. Drupal 7 EOL was extended from November 2021 to November 28th, 2022. This was because of the global impact on businesses due to COVID-19. 

However, another reason that pushed the Drupal 7 end of life to November 2023 is the large user base. 

So, one thing that is clear as of now is that the Drupal Project Lead, the Drupal Security Working Group, and the Drupal Association will be meeting on a regular basis to evaluate the D7 state depending on several factors that are yet to be determined. 

Drupal 7 End of Life: What Does It Mean? 

It might be a relief for businesses that the end of life for Drupal 7 has shifted to November 2023, but what does ‘end-of-life’ mean? Having this type of question in mind is obvious. 

In software terms, end-of-life (EOL) refers to the point at which a piece of software will no longer receive any kind of updates or fixes from the developers and support team. To put it simply, Drupal 7 end-of-life means this version of Drupal software will not get any kind of bug fixes and security patches or updates from the Drupal community after November 1, 2023. 

So, websites or web applications that are still running on Drupal 7 should immediately upgrade to higher versions of Drupal. If these sites are not upgraded, they will be prone to several vulnerabilities, with security being on top of the list. 

But even after the D7 end-of-life date is reached, a robust ecosystem of extended support vendors will be offering security updates and support for running the platform.  

This will be just like Drupal 6 Long Term Support that was offered for six years even after the D6 EOL date. Hence, it is expected that D7 will get D7 Extended Support for running the platform. 

To put it simply, after the Drupal community stops providing support to Drupal 7 after its EOL, there is nothing to worry about.  

This is because a group of approved vendors will be providing security updates for D7 core as well as some contributed modules under the Drupal 7 Vendor Extended Support program. 

1. Next Steps Involved 

If you have some solid plans for updating older Drupal modules, you do not need to freak out. The upgrade or migration process is going to be a bit intense.  

However, with professional assistance, you will have plenty of time to plan your Drupal 7 update with no hassles. 

As a matter of fact, businesses will have enough time to plan their upgrade or migration process before Drupal’s EOL date. 

Drupal 7 End of Life Extended Facts 

Just a gentle reminder, in June 2020, Drupal.org announced that they are pushing back the EOL date for Drupal 7 to November 2021. Again in 2021, the Drupal 7 end of life got extended to November 28, 2022.  

But early this year, the Drupal Association announced their plan to extend the end of life for Drupal 7 to November 2023. 

So, Drupal 7 will be available till November next year, but after that, we will have to bid D7 goodbye and welcome in other versions of Drupal, like D9 or D10.  

The EOL is going to have an impact on Drupal 7. So, let’s have a look into it. 

1. Impact of Drupal 7 End of Life for Businesses 

The End of Life for Drupal 7 means 3 things. They are: 

  • After November 2023, Drupal.org will stop issuing any security updates for Drupal 7. This means any Drupal 7 website will remain at a high risk of getting hacked or experiencing any kind of security breach. 
  • Drupal 7 end of life means that Drupal 7 sites will not receive any form of updates or patches for the existing Drupal 7 module. 
  • According to the Drupal community, support for Drupal 7 is going to be drastically reduced after Drupal 7 reaches its EOL. In most cases, the support will be almost nonexistent. 
  • The Drupal Association has announced that the Drupal 7 end of life has been extended to 2023. This will give developers and site owners more time for moving their site to Drupal 9 and then to Drupal 10. 
  • Although Drupal 7 has a large user base, it doesn’t guarantee that the support for modules or even third-party add-ons is going to be easy. 

If you have decided to migrate your website, start your planning now. The Drupal Association is suggesting those site owners start the migration six months before the Drupal 7 end of life date. So, formulating your plan now is the best bet. 

1.1. Averting the Impact  

The only way businesses can avert the various Drupal 7 end-of-life impacts is by upgrading or updating their Drupal 7 sites to a higher version or module. Since migrating a website from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a complex process, the Drupal Association is fully committed to offering a helping hand to all those who are planning to make the switch. For this reason, they are providing various resources to help with this transition. 

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2. The Drupal Upgrade Timeline 

Since Drupal 7’s end of life is drawing closer, understanding the way Drupal handles the upgrade policy is important. This is because, since Drupal 8’s release, the upgrade policy has drastically changed. 

Historically, major releases of Drupal were far apart. But this was not the case since Drupal 8. The reason is that Drupal 8 uses Symfony, PHP framework, and Drupal prefers to keep this framework version up to date every time. So, the moment Symfony stops supporting its older version, Drupal will do the same. 

Drupal 7 End of Life: Why is it Happening? 

If you are still reading this blog, it means there is a high chance that your website or web application is still built on Drupal 7 or its higher modules. Now, you might be having several questions in your mind, such as: 

What is the next step to be taken? Is it important to upgrade to a higher version? Or can I upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10 straight away?  

There is nothing to panic about. We will cover each of these topics one by one. 

If your site is still on D7, remember you are not alone to face such a scenario. Many businesses are still running their sites on Drupal 7. But since the D7 end of life extended to November 2023, this means you still have sufficient time in hand for updating Drupal 7.  

To put it simply, the next step for Drupal 7 website owners is that they should opt for an upgrade to higher versions of Drupal, say Drupal 9 or 10.  

It will not make any sense to upgrade to Drupal 8 since it reached its end of life on November 2,2021. Rather, upgrading to D9 or D10 from Drupal 7 is a good idea. 

Why Drupal 7 Got Pushed Again 

It is a known fact that the Drupal end of life extended to November 2023. This extension is taking place for the second time. But since its previous extension, which happened last year in 2021, the Drupal 7 ecosystem has been closely monitored. 

Simply speaking, Drupal wants to move forward as a modern platform while keeping its core strategic and secure. This can happen when older modules of Drupal 7 reach a dead end and the focus shifts to higher Drupal versions, such as Drupal 9 or 10. 

1. What Will be Done Now? 

The Drupal Association along with others monitored the D7 ecosystem and saw that around half of the Drupal sites (552,430 out of 1,027,321) are still on Drupal 7, and their concerns are difficult to address by any members of the Drupal community. It is the moral responsibility of the Drupal community to keep the sites secure. 

Surprisingly, Drupal.org also is on Drupal 7. So, to offer additional support to the community members that heavily relied on this version, the extension was mandatory. During the extension period, D7 will receive all sorts of security updates, and news related to the latest releases will be announced on Drupal.org. 

Drupal 7 End of Life: Final Decision on Any More Extensions 

By July 2023, the Drupal Association will be able to reach a conclusion regarding whether the community support for Drupal 7 is going to be extended again or not. If not, Drupal 7 end of life will be on the destined date. 

However, other factors that will contribute to the Drupal 7 extension decision are: 

  • Support of the community 
  • Active Drupal 7 administrator/support 
  • Usage of Drupal 7 

Currently, Drupal 7 support is available for sites running on D7 thanks to the Drupal 7 administrators who are working on the support part.  

Plan Your Migration Before Drupal 7 End of Life 

Drupal 7 end of life is fast approaching. As you might know, after November 1, 2023, the Drupal Association will not provide any security patches or support for sites that run on Drupal 7. 

So, organizations still using Drupal 7 should have a proper plan in place. This will help them stay protected from all sorts of vulnerabilities, such as potential risks. 

Organizations should take the help of website migration experts to migrate their existing site to Drupal 9 (D9) or Drupal 10 (D10). Also, the migration experts, being completely professional, will offer a smooth migration to D9 or D10 with certain tools. 

Drupal 7 is one of the longest-running versions of Drupal to date but updating Drupal 7 to higher versions is always a promising idea. Also, Drupal Partners are hosting a series of webinars on migrating Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. 

Migration Option: To Migrate or Not Before Drupal 7 End of Life 

If your site is still running on Drupal 7, it is time to upgrade to Drupal 9 or 10. Migrating directly from D7 to D9 is supported with the core Migrate Module. 

Still wondering why, you should migrate to Drupal 9 or 10? Read on.  

Drupal 7 will reach its end of life by November 2023. This leaves site owners with 10 months to upgrade to Drupal 9. If your site is simple and does not need any custom work, updating Drupal 7 is the best decision.  

If you do not have migration plans for Drupal 7 end of life, that is your choice. But make sure to build a new site on another CMS before Drupal 7’s end of life in 2023.  

While migrating to another CMS might be a more complex process than updating Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, organizations can opt for alternative CMS platforms that fit their needs, such as a scalable, highly secure solution. 

1. What Does Updating Drupal 7 Mean? 

The Drupal 7 end of life extended to November 2023. Luckily, D7 offers several upgrade paths for Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 and using the Migrate module will be advantageous.  

Importing old content to the new Drupal site is important. To handle configuration, there are many upgrade paths. For instance, the D7 configuration can be easily replicated on the new website. 

Moreover, Drupal 7 is not going to offer any automatic updates to higher versions. Hence, it is important to check if the contributed modules of D7 are compatible with D9. Alternatives must be chosen if the contributed module is not supported. 

Migrate From Drupal 7 to Drupal 9: Steps Involved 

You have 10 months’ time in your hand to upgrade Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 or higher versions. To get started with the migration process, you should have a proper plan. Let us take a look: 

1. Start with a Site Audit 

It is important to review the site and the content to consider if it meets the business needs. Care should be taken to see what is working and what is not working. From the data gathered, the functionality of the Drupal 7 site can be established. A cross-reference can be made with Drupal 9. 

The site audit is helpful for the creation of technical specifications for the new site. Also, any recent changes to the site regarding the user experience can be highlighted. 

2. Make a Plan 

A successful upgrade will call for proper planning and establishing a strategy based on certain elements. 

  • It is important to consider which Contrib modules have upgrade paths from D7 to D9. 
  • For modules that do not have an upgrade path documentation, it is important to take note of the functionalities that will be lost and the dependencies of the module. This, in turn, will help to consider the scope impact, timeline, and even budget. 
  • The theme for the new site must be planned ahead of time. This is because the new site will be built completely on Drupal 9. 
  • A plan for the content must also be present. 
  • Similarly, before the Drupal 7 end of life, a plan for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and other elements, like URLs and data structure changes must be considered. 
  • A proper plan for configuration storage must be in place. 

2.1. Planning for the Content 

As a part of the Drupal 7 migration or update process, a plan for content migration must be present. 

The content migration plan regarding basic Drupal entities should be straightforward. It must be remembered that custom entities outside the Drupal norms can make the migration more complex. 

At the same time, real-time vs static content needs to be considered. For instance, if there is heavy commenting or any end-user interactions on the system, a maintenance period needs to be passed for preventing content loss during the migration process. 

Similarly, if you have a huge amount of static content, there needs to be a proper migration plan. This will ensure that content is properly migrated to the new Drupal site. 

Once the Drupal 7 update is complete, end users will be able to interact with the site with peace of mind since data will be stored in the database. 

3. Rebuild or Migrate 

Regarding upgrading, there are two options. One is to rebuild the site. This means the D7 site would be completely replaced by the new D9 or Drupal 10 site. This method is ideal for sites that don’t involve much complexity. It is also ideal for small to medium-sized businesses that want a site with improved functionality.  

However, businesses with complex or large sites will need to make migration part of the plan. This will help migrate all content, custom modules, and alternative modules, which will become easy to identify.  

At the same time, a lot of things need to be moved during the migration. Hence, with a proper migration plan, downtime can be reduced. 

4. Review and Testing  

Once the rebuild or migration is complete, a stringent testing process must be followed. This will ensure that the upgrade to Drupal 7 is complete and successful. Once the old site moves to Drupal 9, future updates won’t be that hard. 

Expectations of Transition from Drupal 7 to 9 

According to Drupal.org, there are certain expectations for the transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. They are: 

  • The Drupal Security Team will no longer offer support for Drupal 7 core or any contributed modules, themes, and even other projects. 
  • The Drupal community will not be creating new projects or fixing the bugs of existing projects, nor will they offer any documentation for Drupal 7. 
  • Every Drupal 7 release for project pages will be flagged as not supported. However, the  
  • Drupal support team will be able to change the flag status. 
  • After November 2023, Drupal 7 might be flagged as highly insecure during third-party scans. 

For all the above reasons, updating Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a good idea. It will not only improve the user experience but will also make tasks easy for content creators. At the same time, it will pave the way for future upgrades to Drupal 10

Migrate with Professional Help 

Migrate with Professional Help 

Having plans about updating Drupal 7 to the most recent version? If you said yes, then eWay Corp professionals can complete D7 upgrades and migrations in a seamless manner. The process for migrating or updating Drupal 7 to higher versions is simple.  

Our professionals will carry out a thorough analysis to understand the client’s needs and requirements. Based on the gathered data, the developers will come up with solutions that will work for meeting their business goals. At the same time, they will ensure that the client’s Drupal 7 site gets updated to the latest versions.  

Concluding Thoughts 

Drupal 7 got another lease on life. It is true that Drupal 7’s EOL got extended to November 1, 2023. To put it simply, updating Drupal 7 or migrating the present version to a higher version is always the best idea. 

Get in touch with our Drupal experts for more information about the Drupal 7 end of life and ways to upgrade to higher versions.