Drupal 7 end of life, now that’s a scary phrase. But there’s good news about Drupal 7 (D7) impending end-of-life. You still have time, and lots of it. Due to COVID-19, Drupal has extended D7’s end date out from the original November 2021 to November 2022.
Maybe you didn’t upgrade to Drupal 8 because you heard some horror stories. Maybe the timing just wasn’t right. And now Drupal 9 has come along, making you wonder if now is the time to make the change.
If you’re not ready to jump into a website migration in the first quarter of 2021, there are ways to improve and maintain your Drupal 7 site to get the most out of it while you still can. Think of it as an older car where the engine needs a little more TLC to keep it running while you research and buy a new car with all of the bells and whistles.
Let’s look at your options.
What Does Drupal 7 “End of Life” Really Mean?
First, we need to go into a little background about what Drupal 7 end of life really means.
End of Support for Drupal 7
Drupal community support for versions of Drupal 7will come to an end. That means no new projects, no issuing bug fixes for existing projects, and no new documentation for Drupal 7.
Security Issues Will Abound
Security will be a huge issue when running an obsolete version of Drupal. The Drupal Security Team will stop providing support and Security Advisories for D7 core, contributed modules, and themes. Information about Drupal 7 security vulnerabilities could easily go public. That’s an invitation to hackers if we ever heard one.
“The only constant in the technology industry is change.” – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com
Drupal 7 Maintenance, Support, and Upgrades for Today
But as we said, if you still have a Drupal 7 website, time is now on your side. While you plan a smooth migration to Drupal 9, there are some things you can do in the meantime to make your 10-year-old CMS platform run smoothly.
These steps include, but are not limited to:
Continuing with any Drupal 7 Core Updates and Security Updates
You want to ensure that with any support and updates Drupal provides for D7, you implement them as soon as possible – within 12 hours is best. This is key to keeping your site running as smoothly as possible.
Maximizing page speed is critical. When was the last time you waited for more than a few seconds for a website to load? If you click on a search result and the site is slow to load, or you see the spinning wheel of death, how fast do you hit the Back button to get to the other SERPs?
You’re not alone in rejecting slow loading sites.
Studies show that 50% of internet users expect sites to load in 2 seconds. If it takes 3 seconds, people will start to leave. The slower the site, the more likely people are to flee. Check your Drupal 7 site speed on Google’s Page Speed Insights.
Some things we can do to speed up your site:
- Update your modules (until migration)
- Uninstall unused modules
- Optimize images
- Optimize the cache
- Minimize and clean up redirects
Now is also a good time to improve your Drupal 7 website’s navigation. You want to make it easy for site visitors to find what they’re looking for as fast as possible. The benefit of this work will carry over to your Drupal 9 version – all work you do on site-navigation will transfer when you migrate your website, so now is a good time.
Eliminate and consolidate pages as it makes sense to do so, making sure to update any pages that linked to a now eliminated page. Add new navigation elements to give users more than one way to get to a page. Some people still use the tabs at the top of the page, while others like the menu on the side. Move less visited pages to the bottom navigation.
There is never a bad time to work on your SEO strategy. And any work you put in now will move over to your next CMS, whether that is Drupal 9 or something else. Optimize your content, urls, title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and more.
This ties directly to your SEO efforts. When is the last time you actually read your website’s pages? Go ahead and do it. Chances are you’ll find content that is outdated – either service offerings have changed, you no longer offer products listed on your site, or you have a blog so old it mentions signing up for a promotion that doesn’t exist anymore.
Get rid of any content that is obsolete, and update anything that you can to make it relevant to today’s visitors. Google loves new content, and site visitors get frustrated with inaccurate content.
Planning for a Migration
“You are cruising along, and then technology changes. You have to adapt.” – Marc Andreesen, American Entrepreneur and Software Engineer
Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, or Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and then 9
The difference between Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 is pretty substantial, but the changes from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 are not as big. So you have options. Just keep in mind the Drupal 8 end of life date is still set for November 2021, so it may make the most sense to go directly from D7 to D9.
We can discuss the pros and cons of each migration method if you choose to work with us.
Drupal 7 to WordPress or Another Content Management System (CMS)
Maybe you’ve decided over the years that Drupal really isn’t the CMS for your organization. While we love Drupal, not everyone does. Perhaps all of your new hires are more familiar with WordPress, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time training them on Drupal. We get it.
Do your research to find the best CMS for your needs. We can help you with a website migration of any sort.
Trust North Studio with Your Drupal Website
Whether you want to hang on to your Drupal 7 website for as long as possible, or you’re ready to migrate to Drupal 9 or another CMS, we can help. Don’t trust your Drupal website to just anyone. You need an experienced Drupal development company like North Studio.
While the eventual migration process may sound overwhelming, for our team it’s relatively straightforward. We’ll help you plan for the migration, and determine whether sticking with Drupal or moving to another CMS is the best choice for your organization. We’ll make sure we minimize the migration preparation and implementation costs.
Our support and maintenance team can keep your Drupal 7 website up and running for as long as you want it to before the eventual migration. And we’ll handle the migration in such a way as to cause the least disturbance to your business.
Our home base is in Victoria, British Columbia, but we work with clients around the world, in a number of industries. To set up a consultation, complete the “Let’s Talk” form, send us an email, or call us at 800-215-6702.