When Is the Right Time to Upgrade to Drupal 9?

Answer: the time is right now.

In case you missed it, the long-anticipated release of Drupal 9 is already here. The difference between version 8 and version 9 is definitely the most noticeable. Drupal takes the best features from version 8 and cleanly organizes the back-end code for version 9. That means it will be easier for marketing and IT teams to scale their website in the future. The latest version also comes with several enhancements that help both marketing and development teams work more efficiently.

When You Should Upgrade to Drupal 9

If you're already on version 8, you're in luck: the upgrade to Drupal 9 does not require a new website rebuild. Unlike upgrading from previous versions, it will seem more like a routine minor update, saving time and effort.  


If you're on version 7, it is important to keep in mind that the transition to Drupal 9 is the easiest and smoothest when migrating from a solid Drupal 8 framework. This is mainly because the underlying codebases of Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 are remarkably similar. Looking forward, the updated and well-organized codebase of Drupal 9 will then set the tone for all future versions of the Drupal platform, so that each subsequent Drupal upgrade in the future will similarly be a smooth transition from one version to the next.


Planning Your Drupal 9 Upgrade Path

While many organizations are looking forward to the user-friendly features of Drupal 9, the majority have not yet made the jump to Drupal 8. According to the latest May 2020 Drupal usage statistics, over 62% of Drupal websites are still using Drupal 7, and a small number of organizations are even hanging onto Drupal 6. 

For organizations that have not yet upgraded to Drupal 8, we most often recommend they take the time to plan out their upgrade strategy now. Once a strategy has been made, the team can prepare to upgrade first to 8, then to 9.

November 2021 marks the end of support for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. This means that organizations will risk losing technical support, code patches, and security protection if they do not upgrade to Drupal 9. 

Although that may seem far away now, we strongly urge against putting off this important update. The reason being that the longer you wait, the less time you'll have to ensure you have a solid foundation in place. Its critical that you allot time for your teams to develop a strategy and clean up content, code, and analytics before moving forward to Drupal 9.  Start off 2021 by taking the time to develop a strategy. When a strategy has been developed, it will be easier to meet with various website stakeholders within your organization to determine whether or not massive changes to overall design, usability, navigation, or user experience should be made to the website.


By taking the initiative to address your upgrade strategy now, your organization will be able to reimagine and incrementally prepare for the future state of your website, well before the November 2021 deadline. Together, with the guiding support of a Drupal partner, your organization can take the necessary measures to build a scalable CMS framework on Drupal 8 that can then upgrade easily to Drupal 9 whenever you are ready.


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Satisfied Customers - Drupal

GeekHive has been building world-class Drupal websites for over 10 years and is notably recognized for the one-of-a-kind digital experiences that we create for our client partners.

Get Started on Your Drupal Upgrade Strategy

Contact our team for more information and next steps.