Is your current website running on Drupal 7 or Drupal 8? If yes, stay tuned for important recommendations to prepare your website for Drupal 7 and 8 End-Of-Life (EOL) and to make the best choice for your company (and your budget!).
...there are over 600.000 websites using Drupal 7 and 300.000 websites running on Drupal 8. This means that more than 1 million websites will have to migrate to Drupal 9, until November 2021, when both versions will no longer be supported by core maintainers with fixes, security updates or enhancements.
To prevent your website from becoming much more vulnerable to hackers and missing out on important functionalities because they are no longer supported, you will have to migrate well before the end of life for Drupal 7 & 8, in November 2021.
Why? Because it's a time-consuming and somewhat complex process, especially if your website is mission critical.
The whole website has to be rebuilt, from front-end to back-end. It's a long and error-prone process. Even the simplest website can take at least a month to rebuild, migrate and test.
The problem is that…
...most companies believe they have at least 2 years to take action, with little sense of urgency or priority. Why migrate and spend that money NOW?
Skilled Drupal developers are scarce. If more than half of the companies decide to upgrade their Drupal websites at the same time, it will be much harder to find an experienced agency or developer, at the last minute.
We recommend planning and taking some proactive action, as soon as possible:
List and assess the content you have on your website (text, images, videos, documents, applications, etc.) to decide what should be migrated and what should be removed for good.
Decide if you would like to redesign your website. It will make a big difference in the amount of time and money needed for the project. If you believe your user experience could be improved or that your web design is outdated, not mobile friendly, then your website will have to be redesigned before migrating to a new version.
List and assess existing content types. Sometimes, it's possible to combine content types and reduce overhead.
List and asses existing functionalities: some websites have functionalities that are not actually being used and anything than can be removed will help the migration process. First, identify and document the functionalities you currently have on your website and then, define what type of functionalities you actually need to decide if there are any to be improved or to be created.
Reduce the number of third-party dependencies. Since its very beginning, Drupal has the spirit of community contribution. Developers contribute to the Drupal project with modules, themes, libraries. In fact, a lot of what is Drupal core today, has been a contributed module. But if you want the migration to go as smoothly as possible, it would be wise to reduce the number of dependencies you have in place right now in D7.
Assess available options. Maybe you don't need to migrate to Drupal 8 or 9. Maybe Wordpress is a better fit for your website. Or perhaps a customized solution is a better alternative for what your business needs.
Increase your budget. The project could take longer and cost more than expected, especially when you include a new design and new functionalities. It's always better to have some more than to run out of budget mid-migration.
Migrate from D7 to D8, and to D9
Why should you continue with Drupal? The main advantage is that D8 and D9 are more similar to D7 than other alternatives, like Wordpress, for example.
If you are satisfied with what Drupal has to offer, you should upgrade from D7 to D8, as soon as possible. And as soon as version 9 is stable enough (by end of 2020), migrate from de D8 to D9.
The difficult part will be the migration from D7 to D8. The upgrade to D9 should be mostly automatic.
Change from Drupal 7 or 8 to WordPress
Despite Drupal's excellent track record, especially when it comes to content and feature-rich websites, it doesn't always match the purpose of the website or the company's budget.
There are fewer Drupal developers and agencies available, and therefore, they are more sought after, with a higher hourly cost. Besides, Drupal is a more technical and complex content management system. It requires some experience and knowledge and a bigger effort to develop and maintain.
And for many companies, it's an additional cost that is simply not sustainable.
As a general rule, if you only need to create and manage content that will be published for and consumed by your users, a WordPress website would be more than enough and appropriate.
Develop customized solutions
For specific cases, a CMS is not the right choice.
For example, if your business is based on a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, that requires users to login, (Shopify, Dropbox, etc.), the best solution is to develop a customized web application.
If you need any help with migrating your Drupal website or deciding the best solution for your company, join us for a cup of coffee (or tea)! Happy migrations!