Building your website in a CMS is a commitment. It requires a lot of insight into the system itself and thought as to how your organization will benefit from its features and functionality. And, it needs to be regularly maintained and even upgraded when the time is right. Well, if you are working in Drupal 7, we’re here as resident experts to let you know that now is the time to upgrade to Drupal 8.
Drupal 7 was released in 2011, and as it goes with technology, a newer model is waiting with features that will make you wonder how you lived with the previous version. Think of it like your smartphone; every time a new version comes out, the functionality of the older one seems outdated and the new one enables you to do so much more. As we get closer to the end of life for Drupal 7 and 8, website owners should start thinking about their migration plans. Before you bemoan the process, consider the reasons you should “Migrate to 8.”
Technical Reasons to Migrate
Drupal is an open source CMS which means there is a worldwide community working on new features and functionality. As attention and tasks are drawn to newer versions, services for older versions are shut down as of the designated end-of-life date. These dates should not be taken lightly. They indicate that you need to upgrade your CMS, otherwise you will not be able to properly maintain it. Much like the check engine light, eventually it will need to be serviced so there is no point in ignoring it. In this case, automated testing services for Drupal 7 will stop and the Drupal Security Team will no longer provide updates, which could leave your site vulnerable to hackers.
Other reasons to upgrade now:
-Updates, security fixes, and enhancements for Drupal 7 will no longer be provided by the community.
-Moving your site to Drupal 8 means that there is less of a risk of hacking, and Drupal 7 sites can be flagged as insecure.
-The jump from 7 to 8 is a big one and your development team will need time to migrate your website.
Benefits to Migrating to Drupal 8
The end of life for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 is November 2021. With version 9 coming distantly into view, it’s best to migrate to 8 first and then to 9 for a smoother update. Because Drupal 8 and 9 versions are similar, especially the code, an upgrade from 8 to 9 will be less significant compared to previous versions.
-Upgrading to 9 from 8 will not require you to rebuild your site from the ground up which will enable further innovation opportunities.
-With Drupal’s new continuous innovation model, users can get updated functionalities every 6 months, which may mean that your Drupal 8 upgrade could be the last major upgrade you’ll need to make going forward.
How It Will Affect the User Experience
As you get closer to your Drupal 8 upgrade, it’s the perfect time to really think about where you want your website to go. You have a chance to freshen it up, whether it’s the look and feel, content, or functionality to really enhance the user experience. You won’t need to fully re-build your website, but if there’s been a change you’ve been wanting to make, now is the time to make it.
Increase Site Speed
BigPipe technology is a web framework that allows users to perceive that your front-end performance is faster than it seems. Since it’s a part of Drupal 8’s core, you’ll automatically benefit from it as will your users.
Drupal 8 is responsive out-of-the-box and does not require any extra customization. With search algorithms and online searches being mostly mobile-first now, it’s important for site owners to have a fully responsive site. This feature also makes it easy for admins to manage site content directly from their mobile phones.
If you’re still running Drupal 7, the time to upgrade to Drupal 8 is now! New Target has worked with many associations, nonprofits, and private sector organizations, so we’ll manage all of the details and set you up for success for Drupal 9. Website security and maintenance are key elements of the development process and as always, we’ll continue sharing updates on our blog and social platforms on ways you can stay ahead of the Drupal curve. For more information on how we can help upgrade your site to Drupal 8, enter your website details in our form to get started.