The day has come for Drupal 9 to launch. Hurrah! But what does this actually mean for you and your website?

In 2015, the last most recent major release of Drupal was launched: Drupal 8. The launch of Drupal 8 saw fundamental architectural changes, which meant that upgrades from older versions meant a complete rebuild of your website and a full content migration. 

The launch of Drupal 8 however, was a little different. As part of this rebuild, came Drupal’s continuous innovation model. 

Drupal’s continuous innovation model

The continuous innovation model enables frequent releases of new features, API additions and an easy upgrade path. As a result there are no longer any big architecture changes when upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9. There is no migration needed, and no need to build a new site, unless you want to.

Although Drupal has always had a wealth of new features and functionality being built and released by the community, the release model lacked the direction and quality control that a world leading CMS should provide. The Drupal 8 release model allowed significant, backwards-compatible improvements to be released in smaller, more frequent releases. So, rather than waiting years for new features, users get sizable advances in functionality with every minor release - about every 6 months, with patches and security updates and bug fixes released every 2-3 weeks. For example, Drupal's media and asset management tools needed improvement. As of Drupal 8.4, the contributed "media" module was vastly improved and then introduced in to Drupal core. In each minor version update since, these tools have been improved further, and now media and asset management is easy 'straight out of the box'.

So what does this mean for Drupal 9?

It means that this time, to upgrade from one major version - Drupal 8, to the newest - Drupal 9, does not mean a complete rebuild of your website and a full content migration. 

However, there is still some work to be done to get your website ready to upgrade. While it doesn’t need to be done straight away - Drupal 7 will reach end-of-life in November 2022, and Drupal 8 in November 2021 - you should be preparing your roadmap now. 

To help with this, we’ve created a handy guide - Everything you need to know about Drupal 9. This will answer all your Drupal 9 questions, and give you the information you need to plot out your roadmap with our Drupal 9 Readiness Audit.