Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 Upgrade

Upgrading a Drupal site is a service required by many clients and with the advent of Drupal 8 it is becoming increasingly popular as a service request. Many of our clients have asked us questions about the release of Drupal 8 and how that affects the lifespan of their sites, so we wanted to cover this and how Microserve can help you stay up to date with Drupal versions.

Why should I upgrade from Drupal 6?

The reason for upgrading is simple; Drupal 6 sites will only be supported by the Drupal community for a further 3 months after Drupal 8 is released, since the Drupal community only actively supports the latest 2 versions of Drupal.

This doesn't mean that your site will stop working, but it does mean that your site will no longer benefit from regular core and contrib security updates and bug fixes. Previously you would have relied on the Drupal community to do this, but you will now have to pay your development team to do this - certainly not a great position to be in!

What is involved in upgrading my site?

There are two methods to upgrade a Drupal site:

1. Use Drupal's upgrade path to try and automate as much of the process as possible.

2. Rebuild the site from scratch and then carry out a data migration project to transfer as much of the old content into the new site as possible.

Surprisingly the first method is rarely used. Why is that? Because often the lifespan of the Drupal site outlives the lifespan of the company's branding and functionality required; when a site owner requires a Drupal upgrade, they quite often want to change the site so much that is is much simpler to treat the upgrade as a brand new build project.

Should I upgrade to Drupal 7 or Drupal 8?

We previously stated that the Drupal community only supports the latest 2 versions of Drupal, therefore Drupal 7 will be supported until Drupal 9 is released. Since Drupal 8 hasn't been released yet we certainly can't predict when Drupal 9 will be released, but take a look at the following dates: 

  • Drupal 5 was released  January 15, 2007.
  • Drupal 6 was released February 13, 2008.
  • Drupal 7 was released January 5, 2011.
  • Drupal 8 was released late 2015.

​We can see that the time difference between the release of each version of Drupal is growing, therefore we should be able to say that Drupal 9 won't be released until at least 2020. Based on this we can quite confidently say that Drupal 7 will be supported until 2021.  Our recommendation at this moment in time will depend on your specific requirements. Drupal 8 continues to mature and some modules are still in development. 

Our team will be more than happy to discuss your specific project and provide recommendations on how to upgrade your Drupal site. Simply get in touch to discuss your needs and find out how we can help you carry out a smooth upgrade.