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Migrating from Drupal 7 to 9

Drupal 7 is about to reach end of life, time for an upgrade.

Some will consider moving to Drupal 10; however, many teams have a need for more incremental change. If this applies to you - read on.

It can be difficult and time-consuming to upgrade a website from an older version of a content management system (CMS) to a newer version. This blog post will go through a high level explanation of how to transition a Drupal 7 website to Drupal 9.


Aside from Drupal 7 being end of life, there are a lot of benefits to upgrading. Drupal 9, comes with a lot of enhancements and new capabilities compared to earlier iterations

Enhanced security: Drupal 9 comes with a number of security improvements, including the elimination of obsolete code and the adoption of new security safeguards. Your website can be shielded from threats and vulnerabilities by upgrading to Drupal 9.

Improved speed: Drupal 9 has been tuned for greater performance, so your website will load quicker and respond more quickly. This is crucial for search engine optimization and user experience (SEO).

New capabilities: Drupal 9 has a variety of new capabilities, including an updated user interface, better media management, and compatibility for contemporary web development tools. Making the switch to Drupal 9 will enable you to utilize these new features.


Now that we've covered some of the reasons why you might want to upgrade to Drupal 9, let's discuss the actual process of upgrading a Drupal 7 website.

The first step in the process is to make a full backup of your Drupal 7 website. Ensure that all databases, code, and design templates are backed up appropriately. This is an important step to ensure that you can roll back to your previous version if anything goes wrong during the upgrade process. You should also create a separate testing environment where you can perform the upgrade and test the upgraded website before going live.

Once you have a backup and a testing environment set up, you'll need to begin the process of upgrading your website's core code and any contributed modules or themes you are using. This can be a challenging process, as Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 are quite different, and there may be significant changes in the code base. You'll need to carefully review the code changes and make any necessary updates to ensure that your website continues to function as expected.

Dealing with deprecated code will be one of the most difficult tasks you'll have to complete during the upgrade process. You'll need to adapt your code to use the new functions or find substitutes because Drupal 9 has deleted a number of features and functions that were in Drupal 7. You'll need to carefully review your code and make the required adjustments, which can take some time.

Dealing with third-party modules and themes that are incompatible with Drupal 9 could provide another difficulty. Each module or theme must be carefully examined to see if it has been updated for Drupal 9 compatibility. Alternatively, you can wait for the module or theme to be updated or look for other options.

As code update processes are in progress, ensure that any existing automated tests are considered. Taking the time now to update unit and regression tests will reduce the time necessary at deployment to validate a successful update. Trust me, both stakeholders & engineers prefer a quick deployment!

Once you've completed the code update process, you'll need to test your upgraded site to ensure that it functions as expected. This may involve manually testing various features and functionality to make sure everything is working as it should.

Overall, upgrading a Drupal 7 website to Drupal 9 can be a challenging process, but the benefits of upgrading to the latest version of the CMS are well worth the effort. By carefully planning your upgrade, backing up your website, and testing the upgraded version, you can ensure a smooth transition to Drupal 9.


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