Drupal 7 is obsolete, how do I upgrade?

Backdrop CMS

The reality is that many small businesses and charities still depend on legacy versions of website software. For WordPress users, the upgrade path between versions is smooth, at least since version 5.0. However, for Drupal users, many remain stuck on version 7 with no easy way to migrate to version’s 10 or 11, without rebuilding their entire site.

It is true that web tech is evolving ever more rapidly, much faster than any previous era. However, prices and rates are going up too, everything is expensive. So, however much we would like to be cutting edge, often we don’t have the resources or time to accustom ourselves to a new framework anyway. Ideally we want little disruption to our present system.

Backdrop CMS is the least disruptive, most cost-effective and compatible upgrade path from Drupal 7

Drupal is my favourite content management system. It’s a very pliable, scaleable and secure CMS, ideal for running multi-user sites. Drupal also does a lot of cool, complex stuff right out of the box, no matter which version you’re running. However, version 7 is now obsolete and not supported by the Drupal community, which makes it highly unstable and insecure.

But there is a painless solution. Backdrop CMS, a spin-off from Drupal 7, aims to helps legacy users forge a new path. This nifty CMS includes over 70 popular D7 modules, providing the reassurance of security, lower costs and the latest tech.

Backdrop provides a direct path from Drupal 7

As a small business or charity, you need a cost-effective solution. Backdrop CMS certainly offers this and may suit those who enjoy the simplicity of Drupal 7:

  • A direct fork from Drupal 7, it’s the same tech
  • Supports older versions of PHP and MySQL
  • Reinstate security to your Drupal 7 site
  • Enter the modern world at a lower cost

Drupal 10 is a great CMS, but migration is costly

Of course, budget permitting, you could take the plunge and upgrade to Drupal 10. However, before you commit, there are a few basic challenges to consider:

  • Is your web server compatible with MySQL 5.7.8 and PHP 8.1?
  • Are you competent with command-line tools like Composer?
  • Drupal’s structure has changed significantly since version 8
  • Be prepared to rebuild your entire site, including the content

Another option is WordPress

Given that you’re running an obsolete version of Drupal anyway, you might consider a new system altogether. It’s an opportunity to start afresh. Many charities have now moved to WordPress, although getting from Drupal 7 to WP is equally challenging.

However, once you’re embedded into the WordPress ecosystem, future upgrades are as simple as clicking the update button in the admin dashboard!

Paul Kent is an experienced web developer, who has managed website migrations for many high profile charities in the UK.