The Time and Cost of Drupal 7/8 to Drupal 9 Migration
Drupal is among the standard Content Management Systems (CMS) used in designing more complex websites. It uses advanced features to aid the developers in designing beautiful websites. It is also known for frequent updates, and the recent update to Drupal 9 is necessary for the marketplace. However, businesses are worried about the approximate cost to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. We will discuss this aspect along with various considerations for the migration project.
Why must you Migrate to Drupal 9?
End of life is around the corner
It would be best if you upgraded the CMS at regular intervals. It helps add new features to the website and offers several core modules for better user interfaces. Performance enhancements are another reason you should go for upgrades. Moreover, any security vulnerabilities in earlier versions are also plugged through the upgrades.
It is essential to note that Drupal 8 is reaching the end of its life in November 2021 and Drupal 7 reaching end of life in November 2022, and it is necessary to migrate the website to Drupal 9. Web admins will not receive support or fixes from the Drupal community after this timeline. There are more than 565,000 websites still on Drupal 7 and more than 267,000 on Drupal 8, and they must be migrated in the near future for the sites to receive security updates.
Reasons to Migrate to Drupal 9
There are other reasons for your benefit when you migrate to Drupal 9. The new Drupal version has led to improved performance of the website. Few web admins may be awaiting a stable version of the upgrade, but there are no severe changes in the features. We will discuss some of the new features in detail.
Faster & Better Performance
With search engines preferring mobile responsive websites, Drupal 9 supports responsive images, leading to lesser data consumption. You can define several workflows, and the BitPipe enhances page viewing performance. Moreover, the upcoming versions will only provide a better user experience and faster websites.
The earlier versions of Drupal were not compatible with previous versions. However, Drupal 9 is consistent with the earlier version and preserves Backward Compatibility. It will essentially mean that most of the contributed modules in Drupal 8 will be compatible with the new version. The latest version can use the modules, data, and configuration from the earlier version.
Cleaner Code Base
One of the best benefits of Drupal 9 is that it does not contain any of the deprecated code. Thus, the websites will have a clean codebase, and you must remove the deprecated code from the earlier versions before migrating to Drupal 9. It will help if you gradually remove the deprecated code from Drupal 8, and it will help make the Drupal 9 upgrade simpler.
Software experts are stating that the Drupal 9 upgrade is easy and is like a breeze. Earlier, the upgrades implied a time-consuming process that led to huge costs. In addition, there were configuration changes and involved content migration and porting modules to allow them to function as needed. One of the key targets for the Drupal 9 release was to ensure easier upgrades in future.
Understandably, future Drupal releases could be such that upgrades would not need major migration activities.
Symfony & Twig Updates
There have been upgrades in the Symfony and Twig software too. As they also see an upgrade, migrating your Drupal website to the new version is necessary. Other dependencies are getting updated too.
The Drupal Migration Cost
Website migration projects can expectedly be time-consuming. First, the migration team must find out the projected issues in the process. The timeline can usually depend on the size of data on your website.
Time Taken to Migrate
As with any other migration project, most web admins are worried about the time of Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration. The migration timeline will depend on the amount of data and content on the website. For example, it is estimated that a website without any customized modules and a few content types can be migrated within a few weeks. However, complex websites can take longer to migrate to Drupal 9.
The migration project involves migrating the content and the configuration to a new instance of the website. The content can cover various posts, files, blogs, and articles, etc. Therefore experts analyze and decide on the entire migration process.
It is essential to take note that the custom modules must be written according to Drupal 9. This activity can take much time during the entire process. However, several techniques can be automated, as there are several modules to help in migration. Manual recreation may be needed too. Some projects may need field mapping while importing the website data present in different formats.
When the data is migrated, the migration team must check for errors and ensure that the correct data has been entered in the fields. Once everything is in order, you can go live with the migrated website.
Cost of the Migration
You must bear in mind that any migration activity can be tedious. It is also difficult to judge the precise estimates of Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration. The cost associated with the migration will depend on the content and design of the website. It will also depend on the functionalities involved and the associated custom code.
The migration strategy can be created keeping in mind the website's content, the investments involved, and the timeline. It is very important to appropriately analyze the requirements in the migration process to minimize the risk of cost escalation. Once the various features and functionalities are listed out, the developer can start the migration activity.
As mentioned earlier, it is difficult to predict the time of Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration. Some of our quickest migrations for medium-sized websites took around 2.5 - 3 months. On the other hand, a website of high complexity took about 5 - 6 months.
The migration to Drupal 9 is easier once you have migrated to Drupal 8 already. Drupal 9 is mostly like the last minor Drupal 8 release - Drupal 8.9. There are no huge configuration modifications or content migration and requirement to port modules. The new Drupal 9 release was mostly built on Drupal 8 by removing the deprecated unwanted APIs and updating the dependencies.
It is necessary that you update the website to the latest version of Drupal 8. Drupal 8.8 is fully compatible with Drupal 9. Hence, it is suggested to update to at least Drupal 8.8 before the migration. Our Drupal migration experts have the right experience across diverse Drupal projects. We expect that a medium complexity website can be migrated from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 within 1 month. A high complexity website could take around 2 - 2.5 months to migrate.
Considerations before the migration
Revisit the Functionalities
You must finalize the features that you want on the new site. For example, do you wish to change the newsletters, forms, etc.? Also, it would help if you considered whether you want to make changes to the existing appearance of the website. The decision on migrating whole or part of the content must be taken as well.
Developer Skill Set
Are the developers skilled enough to carry out the migration activities? If they are not, then they must undertake adequate training before setting out with the migration. In addition, they must know about the migration's dependencies and be aware of the core code in Drupal 9.
Compatible Hosting Environment
The migration needs to keep in mind that the hosting environment must be compatible with the new Drupal version. The team must ensure that the required changes are carried out in the hosting environment to ensure a hassle-free upgrade.
Time and Budget Considerations
Businesses must readily migrate their Drupal website to the latest version. The new version is laden with several valuable features. It is, however, difficult to assess the actual cost of the Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 migration. It depends on the size of the website and the content and features you wish to migrate.
We have undertaken several projects covering Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 migration within 200 hours. So if you are willing to migrate your website to Drupal 9, we are just a phone call away.