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Jun 5, 2024

Navigating Drupal 7 End-of-Life: Your Options and HeroDevs' Never-Ending Support

Explore paths for Drupal 7 users, from upgrading to newer versions to leveraging ongoing support with HeroDevs.
Navigating Drupal 7 End-of-Life: Your Options and HeroDevs' Never-Ending Support

With Drupal 7’s end-of-life (EOL) slated for January 5, 2025, organizations relying on this platform are faced with critical decisions. Whether you’ve stuck with Drupal 7 for its stability, familiarity, or budget constraints, it's time to explore your options. This article will guide you through the paths you can take: staying on unsupported Drupal 7, migrating to newer versions, moving away from the Drupal ecosystem, or leveraging HeroDevs’ Never-Ending Support (NES).

Your Options for Drupal 7

Updating to the Latest Version

Transitioning from Drupal 7 to newer versions involves navigating significant architectural changes, essentially requiring a complete rewrite. Drupal 7 leans on older technologies and coding standards, such as procedural PHP and jQuery, whereas newer iterations embrace modern PHP standards, object-oriented programming, and Symfony components. This shift demands extensive modifications to custom modules and themes crafted for Drupal 7, including transitioning from the hook-based system to a plugin-based architecture and embracing Twig as the default templating engine. 

Pros:

  • Modernization: Embracing newer versions enables access to advanced features and enhanced performance.
  • Flexibility: Allows for the adoption of contemporary coding standards and best practices.
  • Future-Proofing: Confirm compatibility with ongoing updates and support for the latest Drupal ecosystem.
  • Security: Mitigates risks associated with outdated technologies and vulnerabilities inherent in legacy systems.

Cons:

  • Resource Intensive: Demands significant investment in terms of time, resources, and budget.
  • Extended Development Time: Involves lengthy development cycles before the new site becomes operational.
  • Functional Disruptions: Risks introducing new bugs or missing features during the transition process.
  • Team Diversion: Divides team focus between maintaining the old site and developing the new one, potentially impacting productivity and morale.

Buy Commercial Extended Support for Drupal 7

To address the challenges of using unsupported software, HeroDevs offers Drupal 7 Never-Ending Support (NES). This service extends the life of your Drupal 7 site by providing ongoing security updates, compliance support, and compatibility fixes. HeroDevs also offers an Essentials package that offers module coverage so you can make sure all your favorite modules continue to receive security support as well. 

Pros:

  • Security: Receive timely security fixes for vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance: Make sure your site remains compliant with industry standards and regulations.
  • Cost-Effective: Maintain your existing site without the high costs associated with a full migration.
  • Stability: Benefit from continuous updates and support from a team experienced with Drupal 7. 

Cons:

  • Tooling Limitations: Some tools and utilities may still become outdated over time.
  • Inevitability of Migration: While NES prolongs the life of your Drupal 7 site, it postpones the eventual need for a migration.
  • Hiring: As Drupal 7 ages, finding developers familiar with it remains a challenge.

Transitioning Away from the Drupal Ecosystem

Considering migrating away from Drupal to a new CMS or framework is a significant decision that warrants careful consideration. Exploring alternative platforms presents both opportunities and challenges, each carrying its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Exploring migration options beyond Drupal offers an opportunity to reassess project needs, embrace new technologies, and align with evolving business objectives. However, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against the challenges and complexities involved in making such a transition.

Pros:

  • Technological Evolution: Transitioning to a new CMS or framework allows for leveraging modern technologies and development models, potentially enhancing performance and scalability.
  • Ecosystem Diversity: Embracing a different platform opens doors to a wider range of tools, plugins, and community resources tailored to specific project needs.
  • Ease of Use: Some alternative platforms offer more intuitive interfaces and streamlined workflows, simplifying content management and site administration.
  • Specialized Features: Certain CMS or framework options may specialize in specific functionalities or industries, providing tailored solutions that better align with project requirements.

Cons:

  • Learning Curve: Transitioning to a new platform entails a learning curve for developers and content managers, requiring time and resources for training and adaptation.
  • Data Migration: Moving existing content, configurations, and user data from Drupal to a new system can be complex and labor-intensive, potentially leading to data loss or inconsistencies.
  • Customization Challenges: Replicating custom functionalities or modules present in Drupal may require significant redevelopment efforts, leading to delays and potential feature gaps.
  • Vendor Lock-In: Opting for a proprietary CMS or framework may result in vendor lock-in, limiting flexibility and potentially increasing long-term costs.

Keep Using Unsupported Versions of Drupal 7

As Drupal 7 reaches its EOL, all versions will be unsupported. This means no new security updates, fixes, or official support from the Drupal community. Here are some considerations if you choose to stick with Drupal 7:

Pros:

  • Cost-Free: Maintaining your existing Drupal 7 codebase has no immediate costs.
  • Stability: Drupal 7 has proven mostly stable over the years, and it’s unlikely that browser updates will suddenly disrupt its functionality.
  • Familiarity: Your team knows Drupal 7 well, avoiding the learning curve of a new platform.

Cons:

  • Security Risks: Without updates, your Drupal 7 site is vulnerable to new exploits.
  • Compliance Issues: Unsupported software can lead to non-compliance with standards such as FedRAMP, PCI, and HIPAA.
  • Tooling Compatibility: Over time, tools and utilities supporting your Drupal 7 site may become incompatible with new versions of dependencies like PHP.
  • Hiring Challenges: Finding developers skilled in an outdated technology becomes increasingly difficult.

HeroDevs' Never-Ending Support (NES) for Drupal 7

HeroDevs’ NES offers a seamless solution for organizations looking to extend the life of their Drupal 7 sites without the immediate need for migration. Our NES provides:

  • Security Updates: Ongoing patches for vulnerabilities.
  • Compatibility Fixes: Ensuring your site works with the critical dependencies needed to keep up and running.
  • Compliance Support: Helping you meet regulatory requirements and avoid audit risks.
  • Essentials Package: We provide essential updates to fix security vulnerabilities specific to contributed modules.

By opting for HeroDevs’ NES, you can maintain your Drupal 7 site securely and compliantly while planning for a future migration on your own terms.

Conclusion

As Drupal 7 approaches its EOL, organizations must carefully weigh their options to guarantee continued security, compliance, and functionality. Whether you choose to stay on unsupported Drupal 7, migrate to a newer version or different CMS, or leverage HeroDevs’ NES, it is crucial to consider the costs, risks, and benefits of each option. For those migrating, HeroDevs also provides professional migrations and solutions tailored to your needs, ensuring a smooth and secure transition for your Drupal 7 site.

For more information on HeroDevs’ Never-Ending Support for Drupal 7, or to discuss your migration strategy, contact our team today.

. . .
About HeroDevs

HeroDevs partners with open-source authors to offer comprehensive solutions for sunsetted open-source software. Our Never-Ending Support products ensure businesses remain secure and compliant, even as their depended-upon open-source packages reach end-of-life. Alongside this, our elite team of software engineers and architects provides expert consulting and engineering services, assisting clients in migrating from deprecated packages and modernizing their technology stacks.

Article Summary
Discover your options as Drupal 7 reaches its end-of-life in 2025. Learn about updating to newer versions, HeroDevs' Never-Ending Support, and more.
Author
Allison Vorthmann
Platform Engineer
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