What Does the Release of Drupal 8 Mean for Your Drupal 6 Site?

We’ve been getting this question a lot lately so I thought it would be a great thing to address with a post. Drupal 8 is set to be released soon. When has not yet identified, but the latest rumors put it at anywhere from 3 to 6 months, or more.

So first, lets define what will happen when Drupal 8 is released. Basically, we will have a new version of Drupal to build new sites on. With this new version comes many great improvements including being mobile responsive, better multilingual management, accessibility integration, new configuration management, faster theming with TWIG, views built in, and a bunch of other stuff that the developers will enjoy. The downside to this however is that many of the modules giving our current Drupal 6 or 7 sites their functionality will not be ready for Drupal 8. We will be relying on the community to also bring these up to speed. If you have a site that doesn’t have much functionality, a basic informative site for example, then you will likely be okay moving from Drupal 6 to 8 right away. What about the others?

Drupal 6 will continue to be supported by the community for 3 months after Drupal 8’s release. This means you will still be able to update your modules and most importantly, apply security updates. However after those 3 months, these will go away. Once again, for some, this will not matter much unless you rely on a lot of modules for site functionality. Eventually however, these may become decrepit and you will find the site does not perform as well or starts to have more issues than it used to. More importantly, for commerce sites that perform transactions or those that store important information, without these security updates, you will leave yourself open for hackers to access this data.

So where does Drupal 7 come into play in all this? Drupal 7 is the most current and robust version of Drupal at the moment. It will continue to be supported until the release of Drupal 9, whenever that may be. In addition, if migrating, the path from Drupal 6 to 7 will be much less rocky than the path from 6 to 8. Our suggestion if you are worried about keeping your Drupal 6 site past its end of live, is to consider a move to Drupal 7. This will put you in the safest version, giving you all the functionality you need while still giving you a mobile friendly, user friendly site.

Our team will continue to support Drupal 6 (we even currently support a couple Drupal 5 sites!) so feel free to let us know if you have any questions or need any assistance. If you would like to consider a move Drupal 7, we’d be happy to review your current site and provide you an estimate to do so.