Information for Drupal 9 upgrades from Drupal 8

Within the product lifecycle, individual software versions repeatedly reach their end-of-life (EOL). After this point, the previous version is no longer supported in favor of a newer version - this is quite normal and usual for a technical product.

Drupal is also due for an end-of-life this year: Support for Drupal 8 will be discontinued on Nov. 2, 2021. Now, many Drupal 8 site owners are under pressure to upgrade to Drupal 9 in time to ensure a risk-free and secure Drupal environment. Since Drupal 8 will not be further supported after the EOL, we can therefore only strongly advise all Drupal 8 site owners to upgrade the system to Drupal 9 in time.

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From Drupal 8 to 9 - The upgrade has to be done

That Drupal 8 is hitting its EOL so soon is due to the following: Drupal 8 uses Symfony 3, which will no longer be developed as of November this year. The newer Drupal 9 only uses the successor Symfony 4 as PHP framework, library and its modules.

With the EOL, no more security updates will be made available for websites that use Drupal 8. So, in essence, there is no viable alternative for these sites other than to upgrade to Drupal 9.

What Drupal 9 brings with it

Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is a much smaller jump than the previous upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. For the first time in Drupal's history, the new Drupal version builds directly on a previous version. The upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is therefore much more comparable to an update from, say, Drupal 8.6 to Drupal 8.7.

Drupal 9 is a further developed and improved version of Drupal 8. The new version offers a whole range of advantages. In general, the most relevant advantages can be summarized in the following three points:

  • Long Term Support
    Drupal 9 is supported until at least the end of 2023, which provides site owners with long-term security.

  • "Cleaned up" Drupal version
    The program code has been cleaned up and tidied up in many places to make the Drupal core clearer.

  • Many modules and new features
    Many existing modules are already available for Drupal 9 and new modules / features are developed only for Drupal 9.


How we upgrade our customer projects

For the upcoming upgrades to Drupal 9 in the coming weeks and months, we have worked out a simple process by which we proceed:

  1. In the first step, we analyze the current instance. Installed modules, themes and project-specific code are checked for compatibility with Drupal 9.

  2. In the second step we perform the update of modules, Drupal core, theme files and project specific code. If necessary, we create patches for "old" modules so that they continue to work on the upgraded Drupal 9 site if they are not (yet) officially ready for Drupal 9.

  3. In the third step, our customers can test the functionality of the site in a staging environment before everything is rolled out to the production environment.


Also important and good to know: From an editorial point of view, there is no effort involved in upgrading to Drupal 9 and everything remains as it was. For example, the familiar workflows remain in place and no existing content needs to be migrated.