What Does Drupal 7 End of Life Mean For Your Website?

Luke Holmes - Senior Web Developer

Luke Holmes

13th January 2021

For many years, Drupal has been SilverDisc’s preferred CMS (Content Management System) for the majority of our client websites. This article will discuss the sunsetting process of Drupal 7 and what it means for the Drupal community and our clients.

What is sunsetting?

“Sunsetting” is another term for “discontinue” or “retire.”

Sunsetting is the process of gradually decreasing support for a piece of software when a newer, improved version is available. Think of it like your mobile phone or computer updates - when this technology is new, the software is fully supported and regularly updated. However, as the software gets older, eventually it becomes so rarely used that the creators or developers consider it to be cost-ineffective to continue support for it. This is when updates are no longer rolled out and the software is “sunsetted”. Users and consumers are then encouraged to upgrade to a newer version if they haven’t already.

When is Drupal 7 sunsetting?

Drupal 7 was released in January 2011 and has served us incredibly well in creating robust, user-friendly websites for several of our clients. The Drupal 7 end-of-life was originally scheduled for November 2021 but has now been pushed back to November 2022.

Why has it been pushed back a year?

Given the impact Covid-19 has had on businesses and their budgets, Drupal has generously decided to push back the sunset to allow businesses more time to upgrade their sites. This will create more work for the Drupal community in ensuring that the Drupal 7 platform is kept secure for another year, and is a great example of the strength of the Drupal community. Read more about the extension and find a link to donate here.

How long will Drupal 7 be supported for and what does the end of support mean for our clients?

Drupal 7 will be supported until November 2021. After this date, the Drupal community and security teams will no longer be working on any security fixes or patches.

This does not mean that websites will stop working or have to be "switched off". However, from this date, websites on the Drupal 7 platform will become much more susceptible to security risks. They will likely become a target for hackers, who will be aware that these sites are no longer being protected.

SilverDisc will continue to host our clients’ Drupal 7 websites and provide the same service after the sunsetting date. However, these sites will gradually become more susceptible to risk over time. With this in mind, SilverDisc would encourage anybody still on the Drupal 7 platform to start thinking about upgrading their site. Get in touch if you have a Drupal 7 site and would like to discuss your upgrade options. Drupal 8 and 9 come with a range of benefits to help you continue delivering a great user experience for your customers.

Why should businesses upgrade to Drupal 8 or 9?

The Drupal framework has improved significantly since the Drupal 7 version. Alongside the essential benefits of ongoing security updates, the following improvements have been made in Drupal 8 and Drupal 9:

  • Faster page speeds
  • More user-friendly interfaces
  • Improved SEO capabilities
  • More comprehensive field types
  • On-page editing allows faster, easier content management
  • CKEditor text editor
  • Built on the powerful Symfony framework
  • Superior Twig templating engine
  • Improved support for multilingual websites
  • Built-in web service APIs allowing for content distribution
  • Modules and plugins in active development

If you are looking to upgrade your website from Drupal 7 or have any questions, please get in touch with SilverDisc. Alternatively, you can find out more about our Web Development services.

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