Why migrate from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8

Introduction

Are you using the Drupal 6 version? Is your website helping you make money for living? Now that you got here, stay with us for 10 more minutes, please.

We have to talk to you seriously.

Drupal 7 end of life. Drupal 8 end of life

This has never happened before but two major versions of Drupal are to reach the end of life simultaneously (referred to as Drupal 7 EOL and Drupal 8 EOL) in November 2021. Not to put anybody in a bind, Drupal 9 is being released in the middle of 2020. Of course, there will be extended support partners for Drupal 7 - alike Drupal 6 long-term support now. When it comes to Drupal 8, the situation is different: there will be a minor release Drupal 8.9 that will be launched at the same time with the Drupal 9.0 launch. The last Drupal 8 release will be counted into the LTS program for 1,5 years until the end of life in 2021.

These changes will affect Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 website owners the most. 

We do care about Drupal 8 website owners too and we strongly recommend keeping their Drupal 8 updated so that they can easily upgrade to Drupal 9. As we know, Drupal 9 will be based on the last minor Drupal 8 version.

Now we would like to focus on Drupal 6 as this version is the most vulnerable now. Read further and learn why switch from Drupal 6 to 8.

Why upgrade to Drupal 7 is not such a good idea anymore

To cut a long story short, why we do not suggest moving to Drupal 7 though it’s a supported version:

  • Drupal 7 end of life in 2021
  • More features in Drupal 8
  • Having a website run on Drupal 7 doesn’t make it Drupal 9-ready. But if you keep your Drupal 8 website updated, you won’t have trouble with migrating to Drupal 9.

Why don’t wait for Drupal 9 and migrate from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8

So why it’s worth migration to Drupal 8?


The Drupal 6 core


Drupal 6 Core is no longer supported by the Drupal Security Team, only by 2 vendors. Now one of those vendors promises that this LTS (Long-Term Support) will last up to 2022.

Drupal 6 will live for a while, that’s true. But the overall update process in Drupal 6 is much harder in comparison to the supported versions: the vendors and website owners have to manually patch the modules and the core if they pursue security.


The PHP versions compatible with Drupal

There’s the possibility that some Drupal 6 websites run on PHP 5.x that is no longer supported since January 1, 2019. Consequently, no more security fixes for PHP 5.x.

In spite of the fact that Drupal 6 LTS vendors support PHP 7.1+, it’s still red tape to run Drupal 6 with these PHP versions. 

Also, a number of Drupal 6 contributed modules working with PHP 7.1+ is strictly limited.


Drupal 6 security

Sometimes Drupal 6 gets the security updates with a delay. In many cases, it happens due to the backport issue. In a nutshell, when one detects a problem with supported versions of Drupal Core (Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 at the moment) or its modules, a solution usually requires the backport to Drupal 6.

But to tell the truth, it’s not only that all Drupal 6 fixes should be backported. Sometimes it’s just Drupal 6 only problem.

Drupal 6 limited functionality

We can recall just few cases when Drupal 6 got bug fixes; mainly the support is about security fixes.

Also, no new features are expected for the Drupal 6 core and modules.

Drupal 8 is the feature-rich version


It’s no secret that Drupal changes from version to version. Drupal 8 offers things that Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 don’t have: RESTful Web Services and JSON API out-of-the-box allow implementing the Decoupled approach, it’s mobile-friendly out-of-the-box and has better accessibility, there’s a better solution for multilingual websites.

Due to the new release cycle, new featured are added to the Drupal core much faster than ever before.

For those who love and dig tech things: there are new features like the WYSIWYG editor, new field types, and besides, Drupal 8 has a better technical stack. Symfony components, Twig, OOP, Composer. 

Drupal 6 is not about convenient workflow anymore


Drupal developers get worried about working with unsupported versions. It’s both a waste of time and money since there is a lot of overheads connected with Drupal 6 development. We mentioned some of them above.

Drupal 6 support is not cheap


One more reason why we consider the Drupal 6 upgrade to 8 - money matters.

The annual support of a Drupal 6 website is somewhat costly (that’s relevant for rather big business websites like corporate websites with lots of lead-catching features, e-commerce and enterprise ones). Check how much you spend on your Drupal 6 site: probably you’re spending too much on it.

If you’re interested, we did some math here: check Why migrate your website to Drupal page.

For all the other questions - fill out our contact form and we will revert to you within a business day.

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