Drupal 8 reaches end of life in November 2021. With the deadline fast approaching, we're getting questions from the Drupal community about how this change will affect them. Here's a quick Q&A based on the most frequently asked questions about it.

Why is Drupal 8 end of life before Drupal 7?

It's much easier to upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9 than Drupal 7 to 9. For this reason, Drupal 7 end of life has been extended to November 2022 to give Drupal 7 site owners more time to upgrade.

Drupal 8 End of Life Timeline
Drupal 8 End of Life Timeline (Source: State of Drupal presentation, April 2021)

What will happen if I miss the deadline?

Once Drupal 8 is no longer supported, the Drupal community will stop releasing security updates for Drupal 8. That being said, there's the option to purchase extended ended life support in the meantime. It means that selected vendors in the Drupal community will release security updates for Drupal 8 beyond November 2022 as part of a paid subscription.

👩‍💻 Have full security in your Drupal installation: check our Guide and Checklist.

How much work is it to upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9?

Upgrading Drupal from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is vastly easier than any previous Drupal version upgrade. It's similar to a feature upgrade (e.g. Drupal 8.8 to 8.9) with a couple of extra added steps. No content migration is involved, and most of the work consists in replacing core/contrib modules and, in some cases, updating how APIs are called. You can find the upgrade documentation on Drupal.org.

What's the difference between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9?

Drupal 8.9 and Drupal 9 have the same features, and you won't see any differences when using the admin UI or updating content. The underlying technology stack that Drupal depends on is updated, making your website more secure.

If Drupal 8.8 and Drupal 9 are the same, why upgrade?

Drupal 9 will have features added to it with each feature release (e.g. 9.1, 9.2 etc.), so you'll be able to take advantage of all the new innovative features being added to Drupal over time.

What if a contributed module is not available yet for Drupal 9?

Running the Upgrade Status module will help you identify which modules you're using are compatible with Drupal 9. If you're using a module in Drupal 8 and it's not available yet in Drupal 9, porting that module is typically a very straightforward process. You can use the Upgrade Rector module to help automate the process. This also works for upgrading any custom modules you have.

What's next?

Drupal 10 is planned to be launched in August 2022, with a fallback date in December. It should follow the same "easy upgrade" approach as with Drupal 8 to 9, which was, according to Drupal's founder and project lead, Dries Buytaert, "the easiest major Drupal upgrade in a decade." Dries says Drupal 10 will be a refined version of Drupal 9, and the tools and processes to use to prepare for it are the same as with the previous upgrade.

If you need help with the upgrade process, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.