Drupal 7 will be coming to the end of its life in 2022. Despite not being the most popular choice, it certainly has some heavyweight large enterprise fans. However, that hasn’t prevented the decision for Drupal to retire in just over a year’s time. For Drupal 7 site owners, now is the time to consider what Drupal 7’s end of life means for you, and start looking at where to move to before it’s too late.
What does end of life mean for Drupal 7?
Originally scheduled for 2021, the end-of-life for Drupal 7 was rescheduled for 2022 due to Covid-19 and its impact on businesses, their operations and budgets. But what does end of life mean? It is the end of a collective agreement that individuals and teams of Drupal community members will support Drupal 7 by reviewing security reports, create patches and/or release security advisories. Put simply, it means there’s no longer going to be updated or support. In the open source world, this means that the program will become out of date and thus reach its end of life.
Why do people use Drupal when it’s not as popular as WordPress?
Drupal is a robust CMS system with user interface satisfaction, used to build enterprise grade sites, examples of which include ‘The Economist’ and ‘Mercedes Benz’. So it’s not a bad choice, not at all, but it might not be the most suitable choice for everyone.
When it comes to Drupal and WordPress, there are advantages and disadvantages to both CMS systems. Ultimately, WordPress is the most popular open source platform which accounts for 40% of the internet’s websites. But when it comes to comparisons, the elephant in the room is always security. WordPress is hacked more often. But in its defence there are way more WordPress sites online and the security issues are predominantly linked to human error rather than flaws in the core code as the security risks are introduced from poorly constructed plugins.
Yet, this is one of the important reasons Drupal is used for numerous Government websites as its Security ‘out the box’ is considered better. Though it’s important to note that WordPress can be configured and maintained to match Drupal’s level of security, Plus, it will most likely cost less to get you that secured site and maintain it.
Is WordPress the best alternative platform?
Firstly, we are of course biased when it comes to WordPress. In our eyes, it’s the natural alternative. But we have concrete reasons why. Firstly, as we stated before, there are more WordPress sites out there on the world wide web. That means there are way more WordPress developers available. From now until its end of life, Drupal developers will continue to cost you more than a WordPress developer as the platform slowly closes.
It’s important to note that you’ll get out of WordPress what you put in it. Keeping your website updated, making sure you keep on top of maintenance and generally keep your site in good health by installing tried and trusted plugins only. For most updates, it’s worth processing them yourselves, but we always advocate that you employ an agency or freelancer to help keep your site ticking over nicely.
What about eCommerce Drupal website owners?
If you are running an e-commerce site powered by Drupal 7 then it could be worth investigating a migration to WordPress and WooCommerce. The latter in particular is the leading eCommerce platform currently used on 4,414,537 sites which is over 10 times the current amount of sites running Drupal 7. Yes, we are playing with figures a bit here, but there are undoubtedly more sites flags as running WooCommerce than there are sites flagged as running drupal 7, 8 and 9 combined. This also means a large global community of developers and users available to share resources and knowledge. Making updates and maintenance cheaper than you’ll have experienced with Drupal developers and agencies.
What should Drupal website owners do and when?
While 2022 seems a while away, any developer would tell you it’s time to start looking at the alternatives, such as the world’s most popular CMS: WordPress. They are both open source, written in PHP and popular CMS systems. WordPress is the most popular of the two but Drupal is the better contender for large enterprise websites, but that is not to say WordPress could not be the tech adopted for high-level sites.
We recommend finding your alternative hosting platform sooner rather than later. You’ll need to run through the typical quality analysis procedures, ensure your content library has transferred over, and so on. Whether you’re looking for a freelancer or agency, we suggest spending as much as you can to get the best re-platform possible. This will save you money, and potential site breaks, in the future.
Found this blog useful? Why not check out Agency vs. freelancer: which option is best for you?
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