Are you still on Drupal 6?

Whether you operate a blog, a small business page, or a large corporate website, if you are still operating on Drupal 6 it is past time for you to consider upgrading your operations. Drupal 6 officially reached End-of-Life on February 24th, 2016. Since then, the Drupal community has largely abandoned support for this version of Drupal.

Why does this impact me?

Anyone running their business on a Drupal 6 version should be concerned because the Drupal community has moved on. As an open source platform, the vitality of Drupal depends on contributors adding new components, modules, features and more. When the community moves on to new versions of Drupal, the older versions are no longer receiving the care and attention required to maintain modern content platforms.

By not adopting Drupal 8, you no longer have the community actively working on modules, bugfixes, improvements, and most importantly, security updates and improvements. The Security team is no longer providing Advisory updates for Drupal 6, and the majority of modules are no longer supported by the maintainers. The bottom line? If you are still operating on an old version of Drupal, you are exposing your site to unnecessary security risk.

Uh oh…so how do I make the switch to Drupal 8?

It’s easy! Upgrading your Drupal site using a migration approach. The first step is to decide how you want to handle your upgrade. Use these questions to help you get started:

  1. Am I happy with how my website functions and how it looks?

  2. Does my website/brand need a refresh or update?

  3. Do I want to refresh my content as part of this upgrade?

  4. What are the key functions that my website needs to perform?

Based on your answers to the questions above, you will likely fall into one of two categories: Lift & Shift or Website Rebuild.

Lift & Shift: As is migrations

Drupal 8 has made significant strides to make the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 as smooth as possible. Mike Ryan and others have made a huge impact in this space, rewriting the migrate module from the ground up and including it in the Drupal 8 core. The fact that this was added as a Drupal core initiative speaks volumes of the importance that has been placed on this by the community.

If your site is mainly brochureware, the upgrade process from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 should be quick and relatively painless. The new migrate module not only migrates content, but it will also migrate data structures through a configuration migration tool. Wait, what? I can migrate my content types and taxonomy terms so that I don’t need to rebuild them!? The answer is YES! (…with some caveats of course).

For more information about the Drupal 8 migrate initiatives and upgrade documentation, check out the “Upgrading from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 8” section on Drupal.org.

Website Refresh: Rebuild Content, UI and UX

So, I don’t have a basic brochureware site but I really need to refresh my brand. Can I still use these tools to take some of the load off of my shoulders? The answer is yes, but in a more limited fashion.

Depending on the size of your website, utilizing the D6 to D8 migration tools may still save you time and money. This will ultimately depend on how significant the changes to your information architecture and content will be.

If you have a large number of pages (let’s say >1000) and some percentage of these pages will remain relatively in-tact from an information architecture perspective (Blogs, Resources, Press), then you will likely still benefit from investing time in migration scripts.

If you are planning to refresh/rewrite all of your content AND provide a new UI/UX on your website, the effort to create a migration script may be higher than handling the process manually.

So, how do I get started?

If you are planning to move forward with an upgrade, it will be useful to check out the following links before you start:

While the idea of being able to be generic enough to meet a wide variety of peoples needs, it is unlikely that your migration to Drupal 8 will be handled out-of-the-box. In the likely case that you will need to customize, here are some more useful links:

Would you like help creating a more detailed plan for migrating your website to Drupal 8? Contact Us – We would be happy to help!

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