Upgrading from Drupal 9.x to Drupal 10.x – how long does it take?

November 9, 2023

Ross Ross Gerring

With Drupal 9 having reached its official end-of-life (EOL) on November 1, 2023, the importance of upgrading to Drupal 10 becomes a pressing issue for Drupal website owners and developers.

The EOL status signifies that the version will no longer receive official support, including security updates or patches, which makes websites still running on Drupal 9 vulnerable to security risks. Upgrading to Drupal 10 is not just a matter of maintaining the latest technology, but a critical step in ensuring the security and functionality of a website.

One of the main reasons to upgrade a website before or as soon as possible after the main software reaches EOL is to protect it from security vulnerabilities. Once a version is no longer supported, it will not receive security updates, leaving it exposed to potential exploits. Additionally, updating to the latest version can improve website performance, provide new features and functionality, and ensure compatibility with modern technologies and standards. This can improve the user experience, make the site more efficient, and potentially improve search engine rankings.

Another consideration is compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Certain industries require websites to maintain a level of security that can only be guaranteed with supported software versions. Failing to upgrade can lead to compliance issues and the risk of legal consequences.

The good news is that upgrading to Drupal 10 from Drupal 9 is considered the easiest upgrade in Drupal’s history due to backward compatibility. This compatibility eases the migration of custom code and configurations. For simple sites without custom modules, the migration process could typically take between 10 and 20 hours. For more complex sites, the process could span a couple of months. This time includes planning and development to ensure a smooth transition, with the technical upgrade potentially completed in hours if the site has adhered to Drupal 9 best practices and kept up with updates.

The process also involves using tools like the Drupal Check module, which helps detect deprecated code, making the transition quicker and more automatic. However, beyond the technical steps, testing is necessary to confirm that all site features work post-upgrade, which can extend the timeline, especially for sites with extensive functionality​​​​​​​​.

In essence, while the technical aspects of upgrading from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10 can be expedited due to the thoughtful design of Drupal’s upgrade path, the overall process is extensive and requires diligent planning, development, and testing to ensure the website remains secure, functional, and compliant post-upgrade.

Bonus Tip

If your Drupal site is a relatively basic site, also known in the trade as a “brochure site”, then you should give serious consideration to having your website rebuilt in a less enterprise-grade, less sophisticated CMS like WordPress. Once upon a time, Drupal tried to position itself as a direct competitor to WordPress, but soon pulled back from this position when it worked out that its core value proposition is more suited to medium-large enterprises and governments, i.e. those with big budgets (initial AND ongoing) and sophisticated, custom, requirements.

Please do have a chat with us, Itomic, for your Drupal upgrade needs and/or if you’d like to have your Drupal website assessed for conversion to WordPress.

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