With Drupal 8 in the final stage of development, support for Drupal 6 will soon be coming to a close. If you are currently running a Drupal 6 site, now is the time to start thinking about upgrading, and choosing which version of Drupal is right for you.
About Drupal Versions
As new versions of Drupal are released, community support shifts from older versions to the newest two versions. If your site is currently on Drupal 6, released in 2008, it’s time to make your move. Drupal 6 will no longer be updated soon after the official release of Drupal 8, meaning it will no longer receive security updates and core and contributed modules will no longer be covered by the Drupal security team. The current version, Drupal 7, will maintain support, so it’s the most stable version available. The newest version, Drupal 8, is in its final stages of development, and will hopefully be released in the upcoming months.
Make major development changes while upgrading. It’s much more cost-effective than rolling out new features at a later date and time. You may consider a major overhaul, such as a redesign to make your site responsive, a re-thinking of the site's information architecture, or bringing new parts of your organization into using the same site.
Drupal development teams have perfected Drupal 7 work. The stability of Drupal 7 means you can build your site at a fraction of what it would have cost in 2011, or what a new Drupal 8 site will cost over the next year. Even though Drupal 8 is set to be released in 2015, Drupal 7 is more stable and in turn, more cost effective than Drupal 8. It will be at least a year after the Drupal 8 release before the expense of developing on this version matches that of Drupal 7. However, as Drupal 8 adoption increases work on Drupal 7 will begin ot decrease.
Security issues become more critical as time passes. If you choose to stay on Drupal 6, your site will be supported only for a finite period of time. Modules on your site will no longer be community supported and you won’t get critical security updates.
Prefer to upgrade to Drupal 8? Keep in mind if you want to use the latest version of Drupal:
Drupal 8 might be more expensive, at first. We are excited to work with Drupal 8, but because D8 is very different from D7, your project may take longer to complete. This means that the overall cost will be higher than a Drupal 7 upgrade. Due to the newness of Drupal 8, estimating the total cost of a project will also be more difficult. If cost is not a main concern for your team and you are looking to build a site that will be supported for many years, upgrading to Drupal 8 might be the best choice.
There might be a few more bugs in the beginning, but thousands of people will work to fix issues. Because Drupal 8 is brand new, there will be a few new bugs that developers will need to fix. The good news is, the Drupal community is filled with hundreds of thousands of developers who all want to make Drupal 8 great. Like all open source software, people across the world will be working to fix issues and improve performance.
- Drupal 8 is the newest version, and will be supported for longer. As you now know, when a new Drupal version is released, the previous version continues to be supported, but older versions are dropped. Because Drupal 8 is now the newest version, it will be supported long into the future.
Still not sure what Drupal version is right for you? Check out the chart below.
Go with Drupal 7
Consider Drupal 8
Consider waiting for Drupal 8
Go with Drupal 8
While it’s not a simple matter to make the version update, it’s a smart move that will save you time and money in the long run. Don’t get stuck with an unsupported version!