Six-Step Guide for Navigating Drupal 7's End of Life

Bill Dwinell

Author: Bill Dwinell

Published: March 11, 2023

Drupal 7 is a popular CMS for B2B businesses, providing strong features and modules for content management. However, with the end of life slated for January 5, 2025, many companies face the pivotal question: what's next?

Transitioning from a trusted CMS like Drupal 7 can appear daunting and have technical and strategic complexities. In this article, we'll shine a light on the road ahead, discussing the key decisions B2B companies must make and the options available to maintain and enhance their digital presence.


In earlier versions of Drupal, each major upgrade required a complete site rebuild. However, with Drupal 8 and beyond, upgrades are much easier, involving module updates instead of full rebuilds. While migrating from Drupal 7 will still involve a substantial rebuild, it will be your last major rebuild if you stay on the Drupal platform. Despite the initial impact, this migration presents exciting opportunities, and we can take measures to minimize the disruption.

Step 1: Gauging Your Digital Terrain

Before beginning this journey, you must evaluate your current environment and how well-aligned it is with your business and customers. Consider these essential questions to guide your decision-making process during the Drupal 7 migration:

  • How well do you understand your current and potential customer base? Take this opportunity to strategically assess your position in the market and gain insights into your target audience.
  • Where do you stand on the journey towards digital transformation? As businesses increasingly embrace digital solutions, evaluate where your company stands and envision your digital growth over the next five years.
  • Which features in your Drupal 7 environment have proven valuable to your operations? You should identify the specific functionalities that have served you well and preserve or improve upon them during migration.
  • What initiatives have you postponed until a later date? Take advantage of this migration to address any pending projects or enhancements you may have put on hold. Embrace the opportunity to implement long-awaited changes and improvements to elevate your digital presence.

By contemplating these questions, you can make informed decisions and lay the foundation for a successful Drupal 7 migration that aligns with your business objectives and sets the stage for future.

Step 2: Plotting Your Path: The Options

As Drupal 7 nears its EOL, two primary paths lie before you:

Upgrade to Drupal 10:

This option allows you to stay within the familiar Drupal ecosystem and continue taking advantage of Drupal’s robust enterprise-grade open-source capabilities. Since Drupal 7, the transition between major versions has been drastically simplified, so you can rest assured that this is the last big overhaul you will need for Drupal. 

For many organizations, we recommend migrating your content to Drupal 10, which can be largely automated, then taking advantage of a front-end framework such as React or Svelte. This approach provides:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Reduced migration cost
  • Better user experience
  • Faster site performance
  • Better SEO 
  • Enhanced security

However, moving from Drupal 7 to Drupal 10 isn't just a simple upgrade; it's more of a site overhaul, demanding significant time and resource commitment.

Switch to Another CMS:

The digital world combines alternative CMS platforms, including Adobe Experience Manager,, WordPress, and Contentful. You will want to consider many factors when selecting your next system, including: 

  • Licensing, hosting, and maintenance costs
  • A flexible, configurable system that will handle changes in your business for the next 5 - 10 years.
  • Easy content entry and management capabilities to streamline workflow.

A good consultant can help guide you through choosing your next system. Be sure to find someone with hands-on business, technical and marketing experience on multiple platforms. 

Consider the benefits of Headless Drupal:

  • Extremely Fast Websites: With Headless Drupal, you can create highly performant websites by leveraging your preferred front-end apps and frameworks. This architecture allows for optimized rendering and faster loading times, providing an excellent user experience.
  • Reuse of Content Across Multiple Applications: Headless Drupal enables content reuse across various applications. You can manage and update your content in one location. You can also easily distribute it to different platforms and channels. This ensures that your content remains consistent and efficient.
  • Best-in-Class User Experiences: By decoupling the back-end content management functionality from the front-end presentation layer, Headless Drupal empowers you to craft exceptional user experiences. You can design engaging interfaces, leverage modern technologies, and deliver personalized experiences to your audience.

To witness the power of Headless Drupal in action, look at Tesla's dashboards. They utilize a Drupal headless content management system to manage and display content, showcasing the capabilities and benefits of this architecture.

By embracing Headless Drupal, you can unlock the potential for lightning-fast websites, content reuse, and superior user experiences, enhancing your digital presence and driving business growth.

Step 3. Seizing the Opportunity: Site Optimization and SEO

The transition from Drupal 7 provides a unique opportunity to do more than update your CMS. It's a chance to completely overhaul and optimize your website, especially from an SEO perspective.

When rebuilding your site, you can incorporate SEO best practices from the ground up. This strategy can enhance your site's visibility on search engines, drive more organic traffic, and increase lead generation and conversion rates. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved Site Structure: A well-planned site structure can enhance user experience (UX) and boost your site's crawlability, making it easier for search engines to index your pages.
  • Enhanced Page Speed: With a new CMS, you can optimize your site for speed, an important ranking factor for search engines like Google.
  • Mobile-First Design: Given the dominance of mobile browsing, a mobile-first design is crucial. A new, mobile-optimized website can improve your search rankings and broaden your reach.
  • Advanced Schema Implementation: With a site overhaul, you can implement schema markup more effectively, helping search engines understand your content and enhancing your visibility in search results.

Step 4. Charting Your Migration

Once you've decided on your path and optimization strategy, the next step is to plan your migration. This process involves setting a realistic timeline, allocating resources, and preparing for potential challenges. Remember, a successful transition includes data migration, theme and module recreation, and training your team on the new system.

Step 5. Assembling a Skilled Team

Whether upgrading to a newer version of Drupal or switching to a different CMS, it's crucial to have seasoned professionals guiding you. Collaborating with an experienced web development agency can help mitigate risks and ensure a smooth transition.

Step 6. Maintaining Your New Website

The journey doesn't end with migration. Post-launch, you'll need to closely monitor your new site, troubleshoot any issues, and ensure your team is familiar with the new system. Continued support is key to fully leveraging the capabilities of your new CMS and maintaining your SEO optimizations.

The EOL of Drupal 7 may symbolize the end of an era, but it's also a significant opportunity. It's a chance for B2B companies to reassess their digital strategy, rejuvenate their online presence, and embrace cutting-edge technologies. While navigating this change may seem intimidating, you can successfully chart your course with careful planning, the right resources, and expert guidance.

Consider this transition a fresh start, a chance to build a modern, user-friendly site optimized for search engines. The future is brimming with possibilities, and with the right approach, you can turn this transition into a transformative experience for your business. Embrace this change with optimism and let the EOL of Drupal 7 mark the beginning of your new digital adventure.

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