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Blog

Drupal 7 EOL announced: It's time to move on

03 July, 2023
Marine Gandy
Marine Gandy
Developer Relations Engineer
Platform.sh

The time has come for Drupal 7 which will officially sunset on January 25, 2025. 

But what does that mean for Drupal 7 users? 

One of the biggest news from DrupalCon Pittsburgh last week was the final end-of-life (EOL) date for Drupal 7. After months of speculation, the security team took the opportunity to announce the updated deadline at the biggest Drupal event of the year. 

For context, the previous EOL date was set on November 23, 2023 and the team had until July this year to announce whether they would extend support once more, or not. This led to a whole lot of speculation and many did not take the EOL date seriously.

Now, however, the team insists the date of January 25, 2025 is final and everyone must act accordingly. Meaning upgrading to Drupal 10, moving to another CMS or SaaS, or even sunsetting websites entirely, and the list goes on. 

Key considerations during the Drupal 7 migration period

The good news is that with 18 months to go until the migration from Drupal 7, there’s plenty of time for developers to test out the options available to them. Although, this final extension for Drupal 7 does come with caveats.

First of all, the rules for D7 modules maintainership are changing: once a module is marked as unsupported, there will be no coming back, even if someone applies to take over maintenance. So, if you’re depending on a specific module, don’t wait any longer and apply now to guarantee that it remains available.

The overall support level is also going to be different starting August 1–Windows-only security issues will no longer be fixed, PHP 5.5 and below won’t be supported anymore, and the security team will stop providing Drupal 7 distribution packages.

Navigating the shift towards community-led support for Drupal 7

However, the biggest change for Drupal 7 is probably the reduction of support for moderately critical issues. This means that some issues might now be posted in the public issue queue–provided they are not mass-exploitable, of course. With the idea being for the security team to lean on the community for some of these tasks enabling the Drupal support team to stillprovide a decent amount of support for D7 alongside all the other supported versions of Drupal too.

To support this community-led approach, the Drupal Association is creating a resource library as well as a Certified Migration Partners program to help identify trusted members of the community who have the skills and knowledge to help you migrate.

Adapting to Drupal 7 end-of-life and expanding tooling options

This time, it’s best not to wait until the last minute! Once we reach end-of-life, Drupal.org will remove a lot of services including the testing infrastructure or the XML feeds for packaging, which in turn might break drush commands (the full list can be found in the Public Service Announcement   
However, by this time D7 reaches end-of-life, many third-parties libraries and dependencies might already be deprecated anyway–after all,no piece of software can be maintained forever! And after 14 years of support, Drupal 7 has certainly put in the work.

That’s a testament to the amount of work and dedication that this community is able to provide and a sign of how loved this version of Drupal has been. Kudos to you Drupalistas of the world!

As a matter of fact, the community along with the Drupal infrastructure team have really shown up by improving the tooling to facilitate migrations: GitlabCI, test suites, the Rector module for automatic patches, the Upgrade Status module, and more. 

In fact, new tools are already emerging from the community to help with the Drupal 7 EOL, including Matt Glaman’s Retrofit module , allowing you to run your Drupal 7 code on a Drupal 10 site . It might not be a long-term answer, but it has the merit of being original and offering new options among many more which are sure to come.

What does this mean for my Drupal 7 projects on Platform.sh?

Now you might be wondering what this new EOL means for your Drupal 7 projects hosted with Platform.sh? First of all, the security of your application and data is paramount to us, so we will always encourage you to apply the security updates and migrate before the end of support.

That being said, for now, it doesn’t change much for your hosting. Especially since we now support older versions of PHP for free via our Freexian subscription so you can safely take the time to test your app while you upgrade your PHP version to maintain compatibility with Drupal 7. And when you are ready to migrate, you can jump directly to the latest supported version of PHP .

Take action, stay informed! Talks on D7 migration and EOL impact

If you’d like to know more about the big changes between D7 and D8 and onwards, take a look at this talk Platform.sh Developer Relations Engineer and author of this article, Marine Gandy, gave at the PHP UK Conference earlier this year: ‘Bye bye drupalisms! Propelling Drupal into a modern PHP ecosystem ’.

To dig deeper and understand the implications of D7 EOL, our partner Chromatic has dedicated an entire podcast to answering the key questions right here: https://chromatichq.com/drupal-7-end-of-life-podcast/ 

Finally, here is a handy guide on how to safely upgrade your PHP version, by our very own Paul Gilzow: 
https://community.platform.sh/t/migrating-php-7-4-code-to-8-1-on-platform-sh/1156

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