Drupal 7’s end-of-life date has officially been extended to January 5, 2025 — but waiting to upgrade now has added risks.

Though site owners have some more time before Drupal 7 support ends, specific aspects of the platform’s maintenance and security shut down on August 1, 2023.

Keep reading to learn why our experts recommend initiating your upgrade sooner rather than later.

Support is ending for specific scripts and modules

Moving forward, Drupal 7 branches of unsupported contributed modules and themes will no longer qualify for new maintainership. While the community is encouraged to step in and provide support for these modules, the risk of issues due to unmaintained code is much higher. This is particularly true if you rely on less popular modules but are unable to assume the role of maintainer. The Drupal security team will not release security advisories for any unsupported libraries that Drupal 7 contributed modules or themes rely on, such as CKEditor 4.

Drupal 7 will discontinue support for PHP 5.5 and below. Considering that PHP 5.6 and PHP 7 have already reached end-of-life, this may seem like a minor concern. We recommend upgrading to PHP 8, but for many Drupal 7 sites, this may be a large undertaking depending on the reliance on custom or unsupported modules that could need significant changes to support PHP 8.

Additionally, Drupal.org will cease packaging D7 distributions with Drush make files. In the case that you require a distribution to be built, you can use Drush make locally.

Security features will be reduced

The Drupal security team will reduce support for moderately critical Drupal 7 issues, though they may publicly announce security issues as long as they are not mass-exploitable. This approach aims to inform the community and aid them in seeking assistance for these issues.

For Windows users, it’s important to note that security fixes will no longer be provided for Drupal 7 Windows-only issues. To fix this issue, the security team recommends migrating to another operating system to host your site.

What will change when Drupal 7 reaches its end-of-life?

After January 2025, the Drupal community and Drupal Association will no longer provide official support for Drupal 7. This means that essential updates, platform enhancements, and upgrades will no longer be available.

If your site is not upgraded, it may not function as intended, leading to subpar user experiences and the potential loss of functionality. More critically, it will be vulnerable to security breaches and could compromise sensitive data. Additionally, third-party scans might flag your site, raising concerns within your organization's IT infrastructure.

Start your Drupal upgrade today

Don’t wait until you reach the end of the line to upgrade. As Drupal 7 security and support continue to diminish, it’s crucial to begin planning your transition. Northern’s team of implementation experts can recommend an action plan for your migration to ensure a seamless transition.

From conducting user experience research and planning to executing award-winning content management systems, our team can set you on the right track for a successful upgrade.