On June 24, 2020 Drupal.org announced that Drupal 7’s end of life has been extended until November 2023 because of the impact of COVID-19 on budgets and capacity. This article still remains relevant — but please note that the dates have been pushed back a year.
If you have a Drupal 7 website, you might have already heard that the official end-of-life date for Drupal 7 has been officially set for November 2021. Many organizations should upgrade their Drupal 7 sites before then. But that might not be required. Here’s how you figure out what you need to do.
“What does Drupal 7 end-of-life mean?”
First let’s talk about what EOL means for Drupal. The main thing is security updates.
Drupal has a highly regarded security team who manage security for both core Drupal and thousands of public modules, themes and distributions that add additional features. When a security problem is found with Drupal core, the team fixes the problem and publishes advisories that explain vulnerabilities, along with steps to mitigate them. All of this is contributed publicly and freely, just like you would expect from open source software.
The security team supports versions of Drupal until they reach their end-of-life.
But after the EOL, the baton is passed along to an Extended Security Support team. This team is composed of pre-vetted Drupal agencies, and they are commercially funded by those clients who want to pay for the extended security support. They are mandated to publicly release fixes for most of the security vulnerabilities that they find.
“Hold on. What level of security support do I need?”
Before we talk about what you should do about D7 EOL, you first need to think about how important security is for your website.
- Are there people who are actively trying to attack your website (maybe because of your strong stance on a particular issue)?
- Does your website process commercial transactions? (Most non-profit websites these days use third-party websites to process donations and event registrations.)
- Does your website collect a lot of personally identifiable information (PII)? This relates back to the first point: if there’s lots of valuable PII, an attacker will be more interested in trying to steal it.
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then security is of extra importance for you.
“I won’t have the budget for a big website rebuild before November 2021”
It’s going to be okay, we’ve got a few options for you. You’ll fall into one of the following categories:
1. “Security is really important for our website, we need Extended Security Support”
Regardless of whether you are an existing client, or someone we’ve never worked with before, please reach out to us and let us know if we can help.
2. “Security is just as important to our website as it is for every other website, but not in an extra special way”
If your website does not have a reason for someone to actively try to attack it, then you only need to be guarded from publicly known security vulnerabilities. That way, you’re protected against the automated attacks that hit every website. Typically those kinds of automated attacks are either trying to use your web servers to mine bitcoin, or lock up your website and demand a ransom.
When Drupal 6 reached end-of-life in 2016 we continued to support our Drupal 6 clients using the publicly released updates from the Extended Security Support team. Our last Drupal 6 client just got a new website a few months ago!
We’ll do the same when Drupal 7 reaches end-of-life. When a Drupal 7 update is released, we’ll update your website, just like we already do for all of our Drupal and WordPress support and maintenance clients.
3. “Help, I have no idea what I need!”
No problem. We can help here too. Regardless of where you’re at — or where you’re going next — we’re here to help. Drop us a line.
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