How to Update Your Drupal Website
Drupal is an open source content management system (CMS) that has withstood the test of time. Drupal provides the foundation for nearly limitless website functionality. First launched in 2001, the Drupal CMS is now entering its 16th year of service and Drupal 8 is the latest version. There are Drupal websites currently live on the internet, however, that are built on out of date Drupal versions and we’re here to discuss the liabilities associated with that predicament.
Unsupported Versions – Drupal 6
It’s customary that versions which predate more than one version back to the most current are longer supported by security updates. To state more clearly, Drupal 6, and previous versions are not patched to secure vulnerabilities found in a website’s code. Because Drupal 8 is now live, Drupal 6 is now “end of life.” Unfortunately nefarious hackers understand that websites built on end of life frameworks are more vulnerable to their efforts, and are thus target these websites more frequently.
Additionally, it’s not just Drupal versions which can enter end of life states. Websites that depend on older code versions and older server versions cannot run on newer, more modern technology. For example, the version of PHP, a widely used open source development language, run by Drupal 6 is also at end of life. The operating system employed by Drupal 6, CentOS, is also end of life. The accumulation of unsupported and end of life components that substantiate the foundation of any website leave organizations in a difficult spot as far as security and maintenance go.
Updating Your Drupal Website
It’s been established that having an out of date website built on an end of life foundation is a precarious situation to be in. So what are your options? You’ve got plenty:
- Copy your content to pure HTML
- Redesign and launch on Drupal 8
- Redesign and launch on a different CMS
One option is to copy the content of your website into pure HTML format, which Horton Group can do for you. Then, we’d host on a more modern and secure technology stack. Unfortunately this type of transition removes the ability to easily log into your website and change content. You would lose the content management system functionality that many non-developers rely on to make ongoing improvements to their websites. As your business changes, your website changes. If you maintain a regularly updated blog, you would lose the ability to make updates. However, it is possible this would help buy time for an upgrade to a more modern platform.
Drupal 8 Website Redesign
Another option is to redesign and develop your website on Drupal 8, the latest version. It wouldn’t make much sense to undergo a website redesign project and build on Drupal 7, as it would just be end of life sooner than Drupal 8. Unlike WordPress and Squarespace, which we’ll discuss later, upgrading an outdated Drupal website to a newer version is still a substantial web development undertaking. If your organization loves or needs Drupal, staying on the Drupal content management system is highly suggested. There are certain benefits of Drupal that might satisfy those kinds of situations. To learn more, read our Drupal 101 blog post.
A more cost effective solution would be to redesign your website on a CMS like Squarespace or WordPress. If your company is not committed to Drupal as your platform of choice, Squarespace and WordPress offer more intuitive web management solutions. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world these days, and Squarespace is quickly growing as one of the most modern options for small businesses.
Squarespace Website Redesign
Squarespace hosts your website at an extremely cost-effective price on an annual basis. Their team ensures that your website is secure and updated consistently. Unlike Drupal or WordPress, your team will not be responsible for ongoing updates to make sure your digital presence is modern and protected.
Additionally, Squarespace’s platform is by far the most intuitive to use. Their drag and drop interface allows for simple and basic website changes to be made easily, regardless of your background. It’s a great solution for small businesses who are looking for a website whose primary purpose is marketing their business and capturing leads. More custom functionality is definitely possible to employ when building on Squarespace, it’s just recommended that someone on your team has a development background.
WordPress Website Redesign
WordPress doesn’t host your website or provide updates and security like Squarespace does. Their organization is structured much differently than Squarespace’s. This means ongoing theme updates and website maintenance is highly recommended, much like developing on Drupal.
However, there’s a reason WordPress is the most used CMS on the internet, and powers 28% of all websites. Its open-sourced community has developed thousands of plugins that can achieve an almost limitless amount of specified functions. Developing a website on WordPress falls somewhere between the complexity of Squarespace and Drupal, but if you’re partnering with an agency like Horton Group, it’s probably they’ll have launched hundreds of websites on this CMS.
If you have an unsupported version of Drupal live on your organization’s website currently, don’t hesitate to contact us at Horton. Our experts can walk you through your options, and provide solutions if desired. We look forward to hearing from you.