Drupal 9 Upgrade for Non-Techies

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We go through the most frequently asked questions about upgrading your website to Drupal 9 so that you don't end up in a rabbit hole of super technical information.
Susan Steele 3

Susan Steele

Chief of Staff
Susan brings more than 20 years of experience in information technology solutions, including almost a decade of experience as project manager for federally-funded projects. Her experience includes an in-depth understanding…

Let’s be real; some of us are not super techies, like Taoti’s awesome team of developers. So when it comes to upgrading our organization’s website to Drupal 9, we find ourselves overwhelmed with all the technical language around it. But at the end of the day, all we really want to know are the action steps we should take to start upgrading our Drupal 7 or 8 websites to Drupal 9.

Well, we went through the most common questions about the upgrade and made it easy for everyone to understand what it takes.

The Basics

Why do you need to upgrade to Drupal 9?

Staying on Drupal 7 or Drupal 8 past their end-of-life date opens your organization up to security and technical risks. On the other hand, by upgrading, you’re making sure the Drupal community will support your site. So, you should definitely make the switch before losing official support, but time is running out.

 When should you upgrade to Drupal 9?

You need to start the process as soon as possible if your site is on Drupal 8 since the Drupal community will support it until November 2, 2021. If your website is on Drupal 7, it will be supported by the Drupal community until November 28, 2022. The good news is that even though you have less time to upgrade your Drupal 8 site, upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 should be pretty straightforward in most cases. If you’re on Drupal 7, don’t let that November 2022 date fool you. Depending on the complexity of your site, upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 could be a complicated process. Everyone has to do this, so there will be a surge in demand for developers who can complete the work as the date approaches. Starting now gives you more time to make sure your site is fully upgraded and running smoothly before the Drupal version you’re using loses support.

Upgrading Your Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

How much will it cost to upgrade your Drupal 8 website to Drupal 9?

For a standard, noncomplex Drupal 8 site, you can expect the upgrade to Drupal 9 to cost $5,000 and $10,000. However, if your site is more customized and uses certain functionalities like custom search or email integration, you should anticipate a budget of $10,000 or more. Therefore, we recommend starting with a technical audit to assess the complexity of your site. Taoti offers a comprehensive at just $2,000! This audit will help determine how long it will take and the total cost.

What determines the cost of the upgrade from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9?

The state of your current site will dictate how long and how expensive it is to upgrade. There is no easy answer, but we’ve tried to simplify it with some sample upgrade paths. First, you need to determine whether your site is standard or complex. Some examples of functionalities that could complicate your upgrade include:

External Functionalities

  • Integration with email services, Salesforce, Hubspot
  • Third-party and custom APIs like Google Maps or social media
  • Custom Search
  • Single Sign-On

Internal Functionalities

  • E-commerce
  • Complex file or PDF library
  • Complex administrative permissions
  • Custom modules

How much time would it take to upgrade your Drupal 8 site to Drupal 9?

This depends on how complex your site is. Though we can’t guarantee a timeline without reviewing your site, we’ve upgraded a Drupal 8 site to Drupal 9 in four weeks. This will include the time for the upgrade, as well as project management and quality assurance.

Upgrading Your Drupal 7 to Drupal 9

How much will it cost to upgrade your Drupal 7 website to Drupal 9?

Regardless of how complex your site is, moving from D7 to D9 is going to feel more akin to rebuilding your site than a simple software upgrade. In our experience, this development effort is 80-90% of your original build’s level of effort. So, if you spent $100,000 on your website redesign and development, it could take around $80,000 to move to Drupal 9. Of course, this is a rough estimate that will depend on the complexity and size of your site.

How much time would it take to upgrade your Drupal 7 site to Drupal 9?

The upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is pretty complicated, so it can take months to complete. However, because of the cost associated with it, now might be a good time to consider redesigning your site altogether. We estimate around 30% more budget to do a complete redesign of the look and feel of your site, along with the technology upgrade.

How does the process to upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 look like?

Because this process is more complicated than the Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 upgrade, the steps are a bit more high-level. As a result, each site’s process will look different, but here is generally what we would do:

  • Audit site structure and technology.
  • Evaluate custom integrations and functionality.
  • Create a site audit report with recommendations and estimations

At Taoti, we are here to help make this upgrade easy for you and your organization. If you need more information, make sure you check out our Drupal 9 Resource Center or reach out to us by simply going to our contact page.