Upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9

Jan 30, 2023

4 min read

Drupal 7, released in 2011, and will reach the end-of-life in November 2023. The need for migration is obvious. The migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 can be exhausting and time-consuming. You might be curious about what the upgrade process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 looks like.

Let’s dive into the topic and see how SmartApp made this migration seamless and what the advantages of Drupal 9 are.

Why upgrade to Drupal 9?

Many of the things that required contributed modules in Drupal 7 are now in the core in Drupal 8/9. This is one of the main advantages of Drupal 9 over Drupal 7. The obvious benefits of Drupal 9 are the following:

  1. Tools that are significantly easier to use – a well-structured content-based system;
  2. New cutting-edge features; improved keyboard navigation and accessibility;
  3. Personalization of every aspect of the page, creation of your own layouts;
  4. An easy upgrade for future platforms;
  5. Improved experimental administration theme;
  6. Improved Claro;
  7. The new experimental front-end theme, Olivero, features a modern and flexible design that conforms with WCAG AA accessibility guidelines;
  8. Integrated configuration management system;
  9. Higher speed and scalability;
  10. Support for JSON: API.

What to think about before migration?

Before planning migration, one should take these into consideration:

  1. Budget resources,
  2. Time constraints,
  3. A programmer’s expertise

The scope of work may vary if you intend to improve your website’s architecture, features, or design or simply migrate to a more modern and secure platform.

Before you embark on a Drupal 9 upgrade process, it will be advisable to conduct an assessment of your current Drupal 7 site to determine what you want to keep and what you can let go. You might delete some features that are not used or enhance the design. It is an excellent opportunity to make useful changes.

How to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9?

Migration algorithm:

  1. Update all contributed modules  and the core to the latest version.
  2. Install Drupal 9 latest version.
  3. Install used contributed  modules.
  4. Start the migration. (Migration of settings and content.)
  5. After the main migration run the view migration.
  6. This process is necessary due to the fact that, in the main stage of migration, views are not transferred. You can try to use: https://www.drupal.org/project/views_migration module, but it does not give a 100% guarantee.
  7. Themes and custom modules transfer.
One of the Migration Steps: Visual representation illustrating a specific step in the migration process
One of the migration steps.
 Illustration depicting the absence of transferred views and forms during the migration process
Migration did not transfer views, forms.


Despite the number of teams that continue to use Drupal 7 is still quite large, it is recommended to switch to Drupal 9 now. And it’s not just the planned termination of service in 2023, but also the mass of technical advantages of the updated version.

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