The Case for Upgrading Your Drupal Website

August 31, 2011
Upgrading Drupal

Drupal is robust and heavily tested, so the sites we built a few years back—on Drupal 5 or even Drupal 4.7—are still running like champs. That makes it hard sometimes to explain why a client would want to spend the money to upgrade their site to Drupal 6 or 7.

While the case for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may seem like the obvious winner, there are a number of issues that should weigh into the decision of whether or not to upgrade your site.

  1. Are you looking to add new features that may not be supported by an older version of Drupal? Technology changes fast, and many of the latest social media integrations are difficult to integrate with older versions of Drupal. An upgrade can make everything work together smoothly. A couple of other areas where Drupal 5 will fall short includes HTML5 responsive themes and SEO modules.
  2. Do you find your Drupal site difficult to manage? The Administrative interface on Drupal has made leaps and bounds of improvements from 5 to 6 and again from 6 to 7. You will find your site much easier to manage after your upgrade.
  3. Security concerns is one of the biggest reasons to upgrade, in my opinion. The Drupal community actively supports two versions of Drupal at any given time — currently those versions are Drupal 6 and Drupal 7. Drupal 5 and below are no longer supported, and are no longer being audited for security flaws. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your site is vulnerable (at least for now). What it does mean is that as new ways of hacking into websites are discovered, unsupported versions of Drupal will not be patched to protect against these vulnerabilities.
  4. Are you planning a visual re-design anyway? Usually a website should be visually refreshed every 1-3 years, and completely redesigned every 3-5 years (depending on your industry). If you are due for a redesign anyway, it will likely cost less to perform the upgrade at the same time.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade, contact us and we will help making the upgrade as smooth as possible. Or if you have a few other reasons that influenced your decision to upgrade your site, add them to the comments below.

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