Drupal 6 is no longer supported – is it time to migrate?

Today marks the End Of Life for Drupal 6. After eight solid years of service, it will no longer be supported or maintained after today (24 Feb 2016). You can still get support and maintenance contracts, but that is not a long-term solution for older sites.

What does this mean if you still have a Drupal 6 site?

Firstly, your site will still be there, still serving pages. It won't suddently stop working, but it won't be updated any more. One of the strengths of Drupal is the community and the support that it provides, including the continued updates and security patching. It is this that will no longer be happening for Drupal 6. So if someone finds a security flaw in Drupal 6 after today, it will not be updated.

What are your options right now?

Hopefully this isn’t the first you’ve heard of this, and you’ve migrated (or nearly finished migrating) any sites you have to Drupal 7 (or even 8). But if you have sites that aren’t in process there are still things you can do.

1. Switch the site off: This is not an ideal thing to do. But for those of you who have microsites on Drupal 6 this is an opportunity to look at whether you still need those sites and whether the cost of migrating is less than the value the site gives you.

2. Turn it into a static site: Using something like site sucker, or wget you can spider the site to flat HTML. You won’t be able to content manage it nearly as easily as it’ll be static files, but you could keep the site running off the grid and re-spider as needed. And you’ll need a different solution for search, but the side effect is that it’ll be blazingly fast.

What are your choices for a new site, or a migration?

Of course, this depends on your requirements. Today having a presence online is about integrating tools that do one thing well for you into an ecosystem that supports you. (See my recent article on integration for more on this).

WordPress and Drupal are vibrant and active content management systems and they’re a great place to start to develop your own ecosystem. Drupal 8 has now been released and the Drupal community is working hard to perfect it. However, I’d still recommend most Drupal 6 sites migrate to Drupal 7 for now, because it is currently operating at its strongest version. That said, while Drupal 8 is still being developed and it will be some time before it reaches its peak, there are still some sites would still work better being developed straight to Drupal 8. Others will work better in WordPress. It’s all very personal and specific to your needs. Gone are the walled gardens and commercial locked in ecosystems. Open source software is the way, and Drupal is a key part of that.

If you would like to find out more about Drupal or migrating your website why not give us a call for a chat today.

posted by
Tim