Ultimate Drupal 7 to 9 Migration: Boost Your Website in 2023

Profile picture for user Firas Ghunaim
Firas Ghunaim

If you're a business that's been using Drupal 7 as your website's content management system (CMS), you might have heard that support for this version is coming to an end. Migrating to Drupal 9 is crucial to ensure your website remains secure, functional, and up-to-date with the latest features.

But don't worry – in this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the entire process of migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, step by step.

Let's dive in!


Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 Migration Guide

1. Understand the Benefits of Migrating to Drupal 9

Before diving into the migration process, it's essential to understand why making the switch is worth the effort.

Here are a few key benefits of migrating to Drupal 9:

  • Enhanced Security: With ongoing support and security updates, your website will be better protected against vulnerabilities and hacks.
  • Improved Performance: Drupal 9 offers optimized performance and faster page load times, ensuring a better user experience.
  • Modern Features: Take advantage of the latest features, modules, and improvements in Drupal 9 to create a more engaging and user-friendly website.
  • Future-Proof Your Website: Migrating to Drupal 9 ensures compatibility with future updates and support from the Drupal community.


Related: Learn all about Drupal 10's latest release - Drupal 10.1.6


2. Audit Your Existing Drupal 7 Website

Before starting the migration process, take the time to thoroughly audit your Drupal 7 website. This will help you identify any potential issues that might arise during migration and give you a clear picture of what needs to be done.

Here are the main aspects to consider during the audit:

  • Content: Review your website's content, including text, images, videos, and files. Note any outdated or irrelevant content that can be removed or updated.
  • Modules: Make a list of all the modules you're using and check their compatibility with Drupal 9. Identify alternatives for any modules that aren't compatible.
  • Custom Code: Review any custom code or themes used on your website and ensure they're compatible with Drupal 9 or can be updated accordingly.
  • Website Structure: Analyze your website's structure, including content types, taxonomies, and menu configuration, to ensure a smooth migration.


3. Prepare Your Drupal 7 Website for Migration

Before you begin the actual migration process, there are a few steps you should take to prepare your Drupal 7 website:

  • Update to the Latest Drupal 7 Version: Make sure your Drupal 7 installation is up-to-date with the latest version to ensure a smoother migration.
  • Back Up Your Website: Create a full backup of your Drupal 7 website, including the database, files, and codebase. This will allow you to revert to the previous state if anything goes wrong during the migration.
  • Install the Migrate Module: Install the Migrate module and its associated components (Migrate Drupal, Migrate Drupal UI, and Migrate Plus) on your Drupal 7 website. These modules will help facilitate the migration process.


4. Set Up a New Drupal 9 Website

While you're still working on your Drupal 7 website, it's time to set up a fresh Drupal 9 installation. This will serve as the destination for your migrated content and configuration.

Here are the steps to set up your Drupal 9 website:

  • Download and Install Drupal 9: Download the latest version of Drupal 9 from the official website and install it on your server or local development environment.
  • Configure Your Drupal 9 Website: Set up the basic configuration of your new Drupal 9 website, such as the site name, email address, timezone, and other settings.
  • Install Necessary Modules: Install any required modules for your new Drupal 9 website, including those that are compatible replacements for the modules you used in your Drupal 7 site. Make sure to also install the Migrate module and its associated components on your Drupal 9 website.


5. Create a Migration Plan

Now that your Drupal 7 site is prepared and your Drupal 9 site is set up, it's time to create a detailed migration plan. This plan should outline the steps you'll take to migrate your content, configuration, and custom code.

Consider the following aspects:

  • Content Types and Fields: Map out how your Drupal 7 content types and fields will be migrated to Drupal 9. This includes any custom fields or content types you've created.
  • Taxonomies and Menus: Plan how your existing taxonomies and menu structures will be migrated to Drupal 9, ensuring that your website's organization and navigation remain intact.
  • Custom Code and Themes: Determine how you'll migrate any custom code or themes to Drupal 9, whether by updating them for compatibility or by finding suitable replacements.
  • Module Configuration: Plan how you'll configure the modules on your Drupal 9 site to ensure that the functionality of your Drupal 7 site is preserved.


6. Perform the Migration

With your migration plan in place, it's time to perform the actual migration. This process involves using the Migrate modules to transfer your content, configuration, and custom code from your Drupal 7 site to your Drupal 9 site.

Follow these steps:

  • Configure the Migrate Modules: Set up the Migrate modules on both your Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 sites to connect the two installations and facilitate the migration process.
  • Run the Migration: Using the Migrate Drupal UI or the command-line Drush tool, execute the migration according to your plan. This process will migrate your content, configuration, and custom code from your Drupal 7 site to your Drupal 9 site.
  • Test the Migration: Once the migration is complete, thoroughly test your Drupal 9 site to ensure that all content, configuration, and custom code have been successfully migrated and are functioning as expected.


7. Address Any Post-Migration Issues

After completing the migration, it's crucial to address any issues that may have arisen during the process. These might include broken links, missing images, or formatting issues. Perform a thorough review of your Drupal 9 site, and fix any problems you encounter to ensure a seamless user experience.


8. Launch Your Drupal 9 Website

Once you're satisfied that your Drupal 9 site is functioning correctly, it's time to launch it. Here are the final steps to take:

  • Point Your Domain to the Drupal 9 Installation: Update your domain's DNS settings to point to your new Drupal 9 installation, effectively making it live.
  • Disable Your Drupal 7 Website: To avoid confusion and prevent search engines from indexing your old site, disable your Drupal 7 website.
  • Monitor Your Drupal 9 Site: Keep a close eye on your new Drupal 9 website to ensure it's running smoothly and address any issues that may arise.


An Easier Upgrade Path to Drupal 10

Migrating from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 may seem like a daunting task, but with this comprehensive guide, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to make the switch and easily upgrade from Drupal 9 to Drupal 10. By following these step-by-step instructions and adhering to best practices, you can ensure a smooth migration process that ultimately leads to a more secure, modern, and user-friendly Drupal 9 website. So go ahead – embrace the future of Drupal and upgrade your website to Drupal 9 today!

Need help with migration? Contact our team today! Or learn more about iSpectra's Managed Services.