1. Evaluate Your Current Setup: Start by assessing the components of your existing Drupal 7 website, including modules, themes, custom code, and data structures. Identify the specific functionalities and features your website relies on.
2. Module and Theme Compatibility: Review the compatibility of your modules and themes with Drupal 9. Not all Drupal 7 modules and themes have direct equivalents in Drupal 9, so identify alternatives or plan for custom development if needed.
3. Plan for Data Migration: Migrating data from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 requires careful consideration. Determine which content types, taxonomies, users, and configurations need to be migrated and plan the data migration process accordingly.
4. Embrace New Features: Drupal 9 offers numerous new features and improvements over Drupal 7. Research and understand these features to take full advantage of them during the upgrade process.
5. Revisit Custom Code: If your Drupal 7 website relies on custom code, assess whether it needs to be updated to work seamlessly with Drupal 9. Address any deprecated functions, APIs, or coding practices.
6. Perform a Test Upgrade: Before upgrading your production site, set up a testing environment to simulate the upgrade process. Test the migration of data, modules, and themes to identify potential issues and conflicts.
7. Plan for Design and Theming: Drupal 9 introduces changes to its theming system. If your website relies on custom themes, ensure they are adapted to Drupal 9’s theming architecture.
8. Content Strategy: Review your content strategy and determine whether any content restructuring or adjustments are necessary during the migration. Use this opportunity to improve content organisation and navigation.
9. Accessibility and SEO: Consider accessibility and SEO best practices while migrating to Drupal 9. Ensure your new website aligns with accessibility standards and retains or enhances your SEO efforts.
10. Training and Familiarisation: Drupal 9’s interface might have changes compared to Drupal 7. Plan for training sessions to help your team become familiar with the new interface and features.
11. Engage the Community: Leverage the Drupal community’s expertise and resources during your upgrade journey. Online forums, documentation, and community-contributed modules can be valuable assets.
12. Backup and Rollback Plan: Before proceeding with the upgrade, create a backup of your Drupal 7 site. Having a rollback plan is essential in case any unexpected issues arise during the upgrade process.
Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 is a significant undertaking that requires thoughtful planning, meticulous testing, and a clear understanding of your website’s requirements. By evaluating module compatibility, addressing custom code, preparing for data migration, and embracing new features, you can ensure a smooth transition that positions your website for enhanced security, performance, and future growth.