As the clock continues to tick, Drupal 7’s end-of-life (EOL) is approaching, and it’s not just another tech milestone. This event, slated for January 5, 2025, comes with significant implications for anyone still managing Drupal 7 websites. In this article, we delve into the reasons why Drupal 7’s EOL is a big deal, exploring the consequences of this transition, especially regarding security and support.
Drupal has earned a formidable reputation for its robust security, and that’s not by chance; it’s the result of a meticulous security process. The Drupal Security Team has played a pivotal role in this, ensuring that security issues in both Drupal core and contributed modules are promptly identified, addressed, and communicated to users.
When Drupal 7 reaches EOL, it will still be open-source, but it will lose the protective cocoon of the security processes that have contributed to its reliability. This shift is akin to residing in a frontier town without infrastructure or aid when problems arise. And rest assured, issues will arise. This is disconcerting news for anyone responsible for a website’s security.
A brief recap of how Drupal handles security vulnerabilities in supported versions:
The 2019 EOL announcement provides insights into what changes when Drupal 7 reaches the end of its life:
The Drupal Security Team ceases to offer support or Security Advisories for Drupal 7 core and contributed modules. Vulnerability reports may become public, leading to the creation of zero-day exploits. In a post-EOL scenario, the security team won’t accept or triage reports, coordinate fixes, or publicize them, increasing the likelihood of vulnerabilities being disclosed before fixes are available.
Providing security goes beyond posting patches on Drupal.org. The Drupal security team plays a crucial role in coordinating security announcements and evaluating their readiness for release. After EOL, even if someone publishes a fix, no official announcements will be made. Website owners will have to independently assess the legitimacy and effectiveness of security disclosures and fixes, raising questions about vulnerability authenticity and trustworthiness.
Drupal 7 will no longer receive core commits or packaged releases. Consequently, website owners will bear the responsibility of identifying, creating, and applying their security patches. As patches accumulate, it becomes crucial to ensure their continued compatibility and resolve conflicts between them, demanding a significant commitment of time and expertise.
The thriving Drupal open-source community is a valuable resource for addressing various aspects of Drupal core’s codebase. With supported versions, teams can leverage the collective expertise of the community. However, post-EOL, teams will have to self-reliantly identify, vet, or create fixes for diverse Drupal subsystems, such as forms, user authentication, databases, caching, theming, and more. The invaluable assistance of the Drupal Security Team, composed of 30 dedicated volunteers, will no longer be available, making this burden especially challenging for smaller teams.
In the end, the conclusion remains unchanged: migrating away from Drupal 7 is not a choice but a necessity. The urgency of this transition cannot be overstated.
We recognize the significance of this moment and are committed to providing real-time support, consolidating resources, and sharing critical information to aid teams faced with the daunting decision of upgrading or migrating from Drupal 7. To gain deeper insights and guidance on this crucial topic, don’t forget to check out our Drupal 7 End-of-Life Podcast, available wherever you get your podcasts.
Drupal 7’s end-of-life marks a significant crossroads for website owners and developers. The security and support processes that have made Drupal a reliable choice for years will no longer be in effect, posing increased risks and challenges. As the EOL date rapidly approaches, the need to migrate to a supported version of Drupal becomes more urgent than ever. Prepare for the transition, stay informed, and ensure the security and sustainability of your website in a post-Drupal 7 era.
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