Exploring Drupal 9: What You Need to Know
Exploring Drupal 9: What You Need to Know

Drupal 9, the latest iteration of the popular content management system, is set to make its debut on June 3, 2020. This release carries both excitement and a touch of nostalgia as it signifies the nearing end-of-life for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, scheduled for November 2021. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Drupal 9, understanding its significance, differences from Drupal 8, and who should consider making the transition.

What Is Drupal 9?

Drupal 9, as defined by the official Drupal website (Drupal.org), is essentially an improved and cleaned-up version of Drupal 8. While it may not appear revolutionary at first glance, this release marks a shift in the development approach. Unlike previous major Drupal updates, Drupal 9 builds upon the existing architecture, focusing on enhancing user-friendliness.

The New Release Model

Drupal 9 introduces a novel release model, where minor updates are planned every six months following the initial release. These updates aim to streamline the CMS and make it more user-friendly, particularly for newcomers.

Differences Between Drupal 8 and 9

While Drupal 8 and 9 share similarities, there are important distinctions that make Drupal 9 a worthwhile upgrade.

Backward Compatibility

Drupal 9 stands out due to its exceptional backward compatibility. It seamlessly integrates with Drupal 8, ensuring that all Drupal 8 components continue to function effectively. This eliminates the need for extensive module updates, easing the transition process and fostering a smoother user experience.

Symfony 4/5 and Twig 2.0 Integration

Drupal 9 includes support for the latest PHP libraries, such as Symfony and Twig, ensuring better performance and compatibility.

Compatibility of Contributed Modules

A significant improvement in Drupal 9 is the compatibility of contributed modules with both Drupal 8 and 9. This eliminates historical roadblocks, simplifying the update process.

Removal of Deprecated Code

Drupal 9 addresses accumulated deprecated code from Drupal 8, enhancing overall performance and efficiency.

Updated Third-Party Dependencies

The adoption of updated third-party dependencies further contributes to a more efficient CMS and improved website performance.

Who Should Update to Drupal 9?

In short, everyone using Drupal 8 (or any other version) should consider transitioning to Drupal 9. Although Drupal 8 will receive security updates until November 2021, delaying the upgrade may lead to complications in the long run. Unlike previous releases, Drupal 9 lacks a Long Term Support (LTS) program, making timely migration a prudent choice.

Considerations for WordPress Users

For those currently using WordPress but considering a shift to Drupal, the release of Drupal 9 presents an opportune moment. While the transition may initially be challenging, Drupal offers more customization opportunities and robust security features. Moreover, the update process for Drupal is becoming more akin to WordPress, making it a viable choice for those seeking a smoother experience.

How to Prepare for Drupal 9

Preparation is key to a successful transition to Drupal 9. While Drupal 7 and 8 will be supported until 2021, early preparation is advisable, especially for those currently using Drupal 7.

  1. Steps to Prepare: Update to the Latest Minor Version of Drupal: Ensure you are using the most recent minor version of Drupal to minimize compatibility issues.
  2. Stay Updated: Keep up with additional minor updates as they are released to maintain a secure and stable website.
  3. Module Maintenance: Keep all modules updated and ensure compatibility with Drupal 9.
  4. Check for Deprecated Code: Regularly inspect your website for deprecated code and address any issues.
  5. Tools like Drupal-check can assist in identifying deprecated code and streamlining the preparation process.

How to Update to Drupal 9

After completing the preparation steps, updating to Drupal 9 becomes a smoother process. If you are already using Drupal 8.8 or a later version, follow these steps:

  1. Update Modules and Themes: Ensure all modules and themes are updated to their latest versions.
  2. Check Compatibility: Verify the compatibility of all projects using tools like Upgrade Status.
  3. Cooperate with Module Maintainers: Collaborate with module maintainers to ensure timely updates and compatibility.
  4. Custom Code Inspection: Examine custom code and themes for deprecated elements and rectify them.
  5. Update Core Codebase: Once all other components are compatible, update the core codebase.
  6. Run update.php: Execute the update.php script to finalize the transition.


Drupal 9 represents a significant step forward in the evolution of the Drupal content management system. Its emphasis on backward compatibility, removal of deprecated code, and integration of updated third-party dependencies make it a compelling choice for Drupal users. Whether you are currently using Drupal 8 or considering a transition from WordPress, Drupal 9 offers a user-friendly experience and robust customization options.

To ensure a seamless transition, it is essential to prepare well in advance, keeping your modules and themes up to date and eliminating deprecated code. By following these steps, you can embrace Drupal 9 confidently, unlocking its potential for improved website performance and efficiency. Don’t delay; start your journey to Drupal 9 today.

Post On September 29, 2023 | By Geneva Obrien

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