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Squiz DXP vs Drupal – a comparison guide

Sometimes we choose change, sometimes it’s forced upon us – and when it is, as Bob Dylan sings: ‘you better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone’. Regardless of why it happens, how and when we change matters.

When it comes to digital, avoiding change is usually a dangerous idea. During the initial COVID-19 outbreak, those that had already heavily invested in digital transformation managed to swiftly and painlessly move their operations online; those that hadn’t, scrambled to keep up. But while the world might be breathing a sigh of relief as lockdowns become a distant memory, another digital challenge is already looming.

Steve Morgan

Written by

Steve Morgan
Managing Director USA - Squiz
21 March 2022

The end of Drupal 7 is nigh

Support for Drupal 7 is ending. End of life (EOL), the industry term for ending support, means that no further security patches or updates will be published. Originally planned to end last year, the Drupal community has kindly extended support until November 2023, but while this extension might buy precious time, it means that the clock is very much still ticking.

Like it or not, it’s decision time.

Upgrade, stick or switch?

Hopefully, if your organisation is one of the many (391,968 to be precise) worldwide that are still using Drupal 7 or 8, then this isn’t news. What you may not be aware of is exactly what this means for your websites in the future and what options you have. The good news is that there are only three to choose from:

  • Upgrade to Drupal 9
  • Stay on Drupal 7
  • Advance to a new digital solution

If you’re already considering the latter, scroll to the end of this blog to see how the Squiz Digital Experience Platform (DXP) stacks up against Drupal.

Upgrade to Drupal 9 - a big shift

While simply upgrading to Drupal 9 might seem like the logical next step, there’s a good reason that so few Drupal 7 users have taken it. Despite Drupal 9 being released almost two years ago, as well as two EOL extensions being issued for Drupal 7, only 10% of all live reporting Drupal core sites are currently using Drupal 9 versus 47% using Drupal 7. In short, upgrading isn’t appealing or easy.

While moving from Drupal 8 to 9 was a relatively simple process, Drupal 7 and Drupal 9 are entirely different, making the move far more complicated. Here are just a few of the challenges to consider:

  • Drain on IT resources: With extensive code changes throughout, upgrading from Drupal 7 to 9 is a significant – not to mention costly and lengthy (up to 6 months or more) – challenge. For organisations with many websites to migrate, departments to manage and content contributors to train, it can prove extremely costly. In addition, a Drupal 9 upgrade will require ongoing, dedicated Drupal technical expertise, plus future time and resources when the next EOL occurs. For government and higher education, it is an especially difficult business case to justify.
  • New systems and additional training: On top of the migration, a significantly different version of Drupal means getting to grips with a new system which, itself, comes with new learnings and training requirements (such as navigating the third-party libraries that Drupal 9 relies on, and the third-party library management system, ‘Composer’). Not only does this have the potential to further complicate your tech stack and exacerbate silos, but could create huge internal training headaches – particularly for organisations with large content teams and hundreds of contributors.
  • Future upgrades: It's worth noting that, for those with the resources and capability of upgrading to Drupal 9, there will be more upgrades to follow. If it causes a headache for your organisation today, it’s worth considering whether future migrations are something you’re willing and able to undertake (and afford) every few years.

Sticking with Drupal - an accident waiting to happen

With almost half of all live Drupal websites still using version 7, it’s likely that a significant number of organisations are still weighing up the pros and cons of continuing beyond the EOL deadline. In fact, alarmingly, almost 20% of Drupal sites are still on version 8 – which reached EOL last year – meaning a significant number of Drupal customers have already made the choice to stay on an unsupported platform rather than migrate to v9. But, while your website will continue to function much the same as it always did post-EOL, a website without support is very much an accident waiting to happen.

  • Lack of security
    No support, crucially, means no security patches or updates – one of the most important means of protecting your website from being hacked. In a world where security breaches are becoming more prevalent by the day, leaving your website open to hackers isn’t the best plan. In fact, a massive 45% of all security breaches are website hacks – 20% of which are carried out by exploiting vulnerabilities. Not only does a data breach carry a significant financial risk (the global average total cost of a data breach currently sits at $4.24m USD), but can make headlines and have a huge impact on customer trust, as seen recently in both Australia and the US.
  • Unsupported integrations
    Beyond November 2023, there will be no support for existing API connectors - making the already laborious task of creating custom integrations fraught with risk. With poor integrations already costing businesses an estimated half a million dollars a year, the ability to efficiently integrate with new systems is increasingly becoming a key requirement in IT investment decisions.

Beyond Drupal - alternative CMS options

Depending on your perspective, Drupal 7 EOL can be seen as a major inconvenience – or a prime opportunity to consider your CMS options. With an upgrade to Drupal 9 potentially requiring more time, cost and resources than migrating to an entirely new platform, such as Squiz DXP, now is the perfect time to ask: ‘what’s the best solution for our organisation – both now and in the future?’. As the ability to pivot and adapt to changing technologies, customer expectations and major world events becomes increasingly crucial, a flexible, unrestrictive and secure digital platform will make or break your organization’s success. Squiz DXP is a future-proof solution to seamlessly create, manage and optimise content across all of your digital experience touchpoints – without the need for deep, technical expertise. Say goodbye to the limitations of Drupal, remove the risks of an unsupported platform and get the solution you need today, with the flexibility you want tomorrow.

Squiz vs Drupal – a quick comparison

With the latest EOL deadline extension, now is the perfect time to begin a digital experience evaluation – and to help you get started, here’s a quick comparison of Squiz DXP versus Drupal.

Squiz vs Drupal - a quick comparison guide.

Squiz DXP – no more compromises

Just as COVID-19 allegedly sped up the adoption of digital technologies by seven years, the Drupal 7 EOL deadline can be viewed as a chance for your organisation to change the status quo and migrate to a platform that can transform your digital experiences and service delivery.

Squiz DXP arms your organisation with the tools to manage many sites, reuse content and integrate with the systems of your choice – all on one platform, free from technical constraints, versions and rebuilds. Squiz is the solution you need today, with the flexibility you want for tomorrow.

If you’re considering switching to a new CMS and would like to learn more about what Squiz DXP can offer, check out our Ultimate Guide to Modern Content Management Systems or request a demo today.

  1. 62,048 of 588,619 currently live Drupal sites are using Drupal 9, as of 14/03/22. https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/Drupal-9, https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/Drupal-7
  2. 275,663 currently live Drupal sites are using Drupal 7, 116,305 Drupal 8 as of 14/03/22. https://trends.builtwith.com/cms/Drupal-7
  3. Data Breach Investigations Report 2020, Verizon, 2020
  4. Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, IBM Security, July 2021
  5. 2019 State of Ecosystem and Application Integration, Cleo, 2019
  6. How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever, McKinsey, October 2020

Steve Morgan

Written by

Steve Morgan
Managing Director USA - Squiz
21 March 2022

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