Drupal Update from 8 to 9 - A Guide

Drupal is one of the most widely used content management systems in the world and offers a variety of ways to design websites and incorporate content.
In this post, we explain how to keep Drupal up to date.

By the way: Strictly speaking, the change from Drupal 7 or 8 to 9 is not an update – but an upgrade. Because it is a real version change. Updates, on the other hand, are only the jumps within a version (e.g. from 8.8 to 8.9). We will therefore speak of an upgrade in the following.

Click here for more information about our Drupal support. CLICK HERE
Click here for more information about our Drupal support. CLICK HERE
Click here for more information about our Drupal support. CLICK HERE

Top 5 Drupal Upgrade Questions and Answers

What’s new at Drupal 9?

Drupal 9 works with a newer version of Symfony, when compared to Drupal 8. Symfony is a PHP framework, a kind of framework, based on the programming language PHP. Based on the newer version of Symfony, Drupal 9 is more powerful and intuitive to use than previous versions.
There are also some new features, such as the new Olivero front end theme. It is impressive – with a simple, responsive design and accessibility. Starting with Drupal 9.2, it will be a default theme. Further changes include updates to JSON API in Core, Twig 2 or PHPUnit.

Who should upgrade to Drupal 9?

Easy: Everyone who is still using Drupal 7 or 8. The reason for this is: “End of Life” (EOL, for short). In other words, Drupal 7 and 8 are discontinued products. Theoretically, they can continue to be used. But support for Drupal 7 is expected to end on November 1, 2023, Drupal 8 is already no longer supported.
In addition, it always makes more sense to update applications to their newest versions because upgrades become more and more complex the more version changes you have to take into account. You should, therefore, first update to the latest version (8.9) within Drupal 8 before upgrading from Drupal 8 to 9.

Can I also upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9?

This is theoretically possible, but not recommended. Because Drupal 7 has a completely different substructure that is not yet based on the Symfony framework like Drupal 8 and 9. Therefore, it would be easier if you first upgrade from Drupal 7 to 8 and then from 8 to 9.

How complicated is the new upgrade compared to the last one?

Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is much easier than upgrading from 7 to 8, because, starting with Drupal 8, a new technical substructure was introduced: Since then, Drupal has been based on the Symfony framework. So, whereas everything had to be rebuilt in the switchover from 7 to 8 and the upgrade was more like a reboot, the upgrade from 8 to 9 is much smoother. Many of the modules and themes that you had been using in Drupal 8 will still be useable.

How much time should I schedule for the Drupal upgrade?

This question cannot be answered in a general way because the amount of time that it takes depends on how extensive your website is. As a rule, you can upgrade from Drupal 8.9 to 9.1 in two to four days. For more complex websites and bigger version jumps, you should schedule more time. In a case such as this, your upgrade must be well-planned in advance. It makes sense to spread the process of planning and implementation out over the course of several weeks.

1. 1. Get an overview

How is your current website structured? An upgrade is a good time for a “website check”. Think about which pages and functions you want to keep and which you want to do without in the future. You can then select the appropriate modules during the upgrade process.

2. 2. Check the status of your modules

The Drupal module, “Upgrade Status”, allows you to optimize your preparations for the upgrade to Drupal 9. Among other things, the module checks whether your system meets the requirements of Drupal 9.

It also tests the status of your Drupal modules and themes and checks whether they are compatible with Drupal 9. If so, then you can continue to use it. If not, then you should update the modules and themes individually before proceeding with the next step. Before upgrading to Drupal 9, all modules used in Drupal 8 must be compatible with Drupal 9.
Important: In order to use the “Upgrade Status” module, you will need Composer. Composer is like a manager for PHP-based projects, like Drupal. Composer will also help you to update files later.

3. 3. Plan tasks realistically

For a complex website, it makes sense to not push the envelope by trying to upgrade directly from Drupal 8 to 9. Better to roll the upgrade out over several weeks, or months, in order to make it easier to manage the steps involved.
Your website stays online, of course. If you are looking for a faster solution, feel free to call us! We plan your Drupal upgrade with you and accompany you throughout the process – from start to finish (the upgrade) – and beyond, with our support packages. Click here for more information about our Drupal support.

The Benefits of Drupal at a Glance


Drupal is a world-renowned and popular content management system (CMS) that makes it easy to create and maintain small and large websites. All contents of the website can be added simply and managed via the CMS.

Free of charge

Drupal is an open source framework. “Open source” means that the application is openly accessible and free of charge, and is developed continuously by a global community. There are no license fees for use, and updates, new modules and many plug-ins are also available free of charge.


With hundreds of different themes, modules and plugins, you can customize your Drupal-created website to your specific needs. The user interface is intuitive. The administration requires little programming effort.

Strong and safe

Drupal is also suitable for large web projects because it has excellent loading times and guarantees high stability. In addition, Drupal has an attack-resistant code base, so that the highest security requirements can be realized.

Click here for more information about our Drupal support. CLICK HERE

We, at codafish, are your competent Drupal partner

As a certified Drupal agency, we support you in the planning, implementation and maintenance of large and small Drupal projects. Would you like to learn more with no obligation? Simply fill out the contact form or call us directly: 00800 2632 3474

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