Long-term support for Drupal 10 and new two-year version cycle announced
The announcement that Drupal 10 will reach end of life in 2026, corresponding with the release of Drupal 12, is good news for a few reasons.
Drupal 10 officially has an end-of-life date. But if you’ve just upgraded to the latest version of the popular open-source CMS and are finally starting to settle in, don’t panic. There’s lots of time to find your feet before the next upgrade.
A predictable release cycle
Although we’ll be ushering in Drupal 11 before the end of next year, Drupal 10 is set to be supported until the latter half of 2026 – when Drupal 12 is released.
Drupal 10 was released to much fanfare at the end of 2022, after a postponed initial release set for August. At that point, we didn’t know how long it would be before the next version of Drupal was ready. Now we do.
From Drupal 10, a new Drupal major version will be released every two years. It’s an announcement that has been welcomed by many of us.
Drupal 8 came out in late 2015, Drupal 9 in mid-2020 and Drupal 10 in December 2022 – so the cadence between them was unpredictable. People had longer on Drupal 8 (end of life in November 2021) before a Drupal 9 upgrade, whereas it felt quite short on Drupal 9 before it too was also end of life (1 November 2023).
Now we will have a predictable major release cycle.
Long-term support for Drupal 10
Because Drupal 10 will get long-term support, it will be supported until Drupal 12 is released in 2026. This has numerous advantages.
The predictable release cycle gives you a bit more time for planning before your Drupal 11 upgrade. This will allow you to make room for other things that you might want to do or have developed ahead of an upgrade.
Even if these aren’t major undertakings, investigation and planning is still required – especially if a module you're using is no longer supported.
And you may have other things on your roadmap. With predictability you can schedule it in, and with long-term support you can afford to wait a little longer to get something else on your roadmap completed that might be strategically important.
But this doesn’t mean people should consider trying to bypass Drupal 11 and upgrading directly to Drupal 12 from Drupal 10. It's easier to stay current and upgrade incrementally.
When code is marked as deprecated in Drupal 10 it continues to work. But when Drupal 11 comes out the deprecated code will be removed.
The module landscape needs to keep pace too. When Drupal 12 comes out, Drupal 10 dies. The Drupal 10 modules you're using may (or may not) have made the jump to Drupal 11 or may not (most likely not) be ready on the day Drupal 12 comes out.
Plus small upgrades are easier and cheaper than bigger ones!
The release dates for the next two versions of Drupal have been announced – sort of. They’re dependent on the completion of beta requirements so there’s a bit of wiggle room. But this is what we’re looking at:
- Mid-to-late 2024
Drupal 11 release
- 5 January 2025
Drupal 7 end of life
- Mid-to-late 2026
Drupal 12 release and end of life of Drupal 10
What does this mean for you?
The new Drupal release schedule ushers in a more structured, biennial approach to Drupal updates. Although it is a lot less hassle upgrading to later Drupal versions (Drupal 8 and later), this is great for planning purposes, especially for those organisations who have their budgets finalised in the previous financial year.
Embrace Drupal 10
If you haven’t yet upgraded to Drupal 10 now’s the time to do so. Drupal 9 is no longer being supported, and with that comes the risk of security and performance issues. The upgrade is relatively simple. If you need help with this, our Managed Services team has been working hard to upgrade all our clients this year, and can assess your site.
Bid farewell to Drupal 7
If you’re still running a website on Drupal 7, then you have a bit of time (it reaches end of life in the beginning of January 2025) to upgrade. Because there is no clear path to upgrade directly from Drupal 7, upgrading a Drupal 7 website is a little more of a challenge than newer websites, and can take months. However it is doable. Waiting until the last minute is not something that should be advised. If you haven’t yet started planning your Drupal 7 to Drupal 10 migration, get in touch.
We have the next few months to focus on any websites that still aren't running on Drupal 10. Once Drupal 11 is released mid-2024, Drupal 10's long-term support phase kicks off. Minor maintenance versions will be introduced every six months, incorporating a select set of changes backported from Drupal 11.
This predictable schedule should make life easier for all of us. And the extended support for Drupal 10 gives us time to enjoy it, and plan ahead.
We're ready to welcome in the new Drupal schedule. Are you?
If you need any advice about your upgrade plan, or if you have other strategically important developments that you’d like to discuss ahead of Drupal 11’s release, get in touch.
Stella Power Managing Director
As well as being the founder and managing director of Annertech, Stella is one of the best known Drupal contributors in the world.