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Life after Death: Drupal 6 End of Life and What it Means to You

If you haven't heard by now, Drupal core version 6.X has reached the end of life status as of February 24, 2016. Here we'll provide information on what this means to your Drupal 6 site, and how to move forward.

What Exactly Does End of Life Mean to Me?

The end of life status has several implications, but the most important is, the Drupal security team will discontinue support and security advisories for Drupal 6 core. In addition, you should consider the following when deciding how to move forward:

  • All Drupal contributed modules will be marked as unsupported.

  • New bugs and support requests will be closed, and many existing ones will likely be closed as well.

  • The data the update module relies on has been switched off. This is especially important because Drush can no longer determine if your website is using the latest version of core or contributed modules. It makes upgrading an outdated Drupal site much more difficult as everything needs to be done manually.

  • Every module on your Drupal 6 site will be marked as unsupported (see below), and you'll receive the warning "There is a security update available for your version of Drupal" on your Drupal 6 site from now until eternity. 

Where do I go from Here?

You pretty much have three options as to how to proceed with your Drupal 6 site:

  1. Upgrade or Migrate to Drupal 7
  2. Migrate to Drupal 8
  3. Stick with Drupal 6 and roll the dice that all your modules and Drupal core will continue to receive the needed security updates and patches.

Given the number of sites still using Drupal 6 is still rougly 100,000, and the Long Term Support (LTS) project, the world won't end if you don't upgrade or migrate to a later version today. However, knowing that Drupal 7 and 8 will continue to receive security updates, patches, and new features for several years, it's certainly worth contemplating the upgrade or migration.

Another important factor to consider is making your website responsive. This task is considerably more difficult in Drupal 6 due to the lack of responsive base themes and modules that help create responsive content. Yet the number of mobile devices and the number of hours spent viewing media on mobile devices both surpassed desktops in 2014. Of course, you should also consider that Google punishes websites that aren't mobile friendly.

If you do wish to stick with Drupal 6 for now, at least be sure your website is using Drupal core 6.38, all the patches available in LTS have been applied, and all your contributed modules have been upgraded to the latest Drupal 6 version. If you aren't sure which version of Drupal six you're using, you can navigate to, or after logging into your website. Unfortunately, you'll need to check each contributed module one-by-one since the update service is no longer working.

If you're still not sure which direction to go in, you might consider reading Still on Drupal 6? Here are your options!.

We're here to Help

If you would like help updating your Drupal 6 site, or upgrading or migrating it to Drupal 7 or 8, please get in touch with us.