When is Drupal 7 End-of-Life?

When is Drupal 7 End-of-Life

So Drupal 8 is here and that has a significant impact on Drupal 7 users. Drupal 7 is no longer the latest and greatest version.

One question we often get now is this:

When will Drupal 7 reach end-of-life and no longer be supported?

The simple answer is, “We don’t know”.

The longer answer is, “We can have a good guess”. That’s what this blog post is about. We hope to give you more details so you can plan for the future of your Drupal 7 site.

Before you go any further, go and read “Understanding the Drupal 8 and 9 Release Cycle“. That post will give you essential background on how Drupal’s release cycle is set.

The current state of Drupal 7

Here’s the overview of where we are at the beginning of 2017:

  • Drupal 7 is currently the “Long Term Support” version of Drupal. That means Drupal 7 will not get new features, but will continue to get bug fixes security support.

The future plans for Drupal 7

  • Drupal 7 will get bug fix and security support until Drupal 8 becomes the Long Term Support version.

OK, that’s great! But when is the final version of Drupal 8 going to arrive? At the moment, there’s no fixed date. The good news is that Drupal 8 may have years of development ahead.

After the final version of Drupal 8 is released, Drupal 7 will no longer get bug-fixes, but it will still get security support. That security support will continue until (bear with me, now!) Drupal 9 becomes the Long Term Support version.

Conclusion

Drupal 7 will likely get bug-fixes until October 2017, and official security support until 2019 or 2020 at least.


Update: When I originally wrote this post, it seemed that Drupal’s release cycle policies were clear. However, I was wrong, judging by the comments below this post, and on Drupal.org issues such as this one. At the moment, the release cycles for Drupal 7. 8 and 9 seems to be in a state of flux. I’ll update this post when firm decisions are made.

Update for 2018: Finally, 18 months after I wrote this post, we have answers!

Instructor

  • Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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darkdim

Steve, business will kill you))

steve

I’m still in one piece so far 🙂

Fabian Franz

> Drupal 7 is currently the “Long Term Support” version of Drupal. That means Drupal 7 will not get new features, but will continue to get bug fixes security support.
This is partially wrong:
It is correct that Drupal 7 continues to get bug fixes and security support, but it also does get new features occasionally.
In fact we are right now planning another “feature” release 7.60 (pseudo-semantic versioning).
While keeping BC at all costs and stability is the absolute highest priority, the backport policy allows us in theory to backport any feature / bug fix that has gone into Drupal 8 to Drupal 7.
As core committers we have to judge hard obviously what can be accepted and what is a risk to the stability or not, so it is possible that the outside impression is that Drupal 7 is just LTS, but that is not the current reality.
As long as new features do not break existing code, are 100% opt-in and adhere to the backport policy, they will be included.
So Drupal 7 _can_ be innovated again, because Drupal 8 is released. Let me explain that:
As long as Drupal 8 was not stable, no feature could be backported, because it could have been removed or changed again from Drupal 8 – hence leading to disparity in the code base. So Drupal 7 was in a kind of freeze state during the development of Drupal 8.
Now that Drupal 8 is stable and on semantic versioning, Drupal 7 can do kinda same thing doing major releases round about every 4-6 months – without risking the stability of existing sites.
Thanks,
Fabian Franz, Drupal 7 core branch maintainer and framework manager

steve

Thanks for such a great comment Fabian. I’ll add a note in the blog post telling people to read your comment here for more background.

Arp

This sounds like D7 will be improved moving forward with major releases – except there have been nothing but incremental security releases in the 1 1/2y since your comment. So which is it?

Arp

Ugh. I haven’t built a new Drupal site in several year and have have migrated sites to WordPress for the few Drupal candidates. They’re not handling this well.

David Rothstein

> But when is the final version of Drupal 8 going to arrive? At the moment, it’s scheduled to be version 8.4 which is due in early October 2017. After October, Drupal 7 will no longer get bug-fixes, but it will still get security support. That security support will continue until (bear with me, now!) Drupal 9 becomes the Long Term Support version.
Thanks for writing this blog post. But the above is not correct.
First, there is no reason to think that Drupal 8.4 will be the final Drupal 8 release – see [url=https://www.drupal.org/core/release-cycle-overview#major]https://www.drupal.org/core…[/url] and in particular the notes underneath the diagram. I think it is likely to go well beyond that given that there hasn’t been much interest in opening Drupal 9 development yet. [url=https://www.drupal.org/node/2608062]https://www.drupal.org/node…[/url] is the place where this is being discussed.
Second, nothing has been decided yet about how long Drupal 7 will be supported. If recent patterns hold, it would not make it until Drupal 9 reaches Long Term Support, but rather support would be dropped three months after Drupal 9.0 is released. However, the vast majority (around 85%) of all Drupal sites currently use Drupal 7 and that number hasn’t shown much signs of dropping. So if that continues, my guess is that there will be people who want to support it for a long time (just like there currently are for Drupal 6), even if those of us who currently maintain Drupal 7 have long stopped doing so 🙂 [url=https://www.drupal.org/node/2598662]https://www.drupal.org/node…[/url] and [url=https://www.drupal.org/node/2608496]https://www.drupal.org/node…[/url] are the places where this is being discussed.

steve

Thanks for this great comment, David
I guess this explains why we get asked questions about this topic so often. There’s really not much clarity at the moment. A lot of decisions still to be made.

chicken soup

Sorry, but I don’t understand the purpose of this article.
Someday my car will have too many miles and will need to be replaced. In the meantime I will have it serviced regularly.

steve

You don’t understand why people with Drupal 7 sites want to know when security support will be available?

chicken soup

Sorry, I don’t mean to be snarky. The article just doesn’t contain any concrete information. It’s also inaccurate, as others have said.

daniel-pickering

Yes, it is yet to be confirmed and finalised but on that basis we shouldn’t talk about D8 because it isn’t finalised yet and only has estimated for such.

steve

I promised an OSTraining customer I’d write this for them.
It wasn’t until half-way through writing that I realized there wasn’t much concrete information available.
It wasn’t until the comments that I realized just how in-flux / messy the release cycle currently is.

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