Top 2 Important Updates for Drupal 6 Websites

We have a lot of clients with websites we built a few years ago that are still running on Drupal 6. That's about to change.

While those websites still serve their needs quite well, the most popular requests we're seeing are to convert those existing fixed-width sites to responsive designs, and to upgrade the sites from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. Let's take a look at why...

1. Upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7

There are a lot of reasons to upgrade to Drupal 7, but the three most important are security, support, and compatibility.

It's Drupal's policy to only support and maintain the current and previous releases of its versions. This means that official support for Drupal 6 will end shortly after the release of Drupal 8. (Drupal 8 is currently in beta and expected to be released in early 2015.)

With official support ending, the Drupal security team will no longer research, test, or issue patches for security issues with Drupal 6 core. The third-party developer community will also stop issuing security updates for their modules.

Drupal 7 will receive proactive security testing and updates, and is already more secure than Drupal 6 in the following ways:
• More secure password system
• More secure log-in system
• More secure implementation for schedule and automatic tasks

In the same way that security updates will end, ongoing maintenance, bugs fixes, issues or questions related to Drupal 6 or any of it's contributed modules will no longer receive support from the developer community.

The latest version of jquery supported by Drupal 6 is 1.3.2, meaning certain user interface and features that rely on javascript are not compatible with the latest browsers. Support for this version of jQuery will further diminish as browsers are continuously updated. This means that any functionality on your site that utilizes jQuery or JavaScript may gradually degrade or stop working.

2. Implement a Responsive Web Design

If your website is running on Drupal 6, it's at least a year old.

Mobile traffic is on the rise. Today, more than 30% of traffic is from mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. It's predicted that by early 2015, mobile traffic will surpass desktop traffic on most sites.

Providing an optimal experience for all users is important, and a responsive website can provide this -- all from a single codebase. There's no need to create multiple versions of your site for each device. A responsive site will reflow fluidly to fit an infinite number of screen sizes. By focusing on great user experiences for all screen sizes, you can increase overall engagement on your site, improve conversion rates, and get the maximum potential return from your online investment.

It's important to get out ahead of this trend as more and more devices and sizes are released, more devices become internet enabled, and more people are getting connected.

Contact us today to discuss your online goals and how we can incorporate a responsive design and Drupal 7 into your website.