Drupal recently announced that on February 24, 2016, Drupal 6 will reach end of life. End of life! What does that mean?
Drupal’s announcement is a warning that Drupal 6 will no longer be supported by the Drupal community. It does not mean that Drupal 6 websites will stop working on February 24th, or any time soon thereafter. Specifically, the Drupal community will no longer
Update the Drupal 6 core.
Release security updates and advisories.
Contribute modules or update existing modules.
In short, Drupal 6 will stop evolving, while the Internet moves rapidly on.
While the short term threats to Drupal 6 websites will be minimal, over time, they will become significant. Below we point out four potential threats as Drupal 6 reaches end of life.
Security: Website security evolves as hackers and scam artists become more sophisticated and find new ways to hack technology. Over time, a Drupal 6 website will become increasingly exposed to security holes in the core and modules, which the Drupal community will neither fix nor expose.
Scalability: Drupal not supporting the v6 core and modules could negatively impact plans for actively developing a Drupal 6 website. For example, more of the workload of supporting Drupal 6 development will be shifted to the website’s developers. In addition, integrations with 3rd party platforms will become more difficult, if modules are not available or out of date.
Compatibility: Support, or lack thereof, for Drupal 6 extends beyond Drupal 6 itself. Over time, Drupal 6 will become increasingly incompatible with the rest of the web. For example, Drupal 6 is not supported by modern front-end frameworks such as Bootstrap.
Control: Control over your website could be taken out of your hands, as computer languages and software move beyond Drupal 6. For example, hosting a Drupal 6 website will eventually become an issue as hosting environments upgrade to newer versions of software or languages.
In a follow up article, we will discuss how to decide when to switch away from Drupal 6 and the best CMS alternatives.
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