Drupal and updates, all you need to know

Drupal and updates, all you need to know

Updating Drupal often scares its users. But these updates are crucial.

Drupal updates types

First, it’s important to understand the types of update:

  • Core updates
    • Major version
    • Minor version
  • Modules updates

What’s the difference between upgrade and update?

The answer to this question can be found in the words major and minor, that is, a major version is a system upgrade while the minor one is just an update.


A Drupal major update represents a change of the system version, for example, switching from Drupal 7.x.x to Drupal 8.x.x.

Generally, these updates represent the arrival of new features and major changes (hence the major version) in the system. This is considered an upgrade. The system is deeply impacted by the changes.

Upgrading a system requires much more work than updates. Be sure to check if your system is compatible with all that has been changed before upgrading it.


More frequent than major upgrades, minor updates bring more discreet changes to the system: bug fixes, security patches... but they are essential for the life cycle of a Drupal version.

The updates are marked by a decimal change digit on the Drupal version, for example: Drupal 7.1.0 → Drupal 7.1.1.

System updates are not required, but are strongly recommended when they include a security update.

When the community reports a vulnerability in the system, it is quickly fixed and Drupal is updated. When a security update is available, hackers try to attack systems that are not up to date. Hence the importance of updating your system.

And the modules in all that?

Whether it's an update or an upgrade, you should always check to see if your system is compatible with it. However, it is not necessary to systematically update your modules.

Always check the changes done to a module before updating it, especially if it is a vital module to your site. There is no need to update it if the new features are not useful or do not concern any security problem.

Useful links

8P Design has selected some links that will be useful for you if you want to update your Drupal installation:

The 8P Design procedure

At 8P Design, we have developed an effective procedure for updating our clients' websites.

The analysis

When new Drupal updates are available, our team immediately check the content of these updates and decides which websites in our production chain need an update. For updates concerning security issues, we systematically perform these ones.

Each module requiring an update comes with its technical notes describing the changes made. We look at it and check how the changes can affect the website.

We also learn about possible incompatibilities on the platform of the module developer.


We evaluate the time needed to perform the updates on our client's website, and then plan them.

We contact our client to notify them of the maintenance date for the needed updates.

We systematically perform a backup of the entire client system:

  • Website files
  • Database


When we have completed the preparation phase, we duplicate our client's site in a development environment to carry out an update tests that will allow us to check if the site is compatible with it or not.

Once the tests are successful, we start the production phase.


Before proceeding with the update, we notify the customer that we are about to start doing it.

We then follow the procedure below:

  • Put the website in maintenance mode
  • Deploy the update
  • Perform tests to check if the system is works properly
  • Put the website live, out of the maintenance mode
  • Send an email to notify the customer that the update has been successfully completed

8P Design constantly monitors Drupal updates and its modules to always offer its clients a secure system.

To learn more about our Drupal expertise and the services we offer, do not hesitate to visit our services page.