The Biggest Challenges in Drupal 10 Migration and How to Overcome Them

Drupal 10

Welcome to the world of Drupal 10, a cutting-edge iteration of one of the most powerful and feature-rich content management systems (CMS) available today. Launched in December 2022, Drupal 10 builds on the strengths of its predecessors while offering a range of exciting new features and improvements.

But what makes Drupal 10 stand out? First and foremost, it comes packed with the latest innovations in technology, security, and design, ensuring your website meets the modern-day demands of online users.

One of the most significant advantages of Drupal 10 over previous versions is its improved performance. Drupal 10 is faster and more efficient, providing an enhanced user experience which can lead to higher user engagement, lower bounce rates, and ultimately, increased conversions.

Drupal 10 also provides better security with its automatic updates feature, without relying on third-party plugins. This means you can rest easy knowing your website is always up-to-date and protected against potential cyber threats.

Furthermore, Drupal 10 comes with a new administrative theme, Olivero, that is more accessible and user-friendly. This makes it easier for website administrators to manage and edit content.

Inclusivity is also a major focus in Drupal 10. The CMS is designed to be more accessible, addressing the needs of users with disabilities and making the internet a more inclusive space for everyone.

Migrating to Drupal 10 may present some challenges, but the benefits far outweigh the hurdles. In this post, we will explore some of these challenges and provide practical solutions to ease the migration process. So, let's get started.


The Challenge of Deprecated Modules

One of the key challenges you might face when migrating to Drupal 10 is dealing with deprecated modules. “Deprecated” in this sense means that these modules are no longer recommended for use and are slated for removal in future versions of Drupal.

In previous versions of Drupal, you may have installed certain modules to extend the functionality of your site. These modules could range from image sliders and SEO tools, to custom field types and formatting options. However, since Drupal 10 is a step forward in terms of technology and usability, some of these modules might not be compatible with the new version.

When these deprecated modules are not supported by Drupal 10, they can cause disruption to the functionality of your website during the migration process. It's as if you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The two are simply not compatible, and forcing them together won't work.

For example, you may find that a custom field type provided by a deprecated module no longer works in Drupal 10. This could lead to data loss, or perhaps certain sections of your website not displaying correctly. If your website heavily relies on such deprecated modules, this could potentially cause significant disruption to your site's functionality and user experience.


The Solution: Identifying and Replacing Deprecated Modules

Addressing the issue of deprecated modules requires a two-step process: identifying them and then replacing them with suitable alternatives in Drupal 10.

Identifying Deprecated Modules

The first step is to identify which modules on your site are deprecated. Drupal makes this process relatively straightforward with the use of the Upgrade Status module. This module provides a comprehensive report of all the deprecated code that your site is using, including modules.

To use the Upgrade Status module, you simply need to install it on your Drupal site and run a scan. The module will produce a list of deprecated modules you're currently using, making it easy for you to see what needs changing.

Replacing Deprecated Modules

Once you've identified the deprecated modules, the next step is to find suitable replacements.

Start by researching if there are updated versions of these modules that are compatible with Drupal 10. Module maintainers often release updated versions for new Drupal releases. You can usually find this information on the module's page on the Drupal website.

If a deprecated module doesn't have an updated version, you'll need to find an alternative module that offers similar functionality. The Drupal community is a good place to start your search. You can also ask for recommendations from other Drupal users. It's likely that others have faced a similar issue and can recommend a suitable module.

In some cases, you might find that the functions provided by a deprecated module have been incorporated into Drupal 10's core. In this case, you simply need to enable the corresponding functionality in Drupal 10.

Remember, always test new modules on a development version of your site before installing them on your live site. This way, you can ensure that the new module works correctly and doesn't cause any issues.

While dealing with deprecated modules can be a bit of a headache, it can also be an opportunity to streamline your site and improve its functionality.


The Challenge of Custom Code

If you've been operating a Drupal site for some time, it's likely that you or your development team have written custom code to tailor the website to your specific needs. This custom code could include anything from unique themes to specific functionalities that are critical to your website's operation. While this helps make your site uniquely yours, it can pose challenges during the migration process to Drupal 10.

Primarily, some of your custom code may not be compatible with Drupal 10 due to the differences in code requirements and standards between different Drupal versions. Your custom code may be using functions or methods that are deprecated in Drupal 10, or the architecture of Drupal 10 may simply not support your custom code.

This incompatibility can lead to errors during your site's migration to Drupal 10, causing certain functionalities to break or not function as intended. In worst-case scenarios, incompatible custom code can even make your website inaccessible. This can lead to a poor user experience, potentially causing lost audience engagement or revenue.

The challenge posed by custom code, therefore, is twofold: you need to identify the custom code that's causing issues, and then update or rewrite this code to be compatible with Drupal 10. This process can be time-consuming and complex, requiring a deep understanding of Drupal's coding requirements and standards.


The Solution: Identifying and Refactoring Custom Code

Managing custom code for a Drupal 10 migration can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it doesn't have to be. Here's how to go about it:

Identifying Problematic Custom Code

Much like identifying deprecated modules, the first step is to identify which parts of your custom code may be problematic in Drupal 10. The Upgrade Status module comes in handy here as well. Beyond just identifying deprecated modules, this tool can also scan your custom code to find deprecated API use and other potential issues that could cause problems in Drupal 10.

Another tool you can use is the Drupal-check command-line tool. This tool uses the same underlying library as the Upgrade Status module to check custom code for deprecations and other potential pitfalls.

Refactoring Custom Code:

After identifying the troublesome parts of your custom code, the next step is to refactor them to be compatible with Drupal 10. Simply put, refactoring is the process of altering the code without changing its external behavior.

If the Upgrade Status module flagged some code as deprecated, the report will usually include suggestions for what to replace the deprecated code with. If it doesn't, the Drupal API documentation can be a helpful resource. You'll have to replace deprecated function calls, alter data structures, or even rearchitect some parts of your code to ensure compatibility.

In some cases, the changes required might be quite extensive, especially for code written for earlier versions of Drupal. If you're not comfortable doing this on your own, it may be worth hiring a Drupal developer with experience in migrations.

Finally, it's crucial to thoroughly test your changes to ensure that they work correctly and have not altered the expected behavior of your website. Automated testing tools can be a great help in this regard, ensuring your code is robust and ready for migration to Drupal 10.

Refactoring custom code for Drupal 10 can be an involved process, but it's a vital step in preparing your site for the migration. With careful planning and diligent testing, you can make your transition to Drupal 10 smoother and more successful.


The Challenge of Ensuring Consistent Performance

As with any major update or migration, moving to Drupal 10 can potentially impact the performance of your website. Performance, in this context, relates to how quickly your website loads, how smoothly it operates, and how well it manages the resources of the server it's hosted on.

While Drupal 10 is designed to be faster and more efficient than its predecessors, the migration process itself can lead to unexpected dips in performance. For instance, new modules or updated versions of existing ones may not be as optimised as those on your current site, slowing down load times. Similarly, potential compatibility issues with custom code may lead to increased server load, impacting website speed and overall performance.

Besides the technical aspects, user experience can also be affected during the migration process. Changes in layout due to a new theme or variations in navigational structures can disorient regular visitors, affecting user engagement and bounce rates.

These performance risks are a vital concern during migration because an optimally performing website is crucial for maintaining user engagement, SEO rankings, and overall user satisfaction.


The Solution: Monitoring Performance and Identifying Areas for Improvement

Monitoring your site’s performance pre, mid and post migration can play a pivotal role in ensuring a successful transition to Drupal 10. Here is how you can stay on top of it:

Benchmarking Performance Pre-Migration

Before you begin the migration process, document your website's current performance. This includes page load times, server response times, error rates, and any other relevant metrics. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, or Pingdom to gather this data. Having this information will allow you to compare performance before and after the migration, and identify any areas that need improvement.

Maintaining Performance During Migration

During the migration process, ensure that your website remains in an operational state. Regularly check for any potential performance drops or system errors. Drupal’s built-in watchdog logs and your server’s error logs are critical tools for this.

Optimising Performance Post-Migration

Once the migration is complete, return to your benchmark data and conduct the same tests again. If performance has dropped in any area, take steps to address this. Your solutions might include enabling caching, optimising images, reducing the number of HTTP requests, updating or replacing inefficient modules, or refactoring custom code for better performance.

Ensuring User Experience

Remember, performance isn't just about speed. User experience, which includes factors like site navigation and layout consistency, also plays a huge role. Use heat maps, session recording tools, and user feedback to understand how changes in Drupal 10 have affected the user experience and adjust accordingly.

Involving SEO

Ensure that your website's SEO hasn't been negatively impacted by the migration. Tools like Google Search Console can alert you to any crawl errors that might have occurred due to the migration. Also, ensure that any URLs that have changed due to the migration are properly redirected to prevent 404 errors.

By keeping a close eye on performance and being ready to take corrective action, you can ensure that your Drupal 10 migration is seamless and minimises disruption to your site's performance and user experience.



In this blog post, we have navigated through the challenges and solutions of migrating to Drupal 10, covering deprecated modules, custom code, and ensuring consistent performance.

Undeniably, the migration process can seem daunting, with the potential for bumps along the way. However, with meticulous planning, problem-solving, and performance monitoring, these hurdles can be overcome. The Upgrade Status module, refactoring custom code, and constant performance tracking are essential tools in your migration toolbox.

But, it's crucial to remember that while the migration to Drupal 10 requires effort, the rewards are absolutely worthwhile. With Drupal 10, you gain a faster, more secure, and highly efficient website that is designed to provide an enhanced user experience and keep you ahead in the digital space. It also ensures that your website is on the most recent and supported version of Drupal, protecting your online presence in the long run.

So, prepare yourself, embrace the upgrade, and take your website to new heights with Drupal 10. Remember, every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Happy migrating!