As with most software applications, CMS platforms need to be periodically upgraded for new features and functionality, bug fixes, security improvements, and performance enhancements.
Umbraco 7’s End-of-Life of September 2023 is fast approaching. Whilst this may seem a long way away now, an upgrade from version 7 to a newer major version can be a significantly sizeable task, therefore, we recommend that you start the process in the next few weeks, and by the end of Q3 2022 at the absolute latest. Indeed, the term "upgrade" may be a little misleading; in reality, "system rebuild" may be more apt.
Below, we run through some key points.
In 2021, Umbraco announced that they were restructuring their upgrade pathway to align with Microsoft’s Long-Term Support releases of .NET.
Like Microsoft, Umbraco will be introducing Long-Term Support (LTS) versions into their release cadence. LTS versions will be supported for two years, whilst versions in between, “Current Releases”, will be supported for one year. Umbraco 10 - due for release in Summer 2022 - will be a Long-Term Support version. Umbraco 13 will be an LTS, and then every fourth version will be an LTS: 17, 21, and so on.
But what does this mean for businesses using Umbraco?
Currently, if you were to upgrade version 7 or version 8 to a newer major version, it would likely require a complete re-integration which is a sizeable job.
However, the new release cycle means that a major upgrade to the next major version, for example, version 10 to version 11, is likely to be a smaller task.* Indeed, Umbraco have advised that upgrading from 10 to 11 may be a similar-sized upgrade to a current minor upgrade, for example, 7.4 to 7.12.
This should help to reduce future business costs.
* Please note, upgrades need to be considered on a project-by-project basis.
Firstly - and perhaps most significantly - the End-of-Life for Umbraco 7 is September 2023, at which point, Umbraco will no longer provide fixes for security issues that may arise, so there is a risk: https://umbraco.com/products/knowledge-center/long-term-support-and-end-of-life/umbraco-7-end-of-life-eol/
Secondly, Umbraco ceased general maintenance and bug fixing on Umbraco 7 in July 2021.
Furthermore, staying on version 7 means you won’t work with the fastest and best version of Umbraco available. By upgrading to a later major version, you will get access to new features sooner.
It is also important to consider that upgrading from version 7 to a newer major version can be a complex exercise. Your agency will need sufficient time to properly plan and perform the upgrade, whilst you will need to factor in time for User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and content loading. Therefore, starting the process sooner rather than later minimises the risk of being stuck on version 7 past its End-of-Life.
Finally, over time, the upgrade may become more difficult and costly. This is because you may add further functionality and features to your existing, Umbraco 7 website. This functionality would have to be re-integrated when you upgrade so, in effect, you would be paying twice for the same development work.
Our recommendation: the migration process can take up to 12 months, therefore, to ensure that everything is completed and deployed by September 2023, we strongly advise that you start the process in the next few weeks, and by the end of Q3 2022 at the absolute latest.
Technically, yes. However, Umbraco no longer recommend using Umbraco 7 after it reaches the End-of-Life phase because they will no longer provide any support, including security support. If you continue using a major after it has reached its End of Life, there is a risk of encountering security issues.
If you decide to continue using Umbraco 7 beyond its End-of-Life date, then you will be doing so at your own risk.
Upgrading major versions can be a significant piece of work that involves re-integrating your CMS with the front end.
Factors that impact the effort involved in upgrading include:
Completing a major Umbraco upgrade is an excellent opportunity to refresh the design/UI. We generally recommend a design refresh every three years to keep up with the latest design trends, improve usability and accessibility, and rejuvenate your visual identity.
If a re-design is on your roadmap for the next year or so, it makes a LOT of sense to complete it as part of the Umbraco upgrade project. If you leave the re-design until after the upgrade, you may have to do another Umbraco re-integration, thus wasting time and resources.
For one of our clients, InfoTrack, we inherited a website with a pre-existing design, and as part of their Umbraco upgrade, we re-designed the entire website.
If you are an existing client, please contact your Account Manager who will be able to guide you on the next steps.
For companies whose Umbraco website was built by another agency, please contact us via email@example.com
CSI Media is an Umbraco Gold Partner with 11 years’ experience in developing custom Umbraco solutions including brochure websites, e-commerce solutions, and custom web applications. We also have extensive experience in inheriting pre-existing Umbraco websites built by other agencies.