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Challenges to Expect During a Drupal Migration and How to Overcome Them

Undoubtedly, Drupal is a robust platform beneficial for those looking to transition from an existing Content Management System (CMS). However, Drupal migration comes with its fair share of challenges. In this article, we will delve into the potential obstacles you might encounter during the migration process, equipping you to handle them effectively.

Migration is complex and time-consuming

The process involves a lot of manual work, so you’ll need to plan and prioritise your migration project carefully.

It’s important not to underestimate how long it will take for your team members to complete all the necessary steps in order to migrate all of your content into Drupal. You should expect that the migration will take longer than you think, especially if this is your first time migrating from one CMS platform or framework onto another.

Grasping the full migration process before commencing allows appropriate planning based on upcoming tasks, suitable personnel, and their available time during their hectic schedule.

Drupal has limited migration tools

Drupal has a migration module, but it is not very robust or flexible. The Drupal Content Migrate module can be used to migrate some content types, but not all. For example, the module does not support file and image uploads, which are common in many sites that use Drupal as their CMS platform.

Additionally, the Drupal Migration Module doesn’t come with any built-in tools for mapping data fields between different systems (e.g., mapping a “first name” field in your old system to a “given name” field in your new system). You’ll need to write these mappings manually if you want them done correctly. However, this process can be time-consuming and difficult due its complexity

Migration can be disruptive to the Drupal site

Migration from one version of Drupal to another can indeed cause disruptions and confusion, primarily among long-term users who have become accustomed to the old operational methods. To mitigate these potential problems, consider the following strategies:

  1. User Training: Offer training sessions to familiarise users with the new Drupal version. This could include webinars, guides, or tutorial videos demonstrating new features and changes. The aim is to minimise user resistance and accelerate the learning process, ensuring a smooth transition.
  2. Communication: Keep users informed about the upcoming changes, why they are necessary, and how they will be beneficial in the long term. Regular updates through newsletters, emails or site notifications can be helpful to manage user expectations.
  3. Website Banners: Use these to inform site visitors regarding the ongoing migration process. This way, they are aware and understanding of potential site abnormalities during this period.
  4. Testing Period: Allow a testing period where users can explore and practise using the new Drupal system prior to full implementation. Collect feedback during this period to catch any unforeseen issues or difficulties faced by users, and act on them accordingly before the official launch of the new version.
  5. Support: Make sure to have a support team ready to address user queries and issues that arise during the transition period. Accessible, responsive support can vastly improve user acceptance and adaptation to the new system.

The key is to support users throughout the process, fostering a positive outlook towards the changes and the benefits they bring.

Considerations for Evaluating Return on Investment (ROI) When Migrating to Drupal

Migrating to Drupal from another platform is a significant undertaking that requires meticulous planning. You may encounter the following obstacles during this process:

Migration Cost

The financial demands of migration fluctuate depending on various factors, such as the intricacy and volume of content, the totality of users, and the modules implicated in your website. Beyond these direct costs, unseen expenses like a temporary decline in productivity during the transition period can also weigh on the overall cost.

Time Required for Migration

A standard Drupal migration project, encompassing aspects like project scope, team expertise, resource availability, and quality measures can take between 3 weeks to 6 months. The decision regarding the appropriate timeline is critical to the migration process.

Integration Challenges & Compliance Considerations in Migration

One of the intricate aspects of migrating to Drupal involves more than just a mere data shift. It also implies transferring vital components of the system such as user profiles, permissions, configurations, themes, modules, and views. Each component is critical to ensure the seamless and accurate functioning of the system post-migration.

Failing to address these aspects meticulously during the migration process can trigger potential issues in the future. For instance, adding new content, re-configuring site structure, introducing additional pages, or making similar alterations can become problematic.

Furthermore, compliance with governance standards is pivotal during such transitions. Compliance involves adhering to specific regulations regarding data protection, accessibility, and user privacy that may vary based on location and industry. Non-compliance can lead to penalties and can jeopardise the company’s reputation. Planning for these technical and regulatory challenges is crucial for a smooth and compliant migration to Drupal.

Weighing Costs and Benefits of Drupal Migration

Despite various challenges involved, careful planning and management of expectations can make migrating to Drupal beneficial against the costs.

It will help you better serve your customers. If you’re currently using an outdated or inflexible CMS platform, it’s likely that some of your customers are experiencing slow load times or other issues when accessing content on their phones or tablets. By moving to a modern platform like Drupal, you’ll be able to improve customer experience by streamlining mobile access and enabling responsive design capabilities–and those improvements will pay dividends as more people access information on mobile devices than ever before.

It can help gain competitive edge in your industry: In today’s digital economy where consumers expect instant access to information from anywhere at any time (or else!), businesses that don’t stay ahead of the curve risk falling behind their competitors who have already migrated.


We’ve covered a lot of ground here, but the bottom line is that migrating to Drupal can be a rewarding process. It may seem like a daunting task at first, but with proper planning and careful execution you’ll find that it’s easier than you think!

If you’re facing challenges during your Drupal migration process, our team at Monsoon Drupal can provide you with expert guidance and support. Contact us today to overcome any obstacles and ensure a seamless migration experience for your business.

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