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11 Oct 2021

Drupal is one of the safest content management systems available. It features a well-designed structure and a diverse set of capabilities. In this article, we'll talk a bit about Drupal 8 and its release, as well as the differences it made over earlier versions. After that, we'll look at Drupal 9 in more detail and compare the two versions.

Drupal 8 Release and Features

The release date for Drupal 8 was November 19, 2015. There were as many as 200 new built-in functionalities compared to the previous version, Drupal 7, the platform's multilingualism was improved, and new page editors and mobile versions were provided (as a built-in function - no separate domain for the mobile version is required).

In terms of differences from the previous edition, Drupal 8 employs object-oriented programming rather than the procedural technique employed in the previous version. The latest Drupal version employs a new theme engine called Twig, which is based on PHP. Because of the simpler syntax, programmers will have an easier time building new themes.

Another feature in Drupal 8 which made it unique was the ability to edit the content directly from site user interface. It's also worth noting that the views are accessible directly from numerous administration panels in the newer version of Drupal. It's no longer necessary to devote additional work to it, as was the case with Drupal 7.

When viewed from the user perspective, we can see that the page loading performance has increased dramatically thanks to entity caching. Furthermore, because the previously viewed content is saved in the system cache, it does not need to be reloaded. Furthermore, the JavaScript code is only loaded when it is required.

After upgrading Drupal to version 8, you should pay special attention to the new types of fields, which can make programming much easier.

Drupal 8 vs. Drupal 9: what is the Difference?

On June 3, 2020, Drupal 9 was released. The changelog is shorter and the upgrade from version 8 to 9 is easier because it was built on version 8. The removal of nearly all deprecated functions is one of the most significant distinctions. They've been replaced by others in version 9, and the existing ones will be deleted in the next Drupal release. You can visit to access the list of all deprecated functions.

Drupal 9 comes with the lated version of Symfony 4, compared to Symfony 3 in Drupal 8 version. In addition, the Twig theme engine version has been updated from version 1 to version 2. Another distinction between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 is the removal of most jQuery UI library dependencies. In Drupal 9, we rely on the PHPUnit solution for completing tests (previously, the SimpleTest framework could be used).

The next important move with Drupal 9 upgrade is dropping the Simple Annotation Parser from Doctrine. The required important elements were all added in the Drupal 9 core.  The Apache version 2.x was sufficient for Drupal 8; Drupal 9 now demands a minimum version of 2.4.7.

When it comes to PHP, the situation is similar: a minimum version of 7.3 is necessary, but versions 7.4 and 8.0 are also supported (applies to Drupal 9.1.0). Drupal 9 requires a minimum database version of 5.7.8 and the use of MySQL/Percona; Drupal 8 worked with version 5.5.3. Similarly minimum version of 10.3.7 for MariaDB and SQLite 3.26 respectively are required in the Drupal 9 version.


Considering the above differences between D8 vs. D9, we can confidently state that the newest CMS release is significantly faster. The page loading time was enhanced by using a minimum PHP version of 7.3. On the PHP Benchmarks website, for example, all PHP versions - from 5.6 to 8.0 - are listed. At first glance, we can observe that there was a performance boost of more than 10% between Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. This is an excellent reason to consider upgrading, as each new version of PHP results in an even greater performance boost.

Another factor to consider in the performance comparison is the Twig version that was used. The theme engine in Drupal 9 is approximately 15% faster than the one used in Drupal 8. Also the latest Symfony 4 version allows developers to create new module or improve the existing ones in quick time.

You may also be interested in: Step By Step Guide to Successful Drupal Development

 Upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9

When compared to the move from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8, upgrading from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 is much easier and takes much less time. To begin, we must ensure that we are running the most recent version of Drupal 8. It should also be mentioned that support for the older, eighth version of the described CMS will end shortly (November 2021), so we should carefully consider the update procedure and prepare for replacing Drupal as soon as possible.

We can start by updating all modules and themes once we are certain that we have the most recent version of Drupal 8. We'll also need their most recent versions in this situation. We'll see that most of the modules already support Drupal 9 at this point. Following that, it's a good idea to use the tool offered by the CMS's writers to create a checklist of items that need to be prepared so that the update happens easily and without issues.

One of the last tasks will be to verify that the server on which Drupal 9 will be installed meets the PHP, Apache, and database engine requirements. In the preceding paragraphs, we discussed the required versions. We're one step away from Drupal 9 upgrade at this moment. The full upgrade process takes only a few clicks and some time to complete.

Drupal 8 vs. Drupal 9: Conclusion

The end for Drupal 8 support is near. The Drupal 9 version is fast and comes with packed with new features. The upgrading process to Drupal 9 is also very simple and quick. It is recommended to upgrade to Drupal 9 as soon as possible. This way you will be able to avoid any problems after the support has ended. It's worth preparing this approach from beginning to end so you can take advantage of Drupal 9's increased code transparency and new capabilities.

If you're not sure how to upgrade to Drupal 9 the latest version, our Drupal support team will gladly assist you. We can help you to upgrade/Migrate your current CMS platforms to Drupal 9 to ensure your business maximizes revenue & benefits. We offer Drupal Development Services which can help to boost your business performance. Our Drupal developers can help you with different web solutions like custom Drupal development, Drupal theme development, Drupal consulting services and Drupal support services.