The Cheeky Monkey Media Blog

A few words from the apes, monkeys, and various primates that make up the Cheeky Monkey Super Squad.

3 Ways To Approach (And Budget) For a Drupal 8/9 Migration

Back in September 2018, Dries Buytaert, founder and project lead of Drupal, announced,

Drupal 7 will be end-of-life in November 2021, Drupal 9 will be released in 2020, and Drupal 8 will be end-of-life in November 2021.

You can read the announcement and get further information on this here –

Since that announcement, Cheeky Monkey Media has been in a lot of conversations with businesses of all shapes and sizes, not-for-profit and for-profit, that are currently on the Drupal 7 CMS platform and are considering migrating to Drupal 8.

The first thing everyone needs to realize is the move to drupal 8 will be painful, and almost as expensive as building a Drupal website from scratch.

The second thing everyone should realize is that once they’re on Drupal 8, the move to Drupal 9 will be relatively painless.

As Dries announced in a later article,

…it should be much easier to upgrade to Drupal 9 than it was to upgrade to Drupal 8. Drupal 9 will simply be the last version of Drupal 8, with its deprecations removed.

You can read the full article here –

Cheeky Monkey Media has completed several migration projects to Drupal 8, both for our agency partners and our clients.

We’ve approached these projects in several different ways to help organizations make the migration “less painful” from process and a budget perspective, and I’m going to share them with you now.

First let’s make an assumption.

Whenever we have conversations with organizations about the migration to Drupal 8, in addition to the migration there is typically some issues or challenges our clients want to address with their website while in the process of migration.

They either want to fix issues with features and/or functionality, design, or all of the aforementioned.

So let’s assume that you’re not entirely happy with how your current D7 site is functioning, and/or you might be considering a redesign. I mean it makes sense. You’re looking at rebuilding your site anyways, so you might as well improve the results you’re getting from it in the process.

To help illustrate the different approaches and how they will impact your budget, I’ve also included some mock budgets and timelines to illustrate the budget difference between the approaches.

I know nothing about your site at this point except that it’s likely on Drupal 7. So, I decided to use nice round figures of $100,000 – $120,000 for option #1 below, which you might be thinking is your only option at this point, but our past projects have shown that this is not the case.

Again, these budgets and timelines are by no means accurate, they’re just provided as reference.

Let’s take a look:

Option #1 – Discovery, migration to D8, fixing functionality issues and a redesign = $100,000 – $120,000, 8-10 months timeline


  • Solve all your problems in one fell swoop… kill all your birds with one stone?… you get the picture 🙂


  • It’s difficult to see what makes the difference for your business. Was it improved performance based user experience that made the difference? Was it improved design user experience? Was it improved features/functionality?
  • It’s a big expenditure going out in a fairly short period of time.

Option #2 – Discovery, migration to D8, fixing functionality issues, no redesign = $90,000 – $110,000, 6-8 months


  • You’re getting a lot accomplished and solving a lot of problems with this approach.
  • You’ll have a better idea what changes had the biggest impact.


  • This may not be the approach you want to take if a redesign is part of your overall plan, as you would be paying for front-end development twice.

Option #3, Part 1 – D7 site assessment, fixing functionality issues, discovery/planning D8 migration = $30,000 – $40,000, 12 months

Option #3, Part 2 – D8 migration, no redesign = $60,000 – $70,000, 6 months


  • This gets you where you need to go and allows you to measure success along the way without doing things twice unnecessarily, or paying for them to be done twice.
  • It’s like cleaning your house and doing a purge before you move. No-one wants to move a bunch of problems and stuff you don’t need to move. Fix performance issues, fix functionality/feature issues (at least the ones that make sense), and clean-up your code and your content. These will all be decisions you won’t have to make and challenges you have to figure out when you migrate.
  • There’s a 1.5 year draw-down of budget or expenditure, which might be an easier pill for some organizations to swallow.


  • Again, as in Option #2, this may not be the approach you want to take if a redesign is part of your overall plan, as you would be paying for front-end development twice.

If you want to discuss either or all of these options to help you decide which path to D8 is best for you, feel free to reach out to us.

We’re happy to share our experiences with these various approaches and help you decide the best way for you and what your budget might look like.

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