Every new major version of Umbraco that’s released brings a lot of excitement, both to us at Umbraco HQ and to our user community.
And with Umbraco 8, it wasn’t any different - after all, we made version 8 packed to the brim with great new features that make your experience with the friendly CMS even friendlier!
But we understand that saying goodbye to your Umbraco 7 project and migrating your site to Umbraco 8 is a step that comes with a lot of questions.
So let’s go through them together!
How do I upgrade from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8?
In short - you don’t. There is no direct upgrade path from version 7 to version 8 that would allow you to automatically upgrade your site built on Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8 - but you can migrate.
This is because Umbraco 8 has a fundamentally updated codebase compared to version 7. Umbraco 8 was released with lots of breaking changes and without outdated code. The result was a shiny new major with faster and secure technology.
So instead of upgrading, you can migrate your content and then recreate the rest in the new Umbraco 8 site. To help you with the transition, Umbraco 8.1.0 was released with a built-in content migration tool.
What can we handle for you?
Upgrading your database - all your content will be migrated from the old database schema to the new one
What can’t we handle for you?
Migrating your 3rd party packages, custom code, and templates that were built for your projects on Umbraco 7
How does migrating from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8 work?
There isn’t a single upgrade button to push, but following these steps and best-practice tips will help you migrate your version 7 content to version 8 fairly quickly.
Before the content migration:
Make sure that your version 7 project is running at least Umbraco 7.14.
Check your database type. Umbraco 8 does not support MySQL databases. The supported database types include SQL Server and SQL CE.
Back up your database. Keep in mind that your database and your data will not be transferred during the migration - they will be directly transformed.
- During the migration process, your entire Umbraco 7 database schema will be remodeled and transformed into the format needed for Umbraco 8. The same will happen to your existing compatible data - they will be transformed according to how Umbraco 8 stores data.
- If something goes sideways during the migration, with a backup, you’ll be able to roll back and try to migrate again.
Clean up your site. This will speed up the migration process. So before starting the migration, empty your content and media recycle bin, and clean up database version history (you can do that with a script or a package like Unversion)
Run pre-migration health checks. You can use the community package Pre-migration health checks in the Developer section of your backoffice. The plugin will help you take care of some of the common database schema issues.
- We’ve also been collecting feedback from our friendly community and compiling a list of known issues on our GitHub Issues Tracker.
During the content migration
Whip up a new, functional Umbraco 8.1+ site - but without any content, so don’t install the starter kit.
Take the backup of the database from your Umbraco 7 site, and add the backup database information to the Umbraco 8 site’s connection string.
- A friendly note: if you’re on SQL CE, you will have to copy the database over to the new site as well.
Change the Umbraco version number in the web.config of the Umbraco 8 site to the version of your Umbraco 7 site you are migrating. This way, the site will know it needs to start the migration.
When you start the site and log in, the Umbraco installer guide will pop up - and the automatic migration of content will take over.
After the content migration
Congratulations! Your content has been migrated from your Umbraco 7 site to Umbraco 8, and you can see it in the backoffice.
However, only your content was migrated, and it would not yet be visible in the frontend.
To fully migrate your site to Umbraco 8, you can start recreating your templates, rebuilding your libraries, and remaking all the custom implementation that made your Umbraco 7 site great.
Should I migrate from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8?
Absolutely! We always encourage you to stay on the latest major version of Umbraco to get all the new features and stay as secure as possible.
Plus, in July 2021, Umbraco 7 entered the security-only phase, which means we will only fix security issues and release security updates. We will no longer maintain and work on the features and fix bugs.
If you’re working with Umbraco Cloud, after July 2021, it is no longer possible to create new sites nor baseline children.
In September 2023, we will stop all support for Umbraco 7 as it will reach its end-of-life date. After that, we no longer recommend using this major.
What features are new in Umbraco 8?
Depending on your project, migrating your site from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 8 may be a lot of work - especially if you have a complicated, custom site on your hands that will take longer to recreate in the newer major version.
But we’ve made it worth it! Umbraco 8 contains three new cool features:
Infinite Editing is a new editing feature that allows editors to create great content that won’t disrupt and limit their workflow. You can make changes to content elements without leaving the Content section and losing sight of the context.
This means that you can, for example, edit images without switching to the Media library or edit Document Types without going to Settings in the backoffice.
Content Apps are a new extension option in the backoffice and are part of the content node. You don’t have to switch to external platforms - Content Apps act as companions to your editing experience directly in the backoffice. The feature can provide statistics or feedback and suggestions to improve your content.
The default Content App for all Umbraco 8 installations is the Info Content app which informs you about the links, editing history, and current status of the content node.
But you can also enrich your Umbraco site with custom Content Apps. Developers can create their own and add them to the backoffice as an Umbraco extension for their editors to use.
In Umbraco 8, all of your content nodes can simultaneously exist in multiple variations and languages. This means you can handle your multilingual content seamlessly.
For example, you can edit content in different languages side-by-side, and to compare the different variations of your side, you can switch between languages in preview mode.
You can also make sure that you have all necessary language variations in place before publishing, or choose to only publish content in some of your languages.
Pssst… Did you know that Umbraco 9 is already out?
It has all the cool features that Umbraco 8 can boast about. But on top of that, it also runs on .NET Core and .NET 5, meaning it has a stronger runtime performance, more powerful scalability, and is cross-platform compatible with macOS and Linux!