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PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

  • 1.  PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

    Posted Sep 26, 2018 10:06
    We're getting ready for the PHP upgrade on our Drupal 7 site which is coming on 10/1. I'm testing it on our dev server but I'm not sure what to look for. Has anyone had issues with the upgrade? I'm not a developer, so I don't know what kind of things this affects. I will run my usual tests but it would be helpful to know if others have had issues.

    This is the documentation: https://support.acquia.com/hc/en-us/articles/360005438654-Upgrading-from-PHP-56-to-71-or-72


    Mary Gaughan
    Boston, MA
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  • 2.  RE: PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

    Posted Sep 26, 2018 17:22
    Hello, Mary -

    A couple ways to tackle this.

    1. Test all your functionality. Great if you have good automated test coverage, not so great if a human has to do all this work. Keep an eye on the watchdog log for errors and warnings.

    2. Upgrade all your modules to the latest version. Chances are at this point all the modules you're using have been upgraded to deal with deprecated and removed functions - unless you're using unsupported modules. You can rummage through the issue queues for your modules to see what PHP 7 issues have been addressed. Rummaging through the issue queues is a great way to help you focus your testing for point 1 above.


    Stephen Musgrave
    Capellic LLC

    New York / New Jersey / San Diego / Los Angeles

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  • 3.  RE: PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

    Posted Sep 27, 2018 11:48
    Which version of PHP 7 are you going to? I'm going to assume 7.1 if you're staying on Drupal 7 (it doesn't have support for 7.2 yet, although people have run it without problem. Drupal 7.60 is supposed to officially support it, from what I've read).

    The big thing is to make sure you're not encountering any warnings or errors. You should also make sure all your essential modules that you use have full support for any version of PHP 7. For example, both our current and replacement website (launching soon) run CiviCRM (on latest Drupal 7) and we're stuck on 7.1 because of the CRM (something they're working on for future releases).

    A person I'd check w/ is my co-moderator @Jess Snyder. She recently ran the upgrade on her organization's website and she will probably have some insight into it when she returns from her leave.

    Corey Brown
    Web Resource Coordinator
    Silver Spring, MD

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  • 4.  RE: PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

    Posted Oct 04, 2018 12:09
    Hi @Mary Gaughan,

    As @Corey Brown said, we upgraded our environment to PHP 7.1 at the end of August. We upgraded our dev environment first, and I kept a list of all the issues we ran into. That way, when we upgraded our production environment a few weeks later, I was able to quickly point the engineers in the right direction when similar issues occurred.  That really helped minimize downtime on production.

    That said, for the most part it went smoothly -- there were just a ​​few bobbles.

    1. Check that all the extra packages or extensions your site might need have been installed.  We were initially missing a few, which generated massive fatal errors, but it was an easy fix as soon as we saw the error messages.
    2. I was behind on a few not-security-related contrib module updates -- running those resolved many of the error messages I was seeing in my logs after the upgrade.
    3. PHP 7 is *a lot* stricter about arrays vs. strings and other syntax-y things that PHP 5.6 accepted without question, so I had to clean up some of my custom code.  Which was a good thing to do anyway.
    4. On the advice of our host, we ended up switching from Memcached to Redis for database caching.  This wasn't difficult, but it added a bit of complexity to the upgrade since I had to remove the Memcache module and add the Redis module (which involved editing settings.php).

    As others have suggested, your logs will really tell you a lot about what's going on with your site at the PHP level.  A lot of orgs don't have the core database logging module enabled on their production sites for performance reasons.  That's generally good advice, but this is a situation where you should probably consider turning it on at least for a little while so you can have some insight into any potential issues that are invisible to the casual browser.

    Good luck!


    Jess Snyder
    Senior Manager, Web Systems, Digital Media | Digital Media
    jsnyder@weta.org | 703-998-2002 | @jesseves

    WETA Public Television and Classical WETA
    3939 Campbell Avenue | Arlington, VA 22206
    www.weta.org | facebook.com/wetatvfm | @wetatvfm

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline

  • 5.  RE: PHP upgrade issues with Drupal 7?

    Posted Oct 04, 2018 16:31

    Regarding module updates, check for any that are not fully up to date. You can review the release notes logs for these from drupal.org. You'll need to review the notes for each version more recent then your installed version. We've found a variety of Drupal 7 modules that specifically list changes made to properly support PHP 7.x. It's a bit tedious but will save you a lot of stress.



    Pierre G. Berryer

    Beaconfire RED

    2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 925

    Arlington, VA 22201




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