Staff Update

SSL and Drupal 8 coming in 2017

It’s the start of a new year and we want to give you an update on two major efforts we have underway to keep your website’s technology performing well in 2017: SSL and a free upgrade to Drupal 8.

SSL for security: Privacy and security are an increasing concern online, and major search engines and browser vendors are pushing the use of HTTPS. Short for “HTTP over SSL,” this is a protocol that ensures network connections cannot be tapped. Web pages that ask for passwords or credit card information and don’t use HTTPS will be labeled as “not secure” in Google Chrome starting January 1. Eventually, all non-HTTPS web pages will be marked as “not secure,” although we don’t expect this will happen for at least another year.

Rest assured, we are planning to transition all websites to HTTPS by April 1, 2017 (see below for update). This is a major infrastructural and logistical undertaking that will be included in your SLA program at no additional charge and without any effort on your part. We will automatically generate and renew free SSL certificates for your domains through Let’s Encrypt; there will be a way for you to bring your own SSL certificates if needed. You will hear more from us about the HTTPS transition in upcoming months.

Upgrading to Drupal 8: Keeping your site’s content fresh is important, and it is equally important for the underlying technology to receive ongoing maintenance. Your site is powered by our specialized flavor of Drupal 6 that makes it easy for you to update your content and communicate online. This platform also allows us to update your website every month. While Drupal 6 has been receiving a steady flow of security patches through the Drupal 6 LTS (Long Term Support) program backed by major Drupal vendors, Drupal 8 has reached a maturation level that we believe will fortify the long-term maintainability of our platform.

We are planning to update all websites to Drupal 8 starting Q4 2017. By that time, we are planning to have built and tested a Drupal 8 version of the user-friendly Drupal distribution that you are accustomed to. We will be migrating your site content and design as part of your SLA program at no additional charge. This is an endeavor that will mostly take place ‘under the hood;’ the look & feel of your site will remain unchanged.* We will follow up with more details and with an updated timeline later this year.

Of course, we will continue to update your website with security patches, bug fixes, and other improvements on the first Wednesday of every month as part of commitment to keeping you on supportable, well-maintained, and tested technology.

If you have any questions, please submit a support ticket and we’ll make sure to get your questions answered.

—Dennis Stevense, Lead Software Engineer

* If you are considering a site redesign, or if would like to make your site responsive for mobile devices, please reach out. This will give you a head start on getting your site updated to Drupal 8.

Update March 30, 2017: our CMS, servers, and internal tools are HTTPS-ready, and we are working with our hosting provider to make the final adjustments to our load balancers. We are expecting to be able to roll out HTTPS in May.