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It’s Umbraco 8’s last trip around the sun: here’s what you need to know

Umbraco Setting Sun (1) Copy

We’ve only just landed in 2024, so 24th February 2025 probably feels like a world away.  But it’s an important date for those currently using Umbraco CMS. This time next year the sun will set on Umbraco 8, and support and security will no longer be provided to those using this version. 


We spoke to Mark Sullivan, Head of Digital Project Management, about what this impending End of Life (EOL) means for organisations using Umbraco 8 and how they can prepare for the year ahead. 


What happens if we’re on Umbraco 8 without support?

In short, if you are on an outdated Umbraco version, such as Umbraco 8, your website will no longer benefit from guaranteed updates, bug fixes or continued technical support from Umbraco. 


Provided you’re on a supported Umbraco version, you’re currently benefiting from its open-source nature whether you know it or not. How? Open source means any bugs or security issues your website is facing will have been experienced by all Umbraco users and developers, and usually handled before you even noticed. These bugs will already have been flagged to Umbraco and fixed. As your Umbraco version becomes outdated, there are fewer eyes on the codebase, and without the continued support from Umbraco, small bugs can expose your organisation to security vulnerabilities that could easily snowball into reputationally damaging issues.


Much like an outdated app on your phone, being on an outdated Umbraco version also means restrictions on the latest features and enhancements. Perhaps you feel you don’t need those features right now, but as they get older your CMS’s efficiency and performance become  compromised leading to a slower and more frustrating experience for users too.


Umbraco provides extended end-of-life support, why should we move now?

While it’s true that organisations can purchase extended life support from Umbraco, to support the Umbraco 8 CMS after February 2025, in our opinion, it’s delaying the inevitable and incurs additional expenses. 


These costs, over time, could significantly outweigh the benefits, especially considering they might be more effectively allocated towards upgrading your website. Therefore, while extended support offers a temporary solution, investing in a timely upgrade is a more strategic and future-proofing decision for your website's longevity, effectiveness and performance.


For our clients currently on Umbraco 8, we’d suggest a 4-6 month build process from start to finish, so it’s worthwhile getting Umbraco 8 on your agenda for June at the latest. This timeline ensures a reasonable buffer for any unforeseen contingencies, thereby guaranteeing a smooth and stress-free migration.


Here’s how you can make the move:
We’ve been building, migrating and upgrading websites for over a decade now so we’ve learnt how organisations can prepare to get the best results:


1. Be on the right version: :
In the past year Umbraco announced a new upgrade release cadence. This new cadence introduces major version releases biannually, streamlining upgrades to be more manageable and less complex. We recommend that organisations adopt a proactive approach, consistently updating to the latest version. This strategy not only ensures access to the latest features and improvements but also significantly reduces the need for extensive overhauls down the line. Find out more about Umbraco 13 here.


2. Pixel-to-pixel or re-design:
While upgrading can involve a pixel-to-pixel migration, simply recreating your site with the same pain points is a false economy. The money you save on discovery and re-designs will inevitably be spent on reverse engineering what’s not working. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but it’s worthwhile making a better end product that lasts.


3. Take stock:
If you decide to rebuild your site, it’s important to consider the decisions you make. What are the pain points your CMS managers and end-users have learned to live with? How could your content get more reach, or be more rich and engaging? Are your local market sites in line with the global brand? 


Choose the right agency to upgrade your CMS:
Picking the right agency for your organisation is vital in getting the best end product, they should have experience in your sector and in building websites that compliments the way you operate.

If you’re on Umbraco 8 and considering upgrading, or want to discuss any other digital challenges, drop us a line and chat with one of our digital experts.