What is the difference between upgrade and migration in Drupal?

1 Answer 1


Seen as a process, upgrading will keep your existing database (where content and configuration lives) and update the code of your system. After the code is updated, all needed database modifications (configuration and content) will be performed.

Migration on the other hand, usually refers to content migration. That said, the migration process targets a Drupal instance different from the existing one, where the content will be transfered to.

A definitely good reference is the official Upgrade documentation page

  • In the context of just drupal sites it seems that generally for non-major versions of drupal you can just upgrade. Major versions like drupal 6 to 7 or 7 to 8 require migration. This can be counter-intuitive for people coming from other systems where there is some expectation that part of the upgrade will include providing an upgrade path from the previous major version.
    – UltraBob
    May 26, 2016 at 8:02

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