As we head into the new year, we are sharing some important news with our Web Express community: In 2024, the Web Express service and all Web Express websites will be migrated to run on the latest version of Drupal. While the Web Express team is aiming to provide uninterrupted service, site owners and users will need to take actions throughout 2024 to ensure a smooth transition. 

Why the change 

We are rebuilding the Web Express service within the latest version of Drupal to maintain a secure and adequately supported website publishing service. We plan to migrate all Web Express websites before December 2024.

This migration will allow us to:

  • Continue security and support updates tied to the latest release of Drupal
  • Maintain hosting reliability 
  • Establish a foundation for the future state of Web Express, including the development of a product roadmap and the ability to add new features and functionality to the service

What this means for Web Express websites and site owners

The Web Express team will offer two migration paths for site owners: 

  1. Automatic migration executed by the Web Express team
  2. Manual rebuild done by the site owner and editor(s)

Automatic migration

Effort: Minimal effort for site owners to review & clean up site before migration

Timing: A scheduled migration window (estimating 3–5 days) between June–October 2024 

Outcome: Site and its content migrates “as is” 

Benefit: Little effort for site owner and team and site remains the same 

Migration windows will be announced in April 2024, and site owners will have the option to confirm or reschedule the window date.

During this process:

  • Websites will remain active and visible to site visitors.
  • Site owners will complete a pre-migration checklist to ensure a smooth transition. Effort for this will vary depending on the amount of content and blocks on a given site.
  • Websites will be locked from content edits during the active migration window.

Manual rebuild

Effort: Medium to high effort for site owner team depending on site content and approach

Timing: Must be rebuilt and ready for launch by Sept. 30, 2024

Outcome: Site owners can completely change their site structure, content and layouts

Benefit: Start with a blank site and eliminate outdated content, images and files

The Web Express team will provide a new empty site instance (estimated May/June time frame), and site owners and editors will start from a blank site to rebuild the website. 

During this process: 

  • The site owner will need to commit to having the site complete and submitted for launch by Sept. 30, 2024. The Web Express team will then relaunch the new site. 
  • The site owner will be fully responsible for the rebuild of the site, including content, images and files. 
  • Training and tutorials with step-by-step instructions will be available for all features and functionality of the new version of Web Express.

Timeline and next steps

Pre-migration (spring–summer 2024)

  • Decide on automatic migration vs. rebuilding: Starting in February 2024, site owners will need to decide and submit their choice of migration path. To help with this choice, we will host optional information sessions in February that will provide an overview and pros/cons of each migration path, and provide the opportunity to ask questions. Dates for these sessions will be sent out in January.
     
  • Pre-migration planning and site cleanup: We will provide a pre-migration checklist to help site users plan for the smoothest possible migration, including recommended cleanup, such as evaluating their list of current site users and removing unnecessary content.
     
  • Migration schedule: In March/April, we will send out the automatic migrations schedule and ask site owners to review and confirm or reschedule their migration window. For sites that opted for a manual rebuild, site owners will receive a suggested rebuild schedule to meet the Sept. 30, 2024 deadline.
     
  • Attend webinars and open labs: We will host a series of webinars that will highlight the changes in the new version of Web Express, question-and-answer sessions, and best practices for site rebuilds. Dates will be sent out in the spring.

Active migrations (summer–fall 2024)

  • Automatic migration steps: Site owners will receive instructions on how to prepare for their automatic migration and as details on what to expect. You should plan for the following: 
    • Content freeze and technical migration
    • Quality assurance review
       
  • Manual rebuild migration steps: Site owners will receive instructions, milestone deadlines, access to tutorials and open lab support options to aid in rebuild efforts. You should plan for the following:
    • Check-in process on progress
    • Accessibility review
    • Deadline of Sept. 30 for relaunch

Service changes

During this transition, there will be two initial service changes to be aware of: 

New site moratorium: Starting in January 2024 and going through May 2024, we will not be able to support the creation of new websites. Exceptions will be extremely limited and will be granted only through approval of senior leadership. Existing sites will be able to be updated and maintained during this time. 

New service agreements: As part of this transition, we are updating our service and acceptable use agreements to more accurately reflect the role the service holds within the university, and expectations of site owners and site editors. Site owners will need to sign new agreements during the migration process.     


We will continue to provide updates to Web Express site users and owners over the coming months to help prepare for a smooth transition in 2024. We understand how crucial our websites are to achieving the university’s business goals, and we are committed to supporting our community of users throughout the transition and beyond. If you have any questions in the meantime, please direct them to websupport@colorado.edu.

Thank you, and happy holidays!

The Web Express Team