End of Long Term Supports for TYPO3 v9

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What does it mean?

Today the free Long Term Support of TYPO3 v9 is discontinued. Specifically, this means for website owners with this version:

Basically, the website - contrary to other fears - continues to run normally. Both the presentation of the website (the so-called "frontend") and the administration and maintenance via the backend are technically not affected in any way.
for security vulnerabilities that are discovered and closed as of today, no free update ("patch") will be offered anymore
if you want to continue to be supplied with patches, you must either perform a release update (e.g. to version 10) or book the paid support of TYPO3 GmbH (costs: approx. 2.600,-€ per TYPO3 installation)

TYPO3 v11 will be released on 5.10.2021

Today's end is a bit irritating, if you consider that

  • TYPO3 v11 LTS will be released only next week(10/05)
  • According to previous statements of the TYPO3 Association always two LTS versions are provided

One can still overlook this one week. A bigger headache for agencies like us is the fact that many very important and frequently used extensions are not yet available in a v11 compatible version. One example is the extension Grid Eements.

Grid Elements is a very practical and versatile extension when it comes to implementing column layouts responsive in TYPO3. The meanwhile more than half a million downloads speak for themselves.

The problem: There is no compatible version for TYPO3 v11 yet. But the extension is a central element in the presentation of the frontend. It cannot simply be deactivated or replaced "on the fly". This means:

Website operators who use Grid Elements cannot update at all at the moment.

 

Grid Elements is only mentioned here as a representative. The same applies to the also important extensions news, powermail and direct mail.

Never go for the "zero" version

In addition to this "extension problem", there is another aggravating aspect: Every major software release still has teething problems at the beginning, which is why productive use is usually only recommended from the second maintenance patch onwards (i.e. 11.5.2 instead of 11.5.0 in this case). I.e. the actually relevant release is published only a few weeks (or months) after the official release.


Possible courses of action

The following are the possible courses of action that we recommend to our customers:

1. Change provider

There are some TYPO3-specialized providers, who offer a free ELTS support (example: Mittwald CM Service GmbH & Co. KG). It may be worthwhile to migrate the TYPO3 installation there. The effort is usually manageable. The installation of TYPO3 is possible there "with one click". Copying database and files is usually very fast, too. In addition there are of course some settings in the new handling. But even if you need a specialist: The (one-time) effort should be within limits. At least it should be much lower than an ELTS license.

2. Update to v10

Another possibility is to perform the release upgrade to TYPO3 v10. The update from 9 to 10 is - compared to other version jumps - comparatively easy. Of course, the devil is in the details here. Unfortunately, many TYPO3 websites are still implemented unprofessionally. Most customers only notice this when an update is due. The main problem is the use of unnecessarily many extensions, which - see above. - not only increases the effort massively but even hinders the whole update technically.

3. Acquisition of the ELTS license

If you want/need to host your website on local servers and have no resources for an update, you can book the so called Extended Long Term Support(ELTS) at TYPO3 GmbH. The costs start at 2.618,-€ per year and increase depending on the duration and number of installations. More information can be found here.

4. Turning away from TYPO3

We don't like to say it. But unfortunately this is also an alternative. For non-profit organizations with a small budget and freelancers with relatively few requirements, it may make sense to abandon TYPO3 altogether and instead look for cheaper alternatives such as WordPress or even modular systems. TYPO3 is technically superior to these solutions. In terms of updates, however, you have far fewer to no worries/costs here.


Summary

One thing in advance: For us as an Internet agency, TYPO3 remains the first choice. Not because we would earn more money with it - as some contemporaries less versed in holistic system analysis would have us believe. It is much more because TYPO3, not only because of its extensive core functionality, but also because of its well thought-out development framework (extBase/Fluid), enables modern software development for complex real-world requirements: robust, maintainable and security-oriented.

We also see the fact that there is a transparent and predictable release policy as very positive. What worries us, on the other hand, are the LTS runtimes that are too short, especially - as described here - the problems that arise when a new LTS version is released for the previous one. These concerns are shared by parts of our clientele, which in some cases has led to a move away from TYPO3. In our opinion, a basic extension of the oldest LTS version by 6 months would be a desirable solution.