Skip to content

Upgrading CiviCRM for Drupal 8

About this document

Use this document to upgrade CiviCRM installations on Drupal 8 to the latest CiviCRM release.

The document assumes that:

  • CiviCRM and Drupal 8 are already installed and working.
  • You are able to run composer and manage composer.json.
  • You have identified the root of your D8 project -- such as /var/www/

Before upgrading

Make sure you have done the steps listed in before upgrading first.

Drupal 8 (D8) sites are typically administered with Composer. Composer is a dependency management tool which can add, upgrade, and remove software packages for your site.

CiviCRM is published as a suite of related packages. Our goal is to use Composer to update CiviCRM's code. Then, we can upgrade the database.

Review "composer.json"

The file composer.json lists a series of required packages. Each package has a version constraint. For example, a typical file might specify:

  "require": {
    "civicrm/civicrm-core": "~5.29.0",
    "civicrm/civicrm-packages": "~5.29.0",
    "civicrm/civicrm-drupal-8": "~5.29.0",
    "civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin": "~1.0.0"

Look at your configuration and answer these questions:

What is the version constraint?

In the above example, it uses a version-constraint: ~5.29.0. This matches 5.29.0 and roughly-equivalent versions (5.29.1, 5.29.2, etc). However, it does not match 5.30.0.

A common alternative might be ~5.29. This matches 5.29 and roughly-equivalent versions (5.30, 5.31, etc). However, it doe not match 6.0.

If the constraint looks unfamiliar, review Composer: Writing Version Constraints.

Which plugin is responsible for CiviCRM's JS+CSS files?

CiviCRM-D8 requires a composer plugin to handle JS+CSS assets. There are two common plugins. composer.json may specify:

  • civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin: Used on newer deployments. Better compatibility with different variations of Drupal 8/9.
  • roundearth/civicrm-composer-plugin: Used on older deployments. Better compatibility with older versions of CiviCRM.
  • Neither: The significance of omission depends on the version. For Civi-D8 v5.31+ (Nov 2020), omission implies civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin. In older versions, omission is likely a misconfiguration.

For our purposes, we assume that you should keep the current plugin. Switching to a different plugin requires extra effort.

What if both plugins are listed in composer.json?

This is most likely a mistake. The signifance depends on the versions:

  • If civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin is 1.1.1 (Oct 2020) or newer, it will defer to roundearth/civicrm-composer-plugin.
  • If civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin is older, then the behavior is unknown/undefined/unsupported.

Upgrade the plugin

If composer.json lists civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin as ~1.0.0, then it needs the first update.

composer require civicrm/civicrm-asset-plugin:~1.1

Otherwise, continue to the next step.

Upgrade the code

Choose one of the following methods:

  • Run the command composer update. This finds the newest version which matches the current constraint. For example, if the constraint specifies ~5.29.0, then composer update will find 5.29.2 or 5.29.3 or similar.

    composer update civicrm/civicrm-{core,packages,drupal-8}
  • Run the command composer require. This changes the current constraint. For example, to switch to ~5.31.0, run:

    composer require civicrm/civicrm-{core,packages,drupal-8}:~5.31.0

Upgrade the translations

In some workflows for internationalized deployments, you would need re-download the translations.

Upgrade the database

Choose one of the following methods:

  • Run the following cv command from within your site:

    cv upgrade:db

    Tip: Preview upgrade steps

    The cv upgrade:db command accepts a --dry-run option to show what changes will be executed. For the maximum detail, use cv upgrade:db --dry-run -vv.

  • Or, run the following drush (v8) command from within your site:

    drush civicrm-upgrade-db
  • Or, point your web browser to the following URL and follow the on-screen instructions.

Clear cached files

Delete all files in sites/default/files/civicrm/templates_c/, or clear the caches using one of the command line tools, such s cv flush or drush cache-clear civicrm.


If you disabled modules, or placed the site in maintenance mode, remember to reverse those steps after the upgrade.