A lot of clients come to us asking for running Drupal updates on their sites. However almost everybody asks for a fixed price estimate for the process. There is however a challenge in this because updates would mostly run without problems but you might run into a problem or two once in a while. We have a standard and safe process of running Drupal updates but the safe practices followed in the process would take considerably longer time than blindly running updates on the live site.
Depending on whether one would like to avoid all risks while running the updates or whether one would like to take some risk while running the updates the time required to run Drupal updates would take anywhere from 2 to 20 hours of work (or more if there are issues during the process). The factors affecting this variability are
- Whether safe practices are followed - backups, trial, testing
- Whether updates are done right on the production server or on a development server
- Whether there is a development server for the site
- Whether code is already under revision control
- Whether SSH access is available on the servers
- Whether there are a lot of custom patches applied in core or contributed modules
- Whether there is documentation of the patches applied
- Whether there is a lot of custom code that uses functionalities from contributed modules directly (not via an API)
- Whether there is documentation about critical functionalities that should be tested after each update
To commit to a fixed price estimate for the update process each of these aspects will have to be evaluated in detail and this might actually take longer than the full update if the update did not run into any issues. So our general practice is to give a ballpark figure of 10 hours and then bill on the actuals based on an Time & Materials (T&M) billing model.
Get in touch with us if you are looking to keep your Drupal site updated on a regular basis.