How to Check out Drupal 9 on Pantheon!

Matt Cheney, Co-Founder & Principal Developer Advocate Reading estimate: 2 minutes

In case you haven’t heard, Drupal 9.0 will be released on June 3rd, 2020. Drupal 9.0 is the culmination of years of work by thousands of people that updates Drupal’s underlying dependencies, removes several deprecated API functions in favor of better options, and allows everyone running Drupal 8.8+ an easy upgrade path to Drupal 9. In many ways, the biggest deal about Drupal 9 is that upgrading to Drupal 9 won’t be a big deal at all!

Even better, you don’t have to wait until release to give Drupal 9 a whirl! A release candidate of Drupal 9 is already available, and we are inviting folks who want early access a chance to kick the tires with D9 on Pantheon ahead of its full release in two exciting ways:

Options to try Drupal 9 on Pantheon Today!

Integrated Composer


  • Composer automatically runs on Pantheon
  • Lean repository (vendor dir not in git)
  • Integrates nicely with 1-click Pantheon updates & Custom Upstreams


  • Only available as part of an “Early Access” program
  • Requires a unique site-name prefix

Build Tools


  • Composer automatically runs via Continuous Integration
  • Pull request-based workflow
  • Support for automated testing


  • Requires 3rd-party CI service 
  • Necessary to have Terminus installed
  • Composer updates happen outside the 1-click Pantheon dashboard updates



Drupal 9 w/ Integrated Composer Early Access


Do you want Pantheon to handle all things Composer for you? Never want to worry about running composer install again? 

Our new “Integrated Composer” technology will provide an integrated build step to run Composer directly on the Pantheon platform. Keep your Drupal 9 repository lean, avoid build artifacts on the master branch, and keep the 1-click updates for both upstream commits & Composer dependencies that you have come to know and love with Pantheon.

Join this early access program to test out both Drupal 9 and Pantheon-native Composer support! [Docs]


Drupal 9 w/ Continuous Integration via Build Tools

Do you regularly develop with continuous integration + automated tests? Want to start? 

Pantheon’s popular Build Tools provides an easy way to create new projects on Pantheon that make use of an external Git provider (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) and a Continuous Integration service (CircleCI, BitBucket, GitLab). This industrial grade workflow easily allows for automatic testing (Visual Regression, PHPUnit, Behat) and provides a clean starting point for further customization and integration for your development process.

Leverage Pantheon’s Build Tools to start quickly building, testing, and deploying Drupal 9! [Docs]


Remember to Have Fun with Drupal 9

Once you get Drupal 9 rolling on the platform, here are a few fun things to check out:

  1. Test out a Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 Upgrade! Just perform a Manual Migration of an existing D8 site to your new Pantheon D9 site instance and run update.php.  
  2. Rock that Composer! Composer is a very powerful part of the Drupal ecosystem, which allows web developers access to lots of great libraries and components from the wider PHP world. Try adding and using a few of these libraries for your site.
  3. Try out Drupal 9 modules! Over a thousand modules are already upgraded to Drupal 9, with more being added every day. Try installing a few and giving feedback in the issue queue.
  4. Upgrade your Deprecated Custom D8 Code! It is easy to scan your codebase for deprecations and straightforward to upgrade those


Afterward, let us know how it goes playing around with Drupal 9. We have a GitHub issue queue to capture Drupal 9 Build Tools issues and are happy to have you comment here on the blog with other feedback. We want folks to kick the tires to give feedback because, in true agile, WebOps fashion, we intend to iterate and improve these features through the release of Drupal 9.0 and beyond!



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