Managing Drush Versions on Pantheon

Learn about Pantheon's default Drush version and how to implement site-local usage.

By default, Pantheon runs Drush 8 on newly created Drupal sites. Drush 8 is compatible with Drupal 6, 7, and 8.

The Drush version is set when the site is created. Sites created before Nov 4, 2015 (and Drupal 8 sites created before Sep 3, 2015) use an older version of Drush that is incompatible with later versions of PHP. You can check your current Drush version via Terminus. Updating Drush can be accomplished by a simple addition to your pantheon.yml file below.


When running Drush locally, we highly recommend running Drush version 8.3.0 or higher.

Terminus Drush and Local Drush

Terminus makes remote Drush calls on sites without using a local installation, eliminating compatibility issues between local and remote installs. For more information, see our guide on Managing Drupal Sites with Terminus and Drush.

Verify Current Drush Version

Verify the current version of Drush running remotely on Pantheon using Terminus:

terminus drush <site>.<env> -- status | grep "Drush version"

Configure Drush Version

You can change a site's Drush version via the pantheon.yml file:

api_version: 1

drush_version: 8

Now your site’s Drush version is managed via pantheon.yml, so it’s in version control and deployed along with the rest of your code.


If the pantheon.yml file does not exist, create it. If a pantheon.upstream.yml file exists, please do not edit it. It is used by the upstream updates repository and will cause a merge conflict if modified.

Available Drush Versions

Pantheon currently supports Drush 8 and Drush 9. Drush 9 is the preferred version of Drush to use with Drupal 8 sites that are managed by Composer. See Drupal 8 and Composer on Pantheon Without Continuous Integration and the Build Tools Workflow for information on how to use Composer to manage Drupal sites on Pantheon. Drush 8 should be used for Drupal 8 sites that are not managed by Composer, or that use modules that provide additional Drush 8 commands.

Always use Drush 8 with Drupal 7 and Drupal 6 sites, as Drush 9 only works on Drupal 8 and later. While Drush 5 and 7 are available on Pantheon if needed, they are listed as unsupported{.external} by the Drush maintainers, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

PHP Requirements

Drush VersionMinimum PHP Version
Drush 5PHP 5.2.0+
Drush 7PHP 5.3.0+
Drush 8PHP 5.4.5+
Drush 9PHP 5.6.0+

See our guide on Upgrading PHP Versions.


Sometimes even after updating the drush version in pantheon.yml, the correct version of drush is not called. This is usually caused by an outdated configuration file,, in your local ~/.drush directory, overriding pantheon.yml. Remove the file, or comment out its contents, to resolve.

Site-local Drush Usage

If you need to specify a minor version or a version not available on the platform, you can add a site-local installation of Drush to your repository. This will redispatch Pantheon's platform Drush to the site-local installation. Do not select any major version of Drush lower than 8.2.3 or 9.6.0. In general, you will usually be better off not including a site-local Drush in your Pantheon site, as using the Pantheon-provided Drush will ensure that you are using the recommended and most-tested version for the Pantheon platform. Occasionally, using a site-local Drush may be necessary for avoiding conflicts with your site's dependencies.

For more information, see Avoiding “Dependency Hell” with Site-Local Drush.

See Also