How to Update Drupal Modules


Drupal, the content management system developed by Dries Buytaert, was originally released in 2001. It is an open source project with the ability to extend functionality through the use of third-party applications; many of these are referred to as modules. Modules, like Drupal's core code, need to be updated periodically, but Drupal does not support automatic updating at this time. Therefore, you must update Drupal modules beyond just uploading the new version.

Things You'll Need

  • FTP access software
  • Log in to your Drupal admin interface. You will need your username and password to get in.

  • Navigate to "Administer, Reports and then Available updates" to view your modules that have updates available.

  • Backup your database. This can be done in a variety of ways using phpMyAdmin, phpMyAdminToolKit.Dump or the Drupal database administration module or backup module.

  • Download and save the code files for any modules you are updating using your FTP access software. Any FTP access software, such as FileZilla, Dreamweaver or Internet Explorer, will work. It is a good idea to back up all the module code files. They are located in "Root folder, Drupal installation (if in a subfolder otherwise your root folder will be your Drupal installation) and then Modules." Individual modules will have their own folders within the Modules folder.

  • Navigate to "Administer, Site Configuration and then Site Maintenance" in your Drupal interface. Select "Offline" and click "Save Configuration" at the bottom to place your site in maintenance mode.

  • Navigate to "Administer, Site Building and then Modules." Uncheck the modules that you need to update to disable them. Click "Save Configuration" at the bottom.

  • Navigate to "Administer, Reports and then Available updates." Click the download link for each module you need to update and follow the provided instructions for downloading the updated module.

  • Upload the module folder and files to your website using your FTP access software. Place them within the "Modules" folder and overwrite your outdated files.

  • Navigate to "Administer, Site Building and then Modules." Click the "Update PHP" link in the text at the top of the page. You can also go to

  • Follow the prompts to finalize the PHP and database updates. It should automatically detect any necessary updates. If it shows "No Updates Available" you do not need to update your database.

  • Check your site on the public side to ensure that all functionality and content is present and working.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can set Cron jobs to check for updates automatically or you can manually check from the "Modules" page in the admin section of your Drupal installation.
  • Make sure that "Register Globals" is off in your php.ini file. If you do not have one you can create one in Notepad with the following code: register_globals = off and upload it to your Drupal installation using your FTP access software.

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