How to install, update, enable and disable Drupal modules

Drupal is an open source content management platform (CMS) which powers millions of websites and applications. There is no proprietary code, it's fully extensible and flexible and you have access to an active developer community worldwide. There's a huge market of Distributions, Themes and Modules available for Drupal which can help you quicky build and customise your next web project.

Read more Drual tutorials:

A Basic Guide to Drupal Website Management

Drupal Website Maintenance tutorial

Drupal Website Security Tutorial

Drupal configuration tutorial

Here are the top 10 benefits of the Drupal CMS:

  1. Rapid and Agile Web 2.0 Development is at the heart of Drupal. Out of the box, you have clean mark-up code, page and blog publishing, content management, search, polls, forums, user login modules and more. Development time is reduced from weeks to days.
  2. Thousands of free Modules (16,000+) are available in the community to help you quickly add specific features to your website. From CRM, Security, Social Media to SEO, Performance, Backup/Migrate and more. Think of modules as Lego Blocks - quickly add them to build your online property.
  3. A huge community of theme designers have created feature-rich templates to quickly help you realise your website's vision. Aesthetics, fonts, responsive layouts, stock graphics, adjustable colour schemes and layout editors make working with 3rd party themes a breeze. You can always find one to suit your brand identity. Or simply build your own.
  4. Drupal CMS is massively scalable. You can start with 5 pages and grow to 5000 without ever needing to change anything. Performance and Security parameters can easily be managed from the Admin console. Some of the world's high traffic sites like Grammys, White House, Nascar all run on Drupal.
  5. It's 100% free. As open source software, you're not locked down with licenses, recurring fees or anything proprietary. Just install the CMS files on your server and you're good to go.
  6. Drupal CMS is known for its rock solid security, dependability and constant security patches and updates. Safeguarding you from any online code exploits.
  7. Clean code, powerful modules and modern web publishing make Drupal a very SEO Friendly CMS. There are of course a wide range of 3rd party SEO modules you can plug in to Drupal to take your SEO initiatives to the next level. (I'll publish a separate post on some Drupal SEO modules you can deploy in your project)
  8. Adding eCommerce modules and integrating payment gateways is a breeze with Drupal thanks to a lot of open APIs and Modules. There are also complete eCommerce ready drupal distributions available which have everything out of the box! From payment gateway, logistics handling, shopping carts to customer CRM, messaging and much more. 'Commerce Kickstart' is a good example.
  9. Powerful content creation and collaboration is at the heart of Drupal. Easily create and publish content, set user roles and permissions, choose who can view/edit/share content and more. You're in total control.
  10. Easily connect with the web's leading 3rd party services and APIs to extend your Drupal Website. Social networking integration is also widely supported to help you engage with a wider audience. Drupal also offers your site easy ways to interact with external media and file services.

Read more Drupal tutorials:

Drupal's Paragraphs Module Tutorial

How to Speed Up Your Drupal Website

How to address "failed Drupal Clean url Test"

You can install, update, enable or disable Drupal Modules from the Extend section of your Drupal application.

The default installation of Drupal has many useful modules, and there is a brief description of what each one of the modules does. If you need more modules, you can freely download them from the Drupal Modules official website.

On your site, Drupal modules are stored in the modules/ subfolder within the Drupal installation directory. You can install additional modules by simply using the Install new module functionality. Alternatively, you can unzip the chosen module in the aforementioned folder (modules/).

With Drupal 7, you can add modules and themes to your site by downloading the file and installing it manually. It’s good to know how to do it yourself so you understand how it works. Manual installation adds a few additional steps to the process. Here are the general steps:

  1. Locate a new module or theme you want to use on your site.

  2. Download the new module or theme to your local computer.

  3. Upload the new module or theme to a specific folder on the web server where Drupal is running.

  4. Extract the new module or theme file.

  5. Delete the original .zip or .tar.gz file.

  6. Enable the new module or theme on your Drupal site.

  7. Customize your new module or theme as desired.

The following subsections take a closer look at downloading modules and themes.

Also read:

How to optimize your Drupal website

Installing a new Drupal website

Tips to Speed Up Drupal Performance

Downloading modules and themes

After you find a module or theme you want, look for a link to download it. Most of the time the module or theme will download as a single compressed file (a .tar.gz or .zip file). Save this file to a directory you’ll remember.

Installing modules and themes

Your module or theme comes as a single, compressed .zip file, but it actually consists of many files and folders. All of these files need to be located in a web directory under your Drupal directory on your web server.

The first time you install a new module or theme manually, you need to create the directory to store it. Create two new directories under your Drupal installation. One will be called modules and one will be called themes. Create these two under the directory sites/all. You will place new modules in the sites/all/modules directory and new themes in the sites/all/themes directory.

You can upload the single .zip file to either the sites/all/modules or sites/all/themes directory under your Drupal installation on most web hosting companies. You can extract the files after you’ve uploaded the .zip (this way, you don’t have to upload a bunch of individual files).

To upload the compressed file, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the web host’s site and log in.

    You should have received an e-mail from your web host that has your username, password, and login information.

  2. Click the link to a file manager.

    You need a file manager so that you can select the .zip file and put it in the correct directory on your web host’s site. After you click the file manager, you’ll see a screen that displays the files on your web host’s web server.

  3. You should see a single folder or directory named html, www, or htdocs. Open this folder.

    There may be several directories, but the one for your website should be easy to spot. This is where all your web pages belong — and where you need to install the new theme or module.

  4. Browse to sites/all. If you see a folder named modules and one named themes, click the appropriate one.

    This means that Drupal is installed in the root directory of your site.

  5. If you didn’t see the sites/all/modules and sites/all/themes directories, look for a directory named Drupal. Click the Drupal directory and browse to sites/all.

    You should now see the modules and themes directories. If this is the first time you’ve installed a module or theme, you will need to create these directories.

  6. If you downloaded a module, click the site/all/modules directory to enter it; if you downloaded a theme, click the site/all/themes directory.

  7. Click the Upload link on your file manager.

    You should see an upload form with a Browse button.

  8. Click Browse and select the module or theme .tar.gz or .zip file you downloaded, and then click Upload.

    Your file is now on your site and in the correct folder. But you still need to extract it.

To update modules in Drupal 7:

  1. Log into the Drupal Dashboard
  2. Go to Reports and click on Available Updates
  3. Change to the Update tab
  4. Select the modules and themes you want to update by placing a check mark next to them
  5. Click on Download these updates
  6. After the download is complete, you will want to set your website in maintenance mode by checking the box and selecting continue
  7. Once the update is complete you'll be notified via a screen similar to the one below. Note that the site will be taken out of maintenance mode automatically for you.
  8. After you have updated all the modules and themes you want to, you'll want to run the database update script. After a module is updated the screen below will appear. This is the last step in the update process. You simply need to click on the Run database updates
Activating Module
  1. After installing your modules successfully select Enable Newly Added Modules.
  2. Scroll down the module list to find the module that you recently installed.
  3. Check the box in the Enabled column to enable the module.
    Note: If you are unable to enable the module you may be missing a module that your module depends on.
  4. Once this is completed your module is successfully enabled and able to be used.
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