Drupal Website Maintenance tutorial

Managing your Drupal website involves performing a lot of tasks which include securing your Drupal website, updating the installation, getting support when needed, basic Drupal configuration, clean your Drupal content form, fix Drupal website errors after you run an update, remove duplicate views, adding content and managing your pages and a lots more. This tutorial will look at these specific aspects and guide you on how to get them done.

You will also want to read:

A Basic Guide to Drupal Website Managemen

 Drupal Website Security Tutorial

 Drupal configuration tutorial

 How to Speed Up Your Drupal Website

 How to address "failed Drupal Clean url Test"

 Installing a new Drupal website

How to update your Drupal website


Updating your Drupal website is extremely important for security of your site. In this article, we will look at how to update your Drupal 7 site from one minor version to another. That means from 7.0 to 7.2 or 7.2 to 7.4. and so on.

Please note that moving between major versions such as from 5 to 6 or from 6 to 7 is a much bigger topic beyond the scope of this article.

Before you start, please remember to backup your site. Please backup, backup, backup your site!

Now, let us look at the Drupal update process.

Step 1: Check for Available Updates

To get started with updating your Drupal site, click on "Configuration" and then "Available updates".

This page will show you an updates you need to make. They will be marked in red as in the image above. If there are updates, it is worth putting your site in maintenance mode at this point to avoid any problems for your users as you update. Instructions for doing that are here.

Step 2: Download the Update Files

Drupal will show you a link to download the files for the new update.
Step 3: Upload the Update Files

Unzip the files that you've just downloaded.

IMPORTANT: Delete the /sites/ folder from these unzipped files. Do not upload the /sites/ folder as this will overwrite any custom work that you have done. Make sure that you leave the exisiting /sites/ folder intact on the server.

Then open up your FTP program or file manager and navigate to your existing Drupal site files. Simply upload the new files over the top of the existing ones.

Once the upload is complete, you can refresh your "Available updates" page and hopefully it will now be marked in green rather than red.
Step 4: Run the Update Manager

Drupal Updates

Click on "Modules" and then click on "Always run the update script each time a module is updated".

Click "Continue".

Click "Apply pending updates".

You should now see a page saying the update has been successful with no errors.

Click on the "Administration pages" link and go "Configuration" then "Maintenance mode" to put the site back online.

You will also want to read:

A Basic Guide to Drupal Website Managemen

 Drupal Website Security Tutorial

 Drupal configuration tutorial

 How to Speed Up Your Drupal Website

 How to address "failed Drupal Clean url Test"

 Installing a new Drupal website


Geting additional support for Drupal: How to Obtain Additional Support for Drupal

Drupal is an open-source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It's built, used and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world. The Drupal community provides vast documentation and support via their website, Drupal.org. There are also thousands of independent sites that provide information, modules, themes, tips, tricks, hacks, you name it.

The following resources are available to all Drupal users, regardless of the coding, modules or theme.

Drupal.org

Geting additional support for Drupal

Drupal.org is the official website for the Drupal script, with comprehensive documentation and support forums to ask questions and find answers. When you are having issues with Drupal, this should be your first stop for support since common issues and their solutions are frequently posted on this site. There is also a great community of active users to whom you can pose your questions.

    Drupal.org Documentation
    Drupal.org Forums
    Drupal Modules
    Drupal Themes

Module or Theme Designer's Official Website

As you work with Drupal, you may wish to add modules and themes to your website. When you are experiencing an issue with a particular module or theme, it is generally best to contact the creator of the module or theme. You can locate this information on Drupal.org under the "Download & Extend" menu or by performing a search.

    List of Modules (with links to developers) on Drupal.org
    List of Themes (with links to developers) on Drupal.org

Specialized Support

You may wish to implement specific changes to your Drupal website to expand its capability. In the below references you can find additional information regarding ways to improve your Drupal website using one method or another.

    Using HTTPS with Drupal

Try a Search Engine

Having an issue with or wanting to do something specific in Drupal? With hundreds of thousands of individuals and organizations using Drupal to power an endless variety of sites, chances are that someone else has encountered something similar, and they may have posted the solutions online. Frequently, you can utilize search engines to locate whatever you may need concerning Drupal.

How to put your Drupal website on maintenance mode

To edit your Drupal website maintenance settings, follow the instructions below after logging in to your Drupal backend.

1) Click the Configuration link

Now let’s learn how to maintain our Drupal web site

2) Click Maintenance Mode

This is the Site Maintenance page. Under normal circumstances, your Site Status should be set to Online. If you wanted to work on the website and didn’t want people to have access to it while you worked, you would want to check the Put site into maintenance mode

If you want, you can further personalize the Maintenance mode message message here

3) Click Save configuration

The site is now off-line. Turning the site back online is just as easy

We can return to this page at any time to toggle between online and offline while working on the site

That is all.  You now know how to maintain your site in Drupal

You will also want to read:

A Basic Guide to Drupal Website Managemen

 Drupal Website Security Tutorial

 Drupal configuration tutorial

 How to Speed Up Your Drupal Website

 How to address "failed Drupal Clean url Test"

 Installing a new Drupal website

How To Clean Up the Drupal Content Form

Drupal comes with a lot of options and sometimes website managers want to clean up the content form so that only the essential options remained. It could be necessary to do this to avoid some confusion associated with dealing with the lots of options associated with Drupal.

Here are three steps to clean up your Drupal content form:

Step #1. Remove the Overlay

The overlay / lightbox that contain the Drupal admin screens can be confusing for users because it radically changes the look and feel of the screen

Removing the overlay is the easiest change of all. Simply go to Modules and uncheck the box next to the Overlay module:

You can also control who sees the overlay on a more granular basis via People > Permissions > Overlay.

Step #2. Remove the options underneath the content

By default, the Drupal content form provides several options. These may confuse ordinary users.

One way to disable these options is with the Jammer module: https://drupal.org/project/jammer.

    Install Jammer and enable the Jammer module. Check at least the "Content Form Jammer" box.
    Go to Configuration > Jammer
    You'll be able to remove options from different content types:

One thing about Jammer is that it does not work for the default admin account (User 1). You will need another account to test it in action.

If you do have problems removing all the options, go to People > Permissions and check the Jammer options on that screen:

Step #3. Improve the Layout

Often if you create a long content form, it can be hard for users to navigate:

There are several modules that can re-design the content form, but we recommend Display Suite for beginners.

    Install and enable Display Suite. Make sure to check the "Display Suite Forms" box.
    Go to Structure > Display Suite
    Click Manage form next to the content type you want to control.

    At the bottom of the screen, select a layout.
    Click Save.

You'll now be able to drag-and-drop your fields into your new layout.


How to fix errors after a Drupal website update

It is not uncommon, infact, it is very often reported that a website shows errors after applying a Drupal update. This issue underscores the need for a backup before any update. In this tutorial, we will show you a safe way to overcome this problem.

One way to solve an error is with a patch. A patch changes the code on your site, but only by editing a file rather than providing a complete update.

However, applying a patch isn't easy for non-coders. Many of the available instructions for applying patches ask you to use an application called Drush and to use command line instructions. These instructions can be intimidating, so we're going to show you how non-coders can safely apply patches using the Patch Manager module.

    First, find the patch that you want to download. Save the patch file to your desktop.

    Install and enable the Patch Manager module.
    Go to Structure > Patches.
    Click the "Add" tab.

    Patch name: Enter a name for this patch
    Patch file: Upload the file you just downloaded
    Module: Enter the system name of the module you're applying the patch to. One easy way to get the name is from the URL of the module's Drupal.org page.
    Click the Save button.

That will fix the error with your Drupal website.


1. How to Remove Duplicate Views Results in Drupal

In creating a Drupal site and creating views, it's quite not uncommon to find that your view is showing the same result multiple times.

Never mind, there are a few ways you can get over that and we will look at the options to overcome this problem. Here are two common ways to remove duplicate views results.

Option 1: Distinct

This is how Views describes the Distinct option:

"If there are multiple identical items, each will be displayed only once. You can use this to try and remove duplicates from a view, though it does not always work."

    Open the Advanced area.
    Next to "Query settings", click "Settings".

    Check the boxes, "Distinct" and "Pure Distinct".

Option 2: Aggregation

Aggregration is often used to perform calculations on field data. For example, you can use Aggregation to count the number of content items in a particular content type. Or you could use it count the average number of comments on your content.

    Open the Advanced area.
    Next to "Use aggregation", click "No".

    Check the "Aggregate" box.

    On the left-hand side of the view, notice that "Aggregation settings" is now an option in several areas.
    Click "Aggregation settings" for your Filter Criteria.

    Choose "Count DISTINCT".

    Click on the name of your Filter Criteria.
    Choose "is equal to" and set "Value" to "1".

That's it. You now know how to remove duplicate views from a Drupal website.

2. Adding content to your Drupal website

To add pages in Drupal, you just paste the page content into a form that saves the content in the site database. You can save plain text or full HTML content. Luckily, no programming or database knowledge is required to add content to a Drupal site.

Follow these steps to add pages in Drupal:

    In the Navigation block (on the left side by default), click the link Create Content.
    You are presented two two choices of content to post: Pages and Story (see Figure 6). Choose Page.

The Create Content screen

    Enter the page title.
    If you would like this page to be linked to in the Primary or Secondary menus, then toggle open the Menu portion of the form to choose which menu this page will appear in and what the link text should say.
    Enter the body content, which can be HTML or plain text. If you enter custom HTML into the body field, then you should toggle open the Input Filter area and choose Full HTML. If you are missing content after the page is saved, then you may have forgotten to set the correct Input Filter.
    Click Save or Preview to see your new page. Preview does not save the content, so don't forget to click Submit after previewing.

You just learned how to add a new page in a Drupal site. If you added values in the Menu fields of the create content form then you should see the link to your new page in a menu near the top.

Pages = nodes

Most site content will be page nodes, a Drupal term used to describe saved content. If all you create are Page nodes for a site, that's fine (that is what they are there for). Nodes can be any piece of saved content, not just page types. Story and Blog posts are also nodes. When you add a Video module, for example, you would see a Video node type added to your site. To create your own node type (for example, Press Releases or News ), go to Content > Content Types > Add Content Type.

How to manage your Drupal pages

To manage your Drupal pages, you need to login to the backend of your Drupal website the continue with the rest of the tutorial.

1) Click content

2) To create a new page, click the Add content link

This is the Create Content page, where you can choose to create new pages or new stories for your web site

You would choose to create a page if you wanted to add a static page like a contact page or an about us page

3) Enter the Title and Body of the page here

5) Click Save

That’s it!  The new page has been created

6) Click the Content link again

You can edit the title or body of the page from here…

… or you can remove the page from your web site by clicking Delete

That’s it! You now know how to manage pages in Drupal

3. Alphabetical Sorting in Drupal Content Views

Alphabetical sorting is one of the most common and convenient ways people want to sort content in Views. Apart from the decent presentation of content, it makes article identification and location much easier.

You may want to sort many types of content from A to Z, from staff members to business listings.

Here's how to add alphabetical sorting to your Drupal views.

1. Create a new view. You can follow the steps below to create a new view in Drupal:

    Go to Structure > Views > Add new view.
    Enter any views settings you want, except for "sorted by". You should choose "Title" for this setting.
    Click "Continue and Edit".

Scroll down to your preview at the bottom of the view. You'll observe that your view is sorted alphabetically, but from Z to A.

You can now proceed to fix the Z to A sorting.

Look under "Sort Criteria" and click on "Content: Title (desc).

    Change "Sort descending" to "Sort ascending":

Check the Preview and you'll notice that your view is now sorted alphabetically.

2: Changing an existing view

If you want to add alphabetically sorting to an existing view, the process is similar:

    Click "Add" next to "Sort Criteria".

    Search for "Content: Title" or another field that you want to use for alphabetical sorting.

    Choose "Sort ascending" to sort your view from A to Z.

You now know how to sort content views alphabetically in Drupal.


How to manage blocks in drupal

We assume you’ve already logged in to the Drupal backend.

1) Click the Structure link

Now let’s learn how to manage blocks

2) Then click the Blocks link

This is the Blocks management page

Blocks are boxes of content that can be arranged and displayed in certain areas of your web page

3) Click the Add block link

4) Enter the Block description, title, and body here

5) Click Save block

That’s it!  The new block has now been created

Now let’s edit the new block

Here we can see a list of all blocks in our website, including which ones are enabled… and which ones are currently disabled (including the New Block we just created)

6) Click to show the new block in the sidebar

7) When finished, click Save blocks
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