I am a Drupal newcomer and have been tasked with updating a Drupal site.

The currently installed version is 7.2.1

I have taken a full backup of both SQL and files so I am safe if anything goes wrong.

My question is the upgrade for Drupal a manual one, as in, do I have to download the update and FTP it over? I am used to Wordpress being a one-click affair!

Also, is there anything I should be aware of?

2 Answers 2


Yes, the update is manual. (As someone new to Drupal, you may not know about the command line tool drush, which is as close as we get to being a one-click affair. Drush is awesome, and once you get more familiar with Drupal, you should learn it. It makes your work much more efficient.)

Re the previous answer, 'Download these updates' only works for contributed modules and not for core.

The instructions on drupal.org are excellent. But before you start, here are a couple of pieces of useful information.

  • Do not get confused by the instructions at the top of the page sending you to upGRADE instructions. An upGRADE means moving from one version of Drupal to another, e.g., Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, and is a much bigger deal. An upDATE moves you up by minor versions, e.g., Drupal 7.2.1 to 7.28.
  • Because you are new to Drupal, it would probably be a good idea to make sure the previous developer did not make the classic error of putting contributed modules and themes in with core modules. When you do the update you will delete all files EXCEPT [drupal root]/sites, which is where contributed modules, and site-specific files live. On your site, go to admin/reports/updates/list. Open another window in whatever file browser you use, and look at the Drupal file structure. The list of modules in the update list should match up to folders in [drupal root]/sites/all/modules. If instead you find those folders in [drupal root]/modules, you have bigger problems than can be answered here. (Same goes for themes.)
  • If you have a development and/or staging site in addition to the live site, do the updates there first. If you don't have non-live sites, you should create them. You can do updates on a live site, but it's much preferable to test them first.

Sorry, long answer. There's a lot more good stuff on drupal.org, but it can be hard to find. I usually use Google to search drupal.org.

  • Ok, i've carried out the update and run the update.php, now everything looks like the style sheet is missing. Dashboard, main site, everything! I have changed the theme to a default one and it still looks broken. any ideas? Feb 12, 2014 at 0:44
  • Without actually seeing your site it's hard to know. Two things to try: 1. Go to admin/config/development/performance and click Clear Caches. 2. On that same page, uncheck aggregation for CSS and JS files. If those don't work, see if you can find someone to look at the site with you. Too many variables to diagnose from here. Feb 12, 2014 at 14:58

You can use Update manager module (enable it on admin/modules) and then go to admin/modules/update to see what needs to be updated and then get it automatically updated with 'Download these updates' button (after ticking the checkboxes for modules/core that you desire to update).

As a rule of thumb, if your site is not extensively complicated or it does not rely heavily on some version-specific code, you should be safe to update.

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