I have a site with a large number of modules (100+) installed and I have an issue with my rules firing twice, which appears to be caused by user_save() being called twice. (I was able to confirm this by adding a dpm($account) in user_save(), which is printed to the screen twice on my dev site when I log in as an authenticated user and update that user's profile.

Now I'd like to find which contrib module is caused user_save() to be called twice (of course this assumes it is a contrib module). I'm not a developer so I'm getting stuck. I have Netbeans set up with Xdebug and I set a breakpoint on user_save(). Then I started the debugger and logged in and updated a user account, but when I look at the call stack I see the following:

/mysite/modules/user/user.module.include_once:424 /mysite/includes/bootstrap.inc.drupal_load:1126
/mysite/includes/module.inc.module_invoke:833 /mysite/includes/bootstrap.inc.bootstrap_invoke_all:1097
/mysite/includes/bootstrap.inc._drupal_bootstrap_page_header:2454 /mysite/includes/bootstrap.inc.drupal_bootstrap:2214

And then when user_save() is called again (in the same page load) I see exactly the same output. If it is a contrib module that is causing user_save() to be called twice, how can I find out which one it is?

  • 2
    Adding watchdog('debug', '<pre>' . print_r(debug_backtrace(), TRUE) . '</pre>'); into an implementation of hook_user_insert() and/or hook_user_update() might be a good start, it should give you a trace of what functions were called for each run up to user_save(). Analysing that should give you an idea of what's instigating the calls at least
    – Clive
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 13:28
  • @Clive Thanks, I was able to add the call to watchdog in hook_user_update(). However, I had to enable syslog because it overloaded the watchdog reports screen; a single save of a user profile generated 685033 lines of text in the syslog file. Is there some way to look at the file and get meaningful information, because there's no way I can read a half million lines of text... Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


It turned out Rules was the culprit. I didn't realized that using the Set a data value action could cause user_save() to be called twice.

  • Thanks for putting this answer up here, this is really helpful to know!
    – DrCord
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 16:16
  • Is there a way to set values without re-triggering your rule and resulting in the double rule call?
    – DrCord
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 16:19

Try turning off devel. That shouldn't be calling anything that calls user save.

  • 1
    I don't think the OP is suggesting Devel's responsible, just that he's confirmed the problem by using Devel to ascertain that the function is being entered twice.
    – Clive
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 15:08
  • I thought we were looking at an xdebug stack which shows to me that user save is being called by something in devel_boot? Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 15:37
  • Hmm yeah it does look that way, but looking at the code Devel doesn't actually invoke a call to user_save() at any point. The most recent item in the stack is the include_once call from drupal_load() (about half way down the function), which is called from devel_boot(). There's simply no scope for a call to user_load() anywhere in that process as far as I can tell (not saying you're wrong given the information, just that it doesn't make sense)
    – Clive
    Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 16:03
  • 1
    I do have Devel enabled on my dev site, but the problem occurs on production as well, where Devel is turned off. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 1:38

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