If site goes caput. Quite a few modules have been installed. Site was running perfectly fine until you need to upgrade a few dozen modules now. (I have not been updating my drupal site for quite a few months - imagine how many modules needs updating!) Update was ran, site stopped working. I don't know where to start troubleshooting. Site would not even go to admin/structure pages. It just refuses to cooperate.

I feel there should be a way. Like, looking from the database itself what tables should I delete (should I delete module tables? Would this not entertain more problems?), or is there any specific tables I should look at only and safely delete the contents that should force Drupal to run in 'safe-mode'?

I guess there should be a safe-mode option for Drupal in cases like these but if none, what is the best course of action to put it into 'safe-mode'.


  • Look for a PHP Parse error in the server log (syslog). Otherwise restore your site to its original state and do the updates one at a time.
    – Triskelion
    Jun 12, 2013 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


First of all, I reccomend you install drush. It provides a ton of handy command line operations for Drupal that will allow you to do things if your site goes belly-up.

  • You should troubleshoot by turning off modules with drush pm-disable. Look in your error logs to see if any modules in particular are the culprit.

  • You can also enable and disable modules in the database, instructions are here. You can also get some major issues if you move a module to another location and don't rebuild the module registry, which can be done with drush rr.

  • Make a backup of your DB (and in general, ensure backups are made on a regular basis) before doing anything. Do NOT drop any tables or delete any rows if you don't know what you're doing!

When doing updates, I would advise that you update each module one at a time in a development version of your site, using drush pm-update. Once the module is updated, run drush updatedb and also drush cc all, then check around the site quickly to make sure no major errors have occured.

Generally it's best to do core, then security updates, then version updates. It's also worth checking the version jump (especially with important modules such as Features, or Context) and making sure there are no drastic changes. As an example, Features 2 recently changed the way it stored field settings and it requires some clean up operations that will have to be done manually.

So take great care when updating modules!

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