How to update Drupal

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How to update Drupal

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Every now and then Drupal comes out with new versions, and our installation needs to be updated. While updating is not always necessary, it is recommended if the release is a major one or designated as a security update.

Look at how Drupal differentiate between releases:

A major version of Drupal core is represented by the number before the first decimal. For example Drupal 5.1, Drupal 6.1, and Drupal 7.1 are all different major releases. This is considered an upgrade. A minor version of Drupal core is represented by the decimal. For example, Drupal 6.1, 6.13, and 6.23 are all different minor releases of Drupal 6. This is considered an update.

Currently there are two supported major versions of Drupal, Version 6 and 7. If there is a minor update available for any of these, you don't need to apply all the new versions. For example, if the current version of your Drupal installation is 6.10 and the newest available version is 6.20, you can update your site directly to 6.20. However, if you want to upgrade to the latest version 7, you need to first update to the latest version 6 release before upgrading to version 7.

Now, let's see how to perform a minor update!


  • Download the latest version of Drupal from their main site at
  • Create a backup of your database and files!
  • Go to Administration > Site Configuration > Site maintenance > Put your site into maintenance mode
  • Delete the old core files with the exception of the 'sites' directory, the original install profile in the 'profiles' directory and any custom files you created.
  • If you have command line access, you can use the following command to download and extract the new files: wget tar -zxvf drupal-x.y.tar.gz
  • Using the next command, you can copy the files to your actual Drupal install folder: cp -R drupal-x.y/* drupal-x.y/.htaccess /path/to/your/installation
  • If you don't have command line access, use an FTP client to upload the files.
  • Run the update script by typing the following URL into your web browser and follow the instructions.
  • After the update visit Administration > Reports > Status report to confirm that everything1s working fine.
  • Make sure that $update_free_access is FALSE in settings.php.
  • Go to Administration > Site Configuration > Site maintenance > and reactivate your site.


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