Why and How To Update Drupal 7 Core

by Hamza Zia  November 28, 2016

The fundamental truth in software industry is that no software is ever final. Developers and users always discover improvements and then, updates are duly required. In almost all cases, these additions and improvements are released as patches.

Drupal is well known for its emphasis on security. Because of the popularity of Drupal as it powers more than a minion websites, website administrators should make sure that their website runs on the latest version of the software. There are several reasons why Drupal websites should be updated on regular basis.

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Security

One of the major ways in which Drupal differentiates itself from other content management systems is its remarkably high focus on security. That is why, Drupal developers release security updates on a frequent basis.

Being an open source project, anyone could analyze and discover security flaws. Once found, these flaws are reported in a well-organized manner. The dev team hammers out a patch, that is released ASAP.

Security is the most essential reason why Drupal websites should be updated to the latest version.

Bug Fixes

A bug is an error or flaw in the code of a software. The severity of the bug ranges from critical to minor. Bugs have the nasty habit of slipping through the final testing, and thus making into the final code. The issue is discovered when the bug is triggered by a specific scenario and breaks the code.

In Drupal, PHP notices in website error log ( located at http://example.com/admin/reports/dblog, where example.com is the domian of your website) might indicate presence of bugs in the code of the website.

Drupal developers actively focus on removing bugs from the core code of the CMS. the product of their efforts is bug fixes and patches that should be applied as soon as they are released. Every update of Drupal and patch reduces the incidence of bugs and ensures that the website remains secure and functional.

New Features

With every release of core Drupal, the development team introduces major and/or minor features. Around the same time, module developers also release new versions to make sure that their modules are compatible with the new version.

If you do not update the Drupal version on your website, chances are that the updated modules might not work properly on the website.This is sufficient incentive for every Drupal website administrator to keep the website updated as frequently as possible.

Updating The Drupal Core

The process of updating Drupal website is really simple. We’ll see how to update Drupal 7 core in the following steps.

First, go to the Drupal’s configuration tab. Make sure you are logged in as the site admin.

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If an update is available, there will be a red notice near the top of the configuration page.

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Click the blue available updates link and download the update.
The update will automatically be downloaded and installed.

How To Check Drupal Core Update Status

Head over to the reports section on your site.

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From here click Status Report

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Your Drupal version will be there on the first row.

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If the site does not update automatically, then you will be required to update your site manually.

How To Update Drupal Core Manually

The standard manual update procedure as defined by the official Drupal site is:

  • Backup all files and database.
  • Download the latest version of Drupal from here and extract the files.
  • Put the website in Maintenance Mode (under Configuration >> Development)
  • Delete all files except the Sites folder and any files that have been customized ( such as .htaccess and robots.txt. This assumes any contributed modules, custom themes, etc. located in the Sites directory).
  • Upload the new files, excluding the Sites directory, .htaccess or .robots.txt.
  • Make sure that any new changes (if any) are incorporated in robots.txt or .htaccess. The release notes should tell you whether this is required.
  • Not every Drupal core update has updates for the settings.php file. Make sure you go through the changelog and see if there are updates for settings.php. If yes, then you will need to replace your old settings.php file with the new one as well as edit the site-specific entries (e.g. database name, user, and password) in the setting file.
  • Run update.php by visiting yourdomain.com/update.php
  • Switch off maintenance mode by reversing step 2.
  • Take some time to test whether the website is functioning as expected.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the importance of keeping the Drupal website up-to-date. We also showed the method of updating a Drupal website. And If you are looking to update your Drupal 8 website core, no issue jusat have a look at our another blog post on, How To Update Drupal 8 Core?

If you have a question about the topic or would like to add to the discussion, please leave a comment below.

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About Hamza Zia

Hamza is a Drupal Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed Drupal Hosting Platform. He loves to write about Drupal and related topics. During his free time, he can be seen obsessing over Football, Cars, Android and Gaming.

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