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Upgrading a Drupal installation


The notes below assume your Drupal site is at -- substitute this for your own site’s URL.

Drupal provide their own extensive guide for upgrades, which covers the below information in more detail.

Upgrading files in-place

This method is suitable for minor version upgrades (e.g. from an old 7.x to the latest 7.x release). See also: Update procedure (minor version change)

Take backups of your files and database before attempting an upgrade. Then put the site into maintenance mode.

Download the latest release from The ZIP file contains a folder called drupal-<version>, which contains the core files.

If you're working over SSH, copy the URL of the ZIP download, use wget to download it, then unzip to unpack it in the current directory.

For SCP, you'll want to extract the files on your local machine, then upload them to the server.

In either case, the contents of the drupal folder are to be moved into your existing site (for, this would be /societies/drupal/public_html). You should delete all files under the site directory, '''except''' the sites folder which holds all customisations. If you've made any changes to .htaccess or robots.txt, you'll also need to merge these into the updated files.

Once the new files are in place, head over to to prepare the database for the new version. When complete, take the site out of maintenance mode.

Migrating a site between instances

This is needed for major release upgrades (e.g. from 7.x to 8.x).

Similar to the above, download the latest version, but extract/upload it to a different location than the current site. Configure this as a new installation. It still needs to be under your account's public_html root, so you may need to use a subdirectory. This page assumes you have

Go to the ''Modules'' section on the new site, and enable the ''Migrate'', ''Migrate Drupal'', and ''Migrate Drupal UI'' modules.

Now head over to, which will prompt for database credentials -- here, you can specify those of the old site, which will import all its content into the new installation.

Once you're happy the new site is working, you can move the old one out of the way and make the new site take its place. You'll need to update the $base_url in settings.php with the new path.

Last modified on Tuesday Jul 13, 2021 by Charlie Jonas