Last updated May 16, 2014. Created on February 19, 2007.
Edited by ashish_nirmohi, owenpm3, tvn, bekasu. Log in to edit this page.

"Do I need all these extras?"

Each module requires memory to run on your site

Before installing extra modules, you should consider the required functionality for your site, and only add a module if your site really needs it. Unnecessary modules consume memory and other resource needs of your site, and will make pages load slower. Because a module is popular or someone tells you that "every site needs it" doesn't mean that yours does. There are good sites that have been built with absolutely no contributed modules at all.

Also, you should focus on content, functionality, and configuration of your site before you consider how it should look (the theme), since that decision can be made later and may detract from your thinking about functionality and content.

Be selective

Themes are largely a matter of taste. For example, many people do not like to use a "fixed width" theme, but lots of people do. One nice thing about themes is that they are mostly independent of your content so you can switch them when you want. Caution, though, there are parts of your site (blocks, for example) that get built based on the theme, so switching themes can leave junk lying around to slow down your site.

Now, if you experiment with different themes and modules, you should also look at the Update Status page in the administration section and the Site Documentation module to make sure the modules are up-to-date and your site is clean.

Installing modules

  1. Locate the required theme or module starting on the Downloads section.
  2. Make sure the module or theme has a version that matches that of your Drupal site. Drupal 5 modules and themes will not work on Drupal 6 or 7.
  3. Click "Find out more" and read the notes. This gives you the chance to see if there is support for your release of Drupal. You can also look at pending bugs and feature requests - it might give you interesting insights in the project.
  4. Download the release for your Drupal version.
  5. Unzip the downloaded file (on Windows you can use a program like 7Zip.
  6. Extract the code to to your /sites/all/modules/{modulename} or sites/all/themes/{themename} folder. If you are running multiple sites and you do not want the module to be available in all sites, you could extract the files to the /sites/{sitename}/modules/ or /sites/{sitename}/themes/ folders.
  7. To finish you should enable the module or theme in the administration section of your site.

You should end up with a folder structure like:
screenshot of a mock-up files folder layout

Installing a Module from a URL for Drupal 7

Before you start, ensure you have the Update manager module enabled.

  1. Navigate to the module project page on Under Downloads, locate and copy the link address; ending in .gz or .zip.
  2. Navigate, on your site, to admin/modules/install
  3. Paste the module URL into "Install from a URL"
  4. Click install.
  5. You may then enable your module from this page or navigate to admin/modules

You may also add a module from your computer.

  1. Navigate, on your site, to admin/modules/install
  2. Click choose file
  3. Browse to the location the module has been downloaded to your desktop.
  4. Click install.
  5. You may then enable your module from this page or navigate to admin/modules.

Advanced installing

If you have access to a Unix shell (e.g. SSH), the following series of commands will download and extract the files directly to your server.

Before you start, use the pwd (print working directory) command to confirm that you are in the correct directory (e.g. modules). If not, use the ls (list directory) and cd (change directory) commands to navigate to the correct directory.

The examples below are taken from Drupal's most popular module: Views

  1. Download archive:
  2. Uncompress archive: tar -zxvf views-7.x-3.0-rc1.tar.gz
  3. Delete archive: rm views-7.x-3.0-rc1.tar.gz

Try also the Drush module which offers a very efficient way of installing modules.

Note: The drush commands, drush dl module_name and drush en module_name offer probably the fastest way installing modules.

More information

Suggestions on choosing modules

More "must have" Drupal modules.

Looking for support? Visit the forums, or join #drupal-support in IRC.


therealmeal’s picture

You can also use the following single command to accomplish steps 1-3 above:

% wget <URL> -O - | tar -xz

That's the letter "O" not the number "0".

("-O -" means output to stdout. tar takes stdin by default.)

Shyamala’s picture

Some of the other criteria before using a module would include:

  • How well the module is maintained - How many open issues or any recently closed issues
  • Read related Forum discussions
  • Understand other competing modules to see which one meets the requirements best
  • Do not use development versions of modules on production server
NancyDru’s picture

Of course those are guidelines only. I have had occasions where a -dev version had to be used in production. I have also used poorly maintained modules, frequently taking them over and maintaining them myself.

drupalninja99’s picture

There isn't a 'admin/modules/install' page is there? That must have been changed

Jay.Chen’s picture

The quick update module can install multiple new projects or the missing dependency projects.