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In this how-to essay, I will be giving a step-by-step guide to installing modules and themes for Drupal. This exercise requires a web server with Drupal installed, a computer with a terminal, and the Drupal website. No domain name is required for the installation, but it is better than typing the IP address. You could perform the installation of modules and themes without a second computer, but you will have to type the path of the file(s) needed from the Drupal website. You'll see.

Before we begin, open your web browser and type in the address bar the IP address of your web server followed by '/drupal5.' For example:

At the welcome page, log in by entering your user name (it might not the same as your server's user name) and password. If you have not created an account on your website, please do it now because the first account created will be given the role of administrator. After you have successfully logged on, click on the 'Administer' link located below your user name on the left-hand side.

At the administer page, look for 'Themes' and 'Modules' on the right-hand site of the page under the heading 'Site Building.' These two links will take you to the themes page and the modules page where you enable and disable both themes and modules. After we install an example theme and module, you must return here to enable them. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the administer page and its links.

Click on the 'Themes' link to see what themes are available. You should see themes such as 'bluemarine,' 'minnelli,' and 'garland' which is enabled. Themes on Drupal are easy to switch back and forth. Let us say you want the bluemarine theme on your site. To enable that theme, click on the Default radio button on the same row of the bluemarine theme then scroll down and click the 'Save configuration' button and wait for a
moment. Viola, your site's theme changed to the bluemarine theme. It is that simple to change a theme. Unfortunately, Drupal out-of-the-box has six themes to choose, not much variety. But that isn't a problem. One can install other Drupal themes with ease.

To start with, go to using a web browser. Look over to the right side of the page and find and click on the 'Themes' link. There is a library of Drupal themes waiting to be downloaded onto your site, but not all are compatible with Drupal version 5. There are themes for Drupal 5 or Drupal 6 or both. Since you have Drupal 5.7 (version 5) choose a theme beginning with '5.x' as the version but do not choose one that
ends with '-dev,' for developers. When you find a theme that suits you, leave the page there on the web browser for now.

Log onto your web server from your computer via a terminal. If you don't know how to log on to your web server from your computer, locate the terminal program on your Linux operating system, then type:

ssh username@serverIP

Where the user name is the your user name on the web sever and serverIP is the IP address of web server you found. Then type 'sudo -s' at the command line and enter your password when asked. If successful, notice that your user name changed to root. It is important to be the root user because without doing so you cannot navigate to directories other than your home directory.

Now, after becoming the root user, type 'cd /usr/share/drupal5/themes' at the command line; this will take you (if Drupal is installed) to the themes directory under drupal5. If you type 'ls' at the command line here, you will see the themes currently on your web server. Let's add the theme you choose at Go to the web browser and right-click the 'Download' link of that theme and copy the link, but remember chose one with '5.x' but does not end in '-dev.'

Switch back to the terminal at the themes directory, and type 'wget' space and Ctrl+Shift+Insert. For example, if you chose the Twilight theme, the command looks like at the terminal:


Then, hit the Enter key to start to download the theme files which should take less than ten seconds to complete. After the download is finished, type:

tar -xzvf *.gz

This command uncompresses the file (.gz) in the current directory where the command was executed, in this case it is the themes directory under drupal5. In addition, you will see a list of files uncompress before returning to the command line. Next, you remove the .gz file by typing:

rm *.gz

This command removes all files ending with .gz including the theme compression file we download moments ago. Now, go to your web browser and to your site's administer page. Click on the themes link and you should see a new theme listed. To enable it, just repeat the process of clicking the radio button, the 'Save configuration' button and doing the chicken dance. In a quick moment, your site presentation has changed but the content remains the same. If you don't like it, just download another one.

For the modules, the process is slightly different from the theme. Instead of typing:

'cd /usr/share/drupal5/themes'

type, 'cd /usr/share/drupal5/modules'

To download the modules, just type 'wget,' space then the module link after you have chosen which one to download from the site. Again, only download the version beginning with '5.x' and does not end with '-dev.' Then uncompress it within the modules directory and remove it afterwards. When you are done with the terminal, exit by typing 'exit' a few times until the terminal closes.

After downloading the modules, go the administer page, and click on the 'Modules' link. There will you find the page listing all modules currently installed on your site. To enable, click the check box next to the module then click the 'Save configuration' button at the bottom of the page. Depending on the module downloaded, you might have to learn on your own since Drupal modules have different functions. With this newfound knowledge, go and experiment, it's your site after all.


lomz’s picture

tar -xzvf *.gz doesnt work, as far as I know tar doesnt support it

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