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How to Make an Upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7

updated on Sep 14, 2014
How to Make an Upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 Currently, having been familiar with how to use Drupal well, many webmasters put forward the demand to make an upgrade from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 along with the ever-increasing needs and the rapid development of technology. Therefore, we write this overall and easy-to-figure-out tutorial on how to update Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, and you may find out your desirable solution by reading the following parts.

Generally speaking, the upgrade from Drupal 6 to 7 needs 4 main steps which include making an upgrade plan, preparing the current site for upgrade, upgrading and testing.

Step 1 – Making an Upgrade Plan

At the first place, you need to understand how your Drupal site is built and make an upgrade plan about the module and theme in order to get everything in the right place before the upgrade.

Taking Inventory of Available Theme and Module

How to Make an Update from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 - Taking Inventory of Available Theme and Module In this step, you are required to enter the "Themes" directory to identify which themes are active on your site by taking a look at what themes are installed or enabled. In the same time, enter the "Modules" page or the directory of sites/all/modules to make sure which modules are installed or enabled. Having finished all those mentioned steps, you need to write down all themes and modules installed on your site on a list for the later use.

Keep Needed Modules and Disable Unused Ones

Having listed out all of your modules, you can easily find out some must-have Drupal modules and unused modules which you probably want to disable or uninstall. Considering to the later performance and security, we highly recommend you to disable or even uninstall those unused modules. In the meantime, we also suggest you to keep your must-have modules and needed modules.

Planning Themes

How to Make an Update from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 - Planning Themes In the meantime, it is necessary for you to confirm whether the existing themes are able to be upgraded to the Drupal 7 version. In details, you should figure out if there are themes that are available in the Drupal 7 version of core and make sure if the themes are based on the framework and what the upgrade paths for those frameworks are. Additionally, you have to spare time on upgrading the themes' code.

Identify the Customizations and Document the Upgrade Plan

Besides, you need to bear in mind that if you have already modified the core Drupal modules or themes, then you need to take down all changes in the whole process. Furthermore, it is essential for you to document your upgrade plan so as to take additional notes with everything taking into consideration. At this point, you are requested to make documentation on modules which couldn't be upgraded or need an upgrade, and special upgrade directions as well as a testing plan for the whole process.

Step 2 – Preparing the Current Site for Upgrade

For the preparation, you are required to set your site in off-line mode ahead of time and make a back-up of the database in the same time, because you are capable of resurrecting the site by the ahead-of-time back-up. If you do not know how to back up database or core/non-core files, you can click this tutorial page to get help. Next, only the code-base is in upgraded in advance, can you go on the next steps.

How to Make an Update from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 - Preparing the Current Site for Upgrade Then, take an overall review on the language options of Drupal 7 to ensure they are improved indeed. Note that you should be careful about some configurations like moving the old CCK to the new fields or you will lose the translations for descriptions or labels.

Step 3 – Upgrading Automatically or Manually

In regards to the automated upgrade, you can make use of the command of drush sup to finish the whole process. Moreover, the manual upgrade is a little bit complicated when compared with the former. Take a look at the following steps.
  1. Download Drupal 7 version into a directory and extract its archive as well as copy its files in the Drupal directory.
  2. Alternatively, you are capable of downloading its archive by the web browser and extract it as well as upload its files into the web root by using an FTP client.
  3. Put the modifications again to the core files, such as robots.txt. or .htaccess.
  4. Make sure that the settings.php file is writeable and then run the script of update.php.
  5. Make a check on the status report and the core modules of Drupal.
  6. Last but not the least, don't forget to change the site from the off-line mode.

Step 4 – Testing the Whole Upgrade

How to Make an Update from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 - Testing the Whole Upgrade It needs to point out that this step can be put ahead of the making the upgrade plan and it is rather necessary for you to give a test on the whole process whether it is successful or not. Moreover, we highly recommend you to copy the existing site to a test site so as to make your site reliable. In details, it just requires two steps including copying your files into the subfolder of the test-site on your server and copying the old database into the database of the test-site.