Manually Installing Drupal Themes and Modules

With Drupal 7, you can add modules and themes to your site by downloading the file and installing it manually. It’s good to know how to do it yourself so you understand how it works. Manual installation adds a few additional steps to the process. Here are the general steps:

  1. Locate a new module or theme you want to use on your site.

  2. Download the new module or theme to your local computer.

  3. Upload the new module or theme to a specific folder on the web server where Drupal is running.

  4. Extract the new module or theme file.

  5. Delete the original .zip or .tar.gz file.

  6. Enable the new module or theme on your Drupal site.

  7. Customize your new module or theme as desired.

The following subsections take a closer look at downloading modules and themes.

Downloading modules and themes

After you find a module or theme you want, look for a link to download it. Most of the time the module or theme will download as a single compressed file (a .tar.gz or .zip file). Save this file to a directory you’ll remember.

Installing modules and themes

Your module or theme comes as a single, compressed .zip file, but it actually consists of many files and folders. All of these files need to be located in a web directory under your Drupal directory on your web server.

The first time you install a new module or theme manually, you need to create the directory to store it. Create two new directories under your Drupal installation. One will be called modules and one will be called themes. Create these two under the directory sites/all. You will place new modules in the sites/all/modules directory and new themes in the sites/all/themes directory.

You can upload the single .zip file to either the sites/all/modules or sites/all/themes directory under your Drupal installation on most web hosting companies. You can extract the files after you’ve uploaded the .zip (this way, you don’t have to upload a bunch of individual files).

To upload the compressed file, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the web host's site and log in.

    You should have received an e-mail from your web host that has your username, password, and login information.

  2. Click the link to a file manager.

    You need a file manager so that you can select the .zip file and put it in the correct directory on your web host's site. After you click the file manager, you’ll see a screen that displays the files on your web host's web server.

  3. You should see a single folder or directory named html, www, or htdocs. Open this folder.

    There may be several directories, but the one for your website should be easy to spot. This is where all your web pages belong — and where you need to install the new theme or module.

  4. Browse to sites/all. If you see a folder named modules and one named themes, click the appropriate one.

    This means that Drupal is installed in the root directory of your site.

  5. If you didn't see the sites/all/modules and sites/all/themes directories, look for a directory named Drupal. Click the Drupal directory and browse to sites/all.

    You should now see the modules and themes directories. If this is the first time you’ve installed a module or theme, you will need to create these directories.

  6. If you downloaded a module, click the site/all/modules directory to enter it; if you downloaded a theme, click the site/all/themes directory.

  7. Click the Upload link on your file manager.

    You should see an upload form with a Browse button.

  8. Click Browse and select the module or theme .tar.gz or .zip file you downloaded, and then click Upload.

    Your file is now on your site and in the correct folder. But you still need to extract it.

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