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How to upgrade to Drupal7 in the context of using a service provider

The upgrade to Drupal 7 version is the process which requires to update older Drupal files and the database to the newer version. But since upgrade requires modifying Drupal core files, it’s quite easy to get website damaged in the case upgrade will wen’t wrong. Therefore, before trying to upgrade the website it’s strongly recommended to create full backup of the website and database.

  • As mentioned already, the first step is to backup Drupal files and database. This can be easily done through hosting account control panel. Usually such panels provide backup function that creates full backup of the entire account including websites, databases, emails, etc. Once the backup is created and placed in the safe place, we can start updating Drupal.
  • Download the latest release of Drupal to which we are going to upgrade. In this case it will be version 7. Newest release can be obtained from official Drupal website.
  • Extract downloaded archive containing Drupal installation files to the local drive. Later we will need to upload specific files to the hosting account where our website is hosted.
  • Now open the directory where the current version of Drupal is located. In most cases it should be located in the public_html of hosting account home directory. We should be able to access the files through build it file manager or FTP client like FileZilla.
  • Then delete all the files and folders that are related to the core Drupal files except directory “sites” and all the sub-directories and files under that directory. Also, if there were added any custom files, they should be left as well.
  • Go back to the local drive where newest version of Drupal was downloaded and extracted. Power up FTP client as we will be uploading required files to the hosting account. Select all files and folders, but exclude directory “sites” and all sub-directories and files in this directory. Upload selected files to the public_html of the previous Drupal installation.
  • In the case update to the newer version requires changes in settings.php file, replace the old file with the new one in directory “/sites/default/” and adjust required values for database name, username, password, etc.
  • Also, if there were any changes made in .htaccess or robots.txt, apply the changes for newly uploaded files again. This is needed for the links to be working properly and to make sure website will be indexed by search engine bots.
  • Now it’s time to login to Drupal admin panel. If we are able to access admin panel successfully, we may proceed to the next step. If we are facing with any problems, this could mean something was wrong with upgrade process and we might need to find how to fix it or revert the changes back.
  • Launch update by opening “http://www.domain.com/update.php” in the browser. This way we will initiate Drupal upgrade which will affect our website.
  • Finally, follow the steps in order to finish the upgrade process. Generally, it should be completed without big difficulties. However, it’s always possible to restore website from the backup which was created before doing any changes.
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