Installing Drupal Modules

You probably already know that there are tons of Drupal Modules out there that extend the basic functionality of the open-source CMS program in astounding new ways. But how do you get your hands on these cool modules and how do you make them part of your Drupal build? In this tutorial, we'll show you the basics on working with modules.

You already have Modules!

Many new Drupal users aren't aware of the fact that the standard build of Drupal already comes with some modules. In this step, we're going to enable one of the core modules for Drupal called Menus. This is a basic module that adds functionality for working with navigation on your site (as you could have probably guessed).

To look at the modules that come in Drupal core, navigate from your admin panel to Site Building >> Modules. You will see a list of modules that come ready-to-go in Drupal. Look through the modules and read the associated text for each one for future reference. Go ahead and enable the Menus module. Then go to User Management >> Permissions to allow user accounts to access the Menus module (your root account will already have the privilege to use Menus, of course).

Menus is now ready to go. You can play with the new functionality by navigating to administer >> menus. Check out the documentation on the Menus page on the Drupal site for more information about what you can do with your new Module.

I need more!

Many users will want more modules than those provided in Drupal core. Fortunately, there are a large number of user-created modules that can be installed quickly and easily. We're going to show you how to download and start using an indispensable module called Pathauto that is used to create aliases automatically for your content, making it easy to locate and access.

First, go to the Drupal Modules site at http://drupal.org/project/Modules. Locate the Pathauto module (you can search the modules on the right hand sidebar). Choose the version of Pathauto that will run on your version of Drupal and download it to your hard drive. Generally, modules will either run on Drupal 5.x or 6.x or both.

If you read the description of Pathauto on the Drupal site, you'll notice that they've said something about Token. That's right -- you're going to need another module to make Pathauto work. Don't panic -- locate Token the same way you located Pathauto, choose the correct version, and download it to your hard drive.

Now, use whatever file extraction program you have on your computer to unpack the download file. Then navigate to whatever directory your Drupal install is in and locate the drupalsitesallmodules directory. If the modules folder doesn't exist, go ahead and create it now -- this is where all your downloaded modules will go from now on (core modules are located in drupalmodules, but don't mix them up -- keep core modules in their own location). Copy your extracted Pathauto folder to this folder. Follow the same steps to extract Token and copy it to the correct location.

Now you need to enable your new modules. You'll do so exactly like you enabled Menus in part 1. Go to Site Building >> Modules and check the boxes next to the Pathauto module and the Token module (you'll notice that they are at the bottom of the page under "Other").

Look at the dependencies listed for Pathauto and Token -- these are other modules that also need to be activated to make Pathauto and Token work properly. Examining dependencies is a very important step because a module may not work at all or perform strangely if you don't satisfy all of its dependencies. It looks like Pathauto needs Path, which is one of the core modules that came with Drupal. Go ahead and find Path in the listing of core modules above and make sure it is also enabled. Save your configuration and go to the Permissions section of Drupal just like you did before and determine which users can access Pathauto, Token, and Path. You are now ready to use Pathauto.

To use your new features, go to admin >> pathauto and play with the settings. Consult the information page on the Drupal website for Pathauto to find out about all the exciting things you can do with your new module. Don't forget to read the readme file that comes with the module. You should do this every time you download a new module -- not only does the readme provide important information, but in the case of some modules, you may need to follow some additional steps to get the module installed correctly.