Every so often, upon logging in to your Drupal’s admin area you will notice an upgrade, or update, notification. This usually means that a newer version of Drupal has been released and is available for use.

While you may opt to either upgrade or keep your current version, it is recommended to keep your instance of Drupal up to date; especially if the update contains security enhancements.

In this tutorial, we will go over how to upgrade your Drupal website.

Prior to proceeding with the upgrade, you should perform a backup of your current Drupal website. You can find out how to back up your Drupal website by clicking here.

Step 1 – Downloading the New Release

Your upgrade notification should come with a download link pointing to the latest release.

Note: if you do not see a download link, you can download the latest release at

Save the file to your computer.

Step 2 – Uploading the New Files to Your Hosting Account

Uploading files may be performed either using an FTP client, such as FileZilla, or via the use of “File Manager” in your hosting account’s cPanel. Both methods yield the same results.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will use FileZilla to complete the upgrade. Also, we will be upgrading to version 7.14.

Once the download is complete, extract all files to a separate, empty folder. Name the folder “drupal-upgrade”. Then create a new sub-directory on your hosting server named “drupal-upgrade” as well.

Copy all the files over to you hosting account’s “druapl-upgrade” directory.

Note: you can also simply upload the “drupal-upgrade” folder with all of its content to your desired location, without creating a “drupal-upgrade” directory on your server. The folder being uploaded will become the sub-directory.

Once all the new files are up on the server, navigate, using FileZilla, to your current Drupal site and download the following files to a temp folder:

• .htaccess
• sites (directory)

Then, upload these same files to the “drupal-upgrade” directory, and overwrite existing files.

Next, download the “settings.php” file, located in drupal-upgrade/sites/default, to the temp folder.

Open the “settings.php” file and change the following line of code:

$update_free_access = FALSE;


$update_free_access = TRUE;

Save and upload the “settings.php” file back to the “drupal-upgrade” directory. Overwrite the existing file.

Step 3 – Updating the Database

In this last step, we will update our database by heading over to and hitting Continue.

In the following page, click “Apply pending updates”.

If there are no errors in the following page, then the update has been completed.

Note: You should download the “settings.php” file once again, change the value back to “FALSE” in the “$update_free_access” code line, and upload it back up.

To restore your Drupal site to its regular URL, rename “drupal-upgrade” to the correct sub-directory name. If your site is in the domain root, simply move the files out of the “drupal-upgrade” folder, and into the root domain. If prompted, overwrite all files.

Congratulations! You have performed your Drupal upgrade.

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