List of Popular Drupal Modules

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Here is a list of popular Drupal modules we have installed in various sites and that we find useful. We recently updated this to reflect Drupal 5.x installations. Please note that Drupal modules undergo constant updates, and often security leaks are discovered and plugged. For this reason it’s vital that you install the update status module (Drupal 5.x, included in core Drupal 6.x) to keep an eye on the security status of your modules. This especially applies to modules that could be used to forward spam and process user input, such as forward, email, web form, etc.

Essential Modules : we are noting modules we feel are essential to any website with a *.

New – Module List Updated for Drupal 6.x

  • ACL : API for content access module.
  • Accents (5.x only) : prevents errors in DB migration by removing non-alpha numeric characters.
  • Add This – let’s users save your page in various social media outlets. Also allows saving to favorites, bookmarking, emailing, etc.
  • *Admin Menu : provides an excellent drop-down admin menu where admins can easily access all site functions.
  • Advanced Help & Advanced User : good idea to enable these. They ship with Drupal 6.x core.
  • Adsense : easy handling of AdSense code, including search boxes.
  • *Backup and Migrate : allows you to create a lightweight, compressed backup (without unnecessary content such as cache and watchdog info) on the fly. You can also schedule backups to happen automatically via cron (or Drupal’s poormanscron module). We usually schedule backups every 24 hours, keeping the last 30 days.
  • Better Formats : adds more fine-grained control to input formats.
  • Boost : caching module that stores web page data and serves as static HTML file to anonymous visitors. This can increasingly decrease (speed up) page load time on high traffic sites.
  • *Captcha : user enters image code to register or post content on your site. Use with ReCaptcha module for best results.
  • *CCK : content creation kit (replaces flexinode) – allows for custom node types.
  • Clean Feeds : cleans code, etc. out of your feeds so they can be read correctly by feed readers.
  • Codefilter : for posting code (escapes code characters, and uses coloring to enhance readability).
  • Contemplate : allows for custom theming of node types – we use this to create CCK teasers without hacks.
  • Content Access : allows you to manage permissions for content types by role and author. It allows you to specifiy custom view, edit and delete permissions for each content type. Optionally you can enable per content access settings, so you can customize the access for each content node.
  • Cronplus : allows for scheduling of cron events on a specified interval (hourly, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • *Custom Error : custom 404 pages (go to werockyourweb.com/blabla for an example)
  • Date : includes Date API for CCK/ Calendar event management system setup.
  • *Drupal Tweaks : helpful for Drupal 6.x – allows you to increase php.ini memory limits, as well as mySQL memory limits. We recommend at least doubling the PHP memory allotted.
  • Default Filter (5.x only, included in 6.x core) : an essential module that should be included in core. It lets you specify default input formats for each user role.
  • Read More Tweak : “ed_readmore” – this module allows you to place “read more…” links right after the content teaser, as opposed to below and in a separate box.
  • Excerpt : separate teaser on each node.
  • *External Link : “external link” – this will automatically open any external links in a new window, and, optionally, mark the link with a little external graphic.
  • *FCK Editor : the preferred WYSIWYG editor – combined with IMCE for file and image handling this provides an excellent, controlled interface for your users.
  • File Field : provides a universal file upload field for CCK. It is a robust alternative to the Drupal core upload module and an absolute must for users uploading a large number of files. Great for managing video and audio files for podcasts hosted on your own website.
  • Find Path (5.x only, included in 6.x core) : helps you quickly and easily locate URL aliases by name or path.
  • Five Star : lets users vote on your content.
  • Five Star Recommender : lets users recommend content based on five-star votes.
  • Form Filter : lets you filter forms to adjust what users see. This helps hide fields in forms, node edit pages, etc. that you don’t want your users to have access to.
  • Front : customize settings for your front page. Good for having a unique front page – splash intro, etc.
  • Google Pagerank : google_pr – calculate Google PageRank of pages.
  • *Google Analytics : useful over manually inserting the Analytics snippet on your pages because it allows for caching, tracking, and more.
  • Image Caption : lets you add a caption to your images.
  • Image API : needed by image extension modules.
  • Image Cache : supports caching of images for increased performance.
  • Image Field : adds image support to CCK content types.
  • *IMCE : file and image handling system that provides superior functionality to FCKEditor and TinyMCE’s built-in file handling systems. For one, it allows uploading, resizing and handling of images all within one window.
  • Insert View : insert_view – insert content lists from “views” module into nodes using simple tags.
  • Invite : lets you invite users to your website, track invitations, etc.
  • JQuery Update : updates Drupal’s version of jQuery. You’ll need this if you’re using Lightbox.
  • Javascript Tools (JS Tools) : provides some nifty javascsript tools. (don’t install this for Drupal 6.x unless it’s required by another module).
  • Lightbox 2 : provides a great effect for viewing images.
  • Link to Us : provides HTML style links visitors to your site can use to post a link back to your web pages.
  • Login Destination : lets you control the destination of users once they login, as well as based on specified actions.
  • Login Toboggan : provides a great user registration handling system, along with customization of user messages, sign-up pages, etc. – integrates with the core profile module.
  • Multiping : preferred over the core ping module – uses a centralized, regularly updated server to manage pings.
  • Nice Menus : excellent CSS-based, SEF (Search Engine Friendly) drop-down functionality for your menus. You can place the menus in the left or right sidebars (expanding out horizontally), or, as we have them – below the header (expanding down vertically).
  • Node Clone : node_clone – easy duplication of node for new content creation (be careful – if you clone a node and then forget to edit it, you may be penalized for duplicate content by search engines).
  • *Meta Tags (nodewords) : meta tag authoring – keyword and description tags. The keyword tag is only necessary for older search engines, which are greatly in the minority. But the description tag is useful – as it provides the description (teaser) for your page in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
  • Path Access : lets you restrict access to pages based on their path (URL alias). Good for quick, fine-grained access control to specific pages.
  • *Path Auto : auto generation of aliases for content types based on predefined user selected variables.
  • *Poormans Cron : runs cron jobs without having cron installed.
  • *Print : link to “print friendly” version of page; let’s users email pages to friends; and supplies a PDF version of a page.
  • *ReCaptcha : uses the ReCaptcha.net service (including hearing impaired support) for the Captcha module. Recommended – saves resources over the image module, and more effective than math and other modules.
  • Recommender : An API for Fivestar Recommender and other recommender-based modules.
  • Private Message : privatemsg – Instant Messenger among site users (primarily for social/ community sites – we don’t use this for performance, security reasons)
  • Search Config : more search parameters, expands upon the default search options.
  • Similar – this is what we use to show our “related articles” block. It finds similar content based on title or taxonomy and displays a specified number of links to that content in a sidebar block or at the bottom of your main content.
  • *Site Menu : provides an excellent sitemap for your users – we link to our sitemap in our footer as well as in the “categories” menu above. Note that we generated an alias to change the /sitemenu path to a more intuitive /sitemap and added the corresponding .htaccess redirect.
  • Smileys : converts : ) : ( etc. into :) :(
  • *SMTP : highly recommended. Provides SMTP email authentication (using a verified email address and corresponding password to send site emails), which should be required by your hosting server – to prevent spam and help you send emails from your website using forms, etc.
  • Taxonomy Batch Operations : great for adding multiple taxonomy terms to a category at once.
  • Taxonomy Defaults : great for having certain content types default to a particular taxonomy or taxonomies.
  • Taxonomy Hide : hide taxonomies you don’t want displayed.
  • Taxonomy Multi Editor (not Multi Edit) : allows you to quickly mass assign categories to content in the node list view.
  • Taxonomy Node Operations (5.x only) : lets you quickly assign categories to nodes in the “list content” view.
  • Text Image : Textimage adds text to image functionality using GD2 and Freetype, enabling users to create crisp images on the fly for use as theme objects, headings or limitless other possibilities. Initially used for Image Captcha (we now use ReCaptcha instead).
  • Theme Key : lets you switch out themes on the fly based on taxonomies, paths, etc.
  • *Token : required by the Pathauto and other modules.
  • Twitter : lets you display users’ Twitter feeds on your site.
  • Uber Cart (E-Commerce) : our preferred e-commerce module and shopping cart. We use it in conjunction with Paypal and Authorize.net payment gateways.
  • URL List : creates a list of urls at /urllist.txt for submission to Yahoo Search
  • User Badges : great for community sites – allows users to have badges.
  • User Points (Contributor, Top Contributors): allows users to gain points on your site for certain actions/ accomplishments.
  • *Views : enables various views of nodes (lists of popular content for example – you define your own)
  • Voting API : voting API can be used by various modules to configure voting-based events.
  • Watcher : allows users to subscribe to content. Useful if they want to be notified when someone has replied to their comment.
  • Web Form : generate secure, easy to use webforms for your visitors and users. You can view the form results on your website (they are stored in the database) or have them emailed to you.
  • *XML Sitemap : generates dynamic sitemaps to keep search engines (such as Google) informed of site updates and changes.

Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.

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17 Comments on "List of Popular Drupal Modules"

avatar
Anonymous
Anonymous

How about a list of popular modules for Drupal 6 and 7? Since there are so many new modules being developed all the time, and because some modules go obsolete or get taken into core, it would be nice to have updated lists for the latest Drupal versions.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /includes/common.inc(1685) : eval()’d code on line 12

We Rock Your Web
We Rock Your Web

Thanks for catching this – should be working again now.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Very useful, however I see that Drupal has added hundreds of modules in the interim. Any way we could ask you guys to take some time and update this list? I’m trying to find a list of the most useful modules, but browsing Drupal.org’s modules directory directly is overwhelming. There’s simply too many redundant modules that do the same thing…so I would love to know which ones are the best and most essential.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks for suggesting the nice menus module, I was looking for something that was a little search engine friendly in regards to menus! Thanks again….
– Frank from the auto repair blog

Anonymous
Anonymous

Are any of these modules compatible with the Site Build It! software?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I also want to know more about the default filter capabilities of Drupal. Could you elaborate more? Thanks for your reply in advance!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Try Drupal whilst hanging upside down from a xmas pine into a vat of molten tomato soup in the style of David Blain! Extreme Drupal sports!

Anonymous
Anonymous

What is the “default filter”? Please explain in detail.

alexc
alexc

Drupal’s default filter module lets you specify default input filters (filtered HTML, full HTML, etc.) for each user. This way, the user won’t need to select the input format every time they publish new content.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dupral has made a huge difference in my life… It saves me so much time…

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yeah! Drupal is awesome. This site helped me a lot when it came to finding the modules that I needed.

It made a huge difference, night and day, when it came to search for Drupal modules.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I like some of the modules that you have listed and actually implemented a few of them on my site. At the moment, I am hesitating on upgrading Drupal to version 5, because there is a lot of features in version 4 which remain rather attractive to me.

alexc
alexc

We didn’t upgrade this site to Drupal 5 until a couple months ago as well. We were holding off until the modules we needed had all been upgraded. May I ask what’s still holding you back? We’re always curious to see what still needs to be upped to 5.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I’d love to learn how to customize node types, but I’m having a little difficulty.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Great post

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