15 Outstanding Drupal Modules You Should Be Using


by Shane Jeffers

Drupal is a (CMS) any web developer should get to know. It is in my opinion the best open source CMS available at the moment, and it has a huge community of contributors. If you have not looked into drupal check it out at drupal.org.

Just like WordPress, Drupal is powerful “out of the box” but has thousands of modules that have been contributed to the community to extend upon that functionality. A few of the most popular modules are Views, CCK, Panels, XML Site map and Google Analytics.

The Modules

1. String Overrides

The String Overrides module allows you to override text on a drupal site such as the default text on a contact form page. Some text that Drupal auto generates is difficult to change, but using String overrides allows you to change those text strings with a fairly easy user interface.

2. Date Module

The Date Module is very powerful because it can tie so many modules together using something simple such as the date. It allows you to assign a date to an event or a custom content type and distribute that value to other modules.

The date module is a flexible date/time field type for the cck content module which requires the CCK content.module and the Date API module.

This module does need CCK in order to work but most if not all drupalheads use CCK so thats not a big issue.

3. Calendar Module

The Calendar Module is intentionally listed after the Date Module because they work so flawlessly together. It pulls in dates of events or custom content types and generates them all in a calendar that is ready to be styled with CSS.

This module will display any Views date field in calendar formats, including CCK date fields, node created or updated dates, etc. Switch between year, month, and day views. Back and next navigation is provided for all views.

I have used this calendar module on multiple sites and it really makes it easy to get a clean looking dynamic calendar up fairly quickly. I highly recommend.

4. Location Module

The Location Module is similar to the Date Module in the sense that is is adding specificity to a piece of content. As you probably guessed by it’s name it allows you to add a location to individual nodes.

The Location module allows real-world geographic locations to be associated with Drupal nodes, including people, places, and other content.

The actual functionality of adding a location to a node or person isn’t all that exciting, It’s what you can do with paired modules that truly brings this module to life.

5. GMAP Module

I was just talking about how other modules bring the Location Module to life. Enter the GMAP Module. This takes the location module and gets all kinds of crazy with it, allowing you to now map all or some of your locations or people. You could build a medium sized social network site just based off of Drupal.

The GMap module provides an interface to the Google Maps API within Drupal. It integrates with the Location module to provide users a clickable map for entering latitude and longitude, as well as to display maps of Drupal nodes and users.

The possibilities are endless and these modules are only in the beginning stages. I can’t wait to see what Drupal 7 holds.

6. UBERCART Module

Ubercart in my opinion is the best e-commerce solution to-date for Drupal. It is a seamless integration that leverages the strengths of Drupals backend to deliver a great shopping experience.

Ubercart is an e-commerce suite developed for Drupal. It has been designed with the end user in mind, focusing on usability in three key areas: store configuration, product and catalog creation, and order administration.

Not only does Ubercart easily integrate with drupal it has built-in modules for shipping calculation, payments, taxes, and much more.

7. Signup Module

The Signup allows a user of the site to “Sign Up” for specific events/nodes and it will email them the day before the event happens just to serve as a reminder. It is a wonderful tool to use if you can get your audience to use it.

Signup allows users to sign up (or register, as in register for a class) for nodes of any type. Includes options for sending a notification email to a selected email address upon a new user signup (good for notifying event coordinators, etc.) and a confirmation email to users who sign up.

I used this on a site I just finished developing, and it hasn’t caught on with in the community yet. I guess we’ll see with time, either way I still like it :p

8. Content Access Module

I use this module to set permissions to different roles per node, so if I have one page I only want important people to see I can go in and set permissions for that specific node. This module is very powerful.

This module 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.

Drupal gives you so much control over the permissions of your site, but the Content Access Module is an awesome add-on to increase Drupals functionality.

9. Webform Module

The Webform Module adds a webform as a nodetype which allows you to offer register forms, surveys, polls and much more. It’s also a good alternative to Drupal’s site-wide contact form.

This module adds a webform nodetype to your Drupal site. Typical uses for Webform are questionnaires, contact or request/register forms, surveys, polls or a front end to issues tracking systems.

I mainly use the Webform Module in place of Drupal’s site-wide contact form. It gives you more flexibility and it’s easier to style.

10. Nodewords Module

Nodewords is great for SEO because it allows you to set meta tags for each drupal page or node. This gives you awesome control over what keywords and descriptions are used on each page of your site, and if used correctly can really help your rankings.

This project allows you to set some meta tags for each Drupal page.

I user the Nodewords Modules for the reasons stated above. It helps out with SEO and keeps google’s attention by constantly updating content with new keywords.

11. Nice Menus Module

Nice Menus enables drop down menus for your navigation items in drupal. It uses completely CSS and even has a small bit of Javascript for IE6.

Nice Menus enables drop-down/right/left expandable menus. It uses only CSS for most browsers, with minimal Javascript for IE6. (Version 2 uses the Superfish jQuery plugin for all browsers, with an option to disable JS, and falls back to CSS-only for browsers that can handle it.)

It’s a quick easy way to get a drop down menu going and can easily be changed to drop to the left, right or down.

12. Mollom

Mollom is a great spam catcher for contact forms, web forms, comments, blogs, messages and more and was developed by Dries Buytaert the creator of Drupal.

Mollom is a web service that analyzes the quality of content posted to websites. This includes comments, contact-form messages, blogs, forum posts, etc. Mollom specifically tries to determine whether this content is unwanted – i.e. “spam” – or desirable – i.e. “ham.”

It significantly cuts down on the amount of spam you get on your Drupal site. It will provide CAPTCHA’s for you to further reduce spam.

13. Scheduler Module

The Scheduler Module allows you to create a piece of content and choose a day for it to become public, instead of having to go back in yourself and set it to public on the day it needs to go live.

This module allows nodes to be published and unpublished on specified dates.

I’m am horrible at remembering things people tell me unless I write it down. So the ability to go in and create the content and then schedule it for the day I actually want it to go live is an awesome feature.

14. Menu Block Module

Menu Block simply enables a block for each of the menus you have so you can place them in a block somewhere else on the site.

It provides configurable blocks of menu trees starting with any level of any menu.

I use this module on almost every site I do. Mainly because I can grab my secondary navigation and throw it in the sidebar, it really gives you a lot of flexibility.

15. Admin Module

This Admin module has some serious promise. They have integrated a very nice administrative theme that makes it super easy to update content within a great looking admin theme.

The admin module provides UI improvements to the standard Drupal admin interface.

I am not currently using this on any sites, but I am looking forward to what this module could become.

Drupal 7 Here we come

All of these modules combined together can add liveliness to any site by way of dynamic content, semantic markup, and easy ways for your clients to update their site. I am truly excited about what Drupal has to offer and what it will offer in the future. I know one thing, I’m officially a Drupal supporter!

Need a Drupal website? Check out this awesome Drupal development firm 3 Waves Media

Dont Like Drupal? Leave the CMS of your choice in the comments.

Written by Shane Jeffers

Shane Jeffers is the Creator and Author of Three Styles. I have a unique passion for design trends and tutorials. Follow me on twitter @ThreeStyles

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  • http://www.levijackson.net Levi

    Great list! I am working with Drupal for the first time on a web site and was wondering about spam filtering as well as drop down menus.

  • Flo

    Great… I’ve even found two modules that I haven’t noticed/used before.

    • http://www.threestyles.com Shane Jeffers

      @Flo Good i’m glad it was a helpful resource to you.

  • http://thewebblend.com Louis Gubitosi

    thanks for this list… I’m going to check out some of these right now.
    .-= Louis Gubitosi´s last blog ..Featured Artist : Master Photo manipulator Marc da Cunha =-.

  • http://www.nowarninglabel.com k

    Nice list and nicely formatted. For users needing a more basic starter list, I’d recommend going to http://www.drupalmodules.com but this is great for once you get past their top 10.

  • http://mojahmedia.com Santhan

    Great list, but the creative pics and presentation of the list is what does it for me. Nice one!

  • http://www.dietplanforabs.com Mike

    Great post I like the picture I will bookmark this post.
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Why I Call It Diet For Abs =-.

  • http://www.volacci.com/ Deepak Das

    Hi Shane,

    You could have include SEO Checklist Module at http://drupal.org/project/seo_checklist – a checklist of good Drupal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices.

  • Harmish

    Hi,great post.
    I am using some of them,and i’ll try the others.

  • tezza

    Nice list, nice site. But why did i have to skip to the comments to see how current your excellent advice is?


  • anony Mouse

    GREAT!!! Very nice description of modules and what they do. Relevant!

    List seems to maintained and updated with D7 changes too.

  • http://nolsense.com prashanto

    Nice list but do you know any “Related post” module with thumbnail like wordpress ?…..

  • http://www.ovtoday.com John

    I was glad to see you add the “signup” module. I use it for two reasons: one is to have as a reminder to upcoming events; the second is a little more imaginative (I think)- I use it so that viewers can sign up for membership into various businesses on the website. This is a great, great, great module.

  • http://allaboutmykidz.com Marco Mor

    hey, I need to create a caledar with similar funtions like the Iphone Calendar ( or Ipad)…… with users able to click on the day box and add text or post… any Idea of a module that can help me to do it?…. I;m new with drupal so I dont know exactly what way to take…. thanks and advance!

  • http://www.goedkoperparkerenschiphol.nl/ Linda

    Thanks for sharing this really great article. I have worked with drupal for a while now. These modules will really help me improve my drupal site. Thanks!

  • http://www.getfreebs.com Jessica

    Are all these modules free? Also, I think the SEO module is a must have.

    • jsheffers

      Yes all these modules are free. The meta-tags module is great for adding meta tags to your site.

  • jon Anthony

    Yes they are all free Drupal 7 has over 5,000 free modules

  • http://shanejeffers.com/ Shane Jeffers

    This module actually allows a user to signup for event nodes. It has nothing to do with becoming a user of the site.

  • anon

    WTF !!! CCK & Views not in your list ?