The why’s and how’s of uninstalling Drupal modules

Aug 21, 2017
The why’s and how’s of uninstalling Drupal modules

Modular structure is one of Drupal’s powers making it awesomely flexible and able to give every website exactly what it needs.

There is a wealth of contributed modules created by the community, and it always seems like a good idea to add another one to your website that will be useful in some way. However, useful in one way may sometimes mean harmful in others. So let’s see why you sometimes need to make a revision and uninstall certain Drupal modules. And we will of course  share some tips about how to do it.

Why would I need to uninstall Drupal modules on my website?

Two main reasons are quite convincing. Their names are Performance and Security. These two hate clutter and mess on sites. If you want their respect, a good cleaning is necessary.

Your website’s speed may suffer if:

  • you still keep the modules you are no longer using
  • there are too many Drupal modules on your site
  • some of them are too heavy
  • you use ones that are not recommended for live sites and hamper their work

During website performance audits, we often discover extraneous module issues. To uninstall these is one of the best ways to speed things up — alongside image optimization, JavaScript and CSS aggregation, proper caching and other useful secrets. Less requests, less updates, a cleaner backend — just imagine how much your Drupal site will appreciate it!

When it comes to website security, a big risk are Drupal modules that are no longer properly maintained. They are not getting any security updates and may contain bugs. It’s better to uninstall them to be safe.

Steve Burge says: “The more stuff you have on your site, the more surface areas your site has. And the more surface areas your site has, the more potential for discovering vulnerabilities your site has.” So true!

In some cases, it’s absolutely essential to revise and uninstall extraneous modules, for example, when preparing for your website upgrade. However, why wait for big dates? The big date is today!

How many Drupal modules are “too many”?

According to recommendation, up to 20 contributed modules can be enough for small websites, 20-30 for moderately complex ones, and 50-100 when it comes to very complex sites with lots of functionality (in addition to the Drupal core). Of course, these are not requirements, and everything depends on a particular case. What about your case? Maybe the time has come to uninstall everything that is an unnecessary burden.

Hey, but what if these modules have some cool functionality?

There often are simpler solutions to complicated things. A couple of Drupal modules may be enough to cover the functionality of a dozen. Discovering the true capabilities of some them can come as a big surprise and mean you can get rid of others. In addition, heavy ones you are only using partially can also be successfully replaced.

If there are no ready solutions with all these characteristics, custom modules can be created for you by dev teams that will be fine-tuned to your needs without overburdening your website.

How to uninstall Drupal modules?

Just disabling a Drupal module can be better than nothing. However, as soon as each of them leaves a footprint on your website (tables, fields, taxonomies, blocks etc.), a thorough uninstall is recommended to wipe out all traces of it:

  • Disable the module by going to the “Modules” page and unchecking its “Enabled” status. If it’s impossible to disable a module because another one depends on it, you will need to disable that one first. Done? Click “Save configuration.”
  • Uninstall it by going to the appropriate tab and checking the “Uninstall” box for the module. You will be asked twice, but be firm in your decision ;) Some modules do not have the uninstall functionality, so just skip this step and proceed to the next one.
  • Delete the module’s files by going to the same directory you used when uploading the files and deleting the directory with the unecessary module. In some cases, special cleanups will be needed.


There can be too many modules, but there can never be too much website efficiency. Here is where there are no limits! And we know how to provide it. Contact our help desk and our developers will uninstall the unnecessary modules on your Drupal site, advise which modules are better to remove and why, and find more efficient solutions for everything they should do.

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