By: Shalini Rawat
September 10 2020

First key Drupal modules to install right away

“Since getting started with Drupal can be a bit intimidating for newbies, this blog is literally a great investment to take a look at”.

Apparently, Drupal offers a wide range of modules, nearly thousands of modules that are available to download anytime and anywhere. Modules play a pivotal role in the overall Drupal experience. The reason being, a module is a compact set of PHP, JavaScript and/or CSS files that provide a framework to strengthen the functionality of the website.

When you are starting a new Drupal project, there are certain modules that you need to consider installing right away irrespective of what sort of industry type that is for or what will be the key functions of that website.

Therefore, in this blog, we have rounded up some of the most common Drupal modules that are really helpful and can be used in almost all cases. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into the article. 

Modules for site-building

Admin Toolbar

The Drupal Admin Toolbar is a very light module and allows faster and easier functioning to all administration pages. The module is highly capable to improve the default Toolbar (the administration menu at the top of your site) by transforming it into a drop-down menu. You can also create simple icons using Admin Toolbar which offers quick shortcut links to make for a more mobile-friendly and receptive experience.

PathAuto

The PathAuto module is a must-have module in every Drupal project. It is one of those tools that has got your back when you experience some not-so-fun work. Not only this, but the module also does it quickly and effectively. The Drupal PathAuto module helps in generating SEO friendly and well-structured URLs. Site admins can also change the pattern system by changing the tokens it uses. Read the ultimate Drupal SEO guide for 2020 to know more about Drupal’s SEO features.

Token

A Token is a fundamental element in any Drupal website. This Drupal module provides additional tokens (which are not supported by core), as well as a UI for browsing tokens. In addition to this, the Token module auto generates metadata about a website that further helps in search engine optimization (SEO). 

Inline Entity Form

Originally created for Drupal 7, the Inline Entity Form is a popular Drupal module that provides a widget for inline management (creation, modification, removal) of referenced entities. The module allows you to create multiple types of content (or other related entities) from a single form and is primarily used to let you manage order items from the order add / edit form.  

Paragraphs

The Drupal 8 Paragraphs module is an author-friendly extension that allows content authors and editors to create flexible and structured content at ease. Using drag and drop functionalities, Paragraphs makes it possible to combine several different fields into a custom reusable element. Moreover, you can add various paragraphs field types such as images, text blocks, quotes, slideshows, videos and so much more.

Advanced Aggregation

The Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation module allows you to enhance the frontend performance of your site by minimizing the CSS and Javascript. The module has the capability to reduce the delivery of the number of files as well as their size. This in turn augments the download and display speed of the entire content of a web page. Not to mention, Advanced CSS/JS Aggregation collects and stores each resource category, thereby consuming less amount of data to download the page. Read Drupal’s effect on high-performance websites to understand more about Drupal’s performance optimization capabilities.

Metatag

The Metatag module plays a significant role as it allows you to automatically provide structured metadata aka "meta tags", about a website. If used in the right manner, Metatags can help you reach your audience in the most natural manner. In addition to this, the module provides support for meta tags (Open Graph Protocol from Facebook, Twitter Cards from Twitter) that have the power to control how content will appear when shared on social networks.

Redirect

The most important part to build a site right is to involve the Redirect Drupal module. The module allows the creation and management of redirects using a simpler user interface. In order to sustain in the long-term, the website must have the ability to create and maintain redirects. Well, this function can be handled perfectly by the Redirect module which creates manual redirects and maintains a canonical URL for all content, redirecting all other requests to that path.

Coffee

Inspired by Mac apps Alfred and Spotlight, the Coffee module allows you to navigate the admin area using your keyboard which is always much faster than a mouse. Just type (alt + D) or (alt + shift + D) using a simple keyboard shortcut, depending on your internet browser, and you are all set to search for the page you are looking to visit, and it will source it in the fewest characters possible.

Entity Reference Revision 

The core Entity Reference module forms the basis of the Entity Reference Revision module that allows you to reference a specific revision of an entity. This Drupal module is presented form the team that brought the Paragraphs model in existence. Besides this, it adds an Entity Reference field type that has revision support and can work in favor of modules like Paragraphs and Inline Entity Form.

Webform

Webform Drupal module is one of the most powerful modules responsible for making forms and surveys available for your users to submit. Once a customizable email is sent to administrators and/or submitters, results can be immediately taken out into Excel or other spreadsheet applications. Moreover, Webform also provides some basic statistical reviews and has an extensive API in-store to further expand its features.

Simple XML sitemap

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has always been the topmost priority for the Drupal community and therefore tons of modules are created to improve the SEO ranking. Specifically made for Drupal 8, the Simple XML Sitemap module adheres to google’s latest standard and supports multilingual content which makes it even more futuristic and flexible. It also provides an API that allows you to customize links and configurations.

Field group

Field group as the name suggests group fields together which cleans up content types and reduces the burden which falls directly in the lap of content editors. All fieldable entities have the possibility to add groups to wrap their fields together. The main intent of this particular Drupal module is to allow grouping similar fields into tabs, thereby making it easier for people to visualize and deal with the content on the page. 

Fast 404

Drupal suffers from expensive 404 errors which consume more memory of the server to load a page than it should take. This is where the Fast 404 module comes into the picture. Fast 404 Drupal module reduces expensive page rendering without the urge for an additional module. By enabling this module, you can decrease waste bandwidth and server load on-site. In other words, you can deliver 404 errors using less than 1MB of memory on your server. 

403 to 404

403 to 404 refers to a simple Drupal module that emits a 404 error when a user tries to access a page that they don't have access to view.

Modules for development

Devel

Being a web developer who is looking for some tools for debugging, the Devel module can be really powerful that any developer would love to improve efficiency. This module is like a compendium of tools with functions that are handy. For example- the ability to create dummy users, nodes, and taxonomy terms as well as easily view information about APIs, cache effectiveness, Views, database queries, and more.

Devel PHP

The Devel module is used to remove the execute feature from the Drupal module. The Devel PHP module allows you to re-use this feature provided by the Admin toolbar by re-adding the executive tool as an external feature. 

Backup and Migrate

Creating a regular backup is an important step to ensure that you don’t lose your data. Drupal is no different and understands this concern. You will be glad to know that Drupal has a dedicated module to look after backup issues that software might face. This module is popularly called the Backup and Migrate module which allows backing up databases, files, codes, etc. This Drupal module is easy and is highly recommended for beginners. Go through the ultimate guide on Drupal 9 to plan a better migration path.

Twig Tweak

Twig Tweak Drupal module is a small module that is accountable to provide a Twig extension with some useful functions. Along with it, the module allows filters that hold the potential to improve the development experience.

Ctools

Ctools is an important module in the Drupal framework which basically is a suite of APIs and tools that can make code readily available with a view to improving the developer experience. This suite comprises a module called the Page Manager who is responsible for managing pages. The usage of Ctools varies from people to people and is highly dependent on the person using it. 

Modules included in core and disabled by default

Media 

The Media module is held responsible for the management of creation, editing, deletion, settings, and display of the media entities. The media items generally include images, documents, slideshows, YouTube videos, tweets, Instagram photos, etc.

Media Library

Have you ever wondered if a tool can help you manage media at ease? No? Well for your notice, Media Library is a media management tool that can help you find already existing on your site. Not to mention, the tool can help you make additions of new media items to an entity reference field, or embed media into your content via a text editor. This Drupal module is used in sites which is rich in content, where the media assets can be reused.

Layout Builder

Drupal Layout Builder is a unique module that allows content editors and site builders to create a powerful visual design for displaying content, that too with ease. Using this module, developers can easily and conveniently build page layouts using a UI and allows embedding and linking any elements in layouts (fields, views, menus, and forms). Layout Builder in Drupal 8 gives you access to add/remove sections to display the content using different layouts, and customizing your pages based on the requirements. 

JSON: API

JSON: API is intended to minimize the number of requests and the amount of data transferred between clients and servers efficiently. This Drupal module is of pre-determined nature where everything is pre-fixed. In other words, the possibility of making amends in this module is zero. Be it about the location where the resources will reside, or what methods are immediately available on them. Not to mention, JSON: API provides access control to Drupal Core's permissions system. 

GraphQL 

The GraphQL is a perfect fit for anyone who wishes to raise a query or update/delete any content or configuration. This can be done with the help of the official GraphQL query language.  The GraphQL module is considered as one of the finest as well as a mightier tool of Drupal which can be used as a foundation for building your own schema through custom code or you can use and extend the generated schema using the plugin architecture and the provided plugin implementations form the sub-module.

RESTful Web Services

Inspired by Drupal 7, the RESTful web services module relies on the Serialization module in Drupal 8 core to allow a customizable and extensible RESTful API of data that is managed by Drupal. Surprisingly, this Drupal module provides you to create an interaction with any content entity (nodes, users, comments) as well as closely monitor the database log entries.

Core Multilingual modules

A multilingual site allows developers to access Drupal in a language that they prefer. For this obvious reason, the multilingual component feature of Drupal has become an ideal choice for both businesses and developers. Presently, Drupal offers 4 different modules for language and content translation which can be enabled as per the need of the website.  

Language Module:

This is the base module that is required for any non-English or multi-lingual site. It provides users access to arrange languages and apply languages to content.

Locale (Interface Translation) module:

This particular Drupal module is responsible for translating the built-in user interface, your added modules, and themes.

Content Translation module:

This module provides the translation of content entities. Further, it lets you translate your site content, including pages, taxonomy terms, blocks, etc., into different languages.

Configuration Translation:

It is responsible to allow translation of the text that is part of the configuration, such as field labels, the text used in views, etc.

Migrate

The Migrate module is used to provide a flexible framework for migrating content into Drupal from other sources. For example- converting a site from another CMS to Drupal. Besides this, this module can be easily extended for migrating other kinds of content too.  

Migrate UI

Drupal Migrate UI is responsible to provide the browser user interface (UI) for Migrate Drupal. This Drupal module provides a user interface for editing and configuring migrations to Drupal 8.

Conclusion 

And now that you have reached the end of the blog, we expect you to have some really solid suggestions on your radar. Most importantly, make sure that whatever you figure out should be the best fit for your website and your workflow. 

Think you are ready to take a plunge into Drupal? Contact us at [email protected] and our experts will help you plan and launch your site with ease.