Drupal is one of the most powerful and user-friendly content management systems there is and can be used to create a website for any purpose. Being an open source platform means that Drupal is built, used, and supported by a wide community of users across the world; the result of this is regular updates to maintain and improve functionality and security.
Note: You can read this page to learn how to install Drupal for the first time.
As a user of this CMS, it is important that you are always using the most up-to-date version of the software. Updating your installation will provide you with the latest features from the core contributors and it's pretty simple to do – or at least it is if you follow this guide!
Getting an FTP client
Carrying out an update of Drupal will require an 'FTP client'. FTP is something that worries many people, but they are actually incredibly easy to use. I recommend using SmartFTP, as it is the most popular FTP client for Windows, is powerful, and provides excellent support and tutorials; however, it is a premium client and requires a license. If you're looking for a free client, FileZilla is the best option.
Get the latest version of Drupal
After getting your FTP client, the next thing you will need to do is get the latest version of the Drupal software. You can do this by going to http://drupal.org/project/drupal. The most recent version will be listed at the top, under 'Recommended Releases'. You will need to download the correct file (currently 7.22) and copy and paste the zip file to your desktop Drupal folder.
Once in the right folder, you can unzip the file. Next, you will to open the decompressed download and delete the file named 'Sites', this will ensure none of the files on your site are affected by the update.
This update needs to be completed with your website offline, so go log in to your site and go to Administrator > Site Maintenance, change the status to 'Offline' and save.
Using the FTP
Now we are at the point of the update that requires the FTP client. Opening up the server side of the FTP client (/public_html), you should delete everything EXCEPT for the 'Sites' folder and other non-Drupal folders.
You can then drag and drop (or copy and paste) the contents of the downloaded Drupal folder (the one missing the 'Sites' folder) from your desktop over to your FTP.
Completing the update
Now the update is almost ready to run. Go to YourWebsite.com/update.php (your site followed by /update.php) and click on the 'Continue' button. Next, click on the 'Update' button and sit back while the update is installed. Once the update is completed, you should see an option to 'Review Log', this can be taken as a sign that all's well and good and your site is now running the latest, and most secure, version of Drupal.
Note: Future updates may need to be installed from the 'Run Updates' section.
Drupal is a continually improving CMS; installing the regular updates will ensure that your website features the best of what the active community has to offer.