Installing Drupal on a website

By | May 19, 2011

Drupal, a popular content management system (CMS) provides the user an application environment where they can create their own website and publish content on it in a systematic manner. The advantage of using Drupal is that it provides a flexible way of maintaining website content, and being an open source project, is available totally free of cost. The sites built with this tool are usually well managed, organized, and held in high regard.

Although Drupal was slightly tough to install a few years ago, it has become easier and easier with each newer version. The steps involved in creating a website using Drupal are as follows.

1)  First you have to download the latest copy of Drupal. You will get a file with the extension “.tar.gz”. Treat it like any normal compressed archive, and extract it to a specific location on your hard drive.

2)  Installing the software requires some minimum requirements.

  • PHP 5 for running PHP scripts.
  • MySQL Database to store data for your website.
  • Apache server.

Drupal core files

Before you run the installer, you will have to upload the Drupal core files you extracted earlier, to your web server via FTP.

To install, you will have to run the “install.php” script in your browser, and choose continue. Type in the install URL like this example – http://www.example.com/install.php

Once it is done, a fresh Drupal page will open, where you will create your website. The steps to proceed each stage of the way are pretty self explanatory after that. For finer detail on running the installation script after this, go here.

Drupal modules

Drupal works with several modules, which will add its respective features on your website if applied. These modules can be used to add bookmarks to your websites, to menus or transition effects, tag clouds, etc.

But if you insert too many modules, your website will become excessively slow, which is unwanted. Advanced modules can be unlocked from Administer option. To add a module, it is as simple as to go to the Modules option and check the box beside the name of the module. Finally, click on “Save”.

3)  Then you have to decide how your site is going to look like. Drupal comes with its own set of themes, color schemes and pictures to be used, but you can download themes on your own (although you will have to pay for them). Some themes like the default Garland, allow you to change the color schemes. You can do it by going to the Configure option in your Themes tab.

Drupal color scheme

4)  Now you will have to add relevant pages to your site. These pages and their links will be stored in the database. You can use simple pain text or html text for this purpose, and Drupal will do the rest for you. To add a page, click on Content in the Navigation tab. Choose the option “page”, then provide a suitable name to it. Copy/Paste the desired content, and click on “Save”.

Drupal pages

5)  You can add Blocks to your page, which will contain the search bar, favourites, RSS feeds etc. Adding a Block is similar to adding a module, and you can position it anywhere in your site.

Drupal blocks

6)  The Menu tab in Drupal will allow you to insert menus that will allow visitors to go to different pages on your site.

7)  Finally, define user settings that will govern which pages will be available to whom, and which pages are available only when the users log in. Keep a backup of your database, and you are ready to host your Drupal website on the internet.

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