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How to Install Drupal

I added this guide for installing Drupal 7, because most guides are focused around installation on *nix machines. My steps for Windows-based computers are easy to follow, and understanding them will help you install and make use of many open source applications as well as dynamic websites.

I personally like to play with Drupal because it offers more benefits for coping with future website expansion.

Install Drupal Effortlessly in Four Steps

Assuming you have a domain name and a hosting space, installing Drupal is easy. Just like installation of many other PHP applications, it involves four main steps:

  • Download Drupal files to your PC which I’m going to show you how,
  • Upload Drupal files to your host which I’m going to show you how,
  • Create a database, I will give you a link to a an easy tutorial with pictures, and
  • Connect Drupal to the database which is easy and is done through your browser which you are using now to read this post.

Here are the four steps with detailed explanation:

Step 1: Download Drupal to Your PC
First you need to download Drupal; go to http://drupal.org/project/drupal and download the latest release to a folder on your PC or to your desktop. Then, unzip the files. Some people prefer to upload the zipped folder and then unzip it on the server. Whichever way you prefer, make sure you have a settings file as shown in the next paragraph.

Open the folder named 'default' which is located inside the folder 'sites'. You will notice there is a PHP file named 'default.settings'. Create a duplicate file of 'default.settings' and name it 'settings'. The settings file gives you flexibility to choose custom settings for your website, and in this file the details of the database are kept inculding the database name, username and the password.

Step 2: Upload Drupal files to Your hosting space
Now, we are going to upload the files to the web root of your domain (public_html). Of course you can choose to install Drupal in a folder. For transferring the files to your web space you are going to use an FTP desktop application. This post will show you how to download and use FileZilla.

Step 3: Create the Drupal database
Creating a MySQL database is easy. You need to choose a name for the database, create a user with password, then assign the user to the database you created. Follow this tutorial for creating a database in cPanel.

Make sure you add privileges to the database user for using and editing the database, as this bit was not clear in the above tutorial for creating the database in cPanel.

Step 4: Connect Drupal to its database
Now the fun begins! Using your browser you are going to connect Drupal to its database (the one you created), it is easy because Drupal ships with a script that automatically populates the database for you so that you have your Drupal website ready.

Now, visit your website by typing its address on your internet browser. You will be presented with a screen/page with two installation profile options (standard and minimal). The video tutorial below shows how to connect Drupal to its database and it will introduce you to the Administrative area. I will also walk you through these steps for configuring your website by listing them below the video.

Installing Drupal 7

Steps for configuring Drupal:
Connect to the database and configue the website

Below are two lists showing the steps and options which are also shown in the above video. The first list shows the steps for configuring Drupal to connect to the database and the second list shows how to configure your website in order to access its administration area.

1) Connect to the database and install typical modules

Follow these steps for connecting to the database and installing Drupal with standard features:

  • a) Choose standard installation for typical Drupal configuration with standard modules
  • b) Keep the default language for the installation as English
  • c) Choose the database type (commonly MySQL). Enter the database name, username and password which you created in step 3. Then click on Advanced Options on the same page to expand it and enter the Database Host which is usually localhost unless the host has created a specific Host Name. You can ask your host for the correct host name or find it in the hosting control panel.

Now Drupal configuration should initialize: It should connect to the database, populate the database tables and install the standard modules required by a typical Drupal website. Next, you will need to enter a few details such as the name of your website and the site's email address, below is a walkthrough.

You must not share the database details with anyone to prevent tampering with the database and your website. These details are kept secure in the settings file which is not accessible to site visitors.

2) Configure your Drupal website and access its administration area

The details you enter here will be used to access the administration area of your website. Follow these steps:

  • a) Enter the site name, for example Westfield Training Company
  • b) Enter the site e-mail address, this will be used for site-wide communication
  • c) Under site maintenance account: Enter a username, e-mail address and a password - these will be used for accessing the admin area
  • d) Under server settings: Choose your country and default time zone

Horray! You have created your first Drupal website.

You must not share your site's details with anyone so that only you have access to the administration area of your website. Keep them safe. These details can be easily changed in the Site information page under Configuration.

I hope that was an easy one. Now browse throgh the administration area as shown in the video and become familiar with the different admin options until the next tutorial when we look at how to add content to your website. meanwhile, don't hesitate to ask questions or leave a comment.

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