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Ivan's picture

Lesson 1: Installing Drupal on your computer

I'm starting a course with a lesson a week for non-programmers who wish to learn Drupal. Here is the first lesson.

Before we start with your first lesson, let me give you a very short background about running Drupal.

Drupal is a content management system designed to run on a web server which is accessible through the internet to anyone interested. To run your Drupal site you will need a hosting provider which can run your website for you. There are many to choose from. One of the biggest and cheapest ones that offer easy Drupal installation is Dreamhost.

However for the sake of learning Drupal you don't need to have a server. You can install Drupal on your machine. The disadvantage of this setup is that your site will not be accessible from other computers on the internet. On the upside your local Drupal installation will be much faster than running it on the internet and you don't need internet connection to access your site (ex. on the road).

When you decide you want to move your local Drupal site to your server to make it accessible for the public you will be able to do so.

As a first lesson let's create your Drupal installation and do some basic settings on your website. There are several settings and installations to be done on your Mac to make it into a local webserver and install Drupal on it. I could take you through all that, but it's lengthy and it's unrelated to learning Drupal. Also, there is a very simple solution that will do everything for you.

Download Acquia Drupal

There is a company called Acquia, which is run by the creators of Drupal and it offers many free and payed services that make using Drupal easier. Acquia created a simple installer for Mac users that you can download and run to set up your site within minutes. Download Acquia Drupal here:

Once downloaded run the installer application and fill in the required settings:

  1. Site name is the name of your local Drupal site.
  2. Username is the name of the user who will manage the Drupal site, it is also called user 1 or admin user.
  3. Password is the admin user's password.
  4. Email is required in case you want to recover your admin password.

All these settings can be changed later on your site settings.

Once you are finished with the installation, run the Acquia Drupal Control Panel application. This shows you the status of your local server and allows you to visit your local website. You can also create new databases and change other settings, which will be discussed later. Click go to my site.

Your browser will open this address: http://localhost:8082/ This is where your local Drupal website is located on your Mac. And you will see an empty website with just the basics of Drupal. Log-in so we can create the very first piece of content on your brand new site.

Create the first post on your Drupal site

Once you logged in you will see a black bar on the top and a menu bar in the left. Let's not worry about the top menubar for now. Click the create content link in the left menubar. You will see two options. Story and Page. Click story to get a form.

Don't worry about the yellow message for now. Enter some title such as First post and some copy such as below:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam aliquet pellentesque ligula eu consequat. Sed orci nisl, ultrices sed mattis quis, vestibulum sed enim. Sed sit amet nisi at libero egestas pellentesque quis sed ipsum. Nam fringilla ornare tincidunt. Curabitur auctor tortor in mauris placerat sagittis. Vivamus odio ipsum, consequat eu ullamcorper at, pellentesque quis dolor. Pellentesque vulputate nibh nulla. Donec mattis diam non tellus dignissim ac gravida nisi rhoncus. Suspendisse tortor sapien, iaculis id sodales et, luctus sit amet erat. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Donec luctus lacus quis tortor egestas vitae tristique nibh mattis.
Save the story post by clicking save on the bottom of the page.

Click the name of your website to return to the front page and see the very post your created on your Drupal site. Congratulation!

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

qwertyale's picture
2047 pencils

wow Ivan... I needed this tutorial last week xD...

congrats for this quick tutorial, drupal is really easy to setup and looks good .
I hate Joomla interface and never wanted to build with. I made a traditional install with oficial Drupal Folder files.

I have two questions that I think you could help me.

You are telling us that with this install method we don't need to install Apache nor MySQL servers? It's wonderful... I spent two days to setup them, bascially I couldn't setup the root user for phpMyAdmin on Leopard and discovered it's so easy through Directory Utilitiy... xD

Is there any problem to install and run this one with my pre-installed servers?

yes I'm brazilian xD

Ivan's picture

With this install everything will be set-up for you including Drupal itself.

I'm not sure how it will work with pre-existing setup, but I don't think it's going to be a problem. Just try it.

Art D. Rector's picture
3162 pencils

Interesting - looking forward to more. Thanks.

monkey1979's picture
680 pencils

Ivan, this is exactly what I need, keep up the good work! I look forward to the next installment.


living on dreams and custard creams.

ipure's picture
160 pencils

I've been using they offer wordpress, drupal, joomla and many more with a simple install on your local server. I dig

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils

I'm gonna' sue you people!
I was reading this, it was sooooo boring that I fell asleep, fell off my stool and injured my knee! You people are at fault!
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

Lindatan's picture
2 pencils

Article is very nicely written and I am happy to find so many useful information here in the post, thanks for sharing it here. I hope you will adding more tutorial.

morse's picture
69 pencils

I tried and it works. The only problem is I can't make my logo appear.

Ivan's picture

This will be covered in the next lesson to be posted tomorrow.

SlowX's picture
44 pencils

Very cool to see this here, Ivan!

I'm a recent Drupal convert, and think the best way to learn it is to install locally, and PUSH until you break it...then re-install, and don't do what broke it again. heh

Also, the great thing about installing it yourself on another server is that then you can move it around as needed (new host, one directory to another, etc.). Of course a basic MySQL lesson may be needed, but it's painless.

My two cents is to use MAMP and the core Drupal install, then get the modules you want/need. However, I also realize that it's personal preference, and there are those who think that not building a site from scratch is "cheating," so there you go.

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