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Lesson 2: Basics settings on your Drupal site

In this lesson you will learn how to set the basics up on your new Drupal site.

All settings for your Drupal site can be set within the Administer menu that can be accessed from the menu in the left. When you click Administer you will get a large menu with many options. These menu points are broken down to 5 parts:

  1. Content Management - Manage your site's content.
  2. User Management - Manage your site's users, groups and access to site features.
  3. Reports - View reports from system logs and other status information.
  4. Site building - Control how your site looks and feels.
  5. Site configuration - Adjust basic site configuration options.

Site information

Under the Site configuration you will find the Site information menupoint. Here you can set-up some basic things about your Drupal site.

Site name is not necessarily the domain name of your website, but usually it is. The site name will appear in the header of your website and also in the page title, which in turn shows up in bookmarks, and social media shares.

E-mail address is the where all e-mails to members will be sent to. It's best is the domain address of the site and the e-mail match. If they do not match some email systems may mistake your emails as spam.

Site slogan is will be shown next to your Site name. It should be a very short description of what your site offers to your visitors. Besides helpful to your visitors this is important for search engines, so choose the words wisely. It's optional to fill this out. (Don't stress if the site slogan do not display at first, we'll cover this behavior later in this lesson.)

Mission is a longer description of your website and it appears on the front page above the main content. This text should also include all the keywords you want search engines to pick-up. This field is optional too.

Footer message appears in the footer of your site and usually contains legal and copyright information about your site. This field is optional too.

Anonymous user is a special field that requires a bit of explanation. Your Drupal site can be set-up to accept new content, comments and other user interaction from two distinct types of users. One is called Anonymous user and the other is called Authenticated user.

By default all visitors to your site are considered Anonymous users. If they decide to register and log-in to your site they become Authenticated users.

You can set-up your website to accept interaction from Anonymous users and/or Authenticated users. We will discuss this in detail later.

When a user creates content his name will appear with the piece of content he wrote. If he is logged in his chosen username will appear with content. But, if he's crating content as a non-registered Anonymous user by default the name Anonymous will be shown next to his content. In this field you can change this default name and call Anonymous users something else. For example Guest or Rookie.

Default front page is a setting that you best leave as node for now. You can change where the user land when he types in your domain name at first. You can for example send him to a specific page within your site instead of your front page. This will be useful later when you have more knowledge of Drupal and the Views module.

You can save these settings before we go to the next part of the lesson.


Within Site building you will find Themes. Before we go into the theme settings for your site let me explain the basic concept of themes.

You Drupal site has three basic areas. One is the engine of the site, which provides the functionality for your site. Second is the content of the site which you and your users create using the features of the engine. Third is the theme of the site, which is the visual representation of how the content is displayed.

You can change all three areas. You can change the engine by enabling different modules on your site. You and your visitors can change content by adding and editing pages, comments and other pieces of content. You can change the theme by going into the Themes setting and choosing from the few themes provided by your basic Drupal installation. You can set a theme that your site displayed in and if you like you can allow users to switch to a different theme if they wish.

When you click Themes on the top the List tab will be selected. This displays all the available themes to your site. You can add more themes as it will be explained later.

You can see two columns of checkboxes next to each theme. Enabled sets whether the theme is available for visitors or not. Default sets which theme is used by default for your site. In most cases you will only enable one theme and it will match the default theme setting as most site admins do not want users to change themes around. It is hard to maintain several themes, but you may decide to offer a light background and dark background theme.

When you made your choice click Save configuration to view your site in the selected theme. Play around checking out different available themes to see how the visual representation of your site changes, but the functionality and content itself remains unchanged.

Once you made up your mind we can continue to the next step and make some further settings. For themes there are Global settings that apply to any theme selected and theme specific settings. First you need to set-up the Global settings.

Click the Configure tab on the top. Global settings is selected by default. You can set-up several things for your site that relate to the settings we did at the beginning of the lesson.

Toggle display allows you to switch on or off several elements to be displayed or not. Some of the elements will already be familiar to you from the beginning of the lesson. Some of them will be inactive or not familiar, we will cover these later.

Display post information on controls if you want to display the post information on different types of content. Post information is a small piece of content that looks something like this: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 14:09 — ivan and is displayed next to posted content. You may want to disable it for Pages as they contain content which is general information about the site and it is not important when or who posted them. And, you may want to enable it to all other content types as posting time and author name will be relevant.

Do not bother with the rest of the settings on this Global settings page as they are not relevant for specific themes.

Click the tab of your chosen theme next to Global settings to do further settings relating to your specific theme.

If your theme is Garland you will have some special color settings available only for this default theme. You will be able to change the colors easily.

Toggle settings allows you to override the previously set Global settings for this theme only.

Logo image settings allows you to set up a logo for your site. You can choose to use the default logo which is a Drupal logo symbol (called Druplicon). More importantly you can upload your own logo here, which will display in the header of the website left to the Site name. You will be able to change the position of these elements on the site when we get to theming later in the course.

Shortcut icon settings sets up the favicon for the site, which is displayed in the browser and many other places. You can create a favicon easily using one of the free sites available. Just search for "create favicon".

Once you're done click Save configuration to see the changes you made.

Congratulation, you've completed the basic settings lesson!

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

monkey1979's picture
680 pencils

Thanks for this Ivan, I'm going to work though this this afternoon.


living on dreams and custard creams.

steveballmer's picture
653 pencils

What the heck is Dripal?
I am not Steve Ballmer pretending not to be me!

qwertyale's picture
2047 pencils

you can't understand iPhone's keyboard, forget Drupal xD

yes I'm brazilian xD

qwertyale's picture
2047 pencils

I would want to read something about publishing...
I can't understand the hierarchy and different posting styles =[

yes I'm brazilian xD

Ivan's picture

There are several different threads. They all revolve around design, Macs and creativity. Drupal school has been asked by several members so I started it. It is about teaching designers how to put together Drupal sites without the need to write code.

Creativebits is a blog about Creativity, Graphic Design, Adobe, Apple and other related subjects.

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