Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Start a Drupal Site From Scratch?

updated on Oct 26, 2014
How to Start a Drupal Site From Scratch? A Drupal installation can be more than useful. It can be used as a fully featured content management system, a simple blog, a photo gallery and a forum. Besides, it can be used for nearly all kinds of purposes – multi-user media portal, online stores, education, technology, and much more. Actually, bloggers make up a large percentage of Drupal fans around the world. Some large companies, such as Louise Blouin Media Group, have chosen Drupal to build their blogs.

Why to Use Drupal for Blogging?

There are always reasons why to do something. And the ones for using Drupal to set up blogs, according to our reviews and surveys, mainly lie in the following aspects.

Free & Open Source Service

Drupal is a free and open source CMS, which means that it requires no cost in the license, and at the same time, you can modify the codes to make your own development if you have the knowledge on PHP. The flexibility allows you to design a unique blog that stands out of the millions. This should be the most basic reason.

Easy Management

Management of Drupal Blogs Even if you are a newbie in Drupal and blog, you can easily manage every aspect of your blog without being troubled by painful errors and technical stuff. As is known, Drupal is designed for ease of use. The drag and drop functionality included makes it simple to give changes and updates.

Considering that some blogs have more than one contributors, Drupal provides various access control restrictions, which allows you to grant different access rights to multiple users. This deed can effectively reduce the risk of being attacked as only a few people have full access to your blog.

Besides, a useful module needs to be mentioned – Wysiwyg. This module is extremely blogger-friendly because it supports all kinds of client-side editor including HTML editors, pseudo-editors, and even Flash-based applications.

Fully Customizable Themes and Modules

There are tens of thousands of modules and free/premium Drupal themes prepared to extend the functionality and beautify the appearance of your blog. You can take advantage of some free and cool coded modules to enhance the security, improve the performance, or even promote your blog on famous social networking platforms.

The availability of thousands of themes, on the other hand, gives you the chance to turn your ordinary blog into a charming one in minutes thus keep more visitors staying and reading more posts on your blog. Still no technical knowledge is required.

SEO Friendly Property

Drupal Blog SEO Drupal comes with some built-in SEO features that can certainly help your blog and posts get better rankings in search engines. The most important and effective one is the support for clean URLs. Unlike the default dynamic URLs, clean URLs are easier to find by search engines and more memorable for visitors.

In addition, you can still optimize the menus, navigation as well as meta tags to make your blog more SEO friendly. SEO modules are also recommended, but you should remember to limit the number of modules used on your blog site.

Auto-update Notifications

Drupal automatically notifies the administrators about the new versions of Drupal core, modules, and themes. This is an awesome feature with which you no longer need to go to regularly to check whether there are any updates available. Besides, you should know that prompt updates protect your site from some security vulnerabilities.

Powerful Community Support

Drupal has a large community of users and developers, with over 992,000 users and nearly 29,000 developers at present. If you have any questions about any aspects of your Drupal blog site, that's fine because you are backed by a group of people who know how to resolve them and are willing to help you do so. Just go the forum to interact with them.

How to Install Drupal on Your Account Manually in Minutes?

There are many people searching for the method to install Drupal manually, because their web hosts don't offer any 1-click script installer. Therefore, we have worked out a detailed tutorial to teach people how install Drupal on their accounts manually in minutes, which is based on our real experience.

Since Drupal is developed on PHP using MySQL as the basic backend, you should make sure that your server has at least met the minimum system requirements before installing Drupal software. Taking the most popular Drupal 7 as an example, your server should be prepared with the following things for a successful installation.
  • PHP version: PHP 5.2.5 or higher (5.3 is recommended).
  • Database engine: MySQL 5.0.15 or higher/PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher/SQLite 3.3.7 or higher.
  • Web server: Apache 2.x , NGINX or Microsoft IIS.
  • Disk space: at least 15 MB (60 MB is required for a website with modules and themes installed).

To be frank, in the industry, there are many web hosts meeting the requirements. However, only a few companies support the Drupal community actively. If you need a hosting plan, we recommend you select the service from BlueHost, each of which is highly recommended by and has been awarded as one of the best Drupal hosting providers.

Now, here come the detailed steps. Following this guide and having the steps done, you will soon get your own blog built and configured the right way. The detailed steps of installing Drupal with Softaculous 1-click installer, and installing it manually are showed in the following parts.

Install Drupal with Softaculous
  1. Log into the control panel and click Softaculous in the Software/Services section.
  2. On the scripts page, find Drupal in the Portals/CMS section from the category menu. Click on the link.
  3. On the installation page, check the version that will be installed and click the Install butoon.
  4. Change the information required for Site Name, Admin Username and Admin Password to improve site security.
  5. When the database settings and software setup are done, click on the Install button at the bottom of the page. Then Softaculous installs the software automatically.

Install Drupal Manually
  • Step 1. Download Necessary Files
The first thing you need to do is visit the official site of Drupal – Here, you are able to know the history and development of Drupal. In addition, you are capable of visiting many sites build with Drupal. Now, click "Download & Extend" at the top of this page. Then, you can see the download button at the next page. Click it and began to download the latest version of Drupal. Just seconds later, the compressed files have been stored in your computer.

Install Drupal Step 1
  • Step 2. Upload Files to Your Account
As soon as Drupal has downloaded the files, you need to upload the files to the public_html folder of your hosting account. If you have not only 1 domain hosted on 1 account, ensure that files will be uploaded to the one under which you wish your Drupal site to reside. There are 2 ways to upload files: use an FTP client or use file manager in your control panel.

If you choose to upload files by via FTP client, you need to find the downloaded Drupal zip file and unzip all of its files. If you unzip the files to an empty and separate folder, you can avoid confusion during the upload. Once you have extracted all the files, upload them to the location of your account as you want. If you upload files through file manager, you are allowed to decompress the contents after the file has been uploaded. Note that, it takes less time to upload file by using file manager since the compressed file is in smaller size. See the steps of uploading file by using file manager.
  • Log into cPanel, scroll down to the File section and click "File Manager".
  • Click the "Upload" icon.
  • Then click "Browse" to select the downloaded file to upload.
  • In the new page, choose the zip file you have downloaded.
  • Once you have uploaded the file, click "Extract" in the File Manager to extract the file.

Install Drupal Step 2
  • Step. 3 Create a MySQL Database
A MySQL database has to be created before you proceed with the installation. To finish this step, you first need to log into your control panel and click MySQL Database. Then, create a database and appoint to a user. At this time, you need to take note of the names of database user and password, because these things are needed to finish the install process.

Install Drupal Step 3
  • Step 4. Install Your Instance of Drupal
This is the last step of installing Drupal. Go to //yourdomainname/install.php. However, if you have installed this CMS in a subdirectory, you will notice that the URL is //yourdomainname/su-directory/install.php. Next step is to choose your profile. Standard is recommended because it enables you to use more features of Drupal to power your website. Then click "Save and continue" to go on.

Install Drupal Step 4.1

The default language is English, if you wish your site in another language, you need to click "Learn how to install Drupal in other languages" to choose your desired language. Next, enter the name of the database you created recently, username, and password and click "Save and continue". Now, the installation will complete.

Install Drupal Step 4.2

Once it is complete, there will be a site configuration page. Enter all the information required at this page and details of your desired administrative login. Then, click "Save and continue". After this, you will see a confirmation page. Now, you have created your Drupal site.

Install Drupal Step 4.3

How to Use Drupal

After you complete the Drupal website installation as above guide, you shall log into the Drupal administration center as the following screenshot.

Drupal Tutorial - Login

You can check out the available themes and decide the appearance of the website. Go to Appearance Tab to select a theme.

Drupal Tutorial - Select Theme

Just like other open source software, there are numerous free and paid themes for Drupal on the web. If you are tight on budget, it's good for you to download a free theme. For the sake of the security of your website, we suggest you only download free themes from For more charming premium themes, you should also only make a purchase at reliable marketplaces like ThemeForest, and ThemeSnap.

Go to Structure Tab to configure how the blocks of content appear in your website. The configuration includes sidebar, content, comment, menu, taxonomy (tagging, categorization and classification of your content) and other regions.

Drupal Tutorial - Configure Site Structure

In the Modules Tab, you can enable/add plenty of add-on modules to enrich your website.

Drupal Tutorial - Enable/Add Modules

By default, some of the core modules of Drupal are not turned on, so make sure to check the modules in the Administer and turn on the ones offering the features you want such as blogs, file uploading and custom clean URL path. If you'd like additional features, you can also download some other modules.

Here are some free modules that are safe, rich-featured and easy-to-use. You can use any one or some of them, but do remember to control the number of the modules on your site because they consume additional server resources such as CPU, memory and storage, thus too many of them will probably slow down your website.
  • Views: Gives you the power to create lists of inter-related content from your own website or remote data stores.
  • Token: Provides a central API for modules to use tokens and expose their own token values.
  • Administration menu: Provides a theme-independent top-floating administration interface.

And then configure the Drupal website in Configuration Tab. The three main works you shall do here is to enable Clean URLs for better search engine optimization, enable Page Caching for better performance, and enable RSS Publishing to provide feed functionality.

Drupal Tutorial - Website Configuration

Then you can go to Content Tab to add the article such as news, press release or blog posts, or basic pages for the static content such as “About Us”, “Contact”, “Advertising” page.#

Drupal Tutorial - Manage Content

And all the left works for you is to edit the “Content”. It’s quite easy to get started your business or blog site over the Internet in fact, is it? If you fall for it, we recommend the following Drupal hosting providers which are tested and reviewed by our editors for more than 6 months.