Beginner's Guide to Drupal: How to Get Started

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Beginner's Guide to Drupal: How to Get Started

Need help getting started with Drupal?

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There are various Content Management Systems out there, and they all have their own place in the market where they cater to different target audiences. But if you’re looking for a platform that focuses more on the needs of developers, then you may find Drupal to be more appealing. Drupal has been in the game since 2000, way before WordPress and Joomla were incorporated. It started out as a message board to enable students to communicate with each other. Then, it evolved into an open-source project the very next year and has since grown to become one of the most popular CMS platforms on the web. Drupal development services the backbone of about 2 percent of all websites, making it the third most commonly used CMS. 

When Should You Use Drupal

There is a rumor running around that Drupal is really hard to learn, which largely isn’t true. Like we’ve already mentioned, Drupal stands out from the crowd by being a more advanced, developer-oriented CMS. If you’re used to working on WordPress, then you’re likely to get boggled. The plethora of features and more functionality, however, will make up for your time investment in its learning. So, there are only two parameters in which you should comply with Drupal:

  • The level of your technical knowledge

  • The purpose of your website

Where stability, security, speed, and flexibility are the major concerns, Drupal always happens to be one of the primary choices for business owners with those specifications. If your website requires a complex structure and massive amounts of data, don’t even hesitate to go for Drupal.

Step-by-Step Guide to Get Started With Drupal

Install Drupal on Your Website

Unlike one-click installs, you’ll have to install Drupal manually on your website. For that, you will need to have a local environment or a site where you want to install Drupal. You also have to make sure it meets the minimum requirements for the software to run correctly and a MySQL database that the site can use.

All you need to do next is to access your website using its standard URL, which will present you with the Drupal installation wizard, where you’ll have to choose your preferred language and choose an installation profile (Standard or Minimal), after which it starts installing the website. Configure your site at the end by writing site name, site’s email ID, etc.

Start With Content Creation             

This is where things get hefty, but that’s also the fun part because here is when you have the opportunity to customize the website as per your needs. Drupal comes with numerous options in this regard, including custom content types, but here, we’ll solely focus on creating a single post.

For this, you need to select the Content option in the upper admin bar. In case that option isn’t visible, just click on Manage to expand the bar, which takes you to your Content page. It displays everything that already exists on your site, which will obviously be empty right now.

You’ll need to select Add Content to create something new. After that, choose the content type you want — Article or Page. If you have used WordPress, you’ll realize that the content creation process works along similar lines.

What you need to realize is that "Articles" are primarily used for time-specific content like blog posts, updates, and news, while "Pages" are best suited to static information.

Putting Modules to Use

At this point, you might want to add an additional functionality to your website, and that’s where modules come into play. Modules are sets of code that you can install on to your website to add new features and functionality.

A single module can contain CSS, JavaScript, and PHP that are able to alter your site’s capabilities. Every Drupal installation will contain a series of core modules. You can also download and install the new ones yourself.

If you browse the Drupal Module’s page, you’ll find over 40000 of them, which you can download and add to your website. Use the drop-down menus to refine your search and find tools with a specific purpose or status.

All you need to do here is click on any given module from the search results, which takes you to the page where you find more details about it. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll find links to download the module.

Return to your website; then find and click on the Extend tab from the admin toolbar. Click on Install a New Module where you can provide a direct link to the file or upload it manually.

Add a Theme to Your Website

The site's appearance is one of the most important things; you must do something about it. You can find both free and premium themes anywhere on the Internet. However, we would recommend you to start with Drupal’s official theme repository. Similar to the module repository, you can easily browse themes, view more details by clicking on them, and download them using the links on each one’s page.

After you have downloaded the theme you want to use, you should go to your website and click on the Appearance tab in your admin toolbar. You’ll see themes you already have installed, which should have one or more default themes. Click on Install New Theme, and just like you installed a module, you can add a theme by providing a URL or directly uploading the file.

Now, make sure you have activated the theme on your website by returning to your Themes page where you’ll see your latest theme you uploaded. Click on Install, set it as the default, and the theme will be activated on your website.

Now, as you can see, Drupal offers much more functionality than several other platforms. Even though it may take a while to get the hang of it, the outcome, however, is worth the hassle. Other Content Management Systems may be easy, but with the scalability and other extensive options that Drupal offers, you surely wouldn’t want to go with any other Content Management System anyway. 

CMS, content, content creation, content management system, drupal, installation, open source, themes, tutorial

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