Basic Drupal site configuration

Here I will point out some things that should be done by yourself after you have installed Drupal. It's a basic Drupal site configuration - some things that I always do when I create new Drupal website.

I assume you have installed Drupal on your web server. Installation is very easy, it's a matter of "point and click". Just make sure you create your database before that. More info on Drupal installation can be found in install.txt file that comes with Drupal installation.

So, you've just installed Drupal on your web-server (or your localhost), and now you ask yourself: "Hmmmm..... Now what?". Of course, it depends on the nature of your future website what you want to do with it, but before all that there's some basic Drupal site configuration that I always do, and I suggest you do it as well.

You are presented with a nice blue theme and a welcome message "Welcome to your new Drupal website!" and some additional info on setting up your Drupal website. I suggest you read that text and then do the following:

1. Go on and create your first account by clicking "create the first account." link. That first account that you create will be the admin account for your drupal website! It will have a user id of 1. You can name it "admin" or whatever you like.

2. After that you are back to frontpage of your installation. Go to your admin section, and click on "Modules". On modules listing page, mark checkboxes for the following modules: Contact, Path, Search and Statistics. Click "Save configuration". This will install some additional core modules that are not enabled by default, but I always use them.

3. Enable Clean URLs by visiting admin -> Site configuration -> Clean URLs (you need to have mod_rewrite Apache module enabled for this to work).

4. Go to admin section. If you see a message at the top that says "One or more problems were detected with your Drupal installation. Check the status report for more information.", don't worry about it, we'll fix that in a minute. Click "Site information" and fill in all those fields for your Drupal website. I think they are all pretty much self-explanatory :-)

5. Next, click "File system" in admin section. You will hopefully get a message that "Files" directory was created. Click "Save configuration".

6. Now we need to setup Cron for out Drupal installation. In case you didn't know, cron is a unix process that works in a background all the time and it can execute certain commands for you at any time you tell it to do so. Drupal NEEDS cron job to be set up in order to function properly. So, login to your VPS (or dedicated server) and type following command:

crontab -e

This opens up your cron edit screen. Add the following line to it:

0 9 * * * wget -q http://www.your-domain.com/cron.php

This tells your cron to execute cron.php script at exactly 9am every day. You should be fine with it, although you can choose whatever time of the day you want.

(in case you don't have shell access, and you are on shared hosting, you should have some kind of setting up a cron. I know that in Cpanel you can set up a cronjob very easy, through graphical user interface. If you cannot do that, I suggest you contact you hoisting provider for assistance about setting up your cronjob for Drupal).

7. Ctrl+X and 'Y' and Enter. You should be out of your cron settings program. You can check if you successfully added cronjob by executing
crontab -l

8. Now go back to your browser, to your admin page of Drupal installation. You can run cron manually now, and then you shouldn't do it anymore, since we've just set up a cronjob for Drupal. Now you shouldn’t receive any error messages at the top of the window in admin section.

9. Go to front page of your Drupal website. You are going to create your first piece of content in Drupal.

Create content - > Story

Create it! Be creative ;) Write something just for fun, as we have a little bit more to configure. After you click Submit, your "story will be created. Congratulations, you've just created your first piece of content (node) in Drupal.

10. Go to your webroot directory where your Drupal installation is. Open up your .htaccess file and add following lines to it:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^your-domain.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.+)/$ http://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

or, if you have 'www' part in your domain name, add this instead:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(www.)?your-domain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.+)/$ http://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301,L]

Save ".htaccess" file.

What this does is that it gets rid of a trailing slash at the end of your Drupal URLs. So, if you type URL with a slash at the end, it will automatically get rid of it. This is extremely important for search engines like Google and your website ranking, that's why we do this.

You should now have a basic Drupal website up and running with minimal number of modules running.

I suggest you now play around your Drupal website, explore the admin section a little bit more, just to see that it's nothing really difficult there. Any questions or suggestions, I'd be happy to read them.