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Drupal 7 is an open source software package that assists you in effective management and organization of your content. Drupal software was initially launched as a Message Board by Dries Buytaert in the year 1999. It was made Open Source in the year 2001. You can create powerful websites from your blogs, forums, image libraries or RSS feeds very easily. You can also customize the site unlimitedly.

Features

Drupal 7 has a lot of user friendly features to have a wonderful experience. Some of them are listed below:

  • Open Source Software Package: The software package is easily available due to its open source nature.
  • Theming Creatively: You can easily manage and decide as to what appears on your site using the options like New Render API and powerful alter hooks.
  • Better Content Flexibility: You can define your own content structure and custom fields.
  • Easy Accessibility: You can easily access all the administration screens and menus which allow you to develop wonderful websites with high accessibility.
  • Distribution made easy: You can sell your custom Drupal Product with ease using the new API and exportable configurations.
  • Improved Database Support: You can get out-of-the box support for SQLite, MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL from the Database.
  • Images and Files: You have a built-in option to add images to your content in Drupal 7. You can style your images and also opt for private file handling.
  • Automated Code Testing: All your Drupal Core patches and contributed modules will be automatically tested by the built-in testing framework.
  • Improved Java Script and CSS Optimization: You can have a more scalable site which can handle huge traffic and still be fast and responsive.
  • Support: There is lot of community support to you if you find difficulties in handling something in Drupal.

Installation

Before you can actually install Drupal 7 on your system, there are some basic system requirements that you have to check for. These requirements are listed below:

  • Web Server: You will need Nginx, Lighttpd or Microsoft IIS but Apache is usually recommended.
  • Database: You should have MySQL 5.0.15 or higher with PDO, PostgreSQL 8.3 or higher with PDO, SQLite 3.3.7 or higher as a database server requirement.
  • Memory: A minimum of 32MB is required, but if you have a number of modules to be enabled on your site you must have a minimum of 64MB.
  • PHP: You will require a PHP of 5.2.5 of higher. The best recommended would be PHP 5.3.

After you meet these requirements you can go ahead with your installation process. The steps for installation are listed below:

  • Download and Extract Drupal: You can download Drupal from any download utility. After downloading you will then have to extract the files from the compressed version.
  • Create the Database and User: You will have to create an empty database before you actually continue with your installation. You can create a database using the browser-based control panel or phpMyAdmin or by creating it directly from MySQL or PostgreSQL Command Prompt. You also need to define a user with a username to authorize the rights and provide access to manage the database.
  • Set settings.php file: You will have to create a settings.php file from the default file default.settings.php which is downloaded along with the software. You will then have to set the permissions in the settings.php file before you run the installation script. The most important part is that you should set the permissions back after you run the script.
  • Run the installation script: To run the installation script you will have to point the browser to the document root i.e., the base URL where you have initially placed all the Drupal files. Then you will have a series of screens to go through the installation after you run the script. You will have to select the installation profile and language; verify requirements; set up database and install profile. Finally the site will be configured.
  • Set up the Cron Job: In Drupal 7 you can enable cron via Administration > Configuration > System > Cron. By enabling the cron job you can manage a variety of tasks like the search updates, removal of temp files, etc.
  • Configure clean URLs: You can enable the clean URL’s setting if you are not satisfied with the default URL’s provided by the Drupal site.

Overview of Dashboard Menus

Once your site is launched, all the rest of the management and organizing happens from the Dashboard Menus. To understand these administration menus, an overview of each menu is given below:

  • Home Icon: View a live Drupal site using this icon while the administration menu is still available at the top of the page.
  • Dashboard Menu Bar: Consider this as your home page where you can find all the latest updates of the site.
  • Content: Manage, organize, publish, edit, unpublish all your content in an effective way.
  • Structure: Define the structure of your Drupal site using this menu option.
  • Appearance: Manage the themes and site appearance using the appearance menu option.
  • People: Manage users and their access using this menu.
  • Modules: Add, delete, enable and configure modules.
  • Configuration: Find the links of all the customizable features which you can configure on your Drupal site.
  • Reports: View and fine tune information about your site from the Reports.
  • Help: Refer this menu for any assistance in developing and maintaining your site.

Support

Drupal’s team of professionals and volunteers are always ready to answer your questions and help you to have a smooth experience with your site. It has multiple support structures like Search, Forums, Community Documentation, IRC Online Chat, Project Issue Queues, Other Languages, Books, Professional Services and Drupal Training to serve you.

In Short

Drupal 7 is used widely starting from local business organizations to global corporations. It is used in various fields like Multimedia, Education, Social Networking and many more. For all the processes like Site Building, Defining Structures, Administration and Security, Theming and Installation the documentation is maintained in the form of Guides. You can have a great site and wonderful experience with Drupal 7. GreenGeeks offers exceptional Drupal web hosting, we’re a proud partner and Drupal Association member. Find out more about GreenGeeks Drupal 7 hosting.

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