Drupal 6 Essential Training
Illustration by Don Barnett

Launching your site


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Drupal 6 Essential Training

with Tom Geller

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Video: Launching your site

So, you've been working hard on making your Drupal site look and feel the way you want. It has all the functions you think you'll need, at least to start. Now, it's time to launch. As it happens, Drupal requires little or no additional work to go from development to public use. In fact if you've been secretly developing your site on a public web server, all you need to do is announce its existence and wait for the hordes to arrive. But here are a few tips that could help ease that transition. First of all, if you're moving from one server to another or from your home computer to a server, review the requirements that we outlined in the video, checking Drupal's requirements. If you have any questions or can't get the site to work properly, contact the system administrator.
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  1. 4m 36s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the example files
      3m 47s
  2. 28m 50s
    1. Drupal is a CMS
      7m 43s
    2. Choosing Drupal
      5m 31s
    3. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 26s
    4. Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
      4m 32s
    5. Meeting the Drupal community
      6m 38s
  3. 11m 26s
    1. Learning key terms in Drupal
      5m 19s
    2. Touring Drupal's interface
      6m 7s
  4. 34m 28s
    1. Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows
      9m 41s
    2. Installing MAMP
      4m 34s
    3. Setting up the database on a Mac
      2m 1s
    4. Downloading and installing Drupal on a Mac
      6m 32s
    5. Troubleshooting installation problems
      3m 49s
    6. Automating updates with cron
      7m 51s
  5. 25m 34s
    1. Setting up clean URLs
      5m 51s
    2. Backing up your Drupal site
      3m 31s
    3. Restoring your Drupal site from backup
      4m 18s
    4. Wiping your Drupal installation clean
      2m 6s
    5. Updating Drupal
      9m 48s
  6. 15m 35s
    1. Using the Administration menu
      6m 20s
    2. Setting site information
      4m 50s
    3. Setting the theme
      4m 25s
  7. 35m 6s
    1. Understanding security and permissions
      7m 2s
    2. Controlling site access with user management
      3m 39s
    3. Creating users
      7m 57s
    4. Setting user profiles
      9m 40s
    5. Creating contact forms
      6m 48s
  8. 19m 18s
    1. Creating your site's basic info pages
      7m 12s
    2. Understanding page layout
      5m 40s
    3. Creating a flexible layout with blocks
      6m 26s
  9. 15m 34s
    1. Monitoring performance
      4m 51s
    2. Recovering from disasters
      7m 37s
    3. Improving administration skills
      3m 6s
  10. 41m 1s
    1. Understanding nodes
      6m 49s
    2. Creating basic content: Stories and pages
      7m 9s
    3. Enabling other content types
      9m 22s
    4. Adding blogs
      3m 48s
    5. Adding forums
      6m 56s
    6. Adding polls
      6m 57s
  11. 34m 48s
    1. Exploring content categories
      7m 44s
    2. Exchanging content via RSS
      9m 47s
    3. Using input filters
      7m 40s
    4. Managing comments
      9m 37s
  12. 38m 5s
    1. Configuring your theme
      11m 27s
    2. Changing your theme's graphics
      4m 59s
    3. Finding and installing a new theme
      8m 56s
    4. Understanding Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      5m 56s
    5. Deciphering CSS files
      6m 47s
  13. 22m 38s
    1. Finding modules
      6m 52s
    2. Unpacking and installing modules
      6m 29s
    3. Configuring modules
      3m 49s
    4. Implementing complex modules
      5m 28s
  14. 32m 10s
    1. Ensuring automated updates with poormanscron
      3m 10s
    2. Defining custom content types with CCK
      12m 53s
    3. Stopping spam using a CAPTCHA
      10m 43s
    4. Using a WYSIWYG text editor
      5m 24s
  15. 22m 18s
    1. Getting around with multilevel menus
      7m 26s
    2. Building custom menus
      5m 42s
    3. Creating easy-to-navigate books
      9m 10s
  16. 20m 18s
    1. Changing page templates with PHP
      8m 15s
    2. Using PHP in content
      5m 20s
    3. Implementing PHP snippets
      6m 43s
  17. 10m 14s
    1. Launching your site
      5m 51s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      4m 23s
  18. 15s
    1. Goodbye
      15s

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Watch the Online Video Course Drupal 6 Essential Training
6h 52m Beginner Aug 25, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Drupal is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) for a variety of platforms. It has a robust user community and easy-to-use administration features. Drupal Essential Training covers all the important aspects of installing, configuring, customizing, and maintaining a Drupal-powered website. Instructor Tom Geller explores blogs, discussion forums, member profiles, and other features while demonstrating the steps required to make Drupal perform. He also teaches fundamental concepts and skills along the way, including installation, backups, and updates; security and permissions; flexible page layouts and CSS; menu navigation; and performance monitoring and disaster recovery. He also discusses how to select and install the community-supported modules that further expand Drupal's capabilities, and gives experienced PHP programmers tips on customizing page templates. Example files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
  • Creating stories, pages, blogs, forums, and polls
  • Managing users and comments
  • Setting and customizing themes
  • Exchanging content via RSS
  • Stopping comment spam with a CAPTCHA
  • Launching a site and joining the Drupal community
Subject:
Web
Software:
Drupal
Author:
Tom Geller

Launching your site

So, you've been working hard on making your Drupal site look and feel the way you want. It has all the functions you think you'll need, at least to start. Now, it's time to launch. As it happens, Drupal requires little or no additional work to go from development to public use. In fact if you've been secretly developing your site on a public web server, all you need to do is announce its existence and wait for the hordes to arrive. But here are a few tips that could help ease that transition. First of all, if you're moving from one server to another or from your home computer to a server, review the requirements that we outlined in the video, checking Drupal's requirements. If you have any questions or can't get the site to work properly, contact the system administrator.

Secondly, check all the permissions. The best way to do that is to go through the registration process yourself the way that everybody else will and see what parts you can and can't see. Is it the way you expected? If not, go back as the administrator and make the appropriate changes. Third, have a beta period. Invite your friends to check out the site. See what complaints and compliments they may have. You'll be surprised when you've more eyes looking at your site. Fourth, before you launch, make sure that your backup routine is perfect on your new system.

You may have to change some things. For example, if you were developing on a desktop computer and are now on a server, you'll need to use an FTP program to get your files to and from that server. Don't just practice backing up; actually restore your site from a backup at least once to make sure that that works. Remember, a backup is only as good as your restore routine. Finally, here is the procedure to move your site to a server. Go back to wherever you first installed Drupal. I'm going to do that by clicking on the Finder and hiding everything else.

I've the Drupal folder here, but I actually need to grab the entire folder. So, I'm going to go up one level, on the Mac you go to Go and Enclosing Folder. On the PC, you'd just click on the icon that goes to the Enclosing Folder. This is the folder that goes to your server, typically be an FTP program. We named our entire folder Drupal. You may have named it something else such as the name of your site. Whatever you named it, the entire folder has to go. You may also need to speak with the system administrator of that server. Inside the Drupal folder, there's one folder in particular that may have permissions problems, that's the Sites folder. Inside here, all and default maybe read only and that may cause problems if they're not copied to your server correctly.

If so, Drupal will tell you. Once that folder has been copied to your server, you also need to upload and SQL database. I'll show you how to export it now through phpMyAdmin. If you've phpMyAdmin installed on the server, you can import it the way that we show you in the backing up your site and restoring your site from backup's videos. To launch phpMyAdmin on your local computer, go to MAMP or WAMP if you're on a Windows computer, go to Open start page and then click on phpMyAdmin. To export the database, scroll down and choose Export and then choose your Drupal database. Scroll down to the bottom of that screen, select Save as file and then click Go. You can then take that file and bring it to your server to phpMyAdmin or whatever other MySQL administrative tool you use.

That covers the technical points, but there are also social points to look out for when you launch a site. First, assume that people will try to abuse the site. You can always give people more freedom, but it's hard to take it away. So, start with very little permission given to the ordinary user and then add more as you start to trust them more. We've shown you several ways of protecting your site and controlling permissions, but I also recommend that you look through a part of the Drupal site which has security modules, that's drupal.org, then go to Download, Modules, scroll down and Security. Remember to filter according to Drupal core compatibility. To do that, you need to sign up for the drupal.org website and log in.

Next, have realistic expectations, remember, you may have been working on this site for weeks and months and it maybe your entire world, but to somebody who doesn't know about it, it's just another site on the internet. Things may start slow, don't be disappointed, just work on making it bigger and better. Next, make sure that you've a feedback loop, so that when people see something that works wrong or right on this site, they'll tell you and you can improve the site further that way. I recommend in fact that you add a forum that's specifically for feedback in the site. I'm doing that now by going to Administer and Forums, adding a forum and just call it Website Feedback of something like that.

With this forum, you'll not only have feedback, but it will be public feedback which other users can comment on and then based on public feedback, you can decide what changes to make. Finally, expect to be surprised, there's such an enormous diversity of people in the world and they all have access to your website. You might be surprised that exactly who comes, perhaps a different age group than you expect or a different interest group than you expect. Try to follow the crowd, but still remember, it's your site and make it what you want. Launching a site involves a major switch in the skills you use everyday, up to this point, you've had to focus on design, configuration and of course, content.

Those skills are still needed after you launch. But now, your primary job is to be a social manager. Unlike in the world at large though on your Drupal site, you make the rules.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Drupal 6 Essential Training .


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Q: While following along to the installation instructions in the “Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows” chapter in the Drupal Essential Training title, an error occurs when attempting to open the local host page. Nothing appears except for an error reading “WAMPSERVER server offline.” What is causing this?
A: There is a known problem with some versions of WAMP that include a version of PHP (5.3) that some versions of Drupal is not compatible with. See http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp#comment-831 for more information.
If that is not causing the issue, reference the tips at http://tomgeller.com/content/tips-running-drupal-windows-using-wamp.
If you don't see the solution at either of those links, try using another AMP stack, such as XAMPP or the Acquia stack installer. See http://tomgeller.com/content/what-hells-wrong-drupal-wamp for discussion about these.
Q: After installing XAMPP and running Drupal for the first time, the Administration menu does not appear. What is the reason for this?
A: There are several possible problems. Here are some likely solutions. (These may also solve problems encountered with other AMP stacks.)
  1. Increase XAMPP's PHP allocation.
  2. Check to make sure all XAMPP's paths are correct and that permissions are correct. If the database information appears, but not Drupal's supporting files, and an included theme is being used, the supporting files will be in the /modules folder.
  3. Another solution is to not use WAMP or XAMPP. One option is to use Acquia's Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP"), which can be found at http://www.acquia.com/downloads. However, that installs Acquia Drupal, which is a version of "normal" Drupal extended with additional modules. If  only core Drupal is desired, see the instructions at http://acquia.com/blog/kieran/try-drupal-7-alpha-your-laptop-or-desktop. (The instructions are for Drupal 7, but will work for Drupal 6 as well.)
Q: In the "Using the example files" movie, the method of importing information to the database is shown, using the backup in Chapter 10. When attempting to do this, the following error is shown: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." The system is running the latest versions of Apache, PhP and MySQL, on Windows Vista. What could be causing the problem?
A: This is probably caused because your AMP stack allocates too little memory to PHP. 
 
That's especially true if you're using WAMP, which only gives PHP 2MB of memory, when it really needs at least 16MB. 
You'll see the issue if you go to the MySQL-controlling phpMyAdmin screen (probably at http://localhost/phpMyAdmin) and click "Import": The maximum file size allowed is 2,048K. That's only 2MB, and the databases for most Drupal sites are much larger than that. (The example site for Drupal Essential Training gets as big as 5MB.) The video "Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows" shows (at around 3:30) where the php.ini file is, but here are some more-complete instructions to increase that memory limit. 

  1. Click the WAMP icon in your system tray.
  2. Select "PHP". In the side menu, select "php.ini" to open a file containing PHP's configuration options.
  3. Search for the line, "upload_max_filesize = 2M".
  4. Change it to "upload_max_filesize = 32M" (or whatever you like). 
  5. Save the file and restart WAMP. (Better yet, restart your computer entirely to be sure. I'm frankly not sure whether it makes a difference.)
  6. Now go back to that "Import" screen in phpMyAdmin: You should notice that the limit has changed.
Q: I don't remember the default username and password used demonstrate Drupal.
A: The default username used in the course is "admin"; the default password is "booth".
Q: How can I change Drupal's administrative username and password?
A: If for some reason the default exercise file username (admin) and password (booth) don't work, you can change them in the database itself using phpMyAdmin. (This technique is demonstrated in a video from Chapter 8, "Recovering from disasters".)

  1. Open your Drupal database with phpMyAdmin.
  2. Go to the "users" table. Click the Browse icon.
  3. For the row where uid = 1, click the Edit icon. (Note the value under the "Name" column: That's the administrator's username.)
  4. In the "pass" row, select "MD5" under the "Function" column
  5. In the same row, enter your new password under the "Value" column.
  6. At the bottom of the screen, click the "Go" button. You should now be able to log in with that username and new password.
Q: In Windows Vista, the WAMP icon disappears from the system tray after a certain amount of time. How do I get it to reappear?
A: To make the WAMP icon reappear (so that you can access localhost, phpmyadmin, php.ini, etc.), you have to activate the "start WAMP server" icon (from start menu, desktop or wherever). The system tray icon will reappear.
Q: My .htaccess file disappeared. What caused this?
A: A few times during the Drupal Essential Training video series, the instructor says to copy a Drupal installation by selecting all the files in the folder and then "dragging and dropping" them, either to a server or another location on your local computer. This is not the best way to do so, as the hidden file ".htaccess" will not be copied. 

There are two ways to get around that problem: 
  1. When installing Drupal for the first time: Instead of copying files from the Drupal folder, move the entire folder to its target location and rename it. This is the easiest solution for those without experience with Unix. 
  2. Use the command-line interface to copy the .htaccess file.
Sorry for the error.
Q: In the video, the instructor says the current version of Drupal is 6.3, but on the drupal.org site, the latest version is 6.17. Which is the newer version of Drupal?
A: Drupal 6.17 is newer than version 6.3. For some reason, the the version numbers go 6.3, 6.4... 6.9, 6.10... 6.17. It’s counter-intuitive, but that’s the order.
Q: My WAMP phpMyadmin will not allow me to upload the exercise files. It returns this message: "No data was received to import. Either no file name was submitted, or the file size exceeded the maximum size permitted by your PHP configuration. See FAQ 1.16." There was no previous database to drop, so what do I need to do to make this work?
A: This is a common problem, caused not by Drupal, but by WAMP. WAMP only allows you to upload files of 2MB or smaller, which is much too small. The solution is detailed at http://tomgeller.com/cant-import-a-drupal-site-in-windows.
 
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