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Setting up clean URLs

From: Drupal 6 Essential Training

Video: Setting up clean URLs

We are at a point here where Drupal is now installed and ready to go. At this point, you could simply start adding your content. You have a fully working Drupal website. But there is one little tweak I would like to recommend before going any further. While it's optional, it makes your site more friendly to both search engines and users. That is configuration for Clean URLs. This section can be somewhat difficult and technical and much of the information that you are going to need will be on the drupal.org website. I'll show you how to find that information, but I will also show you how to go through the process in one certain way. You might not be able to do this on your computer, but with any luck it will work just fine.

Setting up clean URLs

We are at a point here where Drupal is now installed and ready to go. At this point, you could simply start adding your content. You have a fully working Drupal website. But there is one little tweak I would like to recommend before going any further. While it's optional, it makes your site more friendly to both search engines and users. That is configuration for Clean URLs. This section can be somewhat difficult and technical and much of the information that you are going to need will be on the drupal.org website. I'll show you how to find that information, but I will also show you how to go through the process in one certain way. You might not be able to do this on your computer, but with any luck it will work just fine.

When you first installed Drupal, you might have noticed those choices you had, to either use Clean URLs or not. If you can click those radio buttons at that point then you should turn them on, there is no reason not to. However, for most of us we weren't able to do that because there wasn't something on our server that needed to be changed. I'll show you how to change that now. You can also find out whether you can use Clean URLs once the site is already loaded. To do so go to Administer and scroll down until you find Clean URLs, I will click on there, oh it look likes I can't because I can't click those radio buttons. That's okay; I will show you how to do it.

The first place to go is the drupal.org website, I will create a new window and go to drupal.org. To find the page that you want you will click on Documentation and then scroll down to Beyond the Basics. Then go to HowTos and finally to the Installation, Migration and Backup section. Once there, the second choice is Clean URLs. We will be coming back to this page frequently as there is a lot of information on it that we need. However, first I will show you where the file is that you will need to change in order to make Clean URLs work. I will show where it is on the Mac computer, although if you are on a PC, it will be in a different place, but it will have the same name.

We will go to the Finder and hide everything else so we can see what we are doing. Create a new window by hitting Command+N on the Mac and go to the Applications and then to our MAMP installation folder. In the MAMP installation folder we go to conf, apache and there it is httpd conf. If you are on the PC again, you will have to search for that depending on how you did your installation. I am going to make a backup of that by hitting Command+C, copy and then Command+V for paste, again on the PC it's Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Remember that we have this copy in case anything goes wrong. We are going to open the original file, which is called httpd.conf. Once we have it open, we can make the window a little bit larger, so we can see what we are doing.

We are going to look for something called mod_rewrite, I will do Command+F or Ctrl+F on the PC mod_rewrite. Good, we need to have this line uncommented. In some httpd conf files, you will find a # sign in front of it which means that it's turned off, you want to make sure that it's turned on by backspacing a few times and taking away that # sign. You can also find out if the mod_ rewrite module is turned on in Apache, by going back to MAMP or WAMP, opening up your start page and hitting phpinfo and then doing a search for rewrite there. There we are.

We actually have mod_rewrite already turned on, if it isn't turned on in your installation, the place to go again is the Drupal page I mentioned earlier which will tell you a little bit about how to turn it on. So we have mod_rewrite turned on, why can't we use Clean URLs. It turns out that some additional changes have to be made to httpd.conf or to another file. I am going to make them to httpd.conf although again, there are few different ways of doing this and you can find out on the drupal.org web page.

My favorite way though, is if you scroll down, you will find a little snippet of text here, you can copy, Command+C or Ctrl+C and then go back to that file and paste it pretty much anywhere in the file. I like to put it anywhere in the file. I will like to put it somewhere around the LoadModule part. I will paste it. Then one other change has to happen which is you have to change the path to your Drupal directory. For us that's Users/tomgeller/Sites/drupal. We save that file with Command+S or Ctrl+S. Then we have to do one more thing go to MAMP stop the servers. We need to enter our password for that, start the servers again and then let's see if it works.

We will go back to our site, reload this page, and hurray! We can now use Clean URLs. I will show you what Clean URLs actually does, by turning it on and then saying Save Configuration. First you will notice how we have this ?q= blah, blah, blah, blah. Save configuration, it's all gone. Now we just have /admin/etcetera. That's true throughout the entire site. If we go to, let's say Administer instead of saying ?q= blah, blah, blah it just says admin.

It can be very difficult to set up Clean URLs and believe me I feel for you. I have done this many times and had many problems doing it. Unfortunately, we can only show one path to troubleshooting this, since there are many different ways that it can go wrong. But it's well worth setting up Clean URLs as you can see. If you need any more help, cash in your, you owe me a favor chip with the system administrator friend you have down the street or once again go back to drupal.org and get help there.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Drupal 6 Essential Training
Drupal 6 Essential Training

66 video lessons · 31283 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 4m 38s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the example files
      3m 48s
  2. 28m 55s
    1. Drupal is a CMS
      7m 43s
    2. Choosing Drupal
      5m 32s
    3. Checking Drupal's requirements
      4m 26s
    4. Understanding the inner workings of Drupal
      4m 35s
    5. Meeting the Drupal community
      6m 39s
  3. 11m 28s
    1. Learning key terms in Drupal
      5m 20s
    2. Touring Drupal's interface
      6m 8s
  4. 34m 35s
    1. Installing WAMP and Drupal on Windows
      9m 41s
    2. Installing MAMP
      4m 34s
    3. Setting up the database on a Mac
      2m 2s
    4. Downloading and installing Drupal on a Mac
      6m 37s
    5. Troubleshooting installation problems
      3m 49s
    6. Automating updates with cron
      7m 52s
  5. 25m 37s
    1. Setting up clean URLs
      5m 52s
    2. Backing up your Drupal site
      3m 31s
    3. Restoring your Drupal site from backup
      4m 19s
    4. Wiping your Drupal installation clean
      2m 7s
    5. Updating Drupal
      9m 48s
  6. 15m 37s
    1. Using the Administration menu
      6m 21s
    2. Setting site information
      4m 50s
    3. Setting the theme
      4m 26s
  7. 35m 8s
    1. Understanding security and permissions
      7m 2s
    2. Controlling site access with user management
      3m 39s
    3. Creating users
      7m 58s
    4. Setting user profiles
      9m 40s
    5. Creating contact forms
      6m 49s
  8. 19m 19s
    1. Creating your site's basic info pages
      7m 13s
    2. Understanding page layout
      5m 40s
    3. Creating a flexible layout with blocks
      6m 26s
  9. 15m 35s
    1. Monitoring performance
      4m 52s
    2. Recovering from disasters
      7m 37s
    3. Improving administration skills
      3m 6s
  10. 41m 3s
    1. Understanding nodes
      6m 50s
    2. Creating basic content: Stories and pages
      7m 9s
    3. Enabling other content types
      9m 22s
    4. Adding blogs
      3m 49s
    5. Adding forums
      6m 56s
    6. Adding polls
      6m 57s
  11. 34m 50s
    1. Exploring content categories
      7m 45s
    2. Exchanging content via RSS
      9m 47s
    3. Using input filters
      7m 41s
    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 41s
    1. Finding modules
      6m 53s
    2. Unpacking and installing modules
      6m 30s
    3. Configuring modules
      3m 50s
    4. Implementing complex modules
      5m 28s
  14. 32m 12s
    1. Ensuring automated updates with poormanscron
      3m 11s
    2. Defining custom content types with CCK
      12m 54s
    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 19s
    1. Changing page templates with PHP
      8m 15s
    2. Using PHP in content
      5m 20s
    3. Implementing PHP snippets
      6m 44s
  17. 10m 15s
    1. Launching your site
      5m 52s
    2. Joining the Drupal community
      4m 23s
  18. 14s
    1. Goodbye
      14s

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