Installing Drupal on a Personal Computer
In this video I’m going to show you how to install Drupal on your local laptop or desktop computer.
Since personal computers are not web servers, the first thing we need to do is install a suitable web server stack on your PC. This will effectively turn your computer into a web server capable of running Drupal.
There are many different packages for doing this, such as: WAMP for Windows PC, MAMP on a Mac, or the multi OS capable XAMPP. True power users will even use virtual machines such as VirtualBox to install a complete server class, LAMP Stack can accurately mimic various production servers. But, to get started we’re going to use a simple solution that is turned specifically for Drupal, Acquia’s DAMP Stack. This package works on Windows, Mac and even Linux and Unix machines. So while the demo in this video will be on a Windows PC, the steps are nearly identical on other platforms.
Installing Acquia DAMP Stack
The first thing that we need to do is download the DAMP Stack. We do that by going to acquia.com/downloads. Here we can see there are several different versions that we can install. If this is your first time downloading a DAMP Stack, I recommend using the Stack Installer for Windows or the Stack Installer for Mac OS. Since I’m using a Windows machine, I’m going to go ahead and use the Stack Installer for Windows. Just click download, save my file, and now it will start downloading. This may take a few minutes.
Now that the DAMP Stack installer is finished downloading, I can click to launch. Next, the Stack Installer is going to take us through several options. For the most part, we are just going to leave the defaults, although if you’re an expert user you can change them if you want to.
Go ahead and click next, and we see the list of software applications the stack installer is going to put on our computer. Now we get to the licensing. What’s interesting about this particular page is, instead of being one long license agreement, like you’ll see in typical software, it’s actually installing several pieces of software. So it gives you links to each one of these licenses, because each one of these is an open source license. They’re pretty liberal, so I’m just going to go ahead and accept it, and click next. Now it’s asking us where we want to do the install. The defaults are fine. Click Next, switch ports to we want our web server listening to, and click next.
Here it’s going to ask for some default information for your main website. We’re not actually going to be using this website, but for the sake of consistency, I’m going to go and put some information here anyway. Under username I’m going to use admin, password, admin, confirm of admin. For this, I’m just going to leave it simple because it’s running on my local machine. You would not want to use such simple passwords and usernames on a production server. But because we’re just running on our local computer, we don’t have any real security threats. So I am just going to use some simple usernames and passwords.
The last thing I want to do is put in an email address; I’ll just put in an example one for this tutorial. Click next. We want to verify the information that we’re going to be using, and now we’re are going to start our install. This is going to take a few minutes. Now that the installer has completed its work, we can launch the Stack Control Panel, and click finish. This will take a few minutes to boot up. Now it’s done! We now have a complete web server running on our local PC, robust enough to run Drupal. The installer has even created our first Drupal website. To see it, we simply click "Go to My Sites," and now we see that we have a Drupal site web page that is being generated off of our local web server that we just added to our PC. We can tell that by looking at the URL, where it says "local hosts."
Now what you’re seeing now is Acquia Drupal. Acquia Drupal is a special distribution of Drupal that’s added several things beyond what core Drupal offers. Of course we are going to use core Drupal. Let’s look at how we can add that to our DAMP Stack.
The first step is to download core Drupal. To do that we go to drupal.org, click on Download and Extend. I’m going to click on the Download Drupal 7 button, and we’re going to scroll down to the downloads area. Now we’ll see that we have 2 different archives that we can download. We’re going to need to decompress these on our local machine. So if you’re on a Windows machine you might want to use Zip and if you’re on a Linux of Mac OS, you might want to use a tar ball. We are on a Windows machine, we’re going to go ahead and click Zip, and save our download.
Now that my archive is downloaded, I’m going to go ahead and place it on my desktop. To do that, I can simply drag it out of the Zip area. I should note that different OS’s handle the decompression of archives differently. Windows deals with Zip files pretty well, but if you have any problems doing this, you might want to look into a program like 7-Zip or WinRar; they’ll help you decompress your files. Now that I have it on my desktop, I’m going to go ahead and rename it to a name that’s going to match the site we are going to be building; in this case, I'll change it to "tutorial."
What we want to do now is to import Core Drupal into our DAMP Stack. To do that we can go back to our control panel, and I can go ahead and select the "More" option from this menu. We can see that we have 2 different buttons that we can work with. If I select "New," that would create a new installation of an Acquia Drupal website. Because we want to use core, I’m going to go ahead and use the Import button. Now I want to select the files that we saved to our desktop, and I’m going to create a new database because this is a new website. I’m going to go ahead and name this database to match our website name. The last thing I want to do is select a sub-domain; I’m going to have that match our website name also. Go ahead and click Import. Now you see that we’ve got a new installation of a Drupal 7 website, using Core Drupal.
Type of Installers
The last few steps we have are to work our way through Drupal’s installer. On the first page of the installer you notice that we are given two options: a standard and a minimal installation. The standard installation is going to be best for most websites. Minimal is used by advanced users, who really just want to use Drupal as a general framework. So we’re going to go ahead and use standard, and click Save and continue.
The next option we have is what language to put Drupal’s admin. We’re going to go ahead and use English, so just click Save and continue. Now what Drupal is doing is installing the database information it needs for a beginning install. One of the things that is kind of interesting is that because we are using the DAMP Stack, we didn’t have to put in any database credentials, which you do have to do when you install Drupal on a regal web server. Now we have the last information we need to work through. I’m going to go ahead and leave the site name local host. I can change this and all the other settings on this page later, so I’m just going to go ahead and leave this just the way it is.
The next thing I need to do is put in a site email. This email address is pretty important; this is the one that Drupal uses to send its system notifications. It’s also used as a default for several other subsystems inside of Drupal. I am just going to go ahead and put in an example email address. The next thing we want to do is to create a sample user name for the super user oversight. I am going to go ahead and use admin, and then for the password I’m going to go ahead and use admin and admin. Again, I’m using something that is just easy to remember, because we are using this on a local machine, it’s not too important to keep high security. I would not recommend using basic user names and passwords like this on a production server. So now I am going to scroll down and I want to select what county I’m in (we’re in the US) and of course it’s really the default time zone off my computer. That’s correct, so I’m going to leave that alone.
The last thing that we want to look at is this update notifications options. I’m going to go ahead and leave these checked. For future reference, these are there because from time to time Drupal Core and Contrib modules that you might be using will have different updates. In particular, what’s important are when there are security updates, and you need to know about these things and patch your system so that you don’t develop security holes. Leaving these boxes checked will make sure that Drupal automatically checks for this information and even send you email notifications. I’m going to go ahead and leave those checked and click Save and continue.
Now the installer’s done creating our new website. We simply click visit your new website and we’re now landed onto a brand new Drupal site.
Installing on your local computer is the easiest way to start working with Drupal. Just a couple years ago, it was fairly tedious to get a web stack running on a PC. Aquia’s DAMP Stack has now made it as simple as possible. Now that you have your DAMP Stack setup you can play with Drupal to your heart’s content!