Although you can sometimes buy a site as-is, the best investment is building your site from scratch. The problem is where do you start and how do you build a site from scratch? One way to get started is to use software that you can install on your Web host server and then use it to build content for your site.
One such application is Drupal. Drupal is one of the favorite packages you can install for blogging and content sites. It’s easy to install, and users like it for its simplicity. Drupal still requires installation, so we’re going to give you an overview on installing the software on your host provider.
1. Download the Software
The first step is to download the software. Drupal is free, so you can download it without any associated costs. Also, you always want to download the Drupal files from the official Drupal site.
The download will be a compressed zip file, and you’ll download it first to your local hard drive. After it’s downloaded to your local hard drive, you’ll want to upload the file to your host provider and extract the files to the directory that represents your site.
2. Create a Domain for Your Site
You need to come up with a name for your site. The domain name must be available, of course, but you can jot down ideas on paper before you go to a registrar. A registrar is where you reserve your domain name that people type in to access your website.
Once you have some ideas, go to your registrar of choice and type in the name to see if it’s available. You have to choose a top-level domain (TLD) for your name. The most common is the .com, but there are dozens now available. If you want a specific name, you can also use a hyphen or numbers to make it unique from the original name so that you can register the one that you want.
After you create your domain name, you must point it to your Web host. If you aren’t sure where to point it, ask your Web host to help you. When you point your domain name to your host, you tell a user’s Web browser where they can find your site. Note that it takes sometimes up to 72 hours for these changes to take effect. Usually, it’s a smaller amount of time, but users who access your site can still get the parked page until your changes replicate across the Internet.
3. Set Up Your Configuration File
After you extract the Drupal files to your host account, you need to copy the settings file to the root and rename it. The file extracted from Drupal is default.settings.php. You need to copy this file and rename it to settings.php.
Before you actually run this file, you probably need to change its permissions. You need to set its permission to run it and save the settings. You need to give it “666” permissions if the Web host you use asks for a numerical value.
4. Create a Database
When you sign up to a new hosting account, you get a database to go with it. With Linux hosting, which is usually what is used for a Drupal site, you get MySQL databases. You can usually create unlimited or several dozen of them on your account.
For each site that you own, you will probably want a database, so being able to create multiple ones will help you if you decide to open several blogs on your account.
You can create a new database from your cPanel and name it anything you want. For the most part, you probably want to name it the same as your blog in case you decide to have several databases on your account.
After you create the database, you need a user to access it. In your database settings, you’ll find that you can create, edit and delete users. You want to create a user specifically for your website on your database. You don’t want to use the administrator username and password in case your site gets hacked. This would allow the attacker to have full permissions on your database.
Once you create the user, then you need to give it permissions on your new database. Don’t forget to give the user access to your database or your site won’t work.
5. Install the Software
After you have the setup ready, you can install Drupal on your site. The best way to start the setup is to type your domain into your browser. Remember that we pointed your domain to the Web host server, but you might need to wait up to 72 hours for it to process.
The setup file that you created will run, and it will take you step-by-step through the process. You probably want to choose standard installation. The setup will ask you a few questions about your site configurations, and the rest is done automatically.
After the install, you’re ready to use your site. It might take a little time to learn how a Drupal site works. Take some time to review the dashboard and what you need to do to configure your site from the dashboard. From there, you start adding content and building your first website.
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