What is needed in order to create an easily maintainable, scalable website fast? It’s really not as much as you might think. Let’s go through the list of website requirements and a few ideas.
Firstly, you will need a domain name. Try to decide on a top-level domain with a “com”, “net”, “org” extension. Then, go to a domain-name registrar such as Domainsnow4u.com or CheapToRegister.com and start entering domain names which you might be interested in buying.
If you have a company or unique brand name, your choice will be considerably more easy as the likelihood that anyone else might’ve already bought your domain name will be lower. If you choose a domain name such as “cheapcomputers.com”, however, it might be more difficult as most of the easy domain names have already been taken. However, you should still be able to find a good one based on your registrar’s suggestions and also using some of your creativity.
Once you finish buying the domain, you will need a place for your site to be hosted. We warn you, do not register your domain name with your hosting provider even it is for free. Hosting providers come and go, they strongly vary in quality, and they can also change management. So should you need to change web hosting providers at any one point, you don’t want to give them the chance to hold your domain name as hostage.
Here is what to look for in a hosting provider. The first thing is Fantastico. Fantastico is a script maintenance package that will enable you to quickly set up a blog, content management system, or discussion board.
The next thing you should seek is a Cpanel. This is a web-based graphic user interface that will help you to maintain your website without having to learn any arcane Unix commands.
Finally, you must ensure that the Drupal (see drupal.org for more information) content management system is one of the installations available through Fantastico with your provider.
Also, compare your hosting provider candidates. A few recommended providers are AN Hosting (anhosting.com) and Hostgator Web Hosting (hostgator.com). Both providers offer Cpanel, Fantastico, and Drupal in plans that begin at less than eight dollars per month.
Once your hosting account has been set up, your provider should send you two domain name server (DNS) addresses. You will need to go back to your domain registrar account, and enter these addresses in the name server area for the domain name you just bought. It might take a few hours for the internet to recognize that your domain name is now hosted with your provider. In some cases it can take as long as two days, though, so make sure you remain patient.
Whilst you wait for your domain’s DNS to get established, however, you can continue setting up the remainder of your site. Fantastico and Drupal make this quite simple.
Firstly, you must log into your administrative account with your hosting provider. Then, you should try to click on the Fantastico icon, and then on the Drupal link. Then, try to establish a new Drupal installation. Select the domain name from the drop-down box, and don’t enter a directory (we’ll be driving the whole site with Drupal), enter an administrative id and password (make sure you don’t forget these), and enter your permanent email address for the administrator email. Then, click the “Install Drupal” button in order to continue installation.
All this should take you to the second screen (out of three) of your Drupal installation. This screen contains some important information, such as the access URL for your new site, so you should print it and keep it safely. This is the point where you can finish the installation.
Now you can go to your domain and try to login. You will find yourself in the Drupal CMS, and there are some basic things you might want to do.
In the majority of fresh Drupal installations, there should be a menu in the left column that comprises an item named “administer”. You must click on this item, and more items should appear. Then, click on the “modules” item in order to enable the path module — for a more simple installation, all the default-enabled modules plus the path module should be sufficient. Try to make sure to click the “Save Configuration” button which is at the bottom of the page.
Typically, you will want your pages to have URLs which are decipherable, so click the “General Settings” link again and scroll down to the “Clean URLs” section. Then, click on the link that says “Run the clean URL test”. If your server does pass the test, you should be able to scroll down the “Clean URLs” section once more, and enable clean URLs. Don’t forget to save the configuration.
Now you can go the menu in the left column again and click on the “Create Content” item. The most often used content type will be the page. Try to create a title and add content, and your site will be up and running.
If you would like to customize your site further, you will be able to use the official Drupal website (drupal.org) as a resource. Not only will it cover much more about using Drupal, it will also include downloadable themes in order to mosify the look and feel of your site, as well as modules that can add functionality to your site.
Here are some of the most helpful modules and their uses.
* gsitemap – Creates a Google Sitemap.
* nodewords – Populates meta tags.
* path – Enables URL renaming.
* pathauto – Automatically creates paths based on content attributes like title and date of publication.
* pathfilter – Converts internal Drupal paths to absolute or relative URL addresses.
* sitemenu – Creates a user-friendly sitemap.
* urllist – Allows management of URLs and their aliases.
* userlink – Enables you to create a links or bookmarks directory.
Norman Mather is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.