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How to Install Drupal for Local Development – Musings of a Drupal Girl

Submitted by Nicole Tang on April 07, 2013

As mentioned in my introduction last week about literally being At the Beginning with Drupal, this week is about kick-starting Drupal by doing the most important thing of all: installing Drupal the very, very basic way to create just one basic site.

Disclaimer: I am only just a beginner in Drupal and this is the way I was taught to install Drupal from some experts I know (thank you Richard & Maung Maung). Hence, I am just breaking it down for beginners like me who have no clue at all. If you have any suggestions on an easier, better way to install Drupal, I’m all ears! =)

And one more note: I’m using a Mac so the steps/tips might be a little more skewed towards Macs. I will try my best to include some Windows tips where I can!

So if you were just as lost as I am before I began this, I hope this helps you out!

How to Install Drupal 101

To get Drupal up and running is certainly not as easy as installing a software, but there are 2 main ways you can do this:

Installing Drupal: the Acquia Dev Desktop way

The Acquia Dev Desktop lets you only run sites based on Drupal. It is easy to get started with it (almost like installing a software) especially if you just want to try out Drupal to familiarise yourself with it.

Downloads you need:
Acquia Dev Desktop

To get the Acquia Dev Desktop, you can go to the same page and select your download from the drop-down menu: the “dmg” file is for Mac users or the “exe” file is for Windows users.

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Install Acquia Dev Desktop – the backbone

The first step is to open the Acquia Dev Desktop and start the installation process.
- If you are a Windows user, find the folder that you used to save your Acquia Dev Desktop download and double-click the “.exe” installation file.
- For a Mac user, find the folder that you used to save your Acquia Dev Desktop download and double-click the “.dmg” installation file. A new folder will pop up with an icon that says “Acquia Dev Desktop Stack Installer”. Double-click on that and allow the installer to run on your computer.

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The second step is to let the installer run and click “Next” for every step once you have read and understood it. You will come to a step that requires you to fill in some information. Do take note of the username and password that you fill in at this page as this will be your login information when you get to your Drupal site (if you are not good at remembering passwords like me, KeePassX is a great help).

When you are all done (yay!)…

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Launching Acquia Dev Desktop Control Panel

If the box next to the “Launch the Acquia Dev Desktop control panel” is ticked (like mine is above), your control panel should launch when you click “finish”:

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Don’t panic if your control panel doesn’t launch. All you have to do is go to Programs (for Windows users) or Applications (for Mac users), search for the “acquia-drupal” and launch the “Acquia Dev Desktop Control Panel”.

Getting your local Drupal site going

The ‘easy’ third step is to “Go to my local site” by clicking on it.

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You will then get to your local Drupal site that has the title you specified earlier in the installation stage. Not to worry, the title of your site can be changed later on.

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The final step to ensure you have installed Drupal is to sign in to your site. Remember the username and password that you specified during the installation process? That’s what you will use to sign in at your local site homepage, which will then bring you to:

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What does this mean? You’ve officially installed Drupal using the Acquia Dev Desktop (pat on the back for you)!

Installing Drupal: the Local Host way

If you’re a beginner like me, you’re probably wondering why you should install Drupal locally (meaning you use a local host for Drupal) when it’s more complicated than the Acquia Dev Desktop way. Well, it’s simply because you can actually build something without having to rely on 3rd party services to provide the platform for you, you will see changes instantly when developing on your local host and it is free to do so.

#1: Getting ‘Acquia Drupal’

So first things first, you need the Acquia Drupal folder. You can get this by going to and downloading it.

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#2: Getting a software to help you run your ‘Acquia Drupal’

Once you have that, you need to get three servers that will help you to run Drupal, namely an “*AMP stack” that consists of Apache, MySQL and PHP servers (don’t worry, I don’t exactly know what these three servers are and can’t programme with them either, but they are what you need to run Drupal). With the Acquia Dev Desktop, these servers are already included but when you install Drupal locally, you need to get these servers.

Lucky for us, some awesome companies have designed a software to install all three of these servers at one time! We have XAMPP, WAMP and MAMP.

XAMPP can be installed across all platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux while WAMP is specifically for Windows and MAMP is specifically for MAC. As I am currently using a MAC, I used MAMP to install Drupal locally on my computer.

#3: Combining your ‘Acquia Drupal’ and your new software

After downloading the MAMP software (the free one is the one on the left, with the grey MAMP logo), I unzipped the file and installed it on my computer, the same way any new software is installed. I would think this is similar with the installation of XAMPP and WAMP as well. You can then navigate to open your newly installed software, MAMP in this case for me.

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At this point, you are armed with the Acquia Drupal download that is zipped (please do unzip it) and your awesome software with your servers (be it XAMPP, WAMP or MAMP). What we have to do now is “combine” the two together by doing the following:

1. Find where your MAMP/XAMPP/WAMP programme folder is
Double-click on the folder and you will find many different folders and files inside the main programme file. Find the “htdocs” folder and open the folder.

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2. Acquia Drupal into “htdocs”
Don’t worry about the “htdocs” folder being blank; this is where you copy and paste your unzipped Acquia Drupal folder.

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#4: Running your servers through your Control Panel

Now that you have combined both ‘Acquia Drupal’ and “htdocs”, go back to your launched Control Panel and click on “Start Servers”.

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When you start your servers for the first time, a new page will open up. For MAMP, this is what happens:

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Yay. This means all is in working order when you get to this, and what MAMP is doing for you is running everything that you need to communicate from the server and to the server.

Subsequently, when you start your servers again and would like to go to the above Start Page, you just have to click “Open start page” in your Control Panel.

#5: Setting up your database

On the start page, find the “phpMyAdmin” button and click on it to be brought to your phpMyAdmin page.

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Click on “Databases” on the menu near the top of the page, and you will be brought to another page where you can create a new database. You can name your database anything you want (highly recommended to add the word “Drupal” in the name of your database) but for this example, I will call mine “drupal_20130405″. When you create your database, ensure that you choose “utf8_general_ci” in the dropdown menu next to where you type in the name of your database, like this:

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Press “create” and you will see your new database created:

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#6: Going to your Local Site

To get to your local site, all you need to do is go to your local host. So copy and paste your local host address into a new tab/window:

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And you will be brought to:

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Click on your Drupal link there, and you will be brought to a configuration page for Drupal.

#7: Configuring your Database

As I have previously filled in my profile, chose my language and verified my requirements, I am brought straight to the database configuration page.

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For the first 3 steps, you just have to choose a “Standard” profile to install, choose the language (it comes default in ‘English’ for now) and make sure that you have right requirements to install Drupal. If you have any problems, you can always check out some help here.

When you get to this same page as me, leave the top option as “MySQL, MariaDB, or equivalent” and fill in the blanks on the page. The “Datebase name” is the same name as the database you created earlier in the phpMyAdmin page. The name of my database, as per the picture and description above, is “drupal_20130405″. For the “Database username” and “Datebase password”, you can just put ‘root. Do note that this is not the username for your Drupal account or to administer Drupal, but rather, just for your database that is currently based on MAMP if you are doing the same installation as I am.

Save it and continue. You will then get to a progress bar and if there are no errors or problems, you will get to the next page where you configure your site.

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#8: Configuring your Site

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When you get to this configuration page, all you have to do is fill in the various information and create your user account – now this is the one you will use as your Drupal administration account. This first user account will also be automatically given all administration permissions.

Site Information
Site name: Pick whichever name you want for your site. You can always change this later on.
Site email address: Drupal sends out notifications such as registration information so type in an email address you want associated with this. This can be the same email that you use to maintain the site. It is entirely up to you.
Acquia subscription identifier & Acquia subscription key: You can leave this alone if you don’t have either of these.

Site Maintenance Account
Username, Email address, Password: This is all up to you. As mentioned above, this can be the same email address as the one you use for your site email address.

Server Settings
Default country & Default time zone: Select whichever is most relevant for you. For me, it’s Singapore with a +8 timezone.

Update Notifications
Check both of these boxes if you wish to receive Drupal alerts for updates. Although, if you do have a restricted Internet connection, you might want to uncheck the boxes and test them later.

Save and continue…

#9: You’re done!!!

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And when you click on it…

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You’re officially done!

So yes, I hope that was easy enough to follow and in easy-enough terms to help you out. It certainly took me awhile to figure all this out. For next week? The lowdown on how to add basic content onto the websites.

This guide is also available on Slideshare for easy download!

How to Install Drupal 101 (for Local Development) - Musings of a Drupal Girl from OlinData

And finally, I would love to hear from you about my little guide! Was it easy enough? Was it too hard? Is there anything that I can do better or faster? What else do you want to find out next? Feel free to comment below or email me anytime at Till next week!