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Drupal open source content management system software is focused on being versatile and moving forward as technology changes. Read more to find out if Drupal is the right choice to help you manage your web site.
What is Drupal?
Drupal is a free software program deigned to help web site owner manage the content of the web sites. It can be used for small sites like personal blogs or for large, complex sites. Drupal can manage both static and dynamic web pages.
Drupal was created by Dries Buytaert, and it evolved into open source project in 2001. Since then, Drupal has been downloaded over one million times and has won numerous open source software awards.
Drupal has numerous applications. It has been used for:
- Company intranets
- Social networking sites
- Discussion groups
Drupal users and developers hold two conferences every year called Drupalcon. There is also online support available on the Drupal web site and through user forums.
What features does Drual offer?
The basic installation and use of Drupal requires no programming skills, but programming can be used to customize Drupal further. Drupal and its extensions offer many features that web site owners can use to create and manage their web sites. Some of these are:
- Individual user accounts and profiles
- Blogs and newletters
- Comments, forums, and polls
- Logging and statistics
- Human-readable or descriptive URLs
- Supports multiple users or authors
- OpenID support
- Notifications for security and updates
- Administration menus
- RSS-feeds for syndicated materials
- Customizable layout options
- TCPDF open source software for creating PDFs
- 44 languages in addition to English
- Search engine and human friendly URLs
- Searchable contents
- Categories for content
- Security controls
- Online support community
- Multiple authors
- Social networking
- Image galleries
- Uploading and downloading files
The Drupal hosting community has created more than 4500 extensions, including some that support private messaging, WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, and custom templates and themes. Some of the Drupal themes can be seen online at the Drupal Theme Garden.
What are the pros and cons of Drupal?
Drupal can be difficult to learn, especially for new web site administrators. Drupal's new version releases are often not compatible with old versions, which means extensions may not work if they are created for a different version. This means you need to be aware of the version you are using, and if you update to a newer version, you may have to make changes to your extensions. Some users also feel that Drupal runs more slowly than other open source CMS software programs.
How do I get started with Drupal?
To use Drupal you will first need to get a web hosting account with a web host that supports Drupal hosting and set up a database on that account. Your web host must offer:
- Apache 1.3 or 2.x web server with UNIX/Linux, Mac OS X, or Microsoft Windows operating system. You may also use IIS 5,6, or 7 web server.
- PHP 4.3.5 or higher, recommended 5.2.x. 5.3 works only on Drupal 6.14 or above, and Drupal 7 requires 5.2 or higher.
- MySQL 4.1 database or higher. Drupal 7 requires MySQL 5.0 or PostgreSQL 7.4 or higher
The memory requirement varies depending on the version and extensions you use.
You will also need certain rights on your web host:
You may also need to be able to create temporary tables and lock tables.
Once have a web host that meets these requirements and have created your database, you can download and install Drupal.
Visit Drupal's web site at drupal.org for more Drupal hosting information.
One of the best Drupal Hosting providers we have found is BlueHost.
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