How do you start?
A. I recommend the Lynda.com course to really understand the whole process, but here are the basic steps.
1) Register your domain name. I use register.com.
2) Sign up for hosting with a Drupal-specific hosting company. I use teamholistic.com. [more…]
3) Go back to Register.com and type in the DNS address that teamholistic provided you to point your web URL to their servers.
4) Wait 24 hrs. for the entire world to figure out where your URL is pointing.
B. Now, you need to configure Drupal.
1) Go to Drupal.org and download the latest version of Drupal. It will be a compressed file that ends in tar.gz or something or other! When you double click (just copy that file to your desktop) it will unpack itself into a folder. Open the folder. It will look like this:
The files and folders are what make up the generic Drupal site. This is all you need! To install these files on the commercial server, you use an FTP program like “Fetch.” There are other programs as well — any will work. Once you have connected your web server (the hosting company will give you instructions as to how to do this) you drag these folders and files into the “Public HTML” or “WWW” folder on your server. This is important: make sure these files and folders are not themselves in another folder or the whole thing won’t work.
2) Now, if you navigate using a browser to your site, you will get a Drupal install screen asking you to pick a language to install.
3) Next, you have to set up a database file on the server as well. This is how Drupal works: your content is stored in a database file in another part of the server. It is programmed using PhP — but don’t worry, you don’t need to know that language. Basically, you into the “control panel” from the hosting company (they will have told you how to get there) and establish a database file. Be careful with the naming. My hosting company adds a preffix to the name I created like this:
Name I created: drupaldb
Hosting company name: webname_drupal-db
So later when I need to refer to the database file, I have to use the name the hosting company gave me. Not a big deal!