Common questions of a drupal beginner

By: Deepu Balan    |    In: Web Design       
common-questions-of-a-drupal-begginer

As most of you are probably aware, Drupal is the best PHP Open Source Content Management System. Most serious big players in the web industry always prefer Drupal over any other CMS applications, mainly because Drupal is more powerful and reliable. But after trying both Drupal & Joomla, I feel like Drupal is really flexible and reliable. But when it comes to user friendliness, Drupal is way behind Joomla. Drupal is such a good CMS system, but it’s not that easy for a beginner to learn it himself. Drupal documentation is not up to the mark for a beginner. So it requires extensive research and lot of googling to master Drupal yourself.

A few months ago, I started learning Drupal theming – I found myself spending a lot of time searching Google for answers to my basic doubts about Drupal. Being self taught, I thought I will archive these questions that troubled me and took up so much of my time. I hope this post would save some Drupal enthusiast some precious time.

Well, here are the questions – go ahead and read :-)

How do I access the Drupal admin panel, when the login block is disabled?

This is really a common question among Drupal beginners; we need not always want the login block to be displayed in our site. Since most of these cases the login block will be turned off in the administration. In those cases, we can access the login screen simply through the following URL.

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http://sitename.com/?q=user

or if the clean URL is enabled

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http://sitename.com/user

Similarly if you can’t access the logout link and need to logout, you can do so by using the URL

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http://sitename.com/?q=logout

alternatively with clean URLs enabled you can try

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http://sitename.com/logout

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How to make my Drupal site offline to public, while it is under construction?

You can set your Drupal site in off-line mode, while it is being developed. Just click Administer » Site maintenance. There you can set the status to off-line. If you wants, you can also set your own custom off-line message. When set to Off-line, only users with the administer site configuration permission will be able to access your site to perform maintenance; all other visitors will see the site off-line message configured there. Authorized users can log in during Off-line mode directly via the user login page.

How can I install a new theme in Drupal?

This is another common question among Drupal newbies all time. After trying out all available themes under Drupals theme directory, we may naturally want to try new themes. Installing a new theme is very simple and straightforward. Follow the steps below.

  • Download a new theme package. Note that themes for different Drupal versions are not compatible, version 5.x themes do not work with Drupal 6.x and reverse.
  • Read any README or INSTALL files in the package to find out if there are any special steps needed for this theme.
  • Upload the contents of the theme package to a new directory in the themes directory in your Drupal site. In Drupal 5.x & 6.x, you place your themes in /sites/all/themes/yourThemeName
  • Click administer » themes and enable the new theme (Drupal will auto-detect its presence).
  • Edit your user preferences and select the new theme. If you want it to be the default theme for all users, check the default box in the themes administration page.

How to install a new module in Drupal?

After finding and downloading a module, the next step would be to copy it the modules folder. Most people copy the file to the default modules folder here http://sitename.com/drupal/modules this is where all the modules that ship with Drupal are stored so it seems somewhat logical to do this. But this folder is actually meant to store only Drupal’s default modules. Instead you should go to http://sitename.com/drupal/sites/all folder, there you will see a readme.txt file. This file will clearly tell you the trick. You just need to create a new folder named modules here. Now copy the modules folder here. That’s all, you have successfully installed the module.
Next step would be to enable the module through the Admin interface. To do this navigate to Administer » Site Building » Modules. Here you will see a list off all installed modules, and our newly installed module will also be listed here. You just have to check the enable check box against the new module and then click the Save Configuration button. That’s all.
Read a detailed post on Drupal module installation here

How can I change the favicon in my Drupal Site?

A favicon (short for favorites icon), also known as a website icon or bookmark icon is a 16×16 pixel square icon that appears near the address bar and in the bookmarks folder in a visitor’s browser. By default, a drupal site shows that water drop kinda drupal logo as favicon. If you want to make your site unique by all means, you can easily change the favicon to your customized icon by following the steps below.

  • Create your own favicon.ico file using any graphic tools or with the help of any online favicon generator tools like dnamicdrive.
  • Navigate to admin » site building » themes and click the configure link next to your current theme. This will bring up the theme configuration page.
  • Here you will see a section titled Shortcut icons settings. You can either upload your favicon file or specify the path to your customized icon file.

The changes may not appear immediately in your browser, you need to clear your browser’s cache and reload the page. If you have bookmarked your site, you may need to delete the bookmark and then recreate it again so that the new favicon will appear in the bookmarks menu.
Documentation

How can I enable clean URLs in Drupal?

Drupal’s default URL structure is like “http://www.sitename.com/?q=node/10″ This URL format can be hard to read, and can sometimes prevent search engines from indexing all your pages properly. In this case you can eliminate this “?q=” and clean the URLs through the following steps.

Navigate to Administer » Site configuration » Clean URLs. By default, it will be disabled. Select enabled and click the save configuration button. You are done.

You can make your URLs even more cleaner with the help of path module.
Home » Administer » Site building » Modules: enable the Path Module.
See the Path module handbook page for more information on using the path module.

How do I remove the title ‘Navigation’ from the navigation block?

To prevent the navigation block title or any other block title from appearing in the pages, just do the following.

  • Navigate to Administer » Site building » Blocks and click the configure link next to the Navigation block.
  • In the block configuration page, enter <none> in the Block title filed. This will override the default title for the block and remove the title.

How can I translate Drupal to my local language

The interface text (like the “Log in” button and the “Add new comment” text) is in English by default, but can be translated. For many languages, there are completed or partly completed translations available. (See the locale module on how to use them.)

All languages need more translation contributions. Some have only incomplete versions of the text in core, so that parts of the interface will show up in English. Others may be complete but need corrections and improvements of the language. And no language has a complete set of translations for all contributed modules… Read More

How do I show different Drupal themes on different pages?

Yeah it’s possible! You can apply different themes to different pages in your drupal site simply with the help of a cool module called ‘Sections’. A detailed post on using sections module is available here

How can I customize my 404 – Page not found page?

Create a new page with some extra information, so that your visitors don’t ever plunge on to the default boring 404 – page not found error page.
Once this page is created:

  • Remember its node ID,
  • Go to Administer > Site configuration > Error reporting
  • Set Default 404 (not found) page to the node ID you just created
  • Save your settings

You can also use the Search 404 module as an alternative.

How can I add a new Block In Drupal?

Adding a new block is a simple process in drupal 6.

  • Go to Administer » Blocks and click on the Add Block link (tab).
  • Fill in the form with the necessary PHP/HTML code in the block body. And click the ‘Save Block’ button.

A detailed post on adding a new block is available HERE.

How can I create a custom region in my Drupal template?

Adding a new region in your drupal template is not a hard thing, but its not as easy as adding a new block. It’s basically a two-step process:

  • define the custom region in your theme’s .info file
  • insert some PHP in your theme’s page.tpl.php file wherever you would like the new region to appear

So, here’s a tutorial on how to create custom regions in your Drupal 6 themes… More

How can I add custom PHP codes in my Drupal pages or blocks?

By default, drupal will not allow inserting PHP code directly inside a post or in a block. To do this, you need to activate a drupal module called PHP filter via, Administer » Site building » Modules. Even though this module ships with drupal, it remains disabled by default.

How do I Remove Breadcrumbs from my Drupal pages?

Breadcrumbs or breadcrumb trail is a navigation aid used in drupal interfaces. Normally it appears in between the top banner area and the page title. It gives users a way to keep track of their location within programs. Breadcrumbs are really useful in a comparatively bigger website with plenty of sections and subsections. But when it comes to smaller websites, it may found useless. In those cases you may either hide it using CSS (eg. .breadcrumb {display: none;}) or in the page.tpl.php file remove the line that says <?php if ($breadcrumb) print $breadcrumb; ?>

How can I install Drupal on a local WAMP server?

Preparing your computer with a local installation of Drupal with WampServer is comparatively a trouble-free process to follow. Since WampServer will install an Apache-server, SQL, PHP and phpMySQL on your computer, with those tools you can install and run Drupal locally even without an internet connection.
To get more information on installing WAMP & Drupal in your local machine, just go through the following quick tutorials.
Installing WAMP Server
Installing Drupal

How do I move a Drupal Site from One host/server to another?

Moving your drupal website from one server / host to another is not a simple process, we need to be really careful and process oriented. Here are the detailed steps how to successfully move a complete Drupal installation from one host to another…. Read More

How to backup my Drupal site?

Backing up your Drupal site is now very easy, you just need to download and install a module called Backup & Migrate. To install the module click on the Administer » Modules check the Backup and Migrate module and enable it and save the settings.

Then navigate to the Administer » Content Management » Backup and Migrate then do the following settings.

  • Exclude the following tables altogether: select the table which you dont want to take backup.
  • Give the backup file name.
  • There are also options to compress the file before download, or add a datestamp.
  • And then click Backup Database.

Alternately you can take backups using PhpMyAdmin.

How to Customize my Drupal Syndicate Feed Icon?

If you want to customize your Drupal Syndicate Feed Icon, just follow the steps described in this tutorial. Read Now

How can I reset my Drupal admin password

In such a worst scenario, drupal admin password can easily be reset from the Drupal database. The Drupal database can be accessed through phpMyAdmin tool available with your web hosting account. Follow the below steps to get your drupal admin password reset quickly:

  • Login to cPanel -> Databases box -> phpMyAdmin;
  • Select the Druapl database folder from the left navigation bar. The page will refresh and and the Drupal database’s tables will be displayed on it.
  • Click on the SQL tab.
  • In the text field write the following SQL query:

update users set pass=md5(’NEWPASS’) where uid = 1; where “NEWPASS” is your new Drupal administrative password.

Click the GO button to submit the query. If the query is executed correctly and no errors are displayed then you should be able to login with the new password.
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Written by Deepu Balan

Deepu Balan is a self-taught web UI designer and developer who is really passionate about web design related stuffs. You can follow his updates on twitter @bdeepu