Deciding Where Your Drupal Site Will Live

You’re creating a Drupal website to share information with the people who browse to that site. The first decision you need to make is where (on what web server) your Drupal installation will run — because that governs if and how people can view it.

The term web server can mean either

  • Web server software, such as Apache or Internet Information Server (IIS). These programs send web pages over the Internet to web browsers when users request them.

  • The actual computer where the web server software runs.

Obviously, the first thing you need is a computer to install Drupal on. But it also requires other resources.

Internet connection

Drupal needs to be installed on a web server for the rest of the world to see the website you create with it. Usually this means that you have an account with a web hosting company, such as GreenGeeks or GoDaddy.

If you download the Drupal software and install it on the computer sitting on your desk that has web server software installed, you will probably be the only person who can browse to your Drupal site. Unless your computer has been specifically configured for the Internet as a web server, it can't send your Drupal pages out to the web.

You could develop and test a Drupal site on a desktop PC with web server software, but moving that site to a web server that can be reached on the Internet is not easy. You are better off developing your site on the web server of a web hosting company.

Other software

Drupal requires that other programs also reside on the web server computer before you can install it:

  • Operating system: Drupal can run on common computer operating systems:

    • UNIX/Linux (only versions that can run Apache 1.3 or newer)

    • Mac OS X (or newer)

    • Windows 2000, NT 4.0, (or newer)

  • Web server software: Drupal runs on either of these packages:

    • Apache web server

      With Drupal 7, use Apache 2.0 (or newer). Drupal 7 can run on versions as old as Apache 1.3.

      Apache is the only web server software option for UNIX, Linux, or Mac.

    • Internet Information Services

      With Drupal 7, use IIS 7 (or newer). Drupal 7 can run on versions as old as IIS 5.

      IIS only runs on Windows.

  • MySQL 5.0 database software (or newer)

    With Drupal 7, you can use other database software, such as PostgreSQL and SQLite.

  • PHP scripting language

    With Drupal 7, use PHP 5.3 (or newer). PHP 5.2.5 or higher will work with Drupal 7.

You don't have to worry about these requirements if you put your Drupal site on a web host that offers easy Drupal installation or if you use Drupal Gardens. Ask your web host which version of Drupal it offers.

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