Create a Drupal User Account - dummies

By Lynn Beighley, Seamus Bellamy

If your Drupal site is configured to allow users to create their own accounts, the site administrator (you) won’t necessarily know when a new user registers. However, there are a couple of settings that can help you control new registrations:

  • You can control how you’re notified when users register.

  • More important: You can control whether new users have to be approved by you first.

To control user registrations and a few other settings involved with new user creation, you have to use the People overlay.


To get to the Account settings page, log in with your administrator username and password. From your Dashboard menu bar, choose Configuration→People→Account Settings.

You may have noticed that the Dashboard menu bar prominently displays a People link. Everyone loves a good shortcut; sadly, clicking People will open a list of your site’s registered users instead of the Account Settings page.

Scroll halfway down the page, and you’ll find a set of radio buttons under the heading of Registration and Cancellation. These radio buttons control how users are registered to the site.

The options are

  • Administrators Only: If you select this option, you must create new accounts yourself. The link that invites visitors to create a new account won’t show.

    To create new accounts, you will need to use the Add User form that we discuss in the section “Adding, Editing, and Deleting users.”

  • Visitors: If allowed by the site administrator, this setting will allow users to register for a user account without undergoing a review process. Under this setting, registrants have to:

    • Provide the system with a username and e-mail.

    • Receive an e-mail from the system with a temporary password and a link to log in.

  • Visitors, but Administrator Approval Is Required: This is the default setting. Drupal will send an e-mail to your administrator account password asking you to approve the new user registration. If you follow the link in the e-mail and approve the user, he will be able to log in. If you don’t approve the user, Drupal throws away his information.

    Use the administrator approval required setting, at least until you finish designing your site.

The next option on the page is a check box that asks whether you want to require e-mail verification when a visitor creates an account. This option, which is selected by default, causes the new registering user to get an e-mail.

Leave this option selected. It prevents users from registering with a fake e-mail address. They have to use the password provided in the e-mail they receive, which proves that they have access to a real e-mail account and aren’t spammers who want to fill your site up with spam advertisements.

The next section on the page, titled When cancelling a user account, provides administrators with a number of options for what should be done with they decide to cancel a user’s account.

The following options are offered:

  • Disable the Account and Keep all of Its Content: This option cancels the user account, but preserves all content created by the account, such as articles, blog posts, or forum postings.

  • Disable the Account and Unpublish all of Its Content: This option cancels the user account and sets all the site content created with the user account to unpublished.

  • Disable the Account and Make Its Content Belong to the Anonymous User: This option cancels the user account and preserves all content created with the account, by assigning it to an anonymous user account. The anonymous user account is an arbitrary authorship assigned to site content that has no user associated with it. It may also refer to users who are not logged in to the site.

  • Disable the Account and Its Content: Poof! Like magic, all traces of the user account and any content disappear from your site.

A user with administrator privileges can override any of these options, even an option you’ve set as the default.