Webmaster Tutorials

Drupal Beginners’ Guide

While many powerful and feature rich CMS system are available these days to build, run and grow your website smoothly, Drupal CMS is equipped with some special features that give reasons to choose it over other platforms. All about this CMS is explained here in detail.

A Detailed Introduction To Drupal 

Content management system (cms) is highly preferred by many users to build their website as here content is stored separately in the database and the design is kept apart from content, so updating anything is hassle free in the website. While there are many CMS to choose from, Drupal is considered as one of the best option due to various reasons. Here is a detail introduction to drupal including what is Drupal cms.drupal-fi

What is Drupal CMS

Drupal CMS is a web content management too that is also a customizable platform and allow users to build the right tool so as to serve the content management strategy better way. Those looking to create a SEO friendly website with content management system, Drupal CMS can be considered as a better option that is highly scalable, flexible and provides the utmost security. There are numerous government agencies, NGOs, higher education institutes etc. which runs on this content management system.

Drupal CMS like all other CMS system

  • Stores the content in a database
  • Maintain the design site separately from content
  • Thus updating any page requires you to update it just at one page not on every individual page.

Why use Drupal CMS?

Once you have known what is Drupal cms, next comes why to use this CMS over other CMS. The reasons to choose it are as follows:

Highly scalable:drupal-2

Drupal is perfect for all those running a website with heavy traffic and have great amount of content at the site. In the beginning the website remains simple with less numbers of visitors and content but as it grows, the traffic and content too starts growing which is better handled in the Drupal website.

Responsive design:

Before choosing a platform to build your website, it is highly important to check if the platform is responsive as these days people prefer to browse through the internet in their mobile devices or iPad more rather than going to the web. Drupal is just perfect for that as it builds highly responsive website to ensure users will have a great content experience in whatever device they are.

Easy integration of digital application:

Content in this platform becomes more powerful with the easy integration of various digital marketing technology and other business applications so that your users get the high end experience as they enter into the site.

Flexible architecture:

Another reason to choose this Drupal cms over other platforms is its simple and flexible content architecture. The powerful display mode let you showcase the appropriate content for each context while users are left with enough choice to choose the right content through admin interface. However, the expert users can do that programmatically as well.

Security:drupal-3

Probably this is the most wanted feature in every platform that all the website owners keep looking for. The Drupal community provides utmost security by keeping their ears and eyes open all the time. You can be perfectly secure while using Drupal. Obviously, to get a secured Drupal site, you need highly stable Drupal hosting solutions.

Multisite management:

A single platform in Drupal let users manage multiple site across your brands, organizations, campaign or geographic. This is no doubt a great reason to go for Drupal CMS to build your website.

Multilingual support:

This is another feature of the platform that ensures people across globally can have a smooth experience by going through your website. Building multilingual site is not a tough job, it is much easier now as the built in language handling capability let you manage everything with ease.

So, there are plenty of reasons that indicate Drupal CMS is really powerful and you can use to grow and manage your traffic absolutely.

Already you have come to know a lot about drupal from what is drupal CMS and why to use it, now a detail explanation of its features will unveil even more to you about this content management system.

Features of Drupal

Great URL control:

In Drupal platform, users have advanced and precise control over the URL structure. Each content which is indicated as node can be given custom URL and this is called as URL alias. The URLs are really nice, clean while users can automate the URL structure as well through the Pathauto module.

Custom content types and views:

CCU (Content construction kit) allow users easily create content types such as blog posts, news stories, forum posts, tutorials, classified ads, podcasts etc. and advanced custom view which does not require of having any coding experience.

Powerful Taxonomy:drupal-4

The powerful Taxonomy better called as category system allows users to better organize and tag content. Each and every Drupal vocabulary, that is set of categories are limited to certain content types. For example, while some content allow free tagging, the news section might have different set of categories that require you to select from a list of existing categories. Hierarchical categories with parent categories are also present there.

Excellent revision control:

Drupal can be configured to save a new version of a page while you edit it. But at the same time it allows you to have a look at the old version as well if required.

Control over Page titles and Meta tags:

The Page title module in Drupal allow you to control the HTML element while the Meta tag module let you control the page’s individual meta description tag which is not that easy with other CMS system.

Great documentation:

The Drupal Documentation help you become an  expert that includes documentation such as Official handbooks, API References, Podcast, videos, tutorials, blogs, Drupal Dojo community and more.

Friendly community:drupal-5

Drupal dojo, Drupal groups, Drupal support are some of the places where users can get all their questions answered. Also Drupal forum is another interesting and useful place to know more about it.

Is Drupal Good for Blogging?

When referring to blogging, the first solution comes to mind is undeniably WordPress, the most popular blogging system is in use at present. However, now more and more people wonder whether Drupal can be used for blogging.

Drupal is another powerful open source CMS and have been used for at least 2.1% of all websites around the world. Is Drupal truly applicable to blog or WordPress is still better.

The most vital thing you should do is to understand the features of Drupal, and then you can find out the major difference between Drupal and WordPress.

Although WordPress is classified into CMS, by and large it remains blogging software. Comparatively speaking, Drupal cannot only work for blogging; it much more powerful and has more key functions than WordPress.

Put it simply, although you can add multiple users or modify authority level for editors, contributors, etc. on WordPress, the basic essence of the tool is about content publish.

Coming to Drupal, it has the ability to form the basis for almost everything, ranging from eCommerce, corporate to even government sites. This is truly regarded as flexibility. And the engineers continue working on open source development for add-ons, which could make the Drupal structure much stronger.

Besides, Drupal allows you do full text and advanced search, easy site statistics view without plugin using, and caching enable to achieve surprisingly fast loading speed, etc.

So, is Drupal applicable to host your blog? It would depend on your blog type. If you simply want to create a personal blog without any other specific requirements, WordPress with some good plugins are good enough.

If you need a variety of authorities, or you are going to create a blog with lots of complex contents, Drupal is definitely the perfect choice.

No matter what tool you choose for your blog, don’t forget to find a friendly Drupal hosting solutions for them, which will save you a lot of time.

How To Build eCommerce Sites On Drupal?

Before you opt to pick the best known Drupal modules for your eCommerce site, one must consider few facts. First of all, it is the very nature of business that will fit with the module’s usage. All business do not follow the same commercial procedure. Therefore build a good understanding on the processes and processing capabilities that the module should deliver.

Guideline For Building Drupal eCommerce Websites

Here comes a standalone Drupal eCommerce site building guideline for you, follow it to your success:

  • Whichever module you select to enable on your Drupal store, make sure it does not contain any hole within it – so that you can stay prevented from any hacking attempts. The module must equally produce same safety guard for your customers, visitors and buyers.
  • The service or product distribution and delivery is key in online store activities. How tirelessly your module collaborate with your distribution system is therefore important to understand.
  • Some web stores depend largely on user generated rating, reviews and feedback system. Check how relevant this is to your business
  • Payment pages are important. Look who offers what payment option, how the check out page is appearing and how secure is the mechanism. Consider strongest option for safety.
  • You might not have heard about this consideration before but your branding efforts have a lot to get from the eCommerce module you are going to use on Drupal. It must coordinate with the culture you are looking to contribute in future.

Top 3 Drupal eCommerce Modules

Look into below list of top three Drupal eCommerce modules that can help your business to take the flight.

  1. Drupal Commerce Module
  2. Ubercart Module
  3. Commerce Kickstart Module

Drupal Commerce Module

Drupal Commerce module is a highly reputed and widely used eCommerce store module for businesses that supports all businesses remaining easy to customize. It complies with strict development standard that puts users building capability at the center of all of its functionalities. Check the features that Drupal Commerce module offers:

  • Creating product pages and customize them with relevant attribution
  • Dynamic product display with easy order management system comprising different views and control options
  • API payment method support to cater payment processing using different payment gateway systems
  • Built in taxation calculation and VAT estimation with real time based accounting reporting
  • Pricing control with discount, coupon, rebates etc
  • Other functionalities include shipping tracking, stock inventory system, virtual product sales support and core integration for rules, views etc.

Ubercart Module

Ubercart is the best known Drupal eCommerce module that can fully integrate with the latest version of drupal. It is an open source development that centers around building a community for a product with paid download options and making premium offers. Ubercart 3.0’s core features include

  • Fully customizable to fit all your needs easily
  • Highly compatible and easy to integrate
  • Sell physical, virtual goods with virtual economy support
  • Run events, marketing campaigns and promotional sales
  • Automate the user subscription, list building, email capture
  • Run across multiple websites and run safe with search engine optimized performance
  • Highly encrypted for security, linked with advanced database system
  • Incudes products page, checkouts, orders, payments, testing, changing pages with configurable product catalog, product creation support, product attribution system
  • XML export and import, integrated payment system, simple order processing and tracking

Commerce Kickstart

Commerce Kickstart is yet another eCommerce module for Drupal which is rather new than other two modules we discussed in above. It is unique in its core ability to remain functional when integrated with other functional capabilities from different modules. It works pretty perfect with Drupal Core and Drupal Commerce modules therefore you are originally getting most of the features from the best known ones when you use the Commerce Kickstart module. Check out the functional features of Commerce Kickstart module here:

  • It lets you manage all the functions, services together under easy dashboard, whether it is setting up an eCommerce webstore or running it or selling a product
  • It holds the true business sense making the module fully supportive for a webstore owner to become full length business service
  • Customize orders, offerings, deals staying hosted in the most secured ecommerce module
  • Generate all the reports you require to run your business and get insight to business trend
  • Bagged couple of awards for its performance

Which Drupal eCommerce Module Will Make Me Money From My Business?

Beyond our recommended top 3 modules, there are many modules to use for your ecommerce web business. Select that module which goes with your business behavior and also gives you full control over single little things. Any of the three modules will help you greatly! Try now, make money with your Drupal website!

Drupal SEO Tutorial

To do Durpal SEO well, there are many great Drupal SEO modules to help on this, and you will need a reliable server for your Drupal website for sure.

Other than above, you will need to redirect to the www version of the site or non ‘www’ one. Below is how.

When people access your web site, you can force the url to be redirected to the one with ‘www’ or without ‘www’. For example:

  • example.com to www. example.com, or
  • www. example.com to example.com

From SEO side, please make sure you do choose one from above. And in the other hand, this will help improving the performance of your site as well as Drupal cache page based on url, “www. example.com” and “example.com” are treated as two page which means it will generate 2 cache records for one single page. You can setup this redirect in your .htaccess file. Please refer to How to 301 Redirect to be with WWW or without WWW.

Ways to Reduce Drupal Website BandWidth Use

Most of Drupal hosting service provider will limit the usage of bandwidth, especially for those cheap Drupal hosting service provider. The more you consume, the more you might be charged. In this tutorial we’ll talk about how to reduce bandwidth consumption.  A few suggestions to reduce consumption would be to compress files when sending from the actual server so that the overall size decreases & don’t send the same file over & over again these are a few starting points for reducing bandwidth consumption.  Below are 7 more ways to reduce bandwidth consumption:

  • If you are using Shared Linux hosting for your Drupal site , you can use the Boost Module http://drupal.org/project/boost.
  • Eliminate EXIF headers from your images. This will save you about 30% on your images.
  • Always use Cache-Control HTTP header, for images that doesn’t change, because we don’t want the user to download them every time when visiting the page.
  • Use CDN for your media files. CDN is content delivery network; you can Google in for details. Put your entire image, video and other large files there.
  • Use image presets to save bandwidth big time. Its like sending 10 mb image 3 times when you can send one that is 1MB.  On the server side In order to accomplish that use gzip compression for sending to all browers execpt IE.  Use mod expires to only ever send an image once.
  • You can save around 50% bandwidth if you can compress your code files HTML, CSS and JS.  For HTML, use HTMLCompressor : http://code.google.com/p/htmlcompressor/.For CSS, use CSS Minifier :http://www.cssminifier.com; For JS, us Minify Javascript Online : http://jscompress.com/
  • Check some of the related modules http://drupal.org/project/advagg – This is a great module to make you site load faster. It also allow you to leverage jquery.js in Google’s CDN. and support JS and CSS compression. This module could significantly improve the response time of your site. Check it out to see what amazing work it can do.

http://drupal.org/project/ie_css_optimizer for Drupal 6 solves the IE limitation of loading not more than 31 CSS files per HTML page This problem is fixed in Drupal 7 core.

Protect Drupal Website with Login Restrictions

It is better to be safe and take security measures in the Drupal website than be negligent and expose the site to dangerous access from hackers. This could be easy, implement a login limiter as a first line of defense to give hackers a hard time in accessing the website could enhance the security as well. To restrict numbers of allowed login attempts, we recommend several modules that users can make use of.

Login Security

Normally, administrators could limit access by adding control features in the login page. With this module, they are allowed to limit invalid login attempts, deny access by IP address, and disable login error messages of Drupal core.

Restrict Login

By installing Restrict Login module, administrators have the ability to specify an IP address or a range that users can be logged in from. Once the IP address mismatches the one assigned to users, the module can prevents unauthorized access.

Session Limit

It may happen that a user exceeds the defined max number of sessions. Session Limit allows administrators to restrict the amounts of simultaneous sessions per user, as well as force them to log out for additional sessions.

Secure Login

For Drupal websites who want to provide anonymous sessions via HTTP or HTTPS, they can use this Secure Login module, which is available for Drupal 7. It is not only allow the user login, but also other information to be submitted safely through HTTPS that protects passwords and other private data from being transmitted in clear text.

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