Drupal New Site Setup Checklist

Here's a checklist I used when quickly setting up a new sites in Drupal 6. It's appeared on this site earlier, but buried away in an obscure older page (Checking out Drupal 6: Dipping into new site creation); I'm moving it here so it'll have its own page that I'll remember (?) to update more frequently.

I hope this'll be helpful to Drupal beginners who are unsure what key tasks they should consider after installing Drupal. Bt don't dive into the list just yet! Some pretty important disclaimers come first:

Read these first!

  1. My checklist is for sites built upon a copy of my existing Drupal "sandbox" installation. That's covered in the first few items of the list; Drupal installation from scratch isn't covered. Chances are you might need to replace items 1-4 with the standard procedure for setting up a new site.
  2. My sandbox database already includes lots of things set up that I almost always want for a new site: can't-do-without-'em modules already enabled, input formats created, key content types configured, and so on. To better aid readers, I'll add those into the list over time.
  3. The checklist represents just the basics to build the framework for a "generic" new site (to the extent that such a thing exists). After that comes the real work of web site creation: customizing and building all the features specific to the new site! That, of course, can't be covered here.
  4. The list makes sense for the sites I typically make; it may be all wrong for you. Treat as reference and entertainment. (And parts may be all wrong for me; let me know if I'm doing something dumb and need to stop!)

The checklist

Here we go:

  1. Create directory for the new site within Drupal installation (per general Drupal installation procedures)
  2. Create empty database for the new site (via my ISP's online tools)
  3. Import a copy of my sandbox site's database into the new database (via phpMyAdmin)
  4. Make sure new site directory's settings.php file uses correct domain and database info
  5. Log in to new site (Unasked-for tangent, and admonishment to writers everywhere: Note that that's "log in to site", not "login to site". Major pet peeve. Grrr.) 
  6. Change ID 1 user info (which is still the same as sandbox site) to new info appropriate for new site
  7. Put site in maintenance mode at admin/settings/site-maintenance
  8. Enable or disable key modules at admin/build/modules
  9. Handle any pressing warnings/notices tossed up by Drupal
  10. Change site info at admin/settings/site-information
  11. Enable and select theme. If an existing theme will be modified into a new unique theme, first create and rename a copy of the theme within the new site's themes directory. 
  12. Make sure file system at admin/settings/file-system is set to sites/<domain>/files
  13. Set site's meta tags at admin/content/nodewords, including Description under Front Page tab (requires Meta Tags module)
  14. Set site's contact info at /admin/build/contact
  15. Change sandbox site info at admin/settings/forward (requires Forward module)
  16. Get Google Analytics ID via Analytics account, add at admin/settings/googleanalytics (requires Google Analytics module)
  17. Set XML Sitemap, submit to Google (requires XML Sitemaps module)
  18. Remove unneeded menu items (left over from sandbox setup) at admin/build/menu
  19. Make sure email for site works
  20. Once all is working, turn of error logging to screen at admin/settings/error-reporting

Steps after that start getting pretty site-specific, so the list ends there. The important thing is that the above takes me to a functioning beginning, without my having to think hard.

What's your (probably better) site setup checklist?


Christopher Dunn's picture

Oh and one I ran into the other day when testing my site in other browsers.

Make sure CSS Optimization is enabled in admin>site configuration>performance as without this you will probably find internet explorer will not read your CSS files. Has something to do with the number of CSS files that IE can handle or something.

drupalace's picture

Thanks much for the tip; I haven't verified it myself, but it sounds like a good thing to check for those experiencing IE troubles. 

I'll note in passing that your tip came at the same time as news reports that IE's worldwide market share dropped below 50%. We're halfway to having all IE-related troubles solved for good! 

drupco's picture

i crate many drupal sites in month.

and always i start from the beginning.

usually I'll do the installation using cpanel...

could you write more about that your sandbox installation?


Anca's picture

Drigg is my favorite CMS....I think drigg is also based on drupal..but it has no support like wordpress :(

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