Drupal on Linux

I needed to set up Drupal on a CentOS Linux system. For the system requirements for Drupal 6, I saw that PHP 5.2 or later was recommended with PHP version 4.3.5 or higher required. I checked the version of PHP on the system with php --version and found it was adequate. Since a PHP memory limit of 16MB is required for Drupal 6, I verified that the memory limit was already at 16MB.

# grep memory_limit /etc/php.ini
memory_limit = 16M      ; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume

I verified MySQL was installed with and functioning with mysql --version and that PHP XML extension (for blogapi, drupal, and ping modules) support was present with php --info | grep -i xml. This extension is enabled by default in a standard PHP installation; the Windows version of PHP has built-in support for this extension.

An image library for PHP such as the GD library is needed for image manipulation (resizing user pictures, image and imagecache modules). GD is included with PHP 4.3 and higher and enabled by default. ImageMagick is also supported for basic image manipulations in Drupal core but there is much less support from contribute modules. I verifed the GD library was installed with rpm -qi gd and checked on whether ImageMagick was present with rpm -qi ImageMagick; it was installed.

For the PHP required PHP configuration settings, I verified that register_globals was set to off in /etc/php.ini with grep register_globals /etc/php.ini. I verifed that error_reporting was set to E_ALL, safe_mode was set to Off, and that session.cache_limiter was set to nocache. The only value that differed from the recommended one was the value of session.save_handler, which was set to files rather than the recommended value of user.

# grep session.save_handler /etc/php.ini
session.save_handler = files

This "sets the user-level session storage functions which are used for storing and retrieving data associated with a session. This is most useful when a storage method other than those supplied by PHP sessions is preferred. i.e. Storing the session data in a local database."

The following comment was posted on the system requirements page by ozcan:

Correct me if I am wrong, but "session.save_handler: user" seems not a crucial requirement to be configured in the php.ini file.

Since this directive can be changed from anywhere (PHP_INI_ALL) as is listed here: http://www.php.net/manual/en/ini.list.php and since this is set to "user" in the PHP Settings section of the "settings.php" file in the default directory, nobody needs to set it in the php.ini file.

This info should especially be valuable for those who do not have access to the php.ini file, i.e. for those who will run Drupal on a shared server.

So I decided to just leave that setting as it was in the php.ini file.

I then decided to check if a Drupal package was available for CentOS. One was available, but it was an old version.

]# yum install drupal
Loading "priorities" plugin
Loading "fastestmirror" plugin
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * rpmforge: fr2.rpmfind.net
 * base: mirror.nyi.net
 * updates: mirror.trouble-free.net
 * addons: centos.aol.com
 * extras: mirror.anl.gov
324 packages excluded due to repository priority protections
Setting up Install Process
Parsing package install arguments
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package drupal4.noarch 0:4.7.11-1.el5.rf set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: php-gd for package: drupal4
--> Running transaction check
---> Package php-gd.x86_64 0:5.1.6-20.el5_2.1 set to be updated
--> Finished Dependency Resolution

Dependencies Resolved

 Package                 Arch       Version          Repository        Size
 drupal4                 noarch     4.7.11-1.el5.rf  rpmforge          498 k
Installing for dependencies:
 php-gd                  x86_64     5.1.6-20.el5_2.1  updates           112 k

Transaction Summary
Install      2 Package(s)
Update       0 Package(s)
Remove       0 Package(s)

Total download size: 610 k
Is this ok [y/N]: N
Exiting on user Command

The current version of Drupal is version 6, but the version listed as being available from the RPMForge repository (see Alpine on CentOS for how to configure yum to use the RPMForge repository) was 4.7.11-1. I decided I didn't want to install a version that out-of-date. I did install the package that was listed as a dependency for it, though, php-gd with yum install php-gd.

I found version 6-6.9-1 was available from RPM PBone Search. I downloaded drupal6 rpm build for : RedHat EL 5. The requirements listed for it included the following:


I verified that was already installed with rpm -qi php-mbstring. I then installed the rpm file I had downloaded with rpm --install drupal6-6.9-1.el5.rf.noarch.rpm

Using the RPM file to install drupal results in the software being placed in /var/www/drupal-6.9. Documentation is placed in /usr/share/doc/drupal6-6.9/, where you will find the following files.

CHANGELOG.txt      INSTALL.pgsql.txt  LICENSE.txt      UPGRADE.txt
INSTALL.mysql.txt  INSTALL.txt        MAINTAINERS.txt

Rather than deal with any complexities related to multi-site support initially, I then logged into an account for one of the domains that will use drupal and copied the directory tree from where drupal was installed to the document root directory for the site with cp --recursive /var/www/drupal-6.9/ .. I then changed the directory name from drupal-6.9 to just drupal with mv drupal-6.9 drupal. I then changed the working directory to the default sites directory with cd drupal/sites/default .

Drupal uses a configuration file for database information and other special configurations. That file needs to be set up properly as explained at Grant write permissions on the configuration file.

You first need to copy default.settings.php to settings.php. You can't simply rename the file, since the setup process requires both files. You then need to make the settings.php file writable.

$ cp default.settings.php settings.php
$ chmod 666 settings.php

Drupal should set the file permissions back to read-only once the installation is done. You should make sure this is the case and manually change it yourself if it didn't happen. You can use the command chmod a-w settings.php if the permissions weren't changed.

Since I didn't have a MySQL account set up for drupal for the site, I created one. The example below uses drupalacct for the account name and SomeGoodPassword for the password. Use whatever values you deem appropriate for those fields.

# mysql -p --user=root
Enter password:
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 8
Server version: 5.0.45 Source distribution

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

mysql& use mysql
Reading table information for completion of table and column names
You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A

Database changed
mysql> INSERT INTO user (Host,User,Password) VALUES ('localhost','drupalacct',PASSWORD('SomeGoodPassword'));
Query OK, 1 row affected, 3 warnings (0.06 sec)
mysql& exit

I then thought I could create the needed drupal database from the account I created, but whenever I tried any operation from that account, I received an "access denied for user" message.

# mysql --user=drupalacct -p
Enter password:
ERROR 1045 (28000): Access denied for user 'drupalacct'@'localhost' (using password: YES) 
# mysqladmin -u drupalacct -p ver
Enter password:
mysqladmin: connect to server at 'localhost' failed
error: 'Access denied for user 'drupalacct'@'localhost' (using password: YES)'

It took me awhile to understand why no operation I tried for the account I created would work, even though I knew I was using the right password for that userid, since I even double-checked it in the .mysql_history in the login directory for the root account. Finally, I realized that I forgot to issue the "flush privileges" command after I created the account. After I issued that command, I was able to use the drupalacct account I had created.

# mysql --user=root -p
Enter password:
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 24
Server version: 5.0.45 Source distribution

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

mysql> use mysql
Reading table information for completion of table and column names
You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A

Database changed
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

mysql> exit
# mysqladmin -u drupalacct -p ver
Enter password:
mysqladmin  Ver 8.41 Distrib 5.0.45, for redhat-linux-gnu on x86_64
Copyright (C) 2000-2006 MySQL AB
This software comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. This is free software,
and you are welcome to modify and redistribute it under the GPL license

Server version          5.0.45
Protocol version        10
Connection              Localhost via UNIX socket
UNIX socket             /var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock
Uptime:                 6 days 10 hours 42 min 56 sec

Threads: 1  Questions: 146  Slow queries: 0  Opens: 23  Flush tables: 1  Open tables: 17  Queries per second avg: 0.000

I then created the database from the root account and granted access to the database to the drupalacct userid.

# mysql --user=root -p
# mysqladmin -u root -p create mysite_drupal
Enter password:
# mysql -u root -p
Enter password:
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 29
Server version: 5.0.45 Source distribution

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

    -> mysite_drupal.* TO 'drupalacct'@'localhost'
    -> IDENTIFIED BY 'SomeGoodPassword';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.04 sec)

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
mysql> exit

In the example above, you would substitute whatever name you wanted for the database in place of mysite_drupal, whatever username you created for drupalacct and the password for that username for SomeGoodPassword. If you hit Enter at the end of a line, but you haven't yet completed a command, you will get the -> prompt on the next line.

When I tried accessing drupal on the site, I received an "Internal Server Error" message.

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

When I checked the error log file for the site, I saw the following:

[Sun Mar 15 10:14:48 2009] [error] [client] File does not exist: /home/jdoe/web/example/favicon.ico, referer: http://example.com/
[Sun Mar 15 10:14:49 2009] [alert] [client] /home/jdoe/web/example/.htaccess: order not allowed here, referer: http://example.com/

When I checked the .htaccess file, it appeared there was a missing double-quote at the end of the "ErrorDocument 404" line.

# Force simple error message for requests for non-existent favicon.ico.
<Files favicon.ico>
  # There is no end quote below, for compatibility with Apache 1.3.
  ErrorDocument 404 "The requested file favicon.ico was not found.

I added the missing double-quote.

ErrorDocument 404 "The requested file favicon.ico was not found."

I tried accessing the site again and received the same "Internal Server Error" message. When I checked the error log file for the site, I saw the two messages listed above repeated again.

Following tips I found in .htaccess: order not allowed here, I edited the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file and added the following lines to the virtualhost section of the file for this particular site:

<directory /home/jdoe/web/example>
       AllowOverride FileInfo Limit Options Indexes

I then restarted the Apache webserver software with apachectl restart.

I still got the "Internal Server Error" message, though. When I checked the error log file for the site, I found the following entry:

[Sun Mar 15 10:39:58 2009] [alert] [client] /home/jdoe/web/example/.htaccess: AuthUserFile not allowed here, referer: http://example.com/

So I added AuthConfig to the directory block within the virutal host section for that site, which I had placed in httpd.conf. I then restarted the Apache webserver again with apachectl restart. I then saw the Drupal setup page when I tried accessing the site.

I wouldn't have received the "AuthUserFile not allowed here" message if I had stuck to the default .htaccess file that came with the Drupal software. I had added an AuthUserFile line to the beginning of the file to block all access to the site with a .htpasswd file, though.

I clicked on Install Drupal in English. I then saw a "requirements problem" message.

The directory sites/default/files does not exist. An automated attempt to create this directory failed, possibly due to a permissions problem. To proceed with the installation, either create the directory and modify its permissions manually, or ensure that the installer has the permissions to create it automatically. For more information, please see INSTALL.txt or the on-line handbook.

The INSTALL.txt file had the following information it it:

   The install script will attempt to create a files storage directory
   in the default location at sites/default/files (the location of the
   files directory may be changed after Drupal is installed). In some
   cases, you may need to create the directory and modify its permissions
   manually. Use the following commands (from the installation directory)
   to create the files directory and grant the web server write privileges to it:

     mkdir sites/default/files
     chmod o+w sites/default/files

   The install script will attempt to write-protect the settings.php file and
   the sites/default directory after saving your configuration. However, you
   may need to manually write-protect them using the commands (from the
   installation directory):

I made the working directory the sites/default directory and entered the required commands.

$ cd sites/default
$ mkdir files
$ chmod o+w files

I then clicked on the Try again link to proceed, which took me to the database configuration step. I put in the name of the database I had created earlier, the username for the account I created to use the database, and the password associated with that userid. I then clicked on Save and Continue.

At the Configure site webpage, which was then displayed, I saw the following message:

All necessary changes to ./sites/default and ./sites/default/settings.php have been made, so you should remove write permissions to them now in order to avoid security risks. If you are unsure how to do so, please consult the on-line handbook.

I checked the permissions on the sites/default/settings.php file and saw it still had write permission set, so I changed the permissions to read-only on the settings.php file. The files directory should remain writable.

$ ls -l
total 28
-rw-r--r-- 1 jdoe jdoe 8917 Mar 14 20:52 default.settings.php
drwxrwxrwx 2 jdoe jdoe 4096 Mar 15 12:28 files
-rw-rw-rw- 1 jdoe jdoe 8934 Mar 15 13:01 settings.php
$ chmod a-w settings.php
$ ls -l
total 28
-rw-r--r-- 1 jdoe jdoe 8917 Mar 14 20:52 default.settings.php
drwxrwxrwx 2 jdoe jdoe 4096 Mar 15 12:28 files
-r--r--r-- 1 jdoe jdoe 8934 Mar 15 13:01 settings.php

Then, on the Configure site page, I entered the email address to be used for the site, a username for the administrator account and an email address and password for that account. The default time zone was correctly set and I left "Clean URLs" and "Check for updates automatically" checked. When I clicked on Save and continue, I saw the message "Congratulations, Drupal has been successfully installed." I was then able to successfully access the website.

Cron maintenance tasks should be run periodically for Drupal. Instructions for setting up a cron job for Drupal can be found at Configuring cron jobs. Since wget is present on the system, I used the 0 * * * * wget -O - -q -t 1 http://www.example.com/cron.php format for the crontab entry. You can determine if wget is present by using the command which wget.


  1. Drupal
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Grant write permissions on the configuration file
    Last modified: March 11, 2009
  3. Create the database
    Last modified: August 31, 2008
  4. Creating a MySQL Database
    MoonPoint Support
  5. Causes of Access-Denied Errors
    MySQL :: Developer Zone
  6. [PenLUG] re: twiki and .htaccess
    Date: November 14, 2003
    Peninsula Linux Users' Group of the San Francisco Bay Area
  7. Rhinocerus.net | Drupal Help, Drupal Themes and Drupal Modules
  8. Configuring cron jobs
    Last modified: February 14, 2009


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Created: Tuesday March 17, 2009 1:30 PM