Installing and Upgrading Drupal

The first step to using Drupal, of course, is to actually get the software and install it. Drupal comes with an installation script that will walk you through a few screens to gather information and then set up your database and create your site settings file for you. We'll look at everything you need to make that process run smoothly; you'll find that installing Drupal is quick and painless once some basic requirements are in place.

Once you have Drupal up and running, it's important to keep your site up-to-date. New releases of contributed modules and Drupal core come out periodically to address critical security fixes, and it's important to stay on top of updates as they are released. We'll take a look at Drupal 6's built-in Update Status module, which will notify you of updates available for your site, and we'll talk about the steps required to update both individual modules and the Drupal core itself from one version to another.

Prior to installing Drupal, it's important to make sure that you can actually do so, and understand a bit about how Drupal is structured. This section provides a checklist of Drupal's requirements, and also highlights important things in the Drupal file structure that are worth knowing before diving into the installation process.

It's important to have a few things ready prior to installing Drupal. A full list of requirements is available at http://drupal.org/requirements. Use the following as a basic checklist prior to installing Drupal:

> You will notice that many people (and even Drupal core's documenta tion ) use the terms "updating" and "upgrading" interchangeably. They ' ' * both refer to replacing existing code with newer code.

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