Whether you are an experienced Drupal developer / site administrator who has come to Georgia Tech, or an existing staff member asked to venture into the world of Drupal, you may be wondering how you should get started with using Drupal for a Georgia Tech website.
What Version of Drupal Does Georgia Tech Use (and What Should I Use)?
All new Drupal sites should be built in Drupal 9. You can install Drupal 9 from scratch and customize it as you wish, but if you are building a site that needs the official Georgia Tech web theme, it is best to just use the Drupal 9 version of Drupal Express. When requesting a new Web Hosting Account from OIT, simply request the Drupal Express option, which will automatically install everything you need to get started. Please note that in spite of the similar names, there is little in common between the Drupal 7 Drupal Express and Drupal 9 Drupal Express. In particular, you cannot directly upgrade from Drupal 7 Drupal Express to the Drupal 9 version.
If you are building a site to be hosted on one of your department's web servers, but want to use the official distribution of Drupal 9, just download the GT Installer and use it to set up your site.
Important Note: At this time, some of campus still uses Drupal 7. If you own one of those sites, be aware that Drupal 7 support is waning and anyone still on Drupal 7 should be actively working on a migration to Drupal 9 or another content management system. Our article "What is the Futuer of Drupal 7?" provides more information about the sunsetting of Drupal 7 on campus.
Important Note: If you're still on Drupal 8, you should upgrade immediately from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9, as Drupal 8 reached it's end of life on November 2nd, 2021. Upgrading is very straightforward and far easier than upgrading to Drupal 8 from anything earlier.
Sounds Good, How Do I Get Started?
The Installing Drupal section of this handbook offers advice on selecting a place to host your site and getting through the initial Drupal installation and configuration. Some people like to set up a development site on their own local computer, and that topic is covered in the Installing Drupal section as well. If you choose to develop in a hosting area separate from where your final site will be hosted, the Moving a Site to OIT Web Hosting section may be helpful, even if you're not actually moving the site to OIT Web Hosting.
Before and after you deploy your new site, be sure to review our Best Practices Checklist to make sure your site is secure and streamlined.
As you continue developing and maintaining your site, the rest of this developer's handbook can provide useful insights, helpful tips and troubleshooting guides, and pointers to additional information. You can also join the Georgia Tech Drupal Team in Microsoft Teams and/or the Georgia Tech Drupal Mailing List, or join us at our regular meetings and drop-in help sessions for assistance.