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Setting up Acquia Drupal on GoDaddy Hosting

This set of screenshots grew out of a recent forum post on the Acquia Network forums. It walks through setting up a GoDaddy Linux hosting account to use Acquia Drupal. At the end of the process one has a new website. Some will scoff at the choice of GoDaddy as a hosting platform. Many shared hosts have shortcomings in different areas. Few shared hosts are going to be getting glowing recommendations on the day your site ends up on the front page of Digg, they simply aren't built for that sort of load. However, inexpensive mass-hosting environments are a place where many people get started with their website and GoDaddy is one of the popular hosts for many folks. I hope to have more similar posts soon to cover other frequently requested hosting providers. If you have suggestions of hosts you'd like to see be sure to include them in the comments.

This particular example is one that allows installing Acquia Drupal with no tools other than an unarchiver program like WinZip or the built-in handler in OS X and a web browser. If you prefer to use a program to handle FTP or like using a shell client this tutorial may be more simplified than you would like. If you'd like to get started and see what the Acquia Drupal experience is all about without any special tools then you're in the right place. All that is needed is to download Acquia Drupal and follow along.

  1. To get started the first step is to setup the database so Acquia Drupal has a place to store it's data. To do this go to the GoDaddy Hosting Control Center and click on Databases in the lower left corner.
  2. When the databases section of the screen opens click on the MySQL icon to change your server's MySQL configuration.
  3. When the MySQL administration screen opens click on the "Create Database" button.
  4. Fill in the database information on the screen as requested. Be sure to choose MySQL 5 as the database type. Also as you're doing this make sure you have a secure password and that you know what the password and database username are. We'll need to give this information to Acquia Drupal later in the install process. When you're done entering the information click OK and submit the form. Note that you may have to make changes if there is already a database in the system with that name or if your password doesn't meet GoDaddy's requirements.
  5. When the database information is successfully submitted the database will show up as "Pending Setup". Clicking on the pencil icon under the Action header should display a screen of MySQL database information. Here it is necessary to copy the Host Name field. This will be put into the Acquia Drupal installer's "Database Host" section.

  6. With the database setup it is now time to transfer the files to the server. If you are comfortable with your own FTP program that certainly is an option. In this example we will use the web-browser based file-transfer included in GoDaddy's hosting. This doesn't require any special setup and should work with any web-browser capable of running a JAVA applet. To start the file transfer return to the Hosting Control Center.
  7. Click on the Content option in from the left side of the screen and then on the FTP Client icon in the top row of the content section.
  8. Clicking on the FTP Client button will bring up a page that loads the JAVA-based file transfer program. You will likely see a warning asking you to accept the security certificate. The resulting page will show your local file system on the left side and the remote, GoDaddy server, on the right side. Click on the folder at the top of the left side file listing and navigate to the place where you uncompressed the Acquia Drupal installation.
  9. Choose the files to transfer from your local disk to the remote server. Note that it may be necessary to transfer one folder at a time to prevent an error with the client timing out. Choose the files to transfer in the left side of the window and click the ">>" button between the two file listings. This will move the selected files from your computer to the GoDaddy server. A pop-up dialog will keep you updated as to the progress.
  10. Once the file transfer is complete open your site in your web browser. You will be guided through the Acquia Drupal installer. At the start of the installer you will need to enter the database username, database name and password. The database name and database username will be the same on GoDaddy. On this page click the "Advanced Options" and set your database hostname. To do this replace "localhost" with the database hostname from the GoDaddy settings.
  11. From here you can continue with the Acquia Drupal installation as documented in the Getting Started Guide for Acquia Drupal.

And that's it. You're off and running with a new Acquia Drupal website. You can start creating new content types and customizing your site right away. Should you want to add additional modules the same simple FTP client built into the browser can help you get that done.


Posted on by fisherstudios (not verified).

Thanks for the post Josh, I hope it provides clarity for others as it did for me. As you mention, folks with deeper experience may require more robust hosting, but for many of the folks I deal with, the GoDaddy solution this is an extremely common. Again my thanks for your efforts.

Posted on by bjeavons (not verified).

I've had problems with Drupal 5.x and clean URLs on GoDaddy. There are a lot of posts out there about solving this problem but none have proved successful. Did you encounter any problems with Acquia Drupal and clean URLs? Thanks.

Posted on by Joshua Brauer.

Clean URLs in the couple of tests I ran worked straight out of the box. If you're not using the web-browser based FTP client one of the easy parts to miss is the .htaccess file which is hidden to some FTP clients so that would certainly be a place to check first.

Acquia Technical Assistance Center

Posted on by Andrew (not verified).

Joshua, "Some will scoff at the choice of GoDaddy as a hosting platform." I suspect that a high proportion of people willing to go through an 11-step process to set up Acquia Drupal are among the scoffers...
So it's good to see that this will be the first in a series of posts.
It would also be good to see this tied in with the hosting page over at Drupal.org:
For example, does the info at that page carry right over into Acquia Drupal?

Posted on by Joshua Brauer.

The requirements for hosting Drupal as listed on http://drupal.org/hosting are a bit different from the requirements for Acquia Drupal. There is a good chance that many of the hosts listed there would work with Acquia Drupal but it's not a guarantee. The main differences are that Acquia Drupal requires MySQL 5 and PHP 5.2.x. Drupal won't have the PHP 5 requirement until the release of Drupal 7.

Acquia Technical Assistance Center

Posted on by Garrett Albright (not verified).

My boss has a seemingly unnatural attraction to cut-rate web hosts and had me try out GoDaddy for a recent project. They were a step forward in that they support PHP 5 (our primary hosting company still doesn't, to much consternation), but they're a step back in that you must use PHPMySQL to upload database dumps… which means you're limited to the PHP file size upload limit when you want to upload a dump. Now this isn't too terrible - our primary company has the same issue - but the difference is that GoDaddy doesn't let you upload compressed dump files; it must be an uncompressed file. SQL dumps compress very well, so it's possible to upload a 5MB database as a 500K compressed file, but with GoDaddy, if you want to upload a 5MB dump, you have to upload it as a 5MB file - which you can't. The only other alternative is to split the dump manually into chunks of 2MB or less! Worthless! (Just let the site editors and/or visitors post content for a few weeks and a Drupal/Acquia database dump will reach 5MB fairly quickly, especially if you don't empty the cache before you export the dump.)

Also, step 6 says…

With the database setup it is now time to transfer the files to the server. If you are comfortable with your own FTP program or using SSH then certainly those are options.

GoDaddy's shared hosting accounts do not support SSH.

Seriously, GoDaddy's no good. Use Namecheap for domain names and asmallorange (shameless referral link) for hosting.

Posted on by Joshua Brauer.

Thanks for the correction. Reading one too many lists of available features bit me.

Acquia Technical Assistance Center

Posted on by Omar Khan.

We find that Media Temple (www.mediatemple.net) might be a better choice for less expensive hosting. Their customer support is excellent - a real person on the phone very quickly - and a dv server is reasonable but not cut rate. Cut rate on a Drupal site, unless it gets very little traffic, does not seem like the best option to us.

Posted on by hairybrew (not verified).

Also worth noting Godaddy's cron utility is in Content > Cron Manager.

I just set that up today to give it a try. This is the article I came across:

Posted on by elmer (not verified).

Thanks, Josh. This worked, except that I needed to uncomment the RewriteBase line in .htaccess to get clean URLs. Since I run a number of Drupal 5&6 sites on godaddy.com, I took a look and it seems that half have the line uncommented, half don't, all have pretty URLs. Go figure.

Posted on by drapeau (not verified).

This is a really helpful posting, Josh; thank you for doing it.

I have started playing with Drupal in the last week; my first task to get me started was to replace my old, hand-written web site (simple HTML) with a Drupal-based version. My web site was already hosted on GoDaddy.com, so my task was slightly different than the one you posted: my task was to take a Drupal web site from test to production, displacing the already-existing web site hosted on GoDaddy.com. In other words, I developed my Drupal website on a local machine with a local MySQL instance; my goal was to copy that website to godaddy.com. But I also needed to displace the existing web site. So I needed to change my Drupal DB parameters (I wasn't installing Acquia Drupal from scratch, as is the case in your example above).

Most of the steps are the same. I wrote about my experience here: http://thetranscodeblog.blogspot.com/2009/0 3/how-to-push-simple-drupal-w...

Thanks again for taking the time to write such a complete explanation of how to set up Acquia Drupal on GoDaddy.com. The instructions are as clear as it gets.