Drupal 7

First you need to obtain a web hosting account and database. Shell access is helpful and enables use of the drush automation tool but is otherwise not required beyond the initial installation. If desired, it needs to be explicitly requested.

Reconfigure the Directories

If your account has been recently created then you can skip this section as the modification it describes is now the default on site creation.

This step requires shell access.  Web hosting offers separate directories for HTTP and HTTPS content; however, Drupal expects both to pull their content from one combined location.  To accommodate, we ask that you simply rename one of the directories and create symlink to the other one.

If you do not wish to attempt shell commands yourself then please submit a request to the Web Hosting team and we will do it for you.  This only needs to occur once so it may not be worth the time and effort to request shell access, learn UNIX command line, etc.  Also, while the SFTP protocol (sort of) supports symlinks, traditional FTP does not and, therefore, neither do many of the more popular FTP clients.  Therefore we do not generally recommend attempting the process without using a shell.

From a command line:

 cd /usr/local/webs/<siteID>/
 mv htsdocs htsdocs.bak && ln -s /usr/local/webs/<siteID>/htdocs htsdocs

Prepare the Files

Download the latest version of Drupal 7 and decompress the files.  Open the following files:


and search for the following line:

 Options +FollowSymLinks

replacing it with:

 Options +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch

This is a mandatory security requirement for the OSU Web Hosting system.  Drupal will not work until this setting is changed.

Upload & Complete Initial Installation

Upload all of the files to the htdocs/ directory on your Web Hosting account. Open your website to https://yoursite.osu.edu/install.php and follow the instructions in the installation wizard.

If you choose to omit the HTTPS above then please note that any account credentials – including database and the initial admin account – will be transmitted unprotected.  Once you’ve configured Shibboleth support, you can move the admin role to your name.# account and remove this account; however, many choose to retain it as an emergency backup account.


There is a lot here and you should go over it to make sure things are set up the way you want them.

Temporary Directory

OTDI Web Hosting is a shared system that uses multiple web servers so using the standard /tmp is not an option both for load-balancing and security reasons.  As such, you’ll need to go to the top navbar and select Configuration -> Media -> File System and then change Temporary directory to “/usr/local/webs/<siteID>/tmp” instead of just “/tmp”.  This will use the account’s dedicated temp directory which is secure from other accounts and shared across all servers in the cluster.

Load Balancer Awareness (optional but highly recommended)

While technically optional this is still highly recommended.  Drupal should be made aware of the AWS Elastic Loadbalancer we use to provide various speed and availability enhancements.  If you plan to use any plugins that use client IP addresses in some way, it becomes mandatory.  Open sites/default/settings.php and set the following options:

 $conf['reverse_proxy'] = TRUE;
 $conf['reverse_proxy_addresses'] = array($_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR']);
 $conf['reverse_proxy_header'] = 'HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR';

These settings already exist in settings.php but are commented out by default.

Need More Information?

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More questions? Check the support section or contact us.

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