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How to Host a Drupal Website on Openshift for Free

Drupal-on-Openshift Logo

This “How to” will present a step by step tutorial on how to host a Drupal website for free (forever! No credit card is even required) on Openshift. Openshift is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) market leader. The service allows anyone to host a Drupal website for free without the need of a credit card and without any time restriction of course you’ve restricted resources (1 GB of storage and 512 MB of RAM) and that’s quite enough to host a Drupal website, in case the website grew and you want to scale you can easily do that for a very affordable price. Without further ado let’s dive into the steps.


  1. A free Openshift account, just go to Openshift website and register using your email, no credit card is required.

 1 - create openshift account


  1. After registering; go to Openshift home page and click on the “MY APPS” on the top of the screen.2 - open Openshift Account
  2. You’ll be directed to your log-in window and enter your credentials, you’ll be directed to a new window click on the blue “Create your first application now” link.3-create openshift application
  3. You’ll be directed to a window, select the “Drupal 7” tab from the “Instant App” menu.1 - select drupal from the openshift application
  4. You’ll be directed to a new window, in the public URL; type the name of the project/application name (e.g. MyAwesomeWebsite, TestSite, etc.) in the first space and the domain name (it’s not your real domain name, just any identification name e.g. AwesomeGuy/AwesomeGal) in the second space.5 - openshift application name
  5. Leave everything as it’s and click on “Create Application” tab at the end of the window.6 - create aplication
  6. You’ll be directed to a new window where you shall find all of your credentials (MySQL password, database name and root user, etc.), copy them to a safe location on your local computer.8 - openshift wordpress MySQL database credentials
  7. Then click on the blue “Continue to the application overview page” link just under your credentials.7 - press continue
  8. A new tab will appear with the name of your website, click on it when you want to be directed to your website, but wait for now.2 - drupal link on openshift
  9. On the same window you shall find all of your credentials (MySQL password, database name and root user, etc.), copy them to a safe location on your local computer.
  10. Now you’ll need to add phpMyAdmin; click on the blue “Add phpMyAdmin” located at the bottom of the same window.9 - create phpmyadmin gear
  11. You’ll then be directed to a new window to confirm the addition of phpMyAdmin, just click on the “Add Cartridge” tab.10 - add cartridge
  12. You’ll be directed to the main window again, to visit your website simply click on the blue link at the top of the screen (that’s your URL).2 - drupal link on openshift
  13. You’ll be directed to your website.

 4 - drupal installation window on openshift

Now, you’ve a fully functional and free hosted website, if you don’t know how to use Drupal then you should start from here. There are some side notes:

  1. To direct your new website to your own domain (e.g. www.example.com), simply put your Openshift address (xxxx-zzzz.rhcloud.com) in your CNAME field in your domain registrar panel, then open your panel and click on the blue “Change” link.5 - drupal change dns
  2. You’ll be directed to a new window; type your domain name in “Domain Name” field on Openshift.

6 - drupal change CNAME

Now, to create a public key to connect to the server; follow the following steps (the steps are for Windows machines):

  1. First download PuTTY and PuTTYgen.2 - WordPress AWS Amazon Linux
  2. Download Git.
  3. Download RubyInstaller.
  4. Go to the command prompt in windows (go to the start menu and type cmd in the search bar then press enter), and type the following commands:

gem install rhc

gem update rhc


  1. Go to the command prompt (make sure that you’re at the Git directory) and type the following command:

rhc setup

17 - rhc DOS

  1. Your public key will be created and uploaded to Openshift; you can find the key on your local computer in the following directory “C:Usersyour_computer_username.ssh”.18 - openshift key
  1. Open PuTTYgen you’ve downloaded in the step (1), and go to the conversion on the top menu then go to “import key” and browse to your public key (the one from the previous step id_rsa).


  1. Then click on the “save private key” tab and save it with your public key.


  1. Go to your Openshift panel and click on your Openshift application, on the right hand side and lick on the blue “Want to log in to your application?” and the following drop down menu would appear, just copy the line that starts with “ssh” and paste it in a notepad.7 - drupal SSH connection
  1. Open PuTTY (you’ve downloaded in step “1”), and paste the values after the (@) from the ssh number you’ve just copied in the Host-id in PuTTY. Putty Drupal application connection on openshift
  1. Inside putty go to “Data” in the sub-menu under “connection” and paste the values before the (@) you’ve copied from step (9) in the auto login-username tab; note don’t paste (ssh).Connect to openshift gear 3
  1. Inside PuTTY go to “SSH”, then “Auth” sub-menu and browse to the key you’ve created in step (8); then click on the “open” tab.Connect to openshift gear 4

Now, you’ve a fully functional website that’s hosted for free on Openshift and you’ve full access to your gear in case you want to access anything.