Drupal is one of the widely respected and used content management systems (CMS), many universities, organizations and corporates rely on it as a backbone for their websites (e.g. Virgin, World food Program, ICANN). Joomla and WordPress are the two major alternatives to Drupal, each of these three content management systems has its own points of strength and weakness.
Drupal as WordPress and Joomla can help you in many ways; you can build your own blog, quickly build a website for your start-up company to prove its credibility or even find a part/full time job as a web developer when you’re experienced enough in Drupal.
This post will inform you how to learn Drupal for free as a beginner through presenting and comparing between free online outlets available to start learning Drupal. You should note that the sources stated in this post presents full structured tutorials and courses (not just an article or a video, also you won’t find a 2000 video tutorial!) that can help a beginner in knowing the basics of building a website using Drubal. It should also be noted that there are many topics in Drupal (e.g. using Drupal to build a website, creating a module for Drupal, etc.); this post will concentrate on using Drupal to build a website only.
Hint: Many think that they need a server (Apache, MySQL and PHP) to run Drupal; well that’s true, but you can still as a beginner experiment with Drupal on your local computer using Acquia or XAMPP (WampServer is another alternative to XAMPP) that you can download for free. It’s highly recommended for beginners to install Drupal on XAMPP and play around with it before paying for hosing and going public.
Start Learning Drupal from Scratch
Level up Tuts
Level up Tuts is the first outlet where you can learn Drupal for free through video tutorials. You don’t need to register to have access to the course, just log into the site and you’re ready to go. The course is excellent for beginners as the instructor says some tips that are very important for beginners.
Structure: The course is divided into 20 video tutorials; each tutorial covers certain topics in Drupal. The course is well-structured for beginners and the instructor makes it very easy to follow along.
Interface: the interface is very simple as seen below, the video tutorials are listed under each other, you click on the tutorial you want and you’re ready to go.
- The course is well structured for beginners and the instructor makes it very easy for a beginner to follow along.
- The instructor says many tips that are very helpful for beginners.
- The tutorial only covers the basics of Drupal.
Verdict: This is an excellent source for beginners to start learning Drupal in an easy non cumbersome way.
I Love Drupal
I love Drupal is the second free outlet where you can learn Drupal for free through video tutorials. You don’t need to register to have access to the course, just log into the website and you’re ready to go. The course is entitled “Learn Drupal 7 in an Hour”, what is excellent about this tutorials is that the instructor informs you how to install Acquia on your local machine which is very helpful for beginners.
Structure: The tutorial is divided into 8 parts; each part is a video tutorial that covers a certain topic in Drupal. The tutorial is well-structured for beginners and the instructor makes it very easy for beginners to follow along.
Interface: The interface is very simple and easy to use as seen below. Just click on the blue “watch Video” link and the video tutorial will start.
- The training is well structured for beginners.
- The tutorial includes how to install Acquia on your local machine.
- You can get an over view about Drupal in just one hour.
- There tutorial is suitable only for beginners, so there are no intermediate or advanced topics, of course that won’t be a problem for any beginner.
Verdict: The training is well structured for beginners, and the instructor informs you how to install and use Drupal on your local machine which is very helpful for beginners.
Level Ten Interactive
Level Ten Interactive is the third outlet where you can learn Drupal for free. This outlet is the same as I love Drupal as you don’t need to register in order to have access to the tutorial and that the tutorial available is a video tutorial.
Structure: The training is divided into 5 sections; each section has a group of video tutorials that cover a group of topics in Drupal. The course is well-structured for beginners.
Interface: The interface is quite simple as seen below. The video tutorials are listed under each other, you click on the video tutorial and you’re ready to go.
- The course is well structured for beginners and the instructor makes it easy to follow along.
- It’s the same drawback of I love Drupal, as the tutorial only covers the basics of Drupal, but again you won’t find any problem in that as a beginner.
Verdict: The tutorial is well-structured for beginners and the instructor makes it easy for beginners to follow along.
SiteGround are actually a web hosting company, but they’ve a tutorial for Drupal. What is different about their tutorial is that it’s available in both text and video formats. To have access to the tutorial you don’t have to register, just go to their website click on the tutorial and you’re ready to go. If you want the video tutorials, go to the bottom of the page and you shall find a link to them.
Structure: The text tutorial is divided into 11 sections; each section covers certain topics in Drupal. On the other hand the video tutorial is divided into 13 modules each module has a video that covers a certain topic in Drupal. The video tutorial isn’t well-structured for beginners.
Interface: For the text based click on the tutorial from the list at the left hand side of the screen as seen below. This list will expand and you’ll find the various lessons available, just click on the one you’re interested in and you’re ready to go. The video tutorials are found at the bottom of the page.
- The text tutorial is well-structured for beginners.
- The video tutorial is not well-structured for beginners.
Verdict: The text based tutorial on SiteGround is quite good and well-structured unlike the video tutorial which isn’t well-structured, so if you prefer video tutorials then SiteGround isn’t your way to go.
Paid only Sources
Lynda: Lynda is a different type of outlet than the above stated sources, as you can nearly learn anything there through videos made by professional instructors. Lynda is a monthly subscription service (I shall provide a promo code that will make you eligible for a free 7 days trial). Log into: Lynda.com/gizwiz to have the 7 days free trial from Lynda (courtesy of the GizWiz show on the TWiT network, just click on “Lynda” stated at the beginning and you’ll be directed to it).
After registering (I’ve to warn you that even with the above promo code you’re required to input your credit card info) you can search for the course you want to learn, which is Joomla in our case then you’ve to select the level (e.g. Beginner, intermediate, Expert). If you want to be more specific you can type (e.g. creating a Module for Drupal) and you shall see courses about it.
Note: I always cite Lynda as a paid source as I rely on the above promo code that makes you eligible for a 7 days free trial, so it’s nearly free for you as a beginner as you won’t need more than 7 days to know the basics of any topic I’ve discussed till now.
Verdict: Lynda.com is an excellent service, but I don’t recommend it for beginners, as there are enough free sources that you can start from, I’d highly recommend using the promo code to advance in your Drupal learning at Lynda, but don’t waste it if you’re a beginner.
Tip: You can always create a virtual credit card to register if you don’t wish to give them your credit card information.
- You should start with Level up Tuts, as it covers the very basic concepts of Drupal; and the instructor provides tips that are helpful for beginners.
- You can continue with either I love Drupal or level ten Interactive as both outlets provide a valuable source for beginners, choosing between them will depend on your personal preferences (don’t start from the beginning, just jump to the sections that weren’t covered by the Level up Tuts tutorial).
- If you prefer to learn from a book then, the free book “Drupal 7 – the Essentials” or “Master Drupal in 7 hours” is your way to go.
Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in Drupal.