What is Drupal?

Drupal is a Free software (GPL) web development platform which stores your page content in a database and displays that content on web pages. Drupal is referred to as a Content Management System (CMS) similar to WordPress or Joomla.

What is DrupalCloud?

IS&T offers DrupalCloud as a no-cost service to the MIT Community. For more about the Drupal content management system, visit http://drupal.org. For more about MIT's DrupalCloud service, see their ABOUT page.

Drupal is a web content management system that makes it relatively easy to set up, maintain, and use a database-backed web site. The word “Drupal” comes from the Dutch word “druppel”, which means “drop”, like a water drop. DrupalCloud is MIT’s system for generating many such “drops” - hence the buzzword Cloud.

The active development and support community behind Drupal have helped propel it to the top of the list of content management systems, and much training is available to those in the MIT community who would like to begin using it. A list of resources for learning about Drupal is given at the end of this message.

Please note that you must have a valid MIT Kerberos account to be able to log in via Touchstone to request a site.

Is Drupal Cloud right for me?

Drupal Cloud was designed to meet the general web publishing needs of the MIT community. In the process, many labs, groups, centers, departments, and individuals from all segments of campus were interviewed to elicit the common requirements for most use cases. If you just need an easy-to-update site for listing publications, research highlights, bios, articles, surveys, and other common sorts of information, it's probably perfect for you.

If you need a specialized web application that does something more - like process large datasets, accept file uploads from third parties, run compute-intensive jobs in the background, etc. - Drupal Cloud is not right for you.

Getting a Drupal Cloud website

If you would like to create a Drupal-based website for your group, lab, PI, or for yourself, you can do so by navigating to the following URL:


Once you log in via MIT Touchstone, you will be able to fill in a short form to request a site.

About hostnames and URLs

By default, your site will have a hostname in the form HOSTNAME.MIT.EDU (where you choose the hostname, and if it isn’t already taken, it will be allotted to your site). However, the DrupalCloud team at IST have made it possible for CSAIL to request a hostname in the CSAIL domain.

If you want a CSAIL hostname for your site, you would just enter HOSTNAME.csail in the “Desired URL” field in the registration form - e.g., portmanteau.csail . Otherwise, you could just enter portmanteau, and your URL will be http://portmanteau.mit.edu .

Please note that there is a maximum length of 22 characters, including the .csail affix for your hostname. e.g., thisisalongname.csail is valid, but thisisaloongname.csail is not.

Site Owner

You will also need to enter the email address that matches the MIT (not CSAIL) Kerberos ID of the user who should have administrative rights to the site. For example, I would need to use the email address mpearrow@mit.edu, since that is my MIT Kerberos name plus mit.edu. It doesn't have to be you, but keep in mind that you will not have any special permission on the new site (like being able to administer it!) unless you use your MIT Kerberos email address.

Once you submit your request for the site, the wheels will turn and you’ll get an email message when the site is ready.

What if I already have a website and want to use Drupal Cloud?

This is a little trickier, and it really depends on how your current site is built. Let's say you currently have a website at blort.csail.mit.edu and want to migrate it to Drupal Cloud.

First, you would request a Drupal Cloud site with a name like blort-r1.csail (the r1 designation means something like "this is a staging site, not a production site").

Next, you'd begin porting your content over to the new site.

Finally, you will need to open a support case asking blort-r1.csail to be "promoted" to blort.csail. We will coordinate with IST for the remaining steps.

How do I get help?

MIT IST is the official support point for DrupalCloud. If, after using the training and the online support forums on http://drupalcloud.mit.edu/community, you still have a problem, you can send email to the MIT Helpdesk. TIG is also available for help with CSAIL-specific support questions. We will also hold periodic training sessions in the Stata Center for CSAIL personell who want to learn how to use Drupal and DrupalCloud.


-- MarkPearrow - 04 Jun 2014
Topic revision: 29 Jul 2014, JasonGaudette

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


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