If this was an Easy Install, then you can’t add modules unless DreamHost has added some magic to it I’ve yet to see. Seeing how there’s not an Advanced Install option for Drupal, your only option is to manually install Drupal into your own Fully Hosted Domain.
If you want to add a module to your manually installed Drupal installation:
unpack the main module directory in /common/sites/all/modules, so the Captcha module as an example will be under modules/captcha. Now go to the site, Administer>Modules, and enable the module which you should now see in the page. Then run Update.php. Now you will need to find where the module has it’s configuration settings, and you may need to set access permissions for specific roles. After that’s done you should be able to use the module in Content pages and elsewhere.
I agree that Drupal is huge, the learning curve is huge, maintenance can be huge. But the benefits are also huge. After some initial struggling, extensive time at drupal.org, clicking around in the admin pages, I’m now able to install and configure an environment in minutes. Enabling and configuring familiar modules goes quickly. Enabling and configuring new modules restarts the learning curve.
One needs to understand that the core is fairly consistent and it’s well built. Once that core is understood you’re doing well. Each module however is written by a different person with varying levels of competence. Some module authors are real amateurs who write crappy code and lose interest quickly. You need to be prepared for modules not getting updating with each update of the core, some modules will break, you’ll need to deprecate some functionality or swap for something new.
Drupal is a really great package and worth your time in the long run, though yes it is a huge challenge to start. You need to be versatile, not assume everything is going to remain static. Run updates once per week or so to ensure everything is up to date - and prepare for things to break. Your users may have a low tolerance for such things. The ideal situation is to try new updates in a separate environment. That’s honestly not tough to do, but more than some site admins are prepared to do.
Also note that Drupal is remarkably slow on a DH shared host. It doesn’t crawl but it’s not a speed demon either. You need to disable modules to improve performance - the balance is determining what you need versus what you want, and what kind of performance penalty you’ll pay for what’s running. I don’t know if PS is a solution to performance - or if there are any PHP tuning options to help. It might be worth it to some site admins to contract someone with expertise in this area. And that brings us to…
Underlying all of this is the spirit of Free and Open Source Software. You are “free” to make code changes yourself. You are “free” to learn how it all works to maintain your own environment. You are “free” to hire someone to make changes for you, including module authors. “Free” software comes at a high price of your time and possibly your money, as you get the software for “free” but your money is then spent to make it work as you need. That’s the game. Or as one of my friends says “FOSS is only free if your time is worthless.”
@ Scott ~ thank you so much! i will give it a whirl.
@ Starbuck ~ thanks for the straight up talk on this package. i am a long-time
open source kind of guy, building my 1st linux server in 1994. it was slackware,
version .99r, i think. i must admit that i am not really sure i have the energy
anymore to be that on top of a monster like this. i have been quite content to
build my web pages by hand, but wanted to take a look at CMS. WordPress is
a breeze and quite accessible ~ i haven’t tried Joomla. but ultimately, i want
to design without the ongoing headache of something that may change under
i do find it rather discouraging to find that the Drupal developers have built
a system with a massively huge barrier. i just want to design. i don’t mind
taking the time to learn a new package ~ that is expected. but, this thing
makes me feel stupid. well… i don’t give up easily and will see how i fare with
a manual install.
I’m a newbie, too, regarding Drupal installation, but I finally got my own website up and running after many false starts and problems along the way. The learning curve is big, but worth it, I think.
One thing, too, about adding Drupal modules. Drupal recommends you don’t upload the added modules into the MODULES direction. Instead, create a sub-directory (name it whatever you like) and put any additional modules there. That lets the core modules be easily identified when you’re doing updates, etc. That’s what the Drupal people recommend: