UPDATE: This tutorial was for Drupal 4.7. With Drupal 5 and Drupal 6 installation is much easier. Just upload the files to your server and visit your site. Follow the directions on the screen and you are done!
I've read some reviews of Drupal online that claim Drupal is hard to install.
I'm not sure what kinds of problems people have had, but installing Drupal is actually very easy if you server is configured correctly.
There are only four steps:
First download Drupal from Drupal.org.
Uncompress the file. If you are using Windows and are not sure how to uncompress a file, download a free trial version of WinRAR. WinRAR is similar to WinZIP, but I think it's better.
Upload the files in the Drupal directory to your web server with an FTP program. If you are using GNU/Linux/BSD, Konqueror and gFTP are two good FTP programs. If you are using Windows, try a free FTP program called Filezilla (or Portable Filezilla).
You should create a database in MySQL for your Drupal installation. You can usually do that through your web hosting control panel. You need to create a database, a database user, and then add the database user to the database with "all" privileges. If you don't know how to create a MySQL database, check your hosting company's help documentation.
You then need to add your database connection settings to the file located at /sites/default/settings.php.
Find the line that says:
$db_url = 'mysql://username:password@localhost/databasename';
Fill in your database username, database user's password, the database name, and the database host (usually just localhost)
Navigate to Drupal's /database directory on the Drupal folder your local computer.
Here is a list of the files in that directory from the current Drupal version 4.7:
You are probably using MySQL. You hosting control panel should let you know which version of MySQL is installed. If you can't find out what version on MySQL is installed, you can create a file called info.php that contains the following lines:
<?php echo phpinfo(); ?>
Upload that info.php file to the root of your Web server and then open it in a browser (e.g., http://www.EXAMPLE.com/info.php). That page will display information about your PHP and MySQL installation including the MySQL version.
If you are using MySQL 4.0 then you will use the file called database.4.0.mysql. If you are using MySQL 4.1 then you should use the file called database.4.1.mysql. (If using PostgreSQL, then use the file database.pgsql.)
Go to your web hosting control panel and find PHPmyAdmin (most hosting companies offer it). Click on the tab that says "Import" as shown below:
Use the "Browse" button to find the correct database file to upload. PHPmyAdmin will create your database from that file.
After you complete those steps Drupal should be installed. Navigate to your new Drupal site (e.g., http://www.EXAMPLE.com/) and you should see the welcome page something like the one shown below, although yours may have a different blue theme:
Follow the directions on that page to create the admin account, and configure your new Drupal site. More information can be found in the Drupal handbooks.
Further tutorials will cover how to set up and customize your new Drupal site.