Drupal Config File "settings.php" and "services.yml" Overview
In order for Drupal to work, you have to configure where the database is, what the database is called, and the database credentials to access the database. This information is stored in the settings.php file which is located in:
The settings.php file is common to Drupal 6, 7 and 8
When you first extract Drupal, it doesn't come with a settings.php file, instead it comes with default.settings.php. When you first install Drupal 7 or 8, it will attempt to copy and rename default.settings.php -> settings.php for you. There are some rare instances where you will need to do this manually which are covered in detail further down on this page.
New to Drupal 8 in the sites/default folder, is a file named default.services.yml. Just like default.settings.php, default.services.yml has to be renamed in order to work. However, this file is designed for overriding the core serivces.yml file if you need to override it and 99% of sites out there, won't ever need to override the core services.yml file. It is made available if you do need to override those settings though. In early development, this file was automatically copied and renamed during install, however Stop creating services.yml by default supersedes the early method. In other words, don't ever worry about default.services.yml / services.yml unless something tells you otherwise.
Finally, the purpose of having default.[config-file].php is so you can easily update Drupal, without overwriting the entire configuration that runs your site. Yes, there was a time when that happened...
Automatic settings.php Overview
By default, Drupal 7 and 8 (6?) will attempt to create and populate the settings.php file automatically when you use install.php to setup the site. The script also changes the permission on the file to secure it once it is finished and then creates a sites/default/files directory for housing all of your non-core files. Unfortunately, some types of shared/local hosting are configured so PHP and Apache run as the same user. This might result in the install script failing to execute the creation and population of the settings.php file, along with setting permissions and creating the files directory. If you get errors referring to the Settings file during installation, you will have to manually create the settings.php file and do a few more tasks before you can run install.php. Once it is created with write permissions, the installation script will automatically populate the proper information for your site config. Afterwards, you will have to re-secure the settings.php file.
At this point, jump to the next page step: Step 4: Run the installation script. If you run into problems with the installation due to the Settings, come back here and follow the Manual steps outlined below.
Manual settings.php Overview
Drupal 6, 7 and 8 come with a sample settings.php configuration file located at:
Before you run the installation script (install.php), you need to copy default.settings.php file as a new file called
settings.php and change its permissions to be writable. After the installation, you will need to restrict the permissions again.
Manual settings.php Detailed Instructions
Step 1 - Navigation & Creation
sites/default of your root Drupal install.
default.settings.php file and save the new file as
settings.php in the same directory (see note below about renaming). If you have shell access (command line) run the following command from the directory that contains your Drupal installation files:
cp sites/default/default.settings.php sites/default/settings.php
Note: Do not simply rename the file. The Drupal installer needs both files.
If you only have FTP access, you will have to download the file to your computer, rename it, then upload it. Some hosting providers have a file manager on the dashboard where the file can be copied and renamed.
Step 2 - Check the Permissions Are Writable
By default, the sites/ and settings.php files should be writable. You can check that the permissions of
settings.php are writable by issuing the following commands:
ls -l sites/
Permission on sites/default should be 755 [drwxr-xr-x]:
ls -l sites/default/settings.php
Permission on settings.php should be 644 [-rw-r--r--]:
If they are anything but writable, you can issue the following commands:
chmod 644 sites/default/settings.php
Note: In case you are in the same group as the web user, then changing the permissions to
664 will be sufficient.
Several FTP tools like Filezilla, Transmit, and Fetch allow you to change file permissions, using a 'file attribute' or 'get info' command. In this case the file permission should be set to 644. If your FTP client has checkboxes for setting permissions, check both the Read and Write boxes for "Owner", "Group", and "Others" (but leave the Execute boxes unchecked). For some situations, you may need a permission of 664. Some hosting providers allow a similar operation through the dashboard file manager.
Step 3 - Try the Install
At this point, give the install a go. See if you can get through the installation by running http://[yoursite]/install.php. If you are successful, the first page you will want to visit is Reports -> Status report (admin/reports/status)
On the reports page, look for a line that says: File system. If it says anything other than "Writable", you will need to follow Step 4 below.
Next, look for a line that says: Configuration file. If it says anything other than "Protected", then you will need to re-secure the configuration files as described in Step 5 below.
Step 4 - Create the Files Directory
The installation should have created the sites/default/files directory for you, but in the off chance it didn't, you will need to create it manually and set the right permissions on it.
Note:On most linux systems, a newly created directory is already setup with the 755 permission. In case it isn't, you can issue the command:
chmod 755 sites/default/files
This sets the files directory to 755 [drwx-rw-rw].
Depending on how your apache configuration is setup, you might have to instead run:
chmod 777 sites/default/files
This sets the files directory to 777 [drwxrwxrwx]. It is less secure than 755, but there's nothing you can do about it if that's how your server is setup.
Step 5 - Post Install Permission Check
After the installation script has run, Drupal tries to set the permissions automatically to:
555 (read-execute) [dr-xr-xr-x] for the sites/default folder.
444 (read-only) [-r--r--r--] for the settings.php
If not, you will need to manually set them:
chmod 555 sites/default
chmod 444 sites/default/settings.php
These permissions are correct, and should not be changed, because changing these opens up a security risk.