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Getting Set Up for Drupal Development without the Headaches

Apr 08 '16

drupal development setup for osx and ubuntu/debian

We've all been there: you get a fresh new machine and need to be ready to work as soon as possible. You have a few options:
  1. Panic and install everything manually, hoping you configure everything properly.
  2. Run the following script (if you're on OS X or Ubuntu/Debian) and grab a warm beverage of your choice while your machine configures itself for Drupal development.
  3. If you're not on one of the aforementioned platforms, follow our steps and translate them for use on your platform.

Give me the one-liner

This script was tested on fresh machines with either OS X El Capitan 10.11 or Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. It encompasses steps 0 through 3 outlined below. Skip to step 4 to see how to power up your first VM. Run the following in a bash-compatible shell:

bash <(curl -s


Step 0: Platform-specific recommendations

Mac OS X

On OS X we can install many tools through Homebrew, a very useful utility for installing a wide range of open source tools in a *nix-like manner. Install with the following command:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"


Follow the on-screen directions to complete this process. After installing Homebrew we can tap into a useful source in Homebrew called Cask. This will allow us to install a wide variety of applications like Vagrant and VirtualBox through the command line instead of clicking through wizards. You can "tap" into Cask with the following:

brew tap caskroom/cask


Debian-based Linux (Ubuntu/Mint)

We need git to be installed for things to run smoothly:

sudo apt-get install git -y


Step 1: Installing Vagrant

Development at Third & Grove is typically started from one of our base Vagrant boxes, which we have for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8. This makes Vagrant the most important thing for us to install.

Mac OS X

brew cask install virtualbox
brew cask install vagrant
vagrant plugin install vagrant-hostsupdater


Debian-based Linux (Ubuntu/Mint)

sudo apt-get install virtualbox vagrant -y
vagrant plugin install vagrant-hostsupdater


Step 2: Installing PHP and dependencies

We choose to install PHP 5.6, as this matches our target environment of Acquia's servers.

Mac OS X

Through the power of dependencies, we can install the one dependency we need in our local PHP install, and PHP 5.6 is installed for us.

brew install homebrew/php/php56-memcached
brew install mysql


Debian-based Linux (Ubuntu/Mint)

sudo apt-get install php5-mysql php5 php5-memcached memcached -y


Step 3: Installing Composer and Drush

Composer and Drush are both valuable tools in a Drupal environment. We use Drush when we set up our local websites and operate on remotes. It makes life easier by allowing you to run commands such user-login or cache-rebuild and more that you use on a daily basis in Drupal development.

OS X and Debian-based Linux

Both platforms share this step. However, on OS X there is no need to sudo for the final command, as the permissions in /usr/local/bin are loosened thanks to Homebrew.

curl -sS | php
sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer
composer global require drush/drush:dev-master
sudo ln -s $HOME/.composer/vendor/bin/drush /usr/local/bin/drush


After you're done you can check your work by running the following:

[email protected]:~$ drush status
 PHP executable         :  /usr/bin/php                                         
 PHP configuration      :  /etc/php5/cli/php.ini                                
 PHP OS                 :  Linux                                                
 Drush script           :  /home/parallels/.composer/vendor/drush/drush/drush.p 
 Drush version          :  9.0-dev                                              
 Drush temp directory   :  /tmp                                                 
 Drush configuration    :                                                       
 Drush alias files      :       


If your output is similar then you're ready to tackle powering on your first development VM.


Step 4: Powering on the Drupal 8 VM

So we're ready for development. Let's boot our first VM.

OS X and Debian-based Linux

The two platforms work similarly in this step as well.

# Clone the repo.
git clone
cd tagd8-vagrant
# Download core.
drush dl drupal 
cd drupal-*
mv * .* ..
cd ..
rm -r drupal-*
# Configure Vagrant
cd private
cp example.config.yml config.yml
# Optionally edit config.yml
nano config.yml
# Power up Vagrant
vagrant box add ubuntu/trusty64
vagrant up
# Once that finishes, complete Drupal set up.
cd ..
drush site-install --account-name=CLEVERADMINNAME --account-pass=CHANGEMEPLS -y


Now navigate to your domain declared in config.yml, and you should be greeted with vanilla Drupal 8.