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Healthwatch Drupal Distribution

Healthwatch is a network of a 152 community-focussed local organisations. The local healthwatch organisations have superceded Local Involvement Networks (LINks) which have been supporting community engagement in local health and social care services. The local organisations are coordinated by Healthwatch England.

Website in a Box

Healthwatch England have provided a Drupal distribution which they have called 'Webite in a Box'. The package has been put together to provide Local Healthwatches with a quick, robust, content managed website.

Server Requirements

The distribution is substantial, requiring a minimum of 2GB RAM and may push the limits of shared web-hosting. Shared hosting, where one server hosts any number of websites, is the cheapest option offered by most web hosts. Demand on a shared server varies depending on how busy the sites it hosts are at any one time, so the amount of memory available cannot be guaranteed. To ensure one site does not come to hog available resources limits are imposed on sites in terms of maximum memory allocation and time limits. So this means looking at the higher end of hosting options - a dedicated server or a virtual private server (VPS).

Other requirements are:

  • 2 x CPU cores
  • 60 MB disk space
  • Apache, Nginx or Microsoft IIS web server
  • MySQL 5.0.15 or higher with PDO (SQL server and Oracle can be supported with additional PHP module)
  • PHP 5.2.5 or higher with 5.3 recommended
  • PHP memory limit of 128MB

Out of the box

The distribution provides a themed site with most basic configuration complete. Fairly straightfoward documentation provides step by step information for adding a logo and site name.


A number of modules are included in the distribrution but not active be default. These provide scope to extending the system, for example providing a listing of events in date order, automatically hiding past events, or presenting them in a calendar format. However, this may require increasing the PHP memory limit, if problems are encountered increasing the limit to 256M should help.

Being a Drupal distribution there is potential to add additional modules to meet requirements not met by the default package. Using CiviCRM for Drupal could provide a good, integrated, contact management system, for example.