Installing Elgg 1.9

So you want to install Elgg, but what are the steps required? Don’t worry we’ll help you.

First you need to download Elgg, the stable releases can be found @ If you want to checkout the newest developments have a look at the GitHub repository for Elgg.

For the purpose of this post we’ll use the GitHub version.

Download the Elgg package and upload it to your website, then go to your website and you’ll see the following page.

Installation - Step 1

So installing Elgg will only take 6 steps, and you already finished step 1, on to step 2.

Installation - Step 2

Here the requirements for Elgg are checked, please read the technical requirements if there are any problems. On to step 3.

Installation - Step 3

Here you’ll need some information about your MySQL server:

  • username: the username to connect to the database
  • password: the password of this user
  • database name: in which database do you wish to install Elgg
  • database host: where is the database located (mostly ‘localhost’, but if you have an advanced setup this can be a different server)
  • table prefix: if you wish to install Elgg in a database which already contains data this can be helpful to separate the different tables

Once you’ve entered all the information the system will try to save this to a file on your webserver. If this fails you’ll get a warning and instructions on where to save the file. If all goes well on to step 4.

Installation - Step 4

Now you can configure the first parts of you own community

  • site name: what will be the name of your community
  • email address: all outgoing notifications from the community will use this email address. Advise: use a noreply email address
  • site url: this should be auto detected, only change this if it’s incorrect
  • install directory: this should also be auto detected, only change this if it’s incorrect
  • data directory: please fill in a location where all the files/photos of your community can be stored. This has to be a location outside of the install directory, otherwise everyone can access the uploaded files even if they shouldn’t
  • default access: when users created new content what will be the default access level, every user can change this for every content piece. But why not help them so they don’t have to change this every time

On to step 5, almost done

Installation - Step 5

Now you’ll need to create your first user.

This user will be an administrator and can change all settings of the site. Our advise is create a general administrator account with a very difficult password and save those credentials for an emergency case.

With the first account create some other administrator accounts for daily use.

And now you’re done, lets see the final step. Number 6.

Installation - Step 6

Let’s continue to the site for the first time.

First login

It all looks a bit grey, but this is just the administrator side of the community. Let’s go over some of the pages.

Basic site settings

This shows you the basic settings for your site. You filled in most parts during the installation but there are some new settings:

  • short description: tell search engines about your site. Some extra plugins or themes could also use this. For example as a subtitle in your theme header.
  • language: what will be the default language of your community? Elgg comes with one language but if you look on the community there are some language packs

Finally let’s have a look at the advanced site settings

advanced settings

Wow that is a lot of information, however most of it should be self explanatory. Still here are some tips

  • caching: only enable this on a production server. If your testing or developing plugins you don’t want caching to interfere with your progress.
  • site access: you can disable registration for your community. You can even limit all the content to registered users only (“Restrict pages to logged-in users”)
  • logging: only turn this on if you’re on a development site

Have fun with your community. In another post we’ll tell you how to install and activate extra plugins/themes.

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