Before installing Totara Social it is recommended that you read the guidance on server hardware and software requirements to ensure you have the necessary infrastructure. After that you can follow the steps and advice on this page to work through the installation process before enjoying your Totara Social site. 

Preparing to install Totara Social

Totara Social is primarily targeted at installations on Linux (with Apache) platforms. You need to install Totara Social on a server and you will also need to install other software, such as the Apache web server and PostgreSQL database system. You can also use the MySQL database server for this.

You can use your desktop computer as a server if you are just trialling the Totara Social software.


You can also install Totara Social on other platforms, such as Windows platform, there is more guidance on this further down the page.

For information about other platforms, consult with your Totara Partner.

Installing Totara Social on a Linux platform

Follow these instructions to install your Totara Social software onto a Linux (with Apache) platform. These instructions are split up into several stages.


Copy the software to my Linux webserver

Consult with your Totara Partner or read the Totara website for further details about how to obtain the Totara Social software code.
Once you have obtained the code, copy the contents of the htdocs/ directory to your webserver. We suggest you either:

  • Copy the entire directory, then rename it to something like social so you will see your site at example.org/social/

OR

  • Copy the contents of the htdocs/ directory to the top level public directory (often called htdocs or public_html) of your webserver, so you can see your site at example.org
These instructions assume you have some knowledge of Linux and how to configure Apache.

Create the Totara Social database

The following instructions describe how to create your Totara Social database and connect it to your webserver.

If you have access to a CPanel or similar software, you can create the database using that instead.

Your Totara Social database must be UTF8 encoded. The following command line instructions create a UTF8 encoded database. If you use other software, such as CPanel, then make sure it creates a UTF8 database.

Instructions for the command line for Postgres and MySQL are as follows:

Command line instructions for Postgres

<#Run these commands while su'd to the 'postgres' user>
<#If you need to create a database user:>
createuser -SRDP (username)
<# Actual database creation>
createdb -O (username who will be connecting) -EUTF8 (databasename)

Command line instructions for MySQL

mysql --user=root -p
[enter password]
create database (databasename) character set UTF8;
grant all on (databasename).* to 'username'@'localhost' identified by 'password';

When running Totara Social on MySQL database, system admin needs to make sure that MySQL server knows about timezones. By default MySQL doesn't load timezones information which might lead to the data being stored with a wrong timezone offset. To make this doesn't happen, system admin can use the following command to load timezones:

mysql_tzinfo_to_sql /usr/share/zoneinfo | mysql -u <admin_username> -p mysql

For more information see MySQL documentation at https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.7/en/mysql-tzinfo-to-sql.html.

If the site needs to use timezone different from the system timezone, admins should add the following line to their config:

date_default_timezone_set('Europe/Rome'); // 'Europe/Rome' is an example

List of legal timezone values can be found at: http://php.net/manual/en/timezones.php


Create the Dataroot Directory on my webserver

Totara Social will write the files that are uploaded to it, as well as some other files it needs to run, to this directory.

This directory cannot be in the same directory as the Totara Social code. Therefore, create the directory on your webserver alongside your other directories, such as the public_html directory. Give the directory a name like socialdata.

You should now have a directory structure something like this:

.../yourusername/public_html
.../yourusername/socialdata
Finally, change the socialdata directory owner to be the webserver user. Another option is to chmod it to 777, which is not a recommended option, but may be necessary if you are on shared hosting. You can chmod the directory using FTP programs.

Create Totara Social's config.php

To create Totara Social's config.php file, locate the file config-dist.php in the Totara Social htdocs directory and make a copy called config.php. This is the file you will now update with your own config settings.

Take a look through the config.php file and make the necessary changes to meet your local needs. The file is commented throughout so that you can find which settings to change.

Some of the config.php settings will override admin site settings and won't allow site admins to change such settings from the user interface in the system, such as registration information.


Take note of the following settings:

Database connection details

For these, insert the proper values for $cfg->dbname, $cfg->dbuser, $cfg->dbpass

Unlike Totara Learn, you may not need to set values for dbprefix. Try to run Totara Social without setting it first and, if it does not work, you may find it best to leave dbprefix empty and add the prefix directly to the $cfg>dbname, $cfg->dbuser values.

Dataroot

Set this as the filesystem path for your dataroot directory on your webserver.
On Linux, this may look something like: /path/to/your/socialdata
On Windows, this may look something like: C:\path\to\your\socialdata

This is not a web address, such as http://example.org/socialdata

Directory permissions

If you are on a server where you do not have root access, you should change this from 0700 to 0777 or similar. This will enable you to download your dataroot later for backup purposes, and install language packs.

Configure Apache

Use this section to configure your Apache webserver. If you are on shared hosting, you probably do not have access to this and can, therefore, ignore this step.
Configure your Apache VirtualHost using a simple approach, such as this:


<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName example.org
DocumentRoot /path/to/social/htdocs
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/social.error.log
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/social.access.log combined
<Directory /home/sue/social/htdocs>
AllowOverride All
</Directory>
</VirtualHost>

Issues when setting up Server Aliases

Totara Social expects to be accessed through one URL only. You should, therefore, not create Server Aliases for your Apache configuration. This ensures that cookies are set for the right domain and that SSL certificates for the networking functionality can be generated for this same URL.
When a Server Alias is created, this can result in issues such as having to log in twice and can potentially cause a malfunction of Single Sign On (SSO) between your site and others.

Alternative option to creating a Server Alias

Instead of setting up a Server Alias, you could set up a second VirtualHost directive, which will allow both example.org and www.example.org to work.
Configure your second VirtualHost directive using an approach such as this:
<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName www.example.org

  1. You can add ServerAliases here if you want more than one URL to
  2. redirect to your main site
  3. ServerAlias foo.example.org
     Redirect Permanent / http://example.org/
     </VirtualHost>Adjust my PHP settingsIn your php.ini file (often found in /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini), make sure your settings look like this:
     register_globals off
     magic_quotes_runtime off
     magic_quotes_sybase off
     magic_quotes_gpc off
     log_errors on
     allow_call_time_pass_reference off
     upload_max_filesize 50M
     post_max_size 50M
  4. Run the InstallerThere are two options for installing Totara Social. Most users will want to use the web-based installer, but more advanced users may wish to use the Command-Line Interface installer as an alternative.Using the web-based installerTo start the installation:
  5. Using your web browser, navigate to the Totara Social installation by using the path you set up earlier in your config file. A Totara Social Conditions Page displays.
  6. On the Conditions Page, select Agree and Totara Social will install into your database.
  7. Select Continue. You will be asked to change the Site Administrator's password, and then you will be logged into your new Totara Social site.
The Site Administrator's username is admin (all in lower case).

Run the Command-Line Interface Installer

The command-line installation and upgrade toolset provides an excellent alternative to the web-based installer.
You need to run the Command Line Interface (CLI) installer using the same user as your web server. This is because it creates a number of directories and sets file ownerships within the document root.
To run the installer, navigate to the Totara Social/htdocs directory and run:
php admin/cli/install.php --adminpassword='examplepassword' --adminemail=youremailaddress
Note: You can optionally specify the -verbose option to see exactly what the installation process does or -help for additional help on the installer options.

What if an error occurs during the installation process?

There can be a number of reasons why the installation process could be stopped with an error.
Firstly, check the Totara Social error log for your webserver to find out what might be causing the issue.
Note: If you use a shared hosting platform, access to the error log may be through a control panel only, and this will only offer a limited view of the error log.
Some examples as to why issues occur include:

  • You have not granted your database user permission to create tables.
  • You are not using a high enough version of your database (check software requirements).
  • There is a bug in the Totara Social installer (log this with the Totara Social Support team).
Once you fix the problem, you may need to re-create your database again and re-start the installation to avoid using any previously installed tables.

Check email is working

Check that Totara Social is able to send emails by registering onto your Totara Social site and confirming that you receive a registration message.

If email is not working

If you get an error message telling you that the registration attempt was unsuccessful, consider the following solutions:

  • Install a mail transport agent (such as sendmail, exim, postfix, nullmailer) on your server.
  • Specify an outgoing (SMTP) mail server in your config.php by copying the config variables from lib/config-defaults.php to config.php for SMTP, and then change them to suit you.
On a shared hosting platform, check that your host allows the sending of emails. The error log should tell you this.

Set up a Cron Job

The following is a high-level explanation about setting up a Cron Job. The Cron Job schedules commands or scripts to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals.
For more information, see the separate section setting up Cron.

Why do I need to set up a Cron Job?

The Cron Job tells Totara Social to run various commands that work a number of functions. Examples include:

  • Updating RSS feeds.
  • Sending out email notifications.
  • Sending out forum post email notifications.

Where do I set up my Cron job?

You may want to set up a Cron job to access htdocs/lib/cron.php every minute.
Totara Social then implements its own Cron internally, so accessing Cron every minute is sufficient to make everything work.

For more information, see the separate section setting up Cron.

Secure my Totara Social installation

Take a look at the options in Totara Social in the Administration Menu/Security Settings to enable a number of ways to protect your site. Example settings include, virus scanning and extra spam protections.

First steps following installation

Following the installation of Totara Social, there are some initial Site administration set-up tasks to complete. These are around configuring the site to your preferences, including installing language packs and themes. You can learn more about how to do these in the Site administration guide.

Totara Social Community

Access the Totara Partners Area in the Totara Community site at  for further help and advice from other Totara Social users and the Totara Social support team.

Installing Totara Social on a Windows platform 

Follow these instructions to install your Totara Social software onto a Windows platform, using the WampServer.


Copy the software to my WampServer

Consult with your Totara Partner or read the Totara website for further details about how to obtain the Totara Social software code.
Once you have downloaded the code:

  • Download and install the latest version of WampServer.
  • On your screen, select the shortcut icon for the WampServer application.

    You can now access the small icon displayed on your taskbar to activate the different utilities within WampServer.

  • Extract the contents of the Totara Social download zip file into a temporary directory and rename the htdocs subdirectory to social.

  • Move the social subdirectory inside the /wwwdirectory that WampServer created in your hard drive (you should see this directory as C:\wamp\www).

Create the Data Directory in my WampServer

Create the Data Directory for Totara Social inside the WampServer installation directory so that you have a subdirectory which looks like C:\wamp\data
Totara Social will write the files that are uploaded to it, as well as some other files it needs to run, to this data directory.

Create the config.php file in my WampServer

To create Totara Social's config.php file, locate the file config-dist.php in the Totara Social htdocs directory and make a copy called config.php. This is the file you will now update with your own config settings.

Take a look through the config.php file and make the necessary changes to meet your local needs. The file is commented throughout so you can find which settings to change. You will see these values:
$cfg->dbtype = 'mysql5';
$cfg->dbhost = 'localhost';
$cfg->dbport = null;
$cfg->dbname = 'social'; // this is the name of the Totara Social database
$cfg->dbuser = 'root'; // this is usually the default user for the database administrator
$cfg->dbpass = ''; If you have added a password to your root user, you should add the password here
$cfg->dbprefix = '';
You also need to configure the paths for the wwwroot and dataroot directories with the values in your installation.
As an example, on a local machine where you are trialling Totara Social, it might look like this:
$cfg->wwwroot = 'http://localhost/Totara Social/';
$cfg->dataroot = 'C:\\wamp
data'; (note, the double slashes are important).

Some of the config.php settings will override admin site settings and won't allow site admins to change such settings from the user interface in the system, such as registration information.

Create the Totara Social database on my WampServer

Before launching Totara Social, you need to create the database with the same name that you specified in the config.php file. Your Totara Social database must be UTF8 encoded. Follow these instructions to set one up:

  • Select the phpmyAdmin menu option in WampServer.
  • In the create new database field enter your database name (that is, the one you specified in the config.php file, for example, social).
  • Next, select the format utf8_unicode_ci in the drop down select box and select Create.

Complete the installation on my WampServer

Once your database is created, there is just one final task to complete the installation of Totara Social on your WampServer.

  • Navigate to the localhost option of WampServer.
  • Locate the new folder called social which sits under Your Projects. Note: in earlier versions of WampServer this is called Project.)
  • Select this folder to complete the installation. Totara Social will start installing the different plug-ins and components in the database.
  • When the installation finishes, follow the prompt to log in for the first time as the Site Administrator (remember that the username is admin and the password is whatever you select, e.g. social).

Check email is working

Check that Totara Social is able to send emails by registering onto your Totara Social site and confirming that you receive a registration message.

If email is not working

If you get an error message telling you that the registration attempt was unsuccessful, consider the following solutions:

  • Install a mail transport agent (such as sendmail, exim, postfix, nullmailer) on your server.
  • Specify an outgoing (SMTP) mail server in your config.php by copying the config variables from lib/config-defaults.php to config.php for SMTP, and then change them to suit you.
On a shared hosting platform, check that your host allows the sending of emails. The error log should tell you this.

Set up a Cron Job

The following is a high-level explanation about setting up a Cron Job. The Cron Job schedules commands or scripts to run periodically at fixed times, dates, or intervals.

For more information, see the separate section setting up Cron.

Why do I need to set up a Cron Job?

The Cron Job tells Totara Social to run various commands that work a number of functions. Examples include:

  • Updating RSS feeds.
  • Sending out email notifications.
  • Sending out forum post email notifications.

Where do I set up my Cron job?

You may set up a Cron job to access htdocs/lib/cron.php every minute.

Totara Social then implements its own Cron internally, so accessing Cron every minute is sufficient to make everything work.

For more information, see the separate section setting up Cron.

Secure your Totara Social installation

Take a look at the options in Totara Social in the Administration Menu/Security Settings to enable a number of ways to protect your site. Example settings include, virus scanning and extra spam protections.

First steps following installation

Following the installation of Totara Social, there are some initial Site administration set-up tasks to complete. These are around configuring the site to your preferences, including installing language packs and themes. You can learn more about how to do these in the Site administration guide.

Totara Social Community

Access the Totara Partners Area in the Totara Community site at  for further help and advice from other Totara Social users and the Totara Social support team.

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