As a Site administrator you can configure your Totara Social site to work in a way that suits the needs of your organisation. This includes managing users, processes, and content within the site.
You will be able to do everything a standard user can do as a Site administrator, alongside your additional tasks. For guidance on the basic functionality see the User Guide section of this documentation.
There are some tasks that a Site administrator can do that are not described on this page, but can be found elsewhere in this documentation, these are:
- Mange groups: A Site administrator can carry out a number of group administration tasks.
- Site stats: Site administrators can view site data and statistics.
- Tenant stats: You can view tenant data and statistics for all tenants associated with the site.
- User search: Site administrators can search for and manage user data and reports.
Other Site administrator functionality is described on this page (such as registering your site), or in one of the sub-pages linked to via the related page block on the right-hand side of this page (such as configuring site extensions).
Accessing the Administration menu
Site administrators have their own Administration menu from which to access all the administration options. Once you have logged in to Totara Social as the Site administrator (using the username and password set-up during installation), you can click the Cogs icon () from the top menu to display the available options.
All Totara Social sites must have at least one Site administrator. An initial Site administrator account is set up during Totara Social installation to obtain preliminary access to all the site administration options.
An existing Site administrator can set-up further Site administrators.
The Administration menu includes an Overview page option. The Overview page is a useful place to start as it provides links to all the site administration options in one place. That is, it contains shortcuts to most items that are contained within all the other Administration menu options.
- Select Administration from the main menu.
- The Overview page displays by default
Alternatively you can select Admin home, then select Overview to display the page.
Registering your site
You can register your Totara Social site under Admin home > Totara registration. Administrators will be redirected to this page after upgrade until registration has been completed, so ensure you have the registration code available for each site before you upgrade. Partners can obtain the registration code for their customers' sites via the Subscription Portal. Direct subscribers will receive their registration code direct from Totara Learning.
- Select Administration from the main menu to display the available options.
- Click the Admin home tab and then select Register to display the Registration page.
Registration is optional; however, it does help the Totara Social team gather a picture of where Totara Social is being deployed around the world. No information that would personally identify any of your users will be sent to the Totara Social team. It is also free to register.
You can configure the workings of your Totara Social site within Site options. Select Administration > Configure Site > Site Options to display the Site options page.
Familiarise yourself with your Site options by working through each of the settings available. These settings specify how your system will work and how users may interact with your Totara Social site. These settings are summarised below.
Includes options for setting your site's name, language, country (default), theme, home page, and whether or not to share your site statistics with the Totara Social team.
Provides a range of options for user actions within the site, including how user information is displayed.
|User profile settings|
Decide which profile fields will appear in the About block on a user's profile page. There are three column options:
Enables you to specify who can create groups, and whether or not Group administrators can make their group(s) accessible by the public.
Provides the ability for you to setup your client organisation as tenants on your Totara Social site, with each tenant being managed separately by designated Tenant administrators. These settings determine how users of the system access and work within tenants, such as whether users can become tenants by self-registering and whether a user can belong to more than one tenant.
Enables you to change account settings, such as how long an account will remain active by default or following a certain period of inactivity.
Provides the ability for you to configure different default security checks and permissions.
Allows you to configure different proxy address, authentication and credential settings.
Allows you to set SMTP and system mail address settings. Additionally you can add a custom MAIL FROM address for email envelopes.
Provides the ability for you to set the default notification options for new users; these can be overridden by the user through their own settings.
Includes options that can be configured for a number of general display and accessibility settings.
|Activity settings||Provides options for how long activities are stored in the database. You can set the Activity expiry period, which is how long activities generated by site users will be stored in database. This can be set in days, week, months, or years.|
Provide options for the logging of events and event log expiry.
Installing a language pack
Totara Social comes complete with an English language pack. You may also download and install support for other languages. To do this, you install language packs in a sub-directory of your dataroot directory, called Langpacks. You may wish to ask your System administrator to help you with this task.
To install a language pack:
- Make sure you have a Langpacks directory inside your dataroot directory (one should have already been created for you).
- Download the language pack you want to install from the Language Packs page. The language pack version needs to match your Totara Social site version.
- Extract the content of the downloaded TGZ archive.
Copy the directory to the Langpacks directory inside your dataroot directory.
Make sure the name of the directory you put inside the dataroot Langpacks directory has a name like xy.utf8, where xy is the language code.
In Totara Social, select Administration from the main menu.
Next, select Configure site > Site Options to display the Site options page.
Go to Site settings and select the appropriate default language.
The default language can only be changed when there is more than one language pack installed. Users can also choose what language they see using their own settings.
Editing the language strings
Administrators can put modified (or new) language files into the local/lang directory, and the strings in those files will override the strings in the installed language packs.
For example, say you would like to change the string Logout to Let me out! This string is defined in
htdocs/lang/en.utf8/mahara.php. You can create the file
htdocs/local/lang/en.utf8/mahara.php with the following contents:
There is no need to edit the original language files, so updating the site to newer versions of Totara Social will be easier as there is no need to merge local changes to the language files with the updated versions.
Strings used by plugins are stored in files like
htdocs/artefact/file/lang/en.utf8/artefact.file.php. These strings can be overridden by creating
Changing the site's appearance
Totara Social comes with a set of default themes. You can also install other themes that may have been developed especially for your organisation. To do this, any customised theme needs to be saved to Totara Social's Theme directory. You may wish to ask your System administrator to help you with this task.
To install and/or change a theme:
- Where a customised theme is being used, install this to Totara Social's Theme directory.
- In Totara Social go to Administration > Configure site > Site options.
- Select Site settings and select the appropriate theme.
Tenant administrators can select themes for their tenancy only.
Elasticsearch requires Java to run. These instructions assume this is a developer environment, where Elasticsearch and Totara Social's web server are running on the same machine. For a production environment, you may want to move Elasticsearch to a different server, and to add some access control to it.
The Elasticsearch plugin relies on database triggers to keep its content up to date. So the database account used by Totara Social must have the ability to create and delete triggers.
Installing Elasticsearch on Linux
There are some packaged installations of Elasticsearch available, but for development purposes this isn't necessary. Elasticsearch is available as a completely self-contained ZIP file. If you're wondering what version of Elasticsearch to install, try the latest. Totara Social uses a simple subset of the Elasticsearch functionality, which should work with a wide range of Elasticsearch versions. If the latest version doesn't work, look in
htdocs/lib/elastica/CHANGELOG.md to see what version of Elasticsearch is compatible with our current version of the Elastica PHP library.
To install Elasticsearch, follow these steps:
- Download the Elasticsearch ZIP file from www.elastic.co.
- Extract the Elasticsearch ZIP file into a convenient directory. Call it
- In your new directory, find the file
config/Elasticsearch.ymland open it in a text editor.
Add these configuration lines to the bottom (replace YOURNAME with your name). These will prevent your site from automatically clustering with other Elasticsearch servers other devs might be running on your network.
- Once that's done, open a terminal and
- In the terminal, run this command:
You should see your terminal fill up with Elasticsearch log messages, indicating that the server has started running. Elasticsearch will now continue to run until you close this Terminal window, or hit Control-C to kill it.
For instructions on installing Elasticsearch on Windows, please see Running as a Service on Windows in the Elasticsearch documentation.
Configuring Elasticsearch in Totara Social
- While your Elasticsearch server is running, log in to your Totara Social site (which is running on a web server on the same machine as your Elasticsearch server).
- Go to Administration > Extensions > Search > Elasticsearch.
- This should bring up the Plugin administration: search: Elasticsearch page, which lets you configure the Elasticsearch search plugin for Totara Social. You'll notice that many of the settings are greyed out and can only be changed by editing your config.php file. That's okay! The default settings will work perfectly with an Elasticsearch server also on its default settings, running on the same machine.
- Scroll down, and select all the content item types that you want Elasticsearch to index. (Probably all of them.)
- Click Save.
- Go to Administration > Configure site > Site options.
- Open the Search settings subsection, and set Search plugin to Elasticsearch.
- Press the Update site options button. You may notice a longer-than-normal Loading time after pressing this. That's because, when you first activate the Elasticsearch plugin, Totara Social initiates an initial indexing of the site. So once you see the Site options have been updated message, you should be able to use search and get results based on the current content of your site.
Updating data in Elasticsearch
Totara Social uses triggers, a queue table, and a cron job, to keep the data in the Elasticsearch server up to date.
When you first enable Elasticsearch, the plugin runs a database query that puts a record into the
search_Elasticsearch_queue table for every artefact, view, and user in your database.
Henceforth, every time you insert, update, or delete a record of the types indexed by Elasticsearch, the triggers insert a record into the
search_Elasticsearch_queue database table.
The cron function, which is scheduled to run every 5 minutes, pulls records from this table, and then pushes them into the Elasticsearch server using Elasticsearch's REST api.
The number of records sent to Elasticsearch in a single cron run is limited by the cronlimit setting in the Elasticsearch plugin settings page.
So you can update the data in Elasticsearch by simply running the cron. There is also a standalone cron script in the Elasticsearch plugin directory, which you can use if you want to run the Elasticsearch cron function more frequently:
If your Elasticsearch falls out of sync due to problems with your server, or if you just want to reset it, you can do that using the Reset ALL Indexes button on the Elasticsearch plugin settings page. This will delete & recreate the database triggers, destroy and recreate the Elasticsearch index, clear out the
search_Elasticsearch_queue table, and then re-fill it by directly querying your database, and send one starting set of records to the Elasticsearch server.
Please note that resetting Elasticsearch will cause it to re-index all records. This is a very performance intensive operation on large databases and should be executed when server load is low e.g. overnight where fewer users are accessing the server.
For more information about Elasticsearch, setting up and troubleshooting, please see Getting Started in the Elasticsearch documentation.
You can upload external files for use within Totara Social. These are called Site files.
To view or upload Site files:
Go to Administration > Configure site > Files to display the Site files page.
Select Site files to view, edit, or delete site files.
Uploading site files
From the Site files page, select Upload to select external files to be uploaded into Totara Social.
Drag and drop, or browse for files and then click Upload.
In the Share With field, type in or select who you want to be able to access the file.
All files uploaded can be added to content and other resources visible to logged-in users. Files uploaded to the public directory may be added to content and other resources visible to anyone, whether they are logged in or not.
By default, the Links and resources menu displays to all users on the right-hand side of most pages. It provides users with shortcuts to useful or frequently used information.
You can specify the items that display on this menu, as well as what displays in the footer on each screen.
To configure the Links and resources menu:
Select Administration > Configure site > Menus to display the Menus page.
Go to the Menus section of the page.
In the Edit field you can choose from these two options:
- Logged in links and resources: Select this if the new menu item is to be accessible to logged-in users only.
- Public links and resources: Select this if the new menu item is to be accessible to everybody (whether logged in or not).
In the Type field, there are two options to choose from:
- Site file: Select this if the new menu item is a link to a Sitefile, then enter the link text you want to display and select the Site file from the dropdown list.
- External link: Select this if the item is a link to an external website. Then enter the link text you want to display and the URL (web address) of the external website.
New user welcome message
The new user welcome message is sent to every user when they have successfully registered on Totara Social Site.
To change the new user welcome message:
Select Site Administration > Configure Site > Static pages.
Select New user welcome message from the dropdown list.
Click on Save changes.
Site pages are pre-built pages that are available to users of the system. You can create and customise Site pages with the content items and layout that you require.
To configure Site pages:
From the main menu go to Administration > Configure site > Pages to display page for the Site pages.
Select from the following options:
- Create page: To create a new site page.
- Copy a page: To copy an existing site page.
- Edit (pencil icon): Alongside any page to edit that site page.
- Delete (bin icon): To permanently remove that site page(where this option is available).
Creating a new page works the same as elsewhere in Totara Social, you can read more about creating pages in the pages guide.