Knowledge Base

How to install CiviCRM

This article describes how to install CiviCRM, a customer relationship management application.

CiviCRM runs as a Drupal module, Joomla extension, or WordPress plugin. You must install one of these applications on your site first before you can install CiviCRM.

  • For information about how to install Drupal, please see this article.
  • For information about how to install Joomla, please see this article.
  • For information about how to install WordPress, please see this article.
Although A2 Hosting servers are compatible with a wide variety of software applications, we cannot provide troubleshooting assistance for application-specific issues.

Installing CiviCRM on Drupal

To install CiviCRM as a module in Drupal 7, follow these steps:

  1. You need to know your Drupal site's database settings during the setup process. To determine your Drupal database settings, open the sites/default/settings.php file in the Drupal installation directory on your account, and note the following values in the $databases array:
    • database
    • username
    • password
  2. Use cPanel to create a MySQL database and a database user for CiviCRM. You will need this information during the setup process.

    For information about how to create a MySQL database and user, please see this article.
  3. Use your web browser to visit https://sourceforge.net/projects/civicrm/files/civicrm-stable.
  4. Click the CiviCRM version you want to download, and then download the civicrm-x.x.x-drupal.tar.gz file, where x.x.x represents the version number.

    At the time this article was written, 4.4.2 was the most recent stable version.
  5. Log in to your Drupal site as the administrator.
  6. On the top menu bar, click Modules, and then click Install new module.
  7. Click Browse, select the zip file on your local computer, and then click Install. Drupal installs the CiviCRM module.
  8. Go to the CiviCRM installation URL, which is http://example.com/sites/all/modules/civicrm/install/index.php, where example.com represents your domain name. The CiviCRM Installer page appears.
  9. Under CiviCRM Database Settings, fill in the MySQL username, MySQL password, and MySQL database text boxes with the values for the CiviCRM database that you created in step 2.
  10. Under Drupal Database Settings, fill in the MySQL username, MySQL password, and MySQL database text boxes with the Drupal database values that you obtained in step 1.
  11. Under Other Settings, select the Load sample data check box if you want to install sample data.
  12. Click Re-check requirements. When all of the database settings are correct, you receive a Database version and connection settings have been verified and look correct! message.
  13. Click Check Requirements and Install CiviCRM.

    The installation process takes a few minutes.
  14. When installation is complete, the CiviCRM has been successfully installed message appears.
  15. In Drupal, click Home. To configure the CiviCRM installation, click the CiviCRM link.

Installing CiviCRM on Joomla

To install CiviCRM as a Joomla extension, follow these steps:

  1. Use your web browser to visit https://sourceforge.net/projects/civicrm/files/civicrm-stable.
  2. Click the CiviCRM version you want to download, and then download the civicrm-x.x.x-joomla.zip file, where x.x.x represents the version number.
    At the time this article was written, 4.4.2 was the most recent stable version.
  3. Upload the .zip file to the Joomla tmp directory.
    If you are running Joomla in the public_html directory, the full path is /home/username/public_html/tmp, where username represents your account username. If you are running Joomla in another location, the tmp directory is beneath the directory where you installed Joomla.
  4. Extract the contents of the .zip file. To do this, you can use the cPanel File Manager, or you can type the following command at the command prompt from the tmp directory (where x.x.x represents the version number):
    unzip civicrm-x.x.x-joomla.zip

    After you extract the .zip file, there should be a com_civicrm directory in the tmp directory.

  5. Log in to your Joomla site as the administrator.
  6. On the top menu bar of the Control Panel, click Extensions, and then click Extension Manager.
  7. Click the Install from Directory tab.
  8. In the Install Directory text box, add com_civicrm to the end of the path.

    The Install Directory text box should already contain the path to the tmp directory where you uploaded the .zip file. The complete path should be /home/username/public_html/tmp/com_civicrm, where username represents your account username.
  9. Click Install. Joomla installs the extension.
  10. When installation is complete, you receive the following message:

    CiviCRM component files and database tables have been INSTALLED successfully.
  11. To configure the CiviCRM installation, on the top menu bar click Components, and then click CiviCRM.

Installing CiviCRM on WordPress

To install CiviCRM as a WordPress plugin, follow these steps:

  1. Use cPanel to create a MySQL database and a database user for CiviCRM. You will need this information during the setup process.
    For information about how to create a MySQL database and user, please see this article.
  2. Use your web browser to visit https://sourceforge.net/projects/civicrm/files/civicrm-stable.
  3. Click the CiviCRM version you want to download, and then download the civicrm-x.x.x-wordpress.zip file, where x.x.x represents the version number.
    At the time this article was written, 4.4.2 was the most recent stable version.
  4. Upload the .zip file to the wp-content/plugins directory.
    If you are running WordPress in the public_html directory, the full path is /home/username/public_html/wp-content/plugins, where username represents your account username. If you are running WordPress in another location, the tmp directory is beneath the directory where you installed WordPress.
  5. Extract the contents of the .zip file. To do this, you can use the cPanel File Manager, or you can type the following command at the command prompt from the wp-content/plugins directory (where x.x.x represents the version number):
    unzip civicrm-x.x.x-wordpress.zip

    After you extract the .zip file, there should be a civicrm directory in the wp-content/plugins directory.

  6. Create a directory named files in the wp-content/plugins directory. You can use the cPanel File Manager to create the directory, or you can type the following command at the command prompt from the wp-content/plugins directory:

    mkdir files
    CiviCRM uses the files directory during the installation process.
  7. Log in to your WordPress site as the administrator.
  8. In the left-side pane, click Plugins, and then click Installed Plugins.
  9. Under CiviCRM, click Activate.
  10. In the left-side pane, click Settings, and then click CiviCRM Installer. The CiviCRM Installer page appears.
  11. Under CiviCRM Database Settings, fill in the MySQL username, MySQL password, and MySQL database text boxes with the values for the CiviCRM database that you created in step 1.
  12. Under Other Settings, select the Load sample data check box if you want to install sample data.
  13. Click Re-check requirements. When all of the database settings are correct, you receive a Database version and connection settings have been verified and look correct! message.
  14. Click Check Requirements and Install CiviCRM.

    The installation process takes a few minutes.
  15. When installation is complete, the CiviCRM has been successfully installed message appears.
  16. To configure the CiviCRM installation, in the left-side pane click Dashboard, and then click CiviCRM.

More Information

What Is CiviCRM?

CiviCRM is an open source customer relationship management loaded with features designed most prominently for non-profit organization use. CiviCRM was created in 2005 by Dave Greenberg and Donald Lobo. They set out to help any organization have easier access to their contacts so their own goals could be more readily attainable. The founders didn't want any organization to be limited based on their size or technology budget.

Since its launch, CiviCRM has made it easier for thousands of its users to enter, manage and organize donor information. CiviCRM users can quickly access information about members, volunteers or other pertinent contacts. This functionality is further expanded thanks to the ease of CiviCRM's customizations. Wikimedia, Creative Commons and Amnesty International are just a few examples of some of the non-profit organizations that are currently or have at one time enjoyed the functionality of this awarding winning, feature-rich CRM.

CiviCRM is currently a limited liability company owned by Coleman Watts, Tim Otten and Josh Gowens. Like its intended audience, CiviCRM operates as a not-for-profit organization.

What Makes CiviCRM Different?

Unlike similar customer relationship management solutions, CiviCRM is not a stand alone solution. Rather CiviCRM integrates directly into content management solutions. The most popular options include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Backdrop CMS.

CiviCRM Features

There are a number of reasons why so many organizations have employed CiviCRM as their customer relationship management solution. This is due largely in part to its laundry list of powerful and user-friendly features. Here are just a few of those features:

  • Easy Contact Administration – All of your contact's information are stored within a single location, creating an easily accessible and organized bank of information about each individual contact or donor.
  • Track Contributions – CiviCRM will make it particularly easy for you to keep track of who has made a contribution to your organization as well as who you need to send a thank you note to. View donation data at any time within your install.
  • Extensible – As an open source solution, CiviCRM gives you the ability to customize your install to your organization's specific needs.
  • Easy Integration – Not only does CiviCRM integrate easily into your content management system, it will work well with your existing accounting/billing solution. Merely enter any gifts you have received within your CiviCRM account, export the data in the format most compatible with your accounting system and import it. CiviCRM will make your accountant's life easier!
  • Event Management – Running successful events is the lifeblood of many non-profit organizations. CiviCRM will make running events even easier to manage! CiviCRM features a comprehensive suite of tools to help you both run your events and keep track of all attendees.
  • Your Email – Create, edit, segment and manage your email lists to easily create effective email marketing and fundraising campaigns.
  • Easier Fundraising – What better way is there to boost donations than to encourage your donors to become advocates of your organization! CiviCRM makes it possible for your donors to set up their own personal campaigns to request donations from their contacts. This is an effective way to expand your organization's fundraising force without adding a dime to your payroll.