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Mautic Step 0 – Installing Mautic

Dear Reader,

Last time, in the post titled “My Journey into Mautic”, I explained that I was starting to play with the marketing automation package Mautic. Today’s post is about installing Mautic.

This post is not necessary for everyone. If you are using a hosted version of Mautic, it is probably safe to ignore this post. Even if you are hosting it with a provider like SiteGround or GoDaddy, the first part of these instructions won’t apply. You can skip the “Foundation” if you installed Mautic from a control panel and go straight to “Running the Mautic Installer”.

The Foundation

I use Digital Ocean as my hosting platform. For small businesses, Mautic WILL run on a $5/month droplet. However, I strongly suggest that if you are going this route to invest a little more and get at the minimum a $10/month droplet.

You will need to install:

  • Apache (or the web server of your choice)
  • PHP
  • MySQL/MariaDB

Additionally, Mautic makes this recommendation.

Mautic recommended configuration options.

You can also run Mautic in a sub-directory of your existing website. If you already have a website that is based on the LAMP stack then Mautic will either run without problems or it will tell you what the problem is and let you correct it before you install.

If you do not have a website, Mautic will not do you any good. Start with my friends over at SiteGround and get a WordPress installation up, running, and completely fleshed out before you even think the word Mautic.

Installing Mautic

Once you have your hosting platform up and ready to go, download and unzip Mautic into the proper directory. The proper directory will depend on how you decided to install it. If you decided to install it as a sub-domain, you will unzip Mautic into the root directory of the sub-domain. If you decided to install it in a sub-directory of your main domain, you will need to unzip it into that sub-directory.

Database

Before you begin, you will need a blank database for Mautic to use. Connect to your MySQL/MariaDB service with your favorite tool and create a database, and a user. Make sure you give the user access to the newly created database but ONLY access to that one database.

DO NOT us an existing database. Create a new database. if your hosting provider won’t let you create another database, get a better hosting provider. Start with a clean and empty database.

DO NOT user your root db or a root equivalent user account. Create a new account just for this database. Give it all the permissions except for GRANT.

If you are using a hosting provider with a tool like cPanel, you can use cPanel to create the database, and the user account.

Running the Mautic Installer

Installing Mautic is very straight forward. If you have your web server setup properly then you just point a browser to wherever you unzipped it and BOOM, it starts the install process.

Mautic install screen number one. This screen tells you if your platform is sane. it also makes optional recomendations.

This first screen tells you if your platform is sane. You can see from the green “Ready to Install” that Mautic likes my setup. However, the yellow section makes a few recommendations for how it could be better. Since I manage my own server, it was easy enough to fix the issues. If you are running on a platform where you do not have root access, it might not be as easy for you to fix them. In that case, I would recommend working with your hosting provider to see if they can resolve any or all of the recommendations.

Clicking “Next Step” takes you to the second screen.

This is the second Mautic install screen. This is where you enter all the information about your database.

On this screen, you enter all the information that Mautic needs to connect to your database server. If you have installed applications on a web server before (e.g. WordPress) then this will be familiar to you.

 

The only two things that might not ring a bell on this screen are:

  • Backup Existing Tables/Prefix for backup tables.
    This is set by default to YES. Since you are installing into a new database, it really makes no difference at all. I turn it to no as there should not be any existing tables. Either way, since no backup tables will be created, the prefix for the backup tables is irrelevant. It is safe to ignore this.
  • Database Table Prefix
    This is blank but I highly recommend you putting something here. three random letters and an underscore is plenty. This is a security feature. Anyone who reads the code for Mautic knows what the table names are. This gives an attacker a piece of information they can use in their favor. If you put a random prefix on the tables, it just makes it a little harder for an attacker to compromise your system. (Security s like an onion, it is made of of layers)

Clicking “Next Step” takes you to the screen where you will create the admin user for Mautic.

 

This screen will let you enter in the Mautic admin user name and password. Since this account will have God like powers in your application, do not simply reuse a long and password that you use for other websites. Make the user name something meaningful and use a password manager to create a strong password.

Once you have filled this form out, click “Next Step” to take you to the “Email Configuration” screen.

This is the Mautic email configuration screen. This is where you setup your Email Server provider information.

Enter your name and email address here. Don’t worry about the rest, we are going to properly configure all of this in a future post. Honestly, I’m not really sure why this information is asked for here. I’m sure there is a good reason though.

Success!

Mautic log in screen

If all goes well – and honestly, the installer is designed so well that if something is not going to go well, it won’t let you get to this point – then the next thing you see is the Mautic log in screen. Go ahead, enter your email address and password, you’ve earned it.

As you can see, even from scratch, Mautic is very easy to install. It rivals the WordPress “5 Minute Install” for ease of use and completeness.

Next, we will talk about Email Service Providers.

Until next time,
I <3 |<
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My Journey Into Mautic

Mautic logoDear Reader,

Those that know me know that I have an obsession with marketing. I mean I’m no good at it, but the topic fascinates me. Almost all of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis are marketing related. One topic in particular that interests me is “Marketing Automation”. Marketing Automation covers a huge swath of topics and since I am not an expert at the, I won’t attempt to explain them. However, three things that are covered by MA that I understand reasonably well are:

  • Lead Generators
  • Landing Pages
  • Email Marketing Campaigns

Even here we have topics so broad that entire books have been written on each of them. Still, these thee topics represent the heart of what is called “Inbound Marketing”.

Inbound Marketing is you trying to convince people to come to your site and buy/join your mailing list. This is as opposed to Outbound Marketing where you contact potential customers directly and try to convince them to buy.

Introducing Mautic

Because I am interested in Marketing Automation and want to start applying the techniques in the projects I run.

I started looking around for vendors who could provide these services. What I found is that most SaaS vendors assume that everybody who wants to use their software has deep pockets.

Side Note: I had a real interesting interview with someone form PostMark this past week after I tweeted that I did not choose them but chose Mail Gun. The subject of price came up and my words to him were “Yes, it’s only $15/month. However, right now I’ve got 7-8 companies wanting just $15-$25 per month. It all ads up quick.

During my research into solutions that may or may not work but I couldn’t afford to try, I cam across a project called Mautic. Mautic had three major things going for it right away.

  1. It is Open Source
  2. It is written in PHP
  3. One of the leads at Mautic is a friend of mine, Don Gilbert

Wow! To me, a long time PHP developer, this was a home run. I began digging deeper into it.

  • It integrates into WordPress, my tool of choice for building websites.
  • I can host it myself. (This is probably more important to me than others. My reasons are partly technical and partly political.)
  • I can contribute back to the project.

So we have a winner and I was able to give a big raspberry to all the other SaaS vendors who wanted me to pony up each month. Well, that’s what I thought at least.

As it turns out Mautic – while it it is most of the things I said – is still open source software. This means that development is at the whim of contributors that have other priorities. This meas that there are problems with Mautic that will get fixed when they are a problem for someone with the knowledge and time to fix them. While this is ok for me because it is possible for me to dive in and fix things if they reach a level of importance to me, it’s probably a downside to most non-developer users.

Where to go from here?

Despite some obvious flaws and at least one huge show stopping bug, I see a bright future for Mautic. So I’m going to invest my time in getting it setup and running. I’ve already run the install twice and I’m happy with the results the second time.

Along the way, I am going to blog what I learn. This is both for me so I can reference it later, and to help anyone else who is working with Mautic.

My setup will be:

Most of what I do can be done without having to worry about hosting your own copy. I am doing it this way so that I can integrate Mautic into my existing infrastructure. So don’t worry if you aren’t a programming, you can still learn from my mistakes. :)

Along the way, I will get things wrong – my definitions above may already be wrong. Leave me a comment and correct me. I’m not claiming that I know what I’m doing. I’m just saying that I’ll tell you what I’ve done, and what I’ve learned.

Posts

Until next time,
I <3 |<
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