Installing Webtrees on cPanel

There are several stages to installing Webtrees on cPanel and they are all described in these step-by-step instructions for beginners or as a reminder to experienced webmasters.

Preparations To Installing Webtrees on cPanel

When you first register with a hosting company that meets all the requirements for Webtrees, you will be provided with a log-on name and password, and cPanel. Adding the URL to your search engine and then adding your log-on name and password will take you to the main cPanel menu where there are three preliminary preparations required before installing Webtrees.

  1. Installing Webtrees database creation
  2. Webtrees email address creation
  3. HTTPS security
  4. Uploading of Webtrees Files and Folders

Creating a Database For Webtrees

cPanel Database Creation

The main cPanel page is divided into sections and one of those sections will be the above ‘Database‘ section. When you create a new database and database user it is important that you make a note of the full name of the database, full name of the database user, and also make a note of the password.

Begin by clicking on the ‘MySQL databases‘ link (top right on the above image). This takes you to a page with a ‘Create New Database‘ section into which you should type in the name of your new database. You should make the name as short as possible whilst still being meaningful to you (wtdb for example, standing for webtrees database).

You should also note that the full database name will be ‘YourLogonName‘ then a dash or underscore depending on your hosting company, then ‘YourDatabaseName‘. It will look something like joe_wtdb or joe-wtdb, and it is important to remember the full database name is both parts, your login name and the database name you have chosen. This is important to remember.

Once you have named your database don’t forget to click on the ‘Create a database’ button (then on the ‘Return‘ link to return to the same page.

Once you have created the database you need to create a database user. Scrolling down the same page you will find an ‘Add new user‘ section. You need to add a username for your database together with a password.

Again, you should note that the full database user name will be ‘YourLogonName‘ then a dash or underscore depending on your hosting company, then ‘YourDatabaseUserName‘. It will look something like joe_dbUserName or joe-dbUserName, and it is important to remember the full database user name is both parts, your login name and the database user name you have chosen.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘create user‘ button (then on the ‘Return‘ link to return to the same page..

Once you have created your database and database user, scroll further down the page to the ‘Add a user to the database’ section. select the database and user you have just created and then click on the ‘Add‘ button.

You are then taken to a ‘Manage user privileges’ page where you should ensure all the boxes are ticked by clicking ‘All Privileges

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Make Changes‘ button at the bottom.

Creating an Email Address For Webtrees

cPanel email creation

You should begin on the cPanel page. One of the sections on the page will be the above Email section.

Clicking on the ‘Email accounts‘ link (above left) takes you to the ‘Email Accounts’ page at the top of which is a ‘Create‘ button. This takes you to a form where you create the email by adding the first part of the email address and a password, and then by clicking on the ‘Create‘ button on that page.

HTTPS Security

Website addresses used to start with http://www and the http stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. The modern equivalent is https which offers more secure communication and stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, and Google penalises sites that don’t use it.

Unlike many hosting companies our own preferred hosting company provides every website with HTTPS at no extra cost, so if you have used the same hosting company as us your site will already be a HTTPS site.

Uploading Webtrees Files and Folders

Webtrees can be downloaded from the Webtrees Github page and you should select and download the latest version to your computer before browsing to your cPanel page. This will be in a .zip or format.

Installing Webtrees Files on cPanel

One of the top sections on your cPanel page will be a ‘Files‘ section, and you need to click on the ‘File manager‘ that is usually at the top left of that section.

Clicking on the ‘File manager’ link opens a page that looks like Windows File Explorer with a menu on the top, and folders or files in a smaller left-hand column and a larger central column. Clicking on one of the folders in the left-hand side, displays the content of that folder in the larger column.

You need to find the public folder in the left-hand column. This is almost always called public_html, but depending upon your hosting company it may be called something else. If you have any doubts, you should contact your hosting provider and ask the name of your public folder.

When you click on the public folder it will display its contents in the central section. It may be empty or just have a cgi-bin folder, but some hosting companies insert other files to display a temporary website page and if so you should delete them by clicking on those files in the central section and then clicking on the ‘remove‘ item in the top menu.

Now you have prepared your public folder it is time to upload your Webtrees files from your computer.

Double check that you are still in your public folder. In the top menu select the ‘load‘ or ‘upload‘ button, then on the ‘Select‘ button to select the Webtrees file from your computer and then click on ‘Open‘ Once completed you should return to the main files section, where the centre column should look similar to the following image.

Installing Webtrees 001

The Webtrees file you have uploaded is a compressed file, so you now need to uncompress it. You do this by selecting the file and clicking on the ‘Extract‘ button on the top menu, then on ‘Extract files‘ in the pop-up window, and then (when it’s finished) on the ‘Close‘ button. When you return to the main files section, the centre column should look similar to the following image.

Installing Webtrees 02

You now have a webtrees file (the compressed file ending with .zip or and an uncompressed webtrees folder. You no longer need the compressed folder so it can be deleted by clicking on it and selecting ‘Remove‘ from the top menu.

All the folders and files you need are in the ‘webtrees‘ folder but we need to move them into your ‘public_html‘ folder. To do this, double-click on the ‘webtrees‘ folder. You will see the folder itself will move into the left hand side column, but all the contents of that folder will be listed in the main column.

Select every file and folder in the main column, then click on the ‘Move‘ button from the top menu.

The box that appears will list all your files and folders, will ask you where you want to move things to, and will show you where they are now. The image below shows they are currently at  /public_html/webtrees

Installation 003

Your need to move your files out of the ‘webtrees‘ folder and place them directly within the ‘public_html’ folder. This is done by clicking in the bottom box (which shows the current location of /public_html/webtrees) and delete the word ‘webtrees’ (so the new location would be /public_html/) as displayd below.

Installing webtrees files 004

Once you are ready click on the ‘Move File(s)‘ button. Once the move has been completed click on the ‘Go up one level‘ link.

If you click on the public_html folder in the left hand column, the central column should now contain all your webtrees folders and files. Among these there will be the original ‘webtrees‘ folder, which should now be empty, and it can be deleted by clicking on it and selecting ‘Remove‘ in the top menu.

Installation of Webtrees Step-by-Step

The final stage of installing Webtrees is done in your browser by going to the URL of your site, https:// for example.

The first page asks you to select your language from a drop-down menu and then click on the ‘Next‘ button. This takes you to a page which checks the configuration is OK. If your hosting meets all the requirements for webtrees there should be no problem.

Server Configuration check whilst installing webtrees

The above image also indicates that when you are installing webtrees it checks the capacity of your server to ensure there is enough capacity to host the size of family tree you need.

  • For a small system of 500 individuals you ideally need a memory of up to 32MB and a CPU time limit up to 20 seconds.
  • For 5,000 individuals 64MB and 40 seconds
  • For 50.000 individuals 128MB and 80 seconds.

From the above image you can see our server has 256MB and 300 seconds and the excellent spec is one of the reasons why we recommend PlanetHoster hosting.

Provided everything is in order on this page you should click on the ‘Next‘ button.  You will then be asked to select the type of database you have. if the default of MySQL is correct you can click ‘Next‘.

The next page is a form in which you need to insert your database name (both parts as mentioned above in the database creation section), database user-name, and database password. You will also need to insert your server name and port number. These are almost always ‘localhost‘ and ‘3306‘, but if these are incorrect you will need to ask your hosting company what they are.

Once you have inserted the information click on the ‘Next‘ button.

The next page installs you as the administrator of the Webtrees site and you need to add your real name, a username, password, and email address.

Name: Your name should be your own name as you want members of your family to recognise you.

Email: The email is used to send notifications from the website so it needs to be the new email address you created earlier for the website as this allows for continuity if someone else takes over as administrator at a later date.

Once you have inserted the information click on the ‘Next‘ button.

Your next task is to create a family tree on the site and you need to give the tree a title and URL.

Title: This should be the main surname of your tree, ‘Smith Family Tree‘ for example.

URL: The location of the tree will already be listed so all you need to do is to add the final part of the URL, ‘smith‘ for example.

You have now finished installing Webtrees on cPanel. You will have landed on the Webtrees Control Panel for the family tree you have just created which you can administer or configure as described in the Administration part of the Webtrees Manual but before you do anything else you should consider the Pretty URLs section.