Table of Contents

Installation on a Web Server

This chapter describes the installation of SoSci Survey on an own web server.

If you want to update an already existing installation of SoSci Survey, please read Update of the installation.

Note: This chapter is not relevant if you want to use SoSci Survey on an already existing survey server (e. g. There you can directly register a user account and a survey project without installation (Overview).

Note: SoSci Survey is not publicly available for download. Companies can purchase server licenses to run their own survey server (prices and fees). Academic institutions receive a free university license upon request.

System Requirements

To install SoSci Survey you need a working web server with PHP and database support. The installation of SoSci Survey requires the following software:

Recommended for optimal operation:

The task of the web server is to provide contents from the server to the internet/intranet. For this to work, the web server and firewall must be configured correctly. Please make sure that the web server is accessible via HTTP/HTTPS protocol.

Tip: If you don't have a web server yet and want to set up a local server under Windows, the xampp installation package of the Apache Friends saves a lot of work. It includes among other things a pre-configured Apache web server and MySQL.

Note: Most of the cheap webspace offers of the hosters are so-called shared hosting. There are hundreds or thousands of Internet offers running on a web server. This webspace is already offered at prices of less than 2 EUR per month. In order that the offers on such a server do not get in the way of each other, the functions are often limited a little bit (e. g. PHP runs in the so-called Safe Mode). In return, there is no need to worry about installing and setting up the web server for shared hosting.


The following software is helpful or required for installation:

If you are not familiar with rights management on web servers, please read Processes and Users on a Web Server.

Prepare Server

In order for the server to work correctly with SoSci Survey, you may need to create a directory for SoSci Survey and make further adjustments.

Configure Database

In order for SoSci Survey to access the database, you need a username and password for the database.

Important: A database user specifically for SoSci Survey increases the security of the server against attacks. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to set up your own database and user for SoSci Survey.

In the case that you use the database administrator's user account (e. g.“root”) to access the database, SoSci Survey will be able to create a database on its own – you can skip this section.

Copy SoSci Survey to the Web Server

Unpack the SoSci Survey installation package and copy the files into the directory you provided on the server.

The following examples assume that you install SoSci Survey on the server www.domain.tld in the subdirectory or alias /sosci. The URL of the server accordingly was http://www.domain.tld/sosci/. Please replace the domain with the correct domain and the directory of your installation directory. For example, if you access the local computer, the correct URL is (usually an IP address is used instead of the domain name on the local computer).

First of all, test whether you can reach SoSci Survey via the Intranet or Internet. To do this, call up the URL http://www.domain.tld/sosci/admin/-reach.php in your Internet browser. The hyphen (-) is important. If the web server is accessible correctly, the browser window now shows “reach”.

In the following some common problems are described. If necessary, please also read the instructions for Preparing Server II (Apache) or Preparing Server II (Microsoft IIS).

Now test whether PHP scripts are processed correctly. To do this, call up the URL http://www.domain.tld/sosci/admin/-php.php in your Internet browser. Now “php” should appear in your browser.

Access Rights

In most cases, the web server is only allowed to read files on the hard disk. Therefore, you have to assign write permissions for some directories manually. The configuration of write permissions varies depending on the server:

Please grant the web server (i. e. the operating system user whose rights the web server acts with) write permission for the following directories:

The web server needs to access some directories, but web server users (internet surfers) are not allowed to access them. This must be ensured by configuring the web server accordingly.

The installation package contains some files called. htaccess – these files govern, among other things, the access rights on a default Apache web server. Test the correct function by checking the URLs http://www.domain.tld/sosci/inc/-reach.php and http://www.domain.tld/sosci/system/-reach.php

<Directory /var/www/sosci/inc/>
  Order allow,deny
  deny from all
<Directory /var/www/sosci/system/>
  Order allow,deny
  deny from all

PHP Settings

The installation routine (see below) checks the PHP settings and warns about possible problems. A setting that usually needs to be changed affects file sizes:

The other PHP settings are already suitable for SoSci Survey with a standard installation. The necessary changes are described below if the installation routine sounds an alarm.

MySQL Settings

A standard MySQL installation is usually well suited for running SoSci Survey. Nevertheless, take a look at the following settings. You can query a setting with the SQL command SHOW VARIABLES LIKE "max_user_connections", whereby the last part is of course replaced by the relevant variable.


Completion of the Installation

After successful installation, you can log in as an administrator. You should set a password immediately:

Now the installation is complete. From now on, additional user accounts can be registered and survey projects can be set up (set up Useraccount and Survey).

Automation of Regular Tasks

For an optimal execution of SoSci Survey, two PHP scripts should be called regularly: Regular Maintenance of the Server (once a day) and Execution of Time-Controlled Tasks.

Further Steps