Tendenci Open Source Donor Management Roadmap

Tendenci has come a long way since it was started in 2001. I didn’t have a choice back then so thus began (at the time – we are now open source) a proprietary system. But we work mostly with Associations and Non Profits. They/You (and I can attest first hand after volunteering with several nonprofits over the years) don’t want proprietary – you want OPEN SOURCE!

So what is our roadmap for Tendenci, now completely open source, for donor management?

I have to say we weren’t feeling the urgency on the donor management part until recently. Why? Because Blackbaud (Nasdaq BLKB) acquired Convio and removed the only viable option. And now they are shutting down Common Ground. Not cool. (Side bar: Word is Convio used to advertise “Common Ground, because we’re not Raiser’s Edge.” If that is true or not, it’s still funny and was always a comment that came up at NTEN or Techsoup meetings over the years.)

Tendenci is written in Django and Python and will remain open source. We are adding a basic GPL CRM with modifications for donor management first. More importantly we are integrating Tendenci with the Salesforce Foundation and the Non-Profit Starter pack through their open source connectors and well documented API.

The team at Tendenci is working feverishly to get full Tendenci-Salesforce integration done because we need it too!

We are prepared and qualified. We have a former employee who now works at Salesforce, we use Salesforce ourselves, and quite frankly they seem to care about the non-profit world. We at Schipul are “all in” as they say as are Tendenci powers the majority of our clients are non-profits.

What can you do now to get ready?

If you want to get ready to fully integrate your Tendenci site, hosted with us or self hosted with the open source community version, a good jumping off point would be to read up on the great work the Salesforce Foundation does for Non Profits. Sign up with the Foundation to get your free licenses even if you just want to play around with it.

I’ll try to keep everyone more up to speed on our roadmap, it’s been a crazy year. But make no mistake, we are building an open system that will reduce the costs of advocacy and non-profit associations and foundations by a factor of 10 compared to Raiser’s Edge. There is hope. (Programmer? – join us on github! http://github.com/tendenci/tendenci ) And in case you can’t tell, I’m excited about this!

An Events Calendar Tool Powerful Enough to Handle 2013 – Twelfth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

merry christmas frame spegcs calendarComing to Tendenci Websites in 2013: Event Management and Registration Features You’ll Love for Your Festivals, Galas, and Fundraising Events!

2013’s going to be a Big Year, and Tendenci’s working on new updates to your online calendar and event registration module because we want to make sure this is your biggest year yet!

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Tendenci’s Gift to You: Twelve New Updates to the Events Calendar Module!

Here’s 12 new features and updates we’re making this year to the Tendenci Events Calendar module to help you manage online registrations for your association programs and fundraising Gala’s.

** We’ve got even more event module updates planned for Tendenci’s 2013 Roadmap, and this list is just to give you a taste of the delicious treats we’ll be adding to Tendenci in 2013!

You’ll Love Creating New Events With These New Features

1) Import and Export Events

events import option coming soon
Soon You Can Import Multiple Events with a CSV Template!

We’re super excited about this feature because it will make it faster for you to create multiple events simply by importing all of the text and dates in a spreadsheet, instead of having to create and type in all of this information manually for each event.

2) Default Custom Event Registration Forms

Now you have the choice of using  the default event registration form, or our improved custom event registration forms. We listened to your feedback this year and the new custom registration forms now have predefined  fields that integrate with the website’s database and user records for reporting and simplify the time it takes you to create and customize a new registration form.

custom event registration form
We’ve simplified custom event registration forms for you!

If you want to use a custom registration form now, you already will find a default form with the standard contact information handy to add or remove to your form simply by checking a box. You can also customize which fields on the custom form also display on the event roster. Now you can ask what t-shirt size or special meal requests your guests have without the time involved with creating a brand new form.

3) Schedule Automatic Email Reminders to Attendees

email reminders automatically when you create event
Upload Images and Format Event Reminders to Match Your Association’s Brand

When you create new events, you’ll find a new option that enables you to send email reminders to your attendees that you create and schedule. Tendenci will automatically send the reminder for you, so you don’t have to remember to remind your registrants!

4, 5, & 6) Three New Ways to Promote, Search and Display Your Eventspriority groups and event type filtering new options

4) More Search Options

We’re adding more searchable field filters to the events module so your members can find the events most relevant to each of them. You’ll be able to search your events by date, event type, membership and user group permissions, and more!

5) New Priority Event Feature

You’ll soon find a new Priority checkbox on your new event forms. When you check this, Tendenci will keep your events on top of your events search list, and add a Star icon to your month view calendar. Now you can highlight your main events each month to help your members decide which events to attend.

priority events search and month views
Tendenci Makes Your Top Events Our Priority Too!

Here’s some fun ideas on how you can use the new Priority Event feature:

  • National Associations can feature a different Chapter’s programs and events each month to increase engagement from your different local chapter members!
  • Use the Priority events to promote membership engagement and offer prizes for those who attend every featured event this year!
  • Increase Corporate Sponsorship and Corporate Membership dollars by offering to add your supporting partners’ events to your calendar with the Priority feature setting for higher level packages.

6) Group-based Permission Settings for Displaying Events

This feature will enable you to designate certain events as “belonging” to certain user groups or membership types and allow you to do some really fun things with how events are displayed on your website. For example, one of your study groups could have their monthly study meetup on your event calendar and you’d assign the event to their study group.

Then, you could create a sidebar or box that would only display upcoming events from your event calendar that are assigned to that study group on the study group’s main information page. Members of the study group could visit the study group page and also see upcoming events specific to the group and you only have to add the event once to your calendar to share it in multiple places on your site!

Better Registration Experience for Your Users!

You want your website to be fun for your users and members in addition to your staff, and we’re making big changes across our website to provide better user experiences for your online community members. Here’s some of the ways we’re making registration for events simpler for attendees.

7) Fewer Steps to Register and Pay for an Event

We’re streamlining our registration form so that event registrants can go through as few clicks as possible when purchasing tickets and RSVP’ing for your association events. For most events, your users will be able to add multiple event attendees, select member versus non-member pricing, and view their total all from one registration page.

Adding new registrants is as easy as clicking a button – literally! Just click “Add Another Registrant” and a new section for the registration form will appear below the first registrant. Click to add as many registrants as you need and then submit just once to register and pay for everyone.

registration form for events default
We’re Streamlining Event Registration Process for Your Attendees!

8) Your Users Can Find and Manage Their Events for You!

With the new “My Upcoming Events” option, your members and regular event registrants can now search for events they’ve signed up for, update any of their registration information, cancel events, and add the event to their calendar using the Event ICS option from one place.

new my upcoming events feature
Your members can find and manage their event registration information!

Bonus for You and Your Staff:  this empowers your members to manage their own event registrations, view outstanding balances, and make payments on your website. This means your event manager doesn’t have to handle as many of these admin tasks and she can focus on all of the important tasks!

9) Updated Email Template for Event Registration Confirmations

We’ve made a few small updates to the default system email template that your website sends to registrants and confirms their registration along with their receipt for paid events.

The new email template includes an image and uses more of the formatting from your events’ description fields to give your event confirmation emails a look and feel that more closely matches your website’s Event Page. We’ve also made some updates to the helpful links section of the email to ensure your event registrants can find all the information about your event details as well as manage their outstanding balances and registration information.

images in email confirmation
We’re Updating the Look and Feel of Event Confirmation Email Templates!

10) Your Event Roster Now Tracks Attendance

Your event roster has a new “Attend” checkbox where you can mark who attended an event from the roster on your website. If you don’t have internet and a web browser at your event, then you can also print the roster with the Attend checkbox. After the event, take your printout and update the roster on your website with who attended so you can better track and measure attendance for your events.

event roster screenshot
Tendenci Event Roster to Manage Registrants

This is a huge benefit for large events where you have a team of volunteers handling check-ins. They can all be logged into your website and click to check off the people who they’ve confirmed at the event simultaneously!  The next day, you can log into your site and see at a glance who attended and didn’t. You can even view what time they were checked in.

11) Search and Manage Event Registrants Individually

The Event Roster is more intended for you to use to manage all of your event registrants in a batch, and when you need to find a specific registration to cancel or edit – you’ll be seeing some updates here also. We’re adding more information about the registrants to the view, and we’re integrating the event registrant’s contact information and site activity with their user profile on your website.

event registrant search
Manage Individual Event Registrations in Tendenci!

12) Improved Batch Management for Events

On the 10th Day of Christmas, we shared our updates coming to your site’s Admin Backend. You’ll love the updates we’re making that enable batch filtering, editing, and deleting event types, custom event registration forms, and discount codes from the Admin Backend.

Here’s a preview of a new feature that will let you reassign event types:

reassign and manage event types
Keep Your Events Calendar Up-to-Date with Your Association’s Many Changes!

You can quickly change all of the events of one type to another type. Most associations experience lots of changes as they grow and we see features like this helping you keep your website fresh and reflecting the latest changes without demanding lots of time from you and your staff.

Sign-Up for Tendenci 2013 Updates

Keep an eye out on the Tendenci Events Calendar because in 2013, we’re adding new training and workshops for our Advanced Tendenci users. We’ll also start posting scheduled maintenance and software updates, speaking events, and major announcements to help keep you in the loop with what we’re doing at Tendenci.

We are constantly exploring new ways to keep you in the loop with what we’re changing here at Tendenci. Let us know how you like to find out what’s going on here at Tendenci!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website! Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to support@tendenci.com.

Advanced Tour of Your Admin Backend – Tenth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Coming in 2013: We’re updating several features in the administration dashboard to give you easier control over your site’s advanced management tools. 

When we rewrote Tendenci in Python and Django in order to release an open source version, we also updated the Administration Management Dashboard that we commonly will refer to as your “Admin Backend”.  The Admin Backend is intended for Tendenci Super-Users to manage the more advanced site and user functions, as well as give our open source users quick access to developer and theme documentation and tools.

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: Awesome Updates to Your Admin Backend!

access admin backend

Until now, most users have probably never seen this part of your site, and because we’re going to be adding tons of pretty awesome new features to your Admin Backend this year – I thought I’d offer y’all a tour.

If you have any questions or comments after the tour, please post in our comments section below or email me.

Your Administration Dashboard aka “The Admin Backend”

You can easily navigate to your site’s Admin backend two ways:

  • By adding /admin to the end of your site URL in the browser address bar
  • Navigating using your Blue Top Bar Admin Nav Menu through the dropdown menu under “Quick Links”

** You’ll need to have Super-User level access to the Tendenci website in order to access the Admin Backend regions.  

Sneek Preview of Upcoming Awesome Admin Backend Updates

Here’s a screenshot the site Administration Dashboard Homepage that you’ll see when you first log into the admin backed. You’ll see the full list of modules under Site Administration installed on your site.  If you install any plugins, such as the staff or videos plugins, you’ll find those listed here as well.

admin backend tendenci contributions
Your Admin Backend Dashboard Gives You Access to Advanced Site Features.

The Admin Backend dashboard also shows you your “Recent Actions” where  you can see recent items you’ve added (marked with a green plus icon), and edited, (marked with a pencil icon). The actions are linked to the content enabling you to quickly access the most recent content you’ve been working on.admin backend tendenci contributions

New Batch Management Tools

If you click through to one of the modules, for example the Files module, you’ll find the batch organization tools to make it faster for you to update, add, delete, and manage your site’s content and users. The batch organization tools give you the ability to effect multiple files at once.

Here’s a preview of some of the new batch management features we’re adding:

Click to filter and view Contributors and Owners of Files, Pages, Articles and Other Site Content

Filter content and files by the creator of the item on your site with a single click. The updated Filters let you see which users have added content as well as filter by active or inactive files.

files admin backend updates to sort by file owner
Filter and View Content based on the User who Added the Content

You might use this if you’re trying to find the original content for something that a former Staff member or Volunteer had created. You can even combine the filter by owner with the active filter option to see all content that’s currently active or inactive.

Inline Batch Editing for Titles, Tags, and other Fields

With the new inline editing option, you can quickly edit certain fields like we’re showing here for the stories module. Without having to click and wait for the full edit page to load – you can update tags, titles, categories and other fields just by clicking in the field, typing your changes and pressing enter or clicking out of the box.

stories in admin backend have more edit options
Inline Editing Options for Stories in the Admin Backend
drag and drop re ordering in admin backend
Just hover over the Reorder icon and then click and hold your left mouse button to change the ordering.

Use the drag and drop re-ordering feature to rearrange the order of content inside your admin backend. This is really great for content such as stories, photos, and video galleries where you may want the content to display to users in a different order than you originally uploaded the content in.

For example, when we initially uploaded a series of Membership videos to the website, the videos were displaying out of the series’ order on the video gallery page.  By going to the Admin Backend “Videos” dashboard, we were able to drag and drop the videos into the right order, and display the Membership Module 9 Video Series in order from start to finish:

video gallery re order display series
Simply Drap and Drop to Display Your Videos in Order!

Advanced Sorting Options

The new sorting options will enable you to quickly sort a module’s files using one or more of the header Fields. You can select which header fields to include in the sort and rank them in order for sorting.

For example, let’s say that you’re reviewing content on your website to make sure everything’s up-to-date for the new year. Using the advanced sorting options, you can search your Articles by the last date they were updated so that the most recently updated articles showed up first or last. You can also select to filter out inactive and pending articles by clicking the “active” filter. This way, you can easily start sorting content by starting with content that you know is publicly visible.

admin backend sort and filter field headers
Click to Sort and Filter Content in the Admin Backend

As you update content, the “Last Updated” date will change, automatically creating a way for you to keep track of your content that’s been recently edited and see at a glance what content is out of date.

Advanced Site Documentation from Docutils

We also integrated Tendenci with Docutils, an open source document management tool.  New Tendenci sites automatically will include advanced documentation and resources for those of you working on Tendenci as a developer or designer and you’ll access these tools from your Admin Backend dashboard.

template and site documentation
Find Advanced Documentation and Resources in Your Tendenci Admin Backend

Our developers have packaged up helpful code snippets, in-depth information about Models and Views, and more!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!merry christmas 12 days tendenci frame

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website! Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to support@tendenci.com.

 

New JumpStart Package for Small Associations – Fourth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013: A new Jumpstart Package with an affordable set-up fee to help set-up and personalize your Tendenci association website in a snap!

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: An affordable way to Jumpstart Your Association’s Online Community!

Beginning in early 2013, we’ll begin offering our new Tendenci Community Jumpstart Package to give new and growing associations an entry-level website built on our open source platform.

The Jumpstart Package helps get your association website set-up fast and gives you an open source platform full of all the tools you need to build an online Community! Best of all, each Jumpstart includes your very own Tendenci expert to handle the technical pieces provide you and your team training with Tendenci best practices.

tendenci jumpstart package
Tendenci Gives Your Association Website a Push Forward!

The Jumpstart is intended to help small and mid-sized associations get a professional looking, engaging website that can help manage donations, memberships, and events in about 30 days.

What’s Included?

The Jumpstart package includes a Tendenci site architect from our team who will be your team’s guide throughout the process.

Each Jumpstart Package Comes with Our Help to:

  • Set up of one of our Tendenci Community Theme Templates for your website
    • Customize the colors of your template to match your nonprofit’s branding
    • Resize and upload your logo
    • Resize and upload up to 3 homepage rotator stories images
  • Configuration your site’s theme settings and global site settings
  • Navigation Menu Set-up
  • Creation of up to 3 User Groups that you can easily import your users into from a CSV file
  • Creation of a Donations form and Custom Contact form
  • Support for Integrating Your Merchant account with your website so you can take payments through the site
  • Training specific to your website for you and your staff

What’s the Cost?tendenci toolkit

Initially, we’re going to be offering the Jumpstart Package for $2500.00** plus your monthly Tendenci Community hosting and application management fees. You’ll also get the first 30 days of hosting Free** when you pay for your Jumpstart Package.

We’re trying to offer this package as low as possible to provide associations with an affordable choice in open source community management tools. One of the best things about Tendenci is how scalable the software is so that as your association grows, your website will grow with you!

 ** This is a special, introductory offer and the pricing is subject to change at any given time. Ethically, we need to make sure you know that we sometimes need to raise our prices as costs and economic factors change. 

Get Notified When the Jumpstart Package is Available

If you’re interested on receiving an email when we officially begin accepting new Jumpstart clients, signup below and we’ll include a special offer in the email for those of you who decide Tendenci is right for getting your association website the jumpstart it’s needing this year.

Sign-Up and We’ll Notify You When We Launch our Jumpstart Package:



MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website!

Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to support@tendenci.com.

New Language Choices – Third Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013: More International Language Options for Your Website Visitors!

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: Internationalization for Your Association Website!

Internationalization for your website means you can offer content and online functionality in multiple languages and locales to your website visitors.

3 Reasons Website Internationalization Matters for Associations

  • Members of your Org’s chapters in other countries will be able to visit and participate with your main website and make it easier for your staff to grow your global community.
  • Donation forms will translate into the language of your donors, giving your organization global online fundraising tools
  • Small nonprofits and associations in economically disadvantaged countries can reach Wealthier Foreign Donors and Corporate Sponsors using your website to translate your cause into their language.

wikipedia africa map languages spoken regions

International Language Factoid: There are over 2100 different languages spoken in Africa according to Wikipedia!

Tendenci Updates to Automatically Translate Your Website Content

Ian McKinnell/Getty Images
Ian McKinnell/Getty Images

Associations and Nonprofit Organizations that want to reach an International audience need a website that is multilingual, and this year, we’re adding even more international language translation support to your Tendenci open source websites!

Our programming team has been updating the foreign language tools in Tendenci’s software and improving how your website integrates with the language translation function provided by web browsers.  Tendenci website content can be translated into each language based on the preferred language designated by your users inside their web browsers, helping you deliver your message in virtually any country so members and donors clearly understand.

Next year, you’ll enjoy the gift of an International Website and expand your association’s reach around the world with Tendenci – The Open Source CMS for Associations!

Merry Christmas from Tendenci!

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website!

Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to support@tendenci.com.

Preview and Version Tools – Second Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013 – More Flexible options for adding dynamic content for your team without needing to know how to write code!

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: New Ways to Update Your Website without Code

We’re always looking for better ways to give your association online collaboration tools that your staff and members can use to share news and events. This Christmas, we have a couple of really cool new features to announce

1) New Versioning Feature for Pages and Articles Saves Your Work

View Previous Versions of Your Website Content!
View Previous Versions of Your Website Content!

Our new “Versions” feature saves all previous versions of pages and articles so you’ll be able to review content edits and view the older content even after you’ve updated and saved over it. We think this feature has tons of benefits for you, including empowering your site users with access to contribute new content and update old content because you’ll never have to worry if they save over something they shouldn’t have – you can just pull up the previous version!

If you are working on a page with another person, you can both save as you work and Tendenci will save each version and connect it with your user profile, so you can view your work next to your partners.

versions attached to username
View Who Last Edited Content and What’s Changed!

2) New Preview Theme Feature Enables You to Edit and Preview Themes inside Your Theme Editor

Edit and Preview New Themes!
Edit and Preview New Themes!

The new preview option in your theme editor allows you to edit and view theme templates and layouts without changing your live website’s theme. Site visitors and members can access all your website’s content as usual and will never know you’re in the back of your website changing the design!

admin theme live preview
Preview Theme Edits Online!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website!

Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts we’re announcing each day from Christmas until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email tosupport@tendenci.com.

Hosting an Open Source Tendenci Website on the Linode Cloud

In the last post, I walked through the steps to install Tendenci on the Rackspace OpenStack cloud hosting environment.  This week, I want to share my experience  with installing Tendenci on the Linode Cloud, another great option for hosting Tendenci websites.

Translating the ‘Geek Speek’ of Linode

It seems like each of the hosting providers have their own terminology for the different pieces involved in web app cloud hosting. For example, I setup a “cloud server” on Rackspace which runs and managed your Tendenci website application.  The equivalancy to a Rackspace “cloud server” is the “linode“, which stands for “Linux Node” when you host with Linode.com.

Think of a “linode” as your own web application server (computer) that comes with your CPU, RAM, disc storage, and a Linux-based operating system.  For Tendenci websites, we use the Ubuntu O/S which is a version of Linux.

Linode’s Hosting Options

Linode provides a “Do-It-Yourself”  cloud hosting environment and has a pretty straight-forward pricing plan based on hardware specifications for things like memory (RAM) and the amount of disk storage space included.  Tendenci requires a minimum of 256MB of RAM, and because Linode’s minimum plan begins at 512MB, any plan you choose will give you enough to get started and you can upgrade your plan with Linode as your site grows.

Linode Cloud Hosting Plans

Is Linode Right for Your Association?

Linode has great documentation and I was able to figure out how to get Tendenci up and running with only one quick call to my programming team to find out if I wanted a 32bit or 64bit O/S.  Linode wants you to learn how to do manage these services for your cloud applications, and tries to give you the training and support you need to learn how.

Linode’s hosting plans give you full control over your association’s hosting environment, but I felt like the process was a little more challenging for me since I’m not that familiar with Linux. Particular challenges for me included customizing the DNS, setting up FTP access, and figuring out how to manage server back-ups.  These are all things you’ll need to be able to do in order to keep your website and server running properly.

I would recommend Linode as a great option to consider for associations who have in-house staff or outside IT and developer support that are familiar with Linux and managing servers.  Linode offers a great value with its plans, and is a very affordable option for hosting small to mid-size open source Tendenci websites.

However, if you’re like most nonprofit staff members, then you don’t have the time to manage these things, or even the time to learn how to do it yourself and you may want to seek out a more “full-service” hosting option. Linode may prove to be more costly via time consumption or just too challenging to maintain if you don’t have the IT support available to you.

Steps to Get Tendenci Live in the Linode Cloud

The total time for me to get Tendenci hosted on Linode where I could view the website in a browser probably took about 2 hours and I estimate about an hour of that was reading the getting started guide.  The other hour or so included creating a new account, setting up my Linode Distribution (server), and installing Tendenci.

Sign-Up and Create an Account

If you don’t already have an account with Linode, then you’ll need to first signup and select your plan. Linode does require a credit card to activate your account, and the entire process took me about 5 minutes. If you already have an account with Linode, you can skip this section.

Here’s the steps I took with screenshots for creating a new account with the basic $19.95/month plan:

1) Select the username and password for your account

Fill out the signup form’s fields with your name and billing information.

2) Select your plan

The cheapest option begins at around $20 per month, and has enough storage and RAM to support a small to mid-sized Tendenci website installation. If you’re wondering what size cloud environment your Tendenci website needs, send us an email at support@tendenci.com and someone from our support team will help you out!

linode select your plan

3) Select your payment terms

Linode offers month-t0-month, or discounted plans if you prepay for 1 or 2 years worth of services. After you submit the signup form, you’ll have a chance to review your order before your credit card is charged and you receive your account login information.

linode complete your order

* Don’t forget to check the box next to the Terms of Service agreement before clicking “Complete Order”

4) Log into your Linode Manager Dashboard to get started

Most new accounts are activated immediately, and I was able to login using the name and password I’d created on the signup form before even receiving an email confirmation and receipt.  ** Linode does say that in some cases, new accounts may take longer to activate.

linode manager login screen

Creating Your First Linode

I found Linode’s Getting Started Guide to be really straightforward and I had my server deployed with Ubuntu and ready to Boot up in about 10 or 15 minutes. Here’s what I did to set-up an Ubuntu server on Linode to host a Tendenci open source association website:

1) Pick the location for your new Linode

linode manager welcome screen

I selected London, UK as my location just for fun and because I wanted to spread the Tendenci open source love around the globe and not just stay in Texas.  It really doesn’t matter too much what data center location you pick, and the Linode documentation suggests that data centers farther from you may result in longer download times and possibly latency with remote access and file transfers.

Tip: If you’re concerned about the performance, Linode recommends you perform a Facilities Speedtest:

linode which facility data center do you choose

2) Deploy a new Linux Distribution

This simple means you’re going to set-up a server with the Ubuntu 12.04 operating system so you can install Tendenci on it later in the process.

Here’s a screenshot that shows the options you want to choose for a Tendenci website installation on Linode: linode make your settings look like this new linode

  • Distribution: This is where you’ll select the operating system for your “linode”. Linode recommends 32bit distributions, however for Tendenci configurations, you’ll want to select the 64bit version of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
  • Deployment Disk Size: This setting should already default to the maximum size available (about 24 GB with the basic Linode plan) and you probably want to keep this setting at the default maximum size. This will give your Tendenci website plenty of storage space to get started as you add files, images, photos, and user data.
  • Swap Disk: The basic plan defaults this setting to 256MB and Linode recommends you stick to the default setting.
  • Root Password: this will be the password that you’ll use later on to remotely access your Linode and install Tendenci using the Tendenci installation script and you’ll want to make sure it is secure and you’ll need to remember it in a few minutes.

3) Click the “Rebuild” button to deploy your new Linode

You’ll be directed to the Linode dashboard where you can watch the different processes for installing and configuring your server in the “Host Job Queue” section:

linode host job queue system boot queue status

4) Click on “Boot” to power up your new Linode!

Once the server is deployed, you’re Linode dashboard will look something like this screenshot below which shows that your Server Status is “powered off” and you have a “Boot” button underneath your Ubuntu configuration profile.

linode dashboard boot server

5) Check Server Status to make sure you’re up and running

You’ll see the system boot progress bar in the “Host Job Queue” section of your dashboard, and then your Server Status will update to “running” once the system boot is complete. linode your server is running

Connect to Your Linode using SSH to Install Tendenci

In order to install Tendenci on Linode, you’ll first need to use secure shell (SSH) protocol to remotely connect to your server. The easiest way for us non-programming types to accomplish this is to use the Terminal application that comes with Macs, however you can also do this from a Linux computer (using the terminal window) or a Windows computer (using PuTTY, a free open source SSH client for Windows).

My instructions here are specifically for Mac users, and if you’re using a Linux or Windows machine and run into any issues installing Tendenci then please contact us at support@tendenci.com and we’ll be happy to get you set-up!

1) Find your SSH root login on the Linode dashboard and enter it at the command prompt (the $ sign) in Terminal.

You’ll be prompted to enter your password, and you’ll use the same password you created for your linode server in Step 2 of the previous section.

linode ssh root access in terminal

* The first time you connect to your Linode using SSH, you will get a message saying that “the authenticity of host … can’t be established” along with information about your public RSA key.  Don’t worry about what this all means – just type in “yes” when it prompts you for a yes/no answer and press ‘enter’.  

You’ll know that you’re connected to your server when you see the Terminal prompt change to something like “root@localhost:~” which means you can enter commands in Terminal on your local computer that will tell your remote server what to do.

2) Remotely connect to your server and install Tendenci.

Enter the script installation code at the prompt inside Terminal and press “enter” and the script will take care of installing all of the different packages for Tendenci, including setting up a PostgreSQL database.

This process will take about 20 minutes so now’s a great time to check your email or get a cup of coffee while you wait.

* Towards the very end of the installation process, you may get some pop-up screens asking about mail configuration for your app. For now, just use the default setting for “internet site” and then you can enter the domain name for your site or just use “localhost”. You can configure this setting later on, so don’t worry about it if it’s confusing.

You’ll need to press the “enter” or “return” key inside of Terminal because clicking with your mouse won’t work for this.  Use your keyboard’s arrow keys to move between options.

linode email config image 1 linode image 2 email config linode email config image 3
 Press the “Enter/Return” key on this Screen With “Internet Site” is Highlighted – Press “Enter/Return”  You can keep this as “localhost” or Change to Your Domain Name

3) Wait for “Tendenci is Setup!!!” Success Message

When the Tendenci script is finished installing your website software, you’ll get a “success!” message in Terminal followed by the login and password information for your website.tendenci success linode installation

By default, your username and password are both “admin” for initial deployments.

It is ** crucially important ** that you change this information immediately upon logging into your Tendenci website for the first time. Failing to change your username AND password can open up your website to hackers.  Read our Help File on User Profiles to learn how to update your user profile information: https://www.tendenci.com/help-files/change-username-password/ 

4) Click the button that says “Reboot” on your Linode Manager Dashboard

Tip: Make sure your server status on your dashboard still says that the server is running.

reboot linode after installing tendenci

5) Open a new browser window and enter the 12 digit IP address that’s listed after the “ssh root@” on your remote access tab.

In my case, that number is 151.236.219.240.  You may need to refresh your browser window once or twice if you get an error or “Gateway not Found” message, and then you should see the Tendenci default theme homepage.

linode tendenci website homepage

6) Login using the default username and password “admin”, and then immediately go and change your username and password.

Tip: Refer to our Tendenci Help File on User Profiles for instructions on how to change your username and password.

Woohoo! You Did It!

You’re now ready to start customizing your Tendenci Open Source Association Website on a Linode Cloud.

Linode Resources for Your Next Steps

Linode offers great resources to help Linux newbies, and I recommend you take some time reading their Beginners Guide and the Getting Started Guide before you set-up your website. Then, check out these more advanced guides Linode offers to help you secure your server and customize your Tendenci site’s DNS/domain name.

Linode Library – This is the main menu for Linode’s help documentation.

Securing Your Linode Server – This guide will show you how to add new user accounts to the server and manage security settings and protocol so you won’t get hacked.

Linode DNS Manager – This comprehensive guide introduces basic DNS concepts and explains how to setup DNS records so your website can have a custom URL instead of sending people to a 12 digit IP address.

Got Open Source Hosting Questions or Suggestions for Us?

We’re hard at work testing and documenting different hosting platforms with Tendenci to give you more choices – if you have questions about installing a site on Linode or another Cloud provider, let us know via a comment below or email me and we’ll find answers for you.