Ready to give BoltWire a try? The directions below will walk you through what you need to know to get started. We've done our best to keep the language non-technical so it's accessible to non-programmers.
How BoltWire Works
Web pages live on special computers called webservers. When you purchase webspace from a webhosting company, they allow you to place your files on their computers, so people can access your site. This is how you become part of the world wide web.
BoltWire is written in a scripting language called PHP that only works on a webserver. Most servers have PHP already installed--so to get your site going, you just need to get some webspace, and put BoltWire in it.
To transfer files, you will need an FTP program. (Like FileZilla). Basically, it allows you to drag files from your computer to your webspace and vice versa. Your webhosting company can give you exact instructions on how to do this.
Many like to develop their site on a home computer and then use an FTP program to move the site to their webspace once they get it how they want. Similarly, you can update your site offline, and then copy over your changes all at once when they are finished.
But if you don't want to bother with setting up a separate webserver on your home computer, just upload BoltWire directly to your webspace and you can start building site there immediately.
BoltWire is made available as a simple zip file. Just click the button in our downloads area, and the file should copy to your computer. When you extract the files, you will see a folder called 'boltwire', with several files and subfolders within it. Move this folder to your root web directory. Usually, it is a folder called HTDOCS or WWW depending on your server software. If you are putting it online, use your FTP program to transfer it. Online, the root web directory may be called PUBLIC_HTML or something similar.
If you are not sure where your webspace is, or how to use your FTP program to move files there, ask your webhosting company for support. Get our files extracted, and moved to the right location, and you'll be good to go.
Your First Site
To create your first site, open your browser and navigate to the start.php file inside the 'boltwire' directory. If you are doing it offline, the link will probably be http://localhost/boltwire/start.php. If you are doing it online and have a domain name, go to www.mydomain.com/boltwire/start.php. If you don't have a domain name yet, your webhosting company can give you the correct link to this script.
If everything is working properly you should see a screen that says "Welcome to BoltWire" and a request to enter a system password. You should enter a password immediately to prevent others from creating sites on your server--and jot down your password so you don't forget it.
Once your system password is saved, you can begin creating websites. Enter a simple site name, like 'mysite' or 'test'. Click "Yes" for encryption if want member passwords encrypted. Unencrypted passwords can be easily retrieved and reset. Encrypted passwords are more secure. It's not easy change this option, so choose carefully. You can also choose something beside 'admin' for your superadmin account.
Next, click 'Create Site'. If everything goes right, you will see a confirmation page saying your site has been created, with a link to your new site. Click the link and get building!
Check it Out
When you first visit your new site, BoltWire should create all the needed files and folders automatically. The link to your site should look like http://www.mydomain.com/mysite/index.php. If you are using BoltWire offline, try http://localhost/mysite/index.php.
Your first task should be to register and password protect the member account you assigned superadmin powers, to prevent someone else from gaining control of that account--and the site. Just click the register link at the top of your new site, and enter "admin" (or whatever id you chose) and a password for that user. You will be logged in and ready to go!
If you use your file manager or ftp program to explore your webspace, you will see a new folder has just been created with the site name you entered, side by side with the 'boltwire' directory. This folder has all the files specific to your new site. To create additional sites, just go back to the start.php script and enter a new site name. You can run as many sites off a single BoltWire installation as you wish.
For a simple checklist of starter tasks to complete on your site, look for the "Site Checklist" link on your website home page.
Publishing Your Site
If you are running your site offline, no one will be able to see it but you. To publish it to the world, you need to copy it to your webserver. Because BoltWire does not require databases or any special programming languages (other than PHP) just transfer your files over using FTP, and your site should start working immediately. Hello world!
If you want to make a backup of your live site, simply use your FTP program to download a copy of everthing on your server. If something happens on your server, you can upload your backup or any part of it you need. Everything is instantly restored. Be careful about not overwriting files you do not want to change.
We've done our best to eliminate problems in the installation process, but if something doesn't seem to be working, it could be an issue with your server settings. Linux servers assign every file and folder a four digit number to control who can view and write to those locations. And depending on how your server is configured, those numbers may need to be tweaked.
If you are using FileZilla to access your webserver, it's easy to see these numbers beside the various files and folders. And by right clicking those numbers, you will find an option to reset them. To get everything working, verify that the permissions for the boltwire folder and its subdirectories are all set to 0755. The folder for your site folder should be set to 0777. And the index.php file in each site folder should be set to 0644.
In most cases, you won't need to worry about this. And if you do, it's an easy, one time fix. Ask your webhosting company for additional support if you can't get these settings changed.
For advanced information about alternative ways of structuring your installation, read our tutorial called Farms and Fields.
All the best!