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Installing ActiveCampaign on your own server


We no longer offer a self-hosted, installable solution.

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This article discusses how to install the software on to your web server. Additionally, the second portion of this article discusses post-installation setup and configuration that you may need as well — such as setting up bounce management, cron jobs, and mail sending options.

First, ensure that your web server meets all the necessary requirements to run ActiveCampaign Email Marketing.

Once this is done, you will need:

  • FTP access to your live web directory
  • Your MySQL host name, database name, username, and password
  • Your Email Marketing serial number

First, download the latest version of the software from our support center.

Once you have downloaded the correct package for your server, you will need to unzip it on your local computer. Next, log in to your FTP server and create a directory where you would like your new software to be located.

The next step is to set the necessary file permissions.

  • If installing on a Linux server you should CHMOD the following files/folders to 777. Which is full read/write permissions.
  • If installing on a Windows server you should ensure IIS has full control / full permissions for the following files/folders.
    • /12all/admin/
    • /12all/admin/
    • /12all/cache/
    • /12all/cache/public/
    • /12all/cache/admin/
    • /12all/images/
    • /12all/images/admin/
    • /12all/images/admin/_screenshot_/
    • If you find that some of the folders listed above are missing, this may have been caused by your compression program. All that you need to do is add the folders to their respected directories

To set the permissions for a file or directory, simply locate the file in your FTP file browser window and right-click it. Depending on the program you are using, you will see an option called “Set Permissions”, “chmod”, “Set File Attributes”, or something similar. You will probably see something similar to this:


For each file or directory, simply set the numerical value to the one prescribed here. In case your FTP client does not offer you the option to type in the numerical value:

  • To achieve a value of 777, all of the permission boxes should be checked

If you are using a Windows server, your permissions will work somewhat differently, and permissions cannot be configured through FTP. Additional steps may be involved. It is highly recommended that you have a qualified Windows server administrator on hand for the Email Marketing installation process if this is the case.

The final step is to run the installer script by accessing it from your web browser, which is in your Email Marketing installation’s “admin” folder and is named install.php. Enter your serial number to activate your license and continue with the installation. Under some server configurations, you will be instructed to rename to and ensure that the permissions are set correctly. Don’t panic. Simply follow the directions and reload install.php from your browser.

Next you will be asked to enter your MySQL information. If you do not know this information, or if the information you have is not accepted and you receive a login error, you will need to contact your web host or server admin to obtain the correct MySQL details. If the MySQL details you enter are correct, then you will arrive at a screen prompting you to enter in the admin user’s information. Make sure that a valid email address (preferably the email address of the person managing the software) is entered in on this page, and make a special note of the password you type in — this will be the admin password used to access the software. After this information has been entered in, click next, and you will come to a screen informing that you that your software installation is complete! Follow the link to your control panel to start using your new software!

Post-Installation Configuration

Now that your software is installed, there are still a few steps you may need to take, both on your server and in your software settings, to ensure that it is configured properly.

Cron Jobs

Though it technically isn’t required for the software to run, it is recommended that you set up a cron job on your server to run the admin/cron.php file every five minutes. Having this cron job (or scheduled task) set up on your server will ensure that large campaigns and imports keep running even when you are not logged in to the software. Furthermore, the cron job will ensure all scheduled mailings run on time, bounce management runs periodically, and any other automated tasks (such as autoresponders or database syncs) run on their own.

Cron jobs can be set up through your server’s web based control panel (such as Cpanel or Plesk), through SSH, or through the Windows Task Scheduler if you have a Windows server. To learn how to set up a cron job (or scheduled task) on your server, refer to the follow article: Setting Up A Cron Job

Mail Sending Settings

Though many users will be fine using our software’s default mail sending method, which uses PHP’s mail() function, you may find that the default mail() function is limited or disabled on your server, and as such, you may decide to send emails from an external SMTP server instead. Furthermore, many of our clients wish to send emails from multiple servers, or change the speed at which our software sends email.

These options can be changed on the Settings page in our software.

The following article describes how to edit your Mail Settings and how to configure throttling settings to meet your needs: Mail Sending Throttling Settings Explained

Bounce Management

Bounce management is an important feature to consider, for anyone who plans on sending mass emails to a large list of subscribers. Most email lists will have at least a few invalid email addresses, or old email addresses that no longer exist. Any email you send to these addresses will “bounce,” and be sent back to the From address you entered in when creating the campaign.

Our software includes a feature that allows you to divert these bounce messages to a separate email account. Our software will then check all of the bounce emails that are sent to this separate account, read through them, and remove any email addresses from your list that have bounced too many times, automatically.

If you find that you are receiving several bounce email messages sent back to your From email address, and you see that zero bounces are being reported in your campaign reports, you likely do not have bounce management set up. The following article discusses setting up bounce management in depth: Setting Up Bounce Management

Other configuration options