Installing Mautic marketing automation system using C-Panel with Softaculous

One the best advantages solopreneurs/start ups/small businesses can leverage for their marketing is Mautic, the 100% legitimately free open source marketing automation platform. The only unusual aspect of this software, is that you have to host it yourself.

This is off-putting to some, because most are used to just signing up for something and having a login automatically provided for them, and not having to install anything. This is fair enough; however, the benefits you will get from installing a totally free marketing automation system far outweigh the brief feeling of uncertainty/strangeness you may feel from being forced to install the system yourself.

Also, there is an extremely simple method of installing this system. It takes – no joke – less than 5 minutes to install (probably for some, it takes about 1 minute), and once finished, you have a marketing automation system for free, with the same functionality as an enterprise solution that costs tens of thousands of dollars per year.

The easy way to do this is to host your website with a service provider that gives you access to C-Panel with Softaculous. (I have written elsewhere about the benefits of using a service provider with C-Panel.) This provides an easy interface to install apps on your server.  Here’s a quick guide of how to install the Mautic marketing automation platform on your server.

Login to C-panel and go to Softaculous apps installer section

softaculous menu
In this main menu section, you can just click on any category and it will take you to the Softaculous admin area, which is where you want to be.

Click on any one of the categories listed below (doesn’t have to be Mautic); this will take you to the Softaculous admin panel. Search Mautic in the search bar in the upper left, and click on Mautic when it comes up.

This will take you to the Mautic install/overview page, which will list other Mautic installations you have on your server, if applicable. Click Install Now to get started!

Enter your Mautic install details

The next screen will ask you to select where you want your Mautic Installation to go, what your admin login for the system will be, and other advanced database options that you don’t necessarily need to update/worry about.

Mautic settings page
In this step of the install, you’ll want to make sure you setup a secure password and keep it somewhere safe. At this point, you’re almost done.

Some tips about this section:

  • Enter some kind of directory name; otherwise if you have any other sites installed in this folder, you will wind up not being able to distinguish Mautic files from “non-Mautic” files on your server.
  • Maybe even consider creating a subdomain just for your mautic app installation – if you’re not already using the max amount of subdomains under your account. Your server provider should be able to let you know how many you have – also, it is probably listed under the “Subdomains” section of your C-Panel.
  • Do not leave the password as the default “password” – do that, and you’re pretty much just asking to be hacked, I would imagine. I recommend using the key icon to the right to auto-generate a secure password.
  • Make sure you note your password and save in a safe place
  • Note also the email address associated with the mautic account. Make sure this is an email address that exists, because you will possibly need it to handle some mautic administrative tasks.

Optionally, if you’re the persnickety type, as I am, you’ll want to enter an email address to send a copy of the Mautic installation details. Don’t ask me what this would ever be used for, but hey, might as well do it just to be detail-oriented.

Once you enter this information, you’re almost done. Softaculous will start the install, and usually within just a few seconds it will be done.

Mautic success
The sweet Mautic success message, which means you’ve installed a free marketing automation system in minutes.

When you Note also the administrative URL – this you’ll definitely want to keep/bookmark on your browser, as it is the URL you use to login.

Setup cron jobs

This is probably the most “techy” part of the process because it requires you to go into your cpanel and add a little bit of code, but it is not that bad and requires no working knowledge of cpanel or cron jobs.

To create your cron jobs, login to your C-Panel and from the main dashboard, scroll down to the Advanced section (Don’t worry, you don’t really need to be advanced to do this. I am not at all advanced and I managed to do it pretty easily.) From there, select cron jobs.

Mautic lists 3 required cron jobs on their documentation, but I include a couple more just to be safe.  Looking at the documentation on Mautic’s page will not be enough information to install Mautic on C-Panel. Below is how Mautic lists the cron jobs that need to be input according to Mautic’s setup documentation:

php /path/to/mautic/app/console mautic:segments:update
php /path/to/mautic/app/console mautic:campaigns:rebuild
php /path/to/mautic/app/console mautic:campaigns:trigger

However, if you just copy/paste the cron tasks in the above format, it will not work on C-Panel. You need to include the correct path to your php, and then the corect path to your Mautic app console, which is not exactly obvious. Also, there is an optional setting you can add (and probably will want to add) that prevents email notifications from being sent each time the cron runs. In the end, you will want your Mautic cron job on C-Panel to look like this:

/usr/local/cpanel/3rdparty/bin/php /home/lowglyce/public_html/mautic/app/console mautic:campaigns:trigger > /dev/null 2>&1

As you can see it’s not exactly the same as what Mautic has on their documentation. Here’s how you can verify that your cron job is formatted correctly. I’ll break it down section by section:

Path to php

This should be /usr/local/cpanel/3rdparty/bin/php – unless the path changes in C-Panel. To confirm the correct path, you can ask your web hosting provider where the path is to php on the local server. Or, if you look at other cron jobs that use php on your C-Panel, it will show up there. Just copy that.

Path to your Mautic App Console

This will be different for every install. It is the path to your Mautic installation. To find it, look first for the directory that is right before “mautic” – in this case, it’s the public_html directory. This is often the case if you do not put Mautic in a subdomain. And you can actually see above when I entered my Mautic install details, that I left the directory name as “Mautic”. So that’s where it will be. To confirm what the rest of the path to the app console will be, you can go to your File Manager in C-Panel (from the home screen, type “File” in the search menu, and it will come up. This will show you the files on your server, and you can navigate to “public_html”, find the directory you installed Mautic, then go to “app” – and finally, you should see the “console” file there.

C-Panel File Manager path to Mautic app
The C-Panel File Manager will show you the path to the Mautic app console.

For the part of the path that is *before* the “mautic” directory, you’ll need to know the home directory of your server. For me in this case, it was “/home/lowglyce”. To find this out, you can simply go to the home screen of your C-Panel, and on a sidebar near the top, there should be a heading that says “General Information”, and under this a section called “Home Directory”. This is the path to your home. So, the combination of the path to your home and the Mautic install is the second part of your cron job after the path to php, and in my example it is as follows: /home/lowglyce/public_html/mautic/app/console

Mautic specific command

This is the specific cron job you are trying to run, and will change with every one you enter. In my example, it is mautic:campaigns:trigger – Make sure you check the Mautic documentation to confirm the correct cron jobs, as these may change. After this, you want to enter a space, then a greater than (>) sign, then another space, before you input the command to not send notifications.

No dev notifications

This is /dev/null 2>&1 – this will be the same, and you can copy paste exactly what I have here.

So again, the end result is:

/usr/local/cpanel/3rdparty/bin/php /home/lowglyce/public_html/mautic/app/console mautic:campaigns:trigger > /dev/null 2>&1

You will need to at least do this for each of the required cron jobs listed on Mautic’s documentation. I like to do it for a few more. Here is what they all look like when set up on my C-Panel:

Mautic cron jobs in C-Panel
Here is what the cron jobs will look like in C-Panel once complete.

Mautic recommends staggering these jobs to run at different times. You will also probably want to run each one multiple times a day if you are very active in segments, campaigns, and campaign events.

You’re done!! Seriously, if you’ve followed the above steps and successfully installed Mautic, you now have a fully functional marketing automation system installed and ready to use in a matter of minutes. Oh, and also…it’s 100% free forever. This still blows my mind.

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