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DotNetNuke Hosting - ASPHostPortal.com :: How to Upgrade DNN to The Latest Version

clock January 7, 2014 10:31 by author Mike

DotNetNuke is an open-source content management system ideal for creating and deploying projects such as commercial websites, corporate intranets and extranets, and online publishing portals. DotNetNuke is built on a Microsoft ASP.NET (VB.NET) platform, and is easily installed and hosted with all of our Windows Hosting Plans. If there is an upgrade available, follow the following steps to perform the upgrade.

In Preparation:

  • Back up the DNN database
  • Back up all website files
  • Check your database and website backups!
  • Download the latest DotNetNuke upgrade package:
    a. From the www.dotnetnuke.com site. You may need login credentials if you are using a non-community version of DNN.
    or
    b. Click the "Upgrade Available" button that appears when you are *not* running the latest version.
  • Create a basic html document called app_offline.htm. This page will be shown on the site while you are doing the upgrade.

See figure about no maintenance page. Users may see errors while the site is partially upgraded.

No maintenance page

Good Example - HTML page to let users know the site is offline:

This site is offline for routine maintenance. Please check back later.

To Perform the Upgrade:

  1. Upload the app_offline.htm file to the root web folder for the site.
  2. Navigate to the site in a web browser and check that the app_offline.htm file is shown instead of the usual default page.
  3. Copy the contents of the latest DotNetNuke upgrade package over the top of the existing files. All files should be copied because the package should only contain generic files ?no configuration files.
  4. When the copy is complete, rename the app_offline.htm file to app_offline.htm.save. When you navigate to the site, you will see a new construction page:
    Remove underline
  5. Access the /install/install.aspx?mode=upgrade page (e.g.www.mysite.com/install/install.aspx?mode=upgrade) using a web browser. The site will begin an automatic upgrade process:
    Automatic upgrade running

  6. On completion of the upgrade, you will see the following message at the bottom of the page. Click on the link to return to the site.
    put an underline under the link

  7. Click through the newly upgraded site to perform a smoke test.
  8. Log in to the DNN site and navigate to "Host", then "Host Settings". You will see that the site is running the newest version of DNN and that there are no upgrades available.
    Latest version and no upgrades available


DotNetNuKE Hosting - ASPHostPortal.com :: 10 DotNetNuke Admin Quick Tips

clock December 20, 2013 06:45 by author Robert

Here are 10 somewhat lesser known "quick tips” for DotNetNuke administrators described in no more than a sentence or two and implemented just as quickly.

 

 

  • Module Header & Footer Text
    Use the module header and footer text boxes (Module Settings > Advanced Settings) to inject short snippets of text and / or HTML above or below any given module. No need to drop additional text/html modules.
  • Registration Copy
    I still see way too many sites with the default copy of “Membership to this portal is Private / Public / Verified. …” Change it via the language editor at Admin > Languages > Global Resources > SharedResources.
  • Login / Register Links
    And while you have the language editor running, customize the anchor text of commonly used skin tokens such as Login, Register, Terms, and Privacy at Admin > Languages > Local Resources > Admin > Skins. Alternatively, most of these tokens support a “text” attribute for overriding the anchor text directly in skin.ascx:
    <dnn:login runat="server" id="dnnLOGIN" text="Sign in" />
  • Page Header Tags
    Tucked away in the advanced page settings is a field that allows you to specify additional meta tags on a page by page basis. For instance, to keep Google from archiving the page, enter <meta name="robots" content="noarchive">.
  • Installation Date
    Ever lost track of when you or your hosting provider installed DNN for your site? The “InstallationDate” key in the appSettings section of web.config will tell you.
  • Terms of Use & Privacy Statement
    The default terms and privacy notice are meant as a general guideline only. If you are running a “high profile” site, have the documents reviewed by a legal professional and edit accordingly via Admin > Languages > Global Resources > GlobalResources (message_portal_terms.text and message_portal_privacy.text.) Even if the default copy is sufficient for your needs, mask the email address in the last paragraph of the privacy statement to avoid spam.
  • Website Administrator
    You have entered a valid email address in your DNN profile and double-checked the SMTP server settings and still don’t receive admin notifications from DNN? In case of multiple users with admin rights, you need to set yourself as the site administrator at Admin > Site Settings > Advanced Settings > Other Settings.
  • Module Title
    The module title field accepts roughly 250 characters including HTML/CSS. That’s good enough for little tricks such as adding a small image, link or vary the font size of words in the module title. Just don’t overdo it.
  • Copyright
    Similar to the module title field, I often enter additional information such as contact details into the copyright field (Admin > Site Settings > Site Details), which then conveniently display in the footer of your pages or wherever else you placed the copyright skin token.
  • Module Installation Timeout
    As modules get more sophisticated and provide more features and functionality, the file size of private assemblies (PAs) naturally grows as well. This may lead to HTTP session timeouts when uploading PAs the conventional way (Host > Module Definitions > Install New Module). While there are means to increase the session length in web.config, I prefer to simply FTP upload the PA zip file into the Install\Module folder on the web server and then change the file extension from .zip to .resources. Subsequently, the module is listed in the Available Modules section of the Modules Definition page and installation can resume from there.

At least half of the above suggestions should be applicable to any DNN version, while the other half is geared more towards DNN 4 and above.

 



Free DotNetNuke 7.1 Hosting :: Switching over from Url Master to the Advanced URL functionality in DNN 7.1

clock December 12, 2013 06:34 by author Mike

If you are planning to start using the new Advanced URL functionality in DNN 7.1, and you have an existing license for the Url Master module, there is a conversion path. This converts all of the Url Master redirects, portal alias settings and configuration settings over to the DNN format. The Advanced functionality is heavily based on the Url Master codebase, but they are not exactly the same. Many changes have been made in order to properly integrate the product into the DNN Core.

Therefore, I suggest that people test the switch-over carefully, and make sure that they have checked that redirects, third-party modules, and all other URL-related functionality works correctly. I strongly recommend that people do this in a 'localhost' test environment if they have the capability. If not, you must take a backup immediately prior to doing the conversion and be prepared to revert to the backed-up version of the site if the tests do not pass.

This process applies both to the DNN Platform (formerly DotNetNuke Community Edition) and those who have upgraded DotNetNuke Professional Edition to Evoq Content.   While the DNN Platform has very few UI configuration locations for the Advanced URL Settings, the functionality is fully operational once the Url Master settings are converted.

Please note : you need to have a fully licensed version of Url Master in order to activate the conversion functionality, except if you are running on ‘localhost’, in which case it will work with an unlicensed version.

The actual process of conversion is very simple:

1. Upgrade your Url Master version to 2.8

2. Go to the Host->Friendly Url Settings page, and find the 'Convert to DNN Advanced Urls' button.

image

3.  This will load the Conversion Dialog:

image

Click 'Start Conversion' when you are ready to do the conversion.

4.  The conversion process will run, and then show a summary of the changes made:

image

The figures in the boxes apply to the entire DNN installation. Check through the numbers to do a 'sanity check' and make sure that the figures seem correct. You can then close the dialog – the conversion is complete and your site is now activated in DNN 'Advanced' mode. Note that because this requires a web.config change, the site will automatically restart when the process is complete.  The 'close' button triggers a page refresh to complete this process.

5. Check functionality on your site to make sure that the conversion has worked correctly. A brief set of tests should include:

  1. Basic site operation : all public URLs work as expected
  2. Edit Mode : does the Edit Mode functionality work as before?
  3. Any third-party module functionality : do blog posts, forum threads, e-commerce pages, photo galleries etc load up correctly?
  4. Login/Logoff functions : are you able to login and log out as normal?
  5. 404 Handling : if you had 404 handling configured, check that the 404 error handling works as expected.
  6. Admin/Host Urls : are you able to do basic functions like search for a user, save site settings, etc?
  7. Custom Urls : do custom redirects you had configured in Url Master still work OK?  Are any custom URLs showing for pages correctly?
  8. Site Alias redirects : does the site respond correctly in terms of alias redirects (like example.com –> www.example.com)
  9. User Profile pages : if you had vanity user profile URLs activated, do they still work correctly?  Are the profile pictures showing correctly, can users post updates, edit their profiles?

This is only a brief list to get you thinking; you should execute a comprehensive test plan to make sure the site is working as expected.  Your SEO depends on making sure there are no surprises and everything is working as before. In the vast majority of cases, there should be no difference in behaviour or functionality, but it is imperative that this be tested and confirmed. While I have tested this functionality to make sure a like-for-like conversion of settings is working as expected, it is impossible to test the entire universe of Url Master installations.

6.  When the conversion is finished, it’s up to you whether or not you uninstall the Url Master module. You may wish to keep it installed as a backup for the short term in case you find a problem with the conversion process. You can run the conversion process as many times as you like – it has been designed to be run repeatedly without causing any issue, to allow for iterative checks. Each time it is run, the settings are taken from the Url Master configuration and applied to the DNN install – thus any changes in the DNN installation may be overwritten each time you do this.

Anyone using Custom Module Providers for the Url Master module – the settings specific to Custom Module Providers are not converted during this process.  Any Custom Module providers will have to be replaced like-for-like with a DNN 7.1 specific Extension Url Provider which provides the same functionality, and the settings specific to that provider will have to be carried across.



Free DotNetNuke 7.1 Hosting :: Switching over from Url Master to the Advanced URL functionality in DNN 7.1

clock December 12, 2013 06:34 by author Mike

If you are planning to start using the new Advanced URL functionality in DNN 7.1, and you have an existing license for the Url Master module, there is a conversion path. This converts all of the Url Master redirects, portal alias settings and configuration settings over to the DNN format. The Advanced functionality is heavily based on the Url Master codebase, but they are not exactly the same. Many changes have been made in order to properly integrate the product into the DNN Core.

Therefore, I suggest that people test the switch-over carefully, and make sure that they have checked that redirects, third-party modules, and all other URL-related functionality works correctly. I strongly recommend that people do this in a 'localhost' test environment if they have the capability. If not, you must take a backup immediately prior to doing the conversion and be prepared to revert to the backed-up version of the site if the tests do not pass.

This process applies both to the DNN Platform (formerly DotNetNuke Community Edition) and those who have upgraded DotNetNuke Professional Edition to Evoq Content.   While the DNN Platform has very few UI configuration locations for the Advanced URL Settings, the functionality is fully operational once the Url Master settings are converted.

Please note : you need to have a fully licensed version of Url Master in order to activate the conversion functionality, except if you are running on ‘localhost’, in which case it will work with an unlicensed version.

The actual process of conversion is very simple:

1. Upgrade your Url Master version to 2.8

2. Go to the Host->Friendly Url Settings page, and find the 'Convert to DNN Advanced Urls' button.

image

3.  This will load the Conversion Dialog:

image

Click 'Start Conversion' when you are ready to do the conversion.

4.  The conversion process will run, and then show a summary of the changes made:

image

The figures in the boxes apply to the entire DNN installation. Check through the numbers to do a 'sanity check' and make sure that the figures seem correct. You can then close the dialog – the conversion is complete and your site is now activated in DNN 'Advanced' mode. Note that because this requires a web.config change, the site will automatically restart when the process is complete.  The 'close' button triggers a page refresh to complete this process.

5. Check functionality on your site to make sure that the conversion has worked correctly. A brief set of tests should include:

  1. Basic site operation : all public URLs work as expected
  2. Edit Mode : does the Edit Mode functionality work as before?
  3. Any third-party module functionality : do blog posts, forum threads, e-commerce pages, photo galleries etc load up correctly?
  4. Login/Logoff functions : are you able to login and log out as normal?
  5. 404 Handling : if you had 404 handling configured, check that the 404 error handling works as expected.
  6. Admin/Host Urls : are you able to do basic functions like search for a user, save site settings, etc?
  7. Custom Urls : do custom redirects you had configured in Url Master still work OK?  Are any custom URLs showing for pages correctly?
  8. Site Alias redirects : does the site respond correctly in terms of alias redirects (like example.com –> www.example.com)
  9. User Profile pages : if you had vanity user profile URLs activated, do they still work correctly?  Are the profile pictures showing correctly, can users post updates, edit their profiles?

This is only a brief list to get you thinking; you should execute a comprehensive test plan to make sure the site is working as expected.  Your SEO depends on making sure there are no surprises and everything is working as before. In the vast majority of cases, there should be no difference in behaviour or functionality, but it is imperative that this be tested and confirmed. While I have tested this functionality to make sure a like-for-like conversion of settings is working as expected, it is impossible to test the entire universe of Url Master installations.

6.  When the conversion is finished, it’s up to you whether or not you uninstall the Url Master module. You may wish to keep it installed as a backup for the short term in case you find a problem with the conversion process. You can run the conversion process as many times as you like – it has been designed to be run repeatedly without causing any issue, to allow for iterative checks. Each time it is run, the settings are taken from the Url Master configuration and applied to the DNN install – thus any changes in the DNN installation may be overwritten each time you do this.

Anyone using Custom Module Providers for the Url Master module – the settings specific to Custom Module Providers are not converted during this process.  Any Custom Module providers will have to be replaced like-for-like with a DNN 7.1 specific Extension Url Provider which provides the same functionality, and the settings specific to that provider will have to be carried across.



DotNetNuke Hosting - ASPHostPortal.com :: Setting Up Your DotNetNuke 7 Development Environment Setup (DES)

clock November 27, 2013 06:15 by author Ben

To develop modules for DotNetNuke you must first have a DotNetNuke installation running on the computer on which you intend to develop them. Setting up your development environment can vary based on what your end goal is. If you are doing module development for your own use, and within your own DNN environments, you can ignore a few of the settings below. If you are doing module development with the idea that you might turn around and give the modules away, or sell them, then you will likely want to follow the guidelines set forth below to support the widest array of DNN installation environments.

I recommend that each developer have their own local development environment, with a local IIS website running DotNetNuke, and a SQL Server 2008/2012 (not express, though you can use it) database for the website. Having an individual development environment makes group module development far easier than if you share environments/databases.

The steps for setting up your development environment will apply to both the Community and Professional editions of DotNetNuke.

Installation Configuration

Once you have the version selection out of the way you can go through the installation process. While I’m not going to walk you through the minutest of details of each step of installing DotNetNuke in this post, I will at least try to point you in the right direction for each step. Download the INSTALL package of the version of DotNetNuke you want to use in your development environment. Extract the files in the INSTALL package to a location of your choosing, this location is where you will point IIS (the web server) when we can configure the website. In my environment I typically use c:\web\dnnme.com\ (One item of note: you may need to right click on the ZIP file and choose Properties before extracting, on the properties window if you have an UNBLOCK option, click that. Some versions of Windows have started blocking files within the DotNetNuke ZIP files, which will cause you problems later during the actual install.)


Setup IIS

IIS is the web server that comes with Windows computers. DNN 7 requires IIS 7 or later (7,7.5,8.0), so you will need at least Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012. In IIS you should create a new website (Note: If you use an existing website in IIS be sure to add the HOST binding for DNNME.COM), and point to the folder where you extracted the INSTALL package.

Note: With DotNetNuke 7.0+, .NET Framework 4.0 is required, so be sure that your application pool is configured to run under 4.0, and not 2.0.
Set File Permissions

Setting up the file permissions for your DNN install is often the step that causes the most trouble. You should right click on the FOLDER in which you extracted DNN (c:\web\dnnme.com\) and choose properties. Choose the Security tab. You need to add permissions for the account in which your website's application pool is running under. You will want to setup the permissions to give the account Full or Modify permissions for the DNNME.COM folder. Which account you will use will vary based on your version of IIS, here’s a simple list of some of the default accounts based on the version of IIS.

  • IIS Version Operating System Account
  • IIS 7 Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 localmachine\Network Service
  • IIS 7.5 Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7 IIS AppPool\APPPOOLNAME
  • IIS 8 Windows 2012, Windows 8 IIS AppPool\APPPOOLNAME

Note: If you are using IIS7.5/8.0 you’ll notice in the above table that we have APPPOOLNAME in the identity, this is because when you setup a new website in IIS a new application pool is created. In place of you should type in the name of the application pool that was created. You can also bypass this and configure your application pool to use the Network Service account instead of a dynamic account if you would like.

Database Configuration

In SQL Server you should go through and create a new database. I always create a database with the same name as the website, so in this case DNNME.COM. Once you have created the database, create a user that can access that database. I always use SQL authentication, turn off the enforce password requirements, and give the user DB Owner and Public access to the DNNME.COM database. Remember the username and password you create here as you will need them when you walk through the Installation screen for DotNetNuke.

DotNetNuke Installation Screen

Populate the installation screen with the standard DNN information, Host username, password, etc. For the Database option, choose Custom and configure your database connection, providing the Server IP/Name, the Database name (dnndev.me). For the database authentication you'll want to choose the option that allows you to enter the username/password for the database user that you created previously.
Now there are two additional options you can configure, normally I would tell you not to modify these, but from a development environment perspective I do recommend that you change the objectQualifier setting. It should be blank by default, you should type in “dnn” (without quotes), this will prepend “dnn_” to all of the objects that get created by DNN such as Tables and Stored Procedures. This is not something I recommend from a production stand point, but if you are developing modules for sale, then supporting objectQualifier in your development is recommended. It will save you time down the road if you have a customer who has an objectQualifier defined on their production databases.



DotNetNuke Hosting :: Tips Optimize your DNN site (SEO Friendly)

clock November 22, 2013 10:43 by author Mike

DotNetNuke has many SEO features, but some are less obvious to the casual administrator. These SEO features, however, can have a dramatic effect on how your DNN website is indexed by Google, Bing and others, and as such, can have an effect on your page rank and search results.

Here are a few DNN tips and tricks to help in your DNN’s SEO:

1. Site Map Priority
Buried within your page settings is a feature that allows you to set indexing priorities to your DNN pages. To get there (once logged in as an administrator), go to “page settings”, then “advanced settings”, then at the bottom of the window, go to “other settings”.

Here you will find the item: “Site Map Priority”. The default for this is .5. However, if your page is the home page, or perhaps a landing page, you will want to up the number to 1.0, or .9 (1.0 being the highest). This will increase the perceived importance of the page by search engines such as Google. Where is this relevant? When your organization appears in a Google search, high priority pages may be presented as sub-links to the home page more frequently. This can be critical in immediately directing visitors to key pages in an organic search result.

2. Site Settings

Here we’ll talk about one of things NOT to do when it comes to SEO in DotNetNuke. In the “site settings” of DotNetNuke, administrators have the ability to enter descriptions and keywords. By doing that, those items will then be placed in the META tags for EVERY page on the DNN website. For SEO, this is an extreme no-no, as it will confuse the search engines and reduce the relevancy and page rank of your overall DNN website. It may be an easy way to get keywords throughout your site… but it will definitely hurt you in the long run!

3. Page Titles
One of the nice features about DotNetNuke is its ability to add dashes between spaced words in your page title. For example, if you title a page “DNN SEO Tips”, DNN will title the actual URL as “DNN-SEO-Tips”. This ensures that the individual words in the title will be relevant to Google.
Some administrators like to use underscores between words. For example: “DNN_SEO_Tips”. This is strongly discouraged as Google will index the entire string as one item. This means people searching for DNN, or SEO or Tips will not see your site on Google. They would only find you if they specifically put “DNN SEO Tips”. In some cases this may be a good thing, if your content is very niche-oriented. But if you’re looking to gather visitors based on more broad searches, using underscores will hurt you.

4. Robots.txt
OK, this one gets a bit technical for the casual DotNetNuke administrator, but robots.txt is an important factor when comes to SEO, so what we’ll do in this section is give you enough information that you can intelligently go to your IT person or your hosting provider to ask questions.

In short, the robots.txt function (which not accessible via the administration tools in DNN), tells various search engines such as Google what pages to index and what pages they should not. Pretty important! But, if your DNN website is with a host provider and you are operating on a shared instance (one installation of DNN with many portals), you may be operating on one, centralized robots.txt file, which may be configured to tell the robots to ignore all pages on your site!

There is a way to take control and get around this, but it takes someone with access to the server and a bit of IT knowledge. But, don’t let that stop you from finding out if your robots.txt file is configured properly.

Ask your IT or host provider:
Is your DNN website on a shared instance?
Do you have an individual robots.txt file for your specific DNN website?

That’s it a few simple tools and information on how to squeeze more effectiveness with your DotNetNuke’s SEO. Hope useful.



DotNetNuke Hosting - ASPHostPortal.com :: Advantage Using DotNetnuke 7, Thing We Love In DNN 7

clock October 21, 2013 08:30 by author Ben

DotNetNuke is an automated content management framework that is explicitly intended to be used in intranet and extranet deployments with the open source portals. DotNetNuke contains a set of tools that enables you to build dynamic websites.

The word on the internet is that DNN 7.0 is about to drop any day now.   I’ve been following this one quite closely since the DNN World conference (a month ago now, how time flies!) and I’ve been doing extensive compatibility testing with my software.

And This top reason why you will love DotnetNuke 7 :

1. New Installation and Upgrade
There was a time when everyone seemed to agree that installing DotNetNuke was a tough task fit only for the bravest of souls.  I didn’t ever really think that way, because the whole idea of a self-installing and self-upgrading web application was the stuff of fantasy not that long ago.   I mean, I can remember the day when you had to register COM components and restart IIS to get stuff to run.  I hope you, the reader, have no idea what I just said because that means the industry has made vast gains.  DotNetNuke itself was always an easy thing to get going, but now it is dead simple and informative.

How so?  Well, the installer is a one-page set of questions, many of which are pre-answered.  And then, you click ‘go’, and it whizzes through, installs all the various parts and then gives you a new screen with a couple of options – either explore more about the platform, or just let you dive straight in and get going.  And, just like in DNN 6, when you’ve finished the install, you’re already logged in.  Nice.


DotNetNuke 7.0 now has an upgrade wizard with the same look and feel as the install wizard.  With the added feature of being required to log in as a super user account in order to start the wizard off.    Having done multiple upgrades with software testing now, I like everything about the upgrade wizard.

2. Default View Mode



DotNetNuke 7.0 now defaults to ‘View Mode’ – which, despite the fancy name – just means the content, by default, looks as it will to the site visitors.    And, because it defaults to ‘View Mode’, the old ‘View Mode’ wording/button/control – it’s gone now.  It’s just the normal view, or edit or layout views.  Simple.

3. Drag and Drop



You select the thing you want to add (Text/Html module) then you drag a copy of that to the place on the page you want it.   That’s it – couldn’t be simpler or more intuitive.  To me it is very elegant in operation because not only are you putting things where you want, but the page expands dynamically to show where the insert will be.

4. Auto Save

With the Text/Html module, your content can be auto-saved as you type.  No more lost content.  Much fewer curse words being sent in the direction of DotNetNuke installs.  A real positive step forwards.

5. Control Panel

The new DNN 7 control panel uses the concept of common, less common and user-configurable areas.  Or, in plain-speak, things you use all the time, things you don’t, and a place where you can make your own list.

Benefit Of DotNetNuke 7 for Website Developer

1. Benefit from 1000s of ready-to-use functionalities

DotNetNuke comes with many built-in features that are ready to be used in your website. By using DotNetNuke, you will be able to add rich features to your website, for free, such as discussion forums, blogs, feedback forms and much more. You can also select from thousands of commercial extensions, that will allow you to include advanced functionalities, such as image galleries, image slideshows, opt-in email marketing and e-commerce. And if you can't find what you need, you still have the option to develop customized extensions, knowing that there is a community of over 700,000 users ready to assist.


2. Easier and faster website development

DotNetNuke will make developing websites faster, whether you are using DotNetNuke as an instant website builder or as a web application framework. For more information, see our Developing with DNN section.


3. Make more money developing websites

DotNetNuke will give you a competitive advantage to win website development contracts. By showing your potential clients the many advantages they will have if their website is built with DotNetNuke, you can more easily convince people to choose your services. Shorter delays to develop websites, fully featured websites, ability to manage content easily in-house, proven technology: these arguments will certainly help you sell your proposal.



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