Step 1: Setup Development Environment

Install Apache 2 server, MySQL server, and PHP >= 7.1

Every developer has their own development environment preferences. Installing Apache and MySql are trivial and the ideal development environment will differ from one developer to another, so we consider it outside the scope of this tutorial.

If you are new to PHP web development, here are a few resources to point you in the right direction:

  • Packaged Solutions (does everything for you, less configurable)

    • Ampps

      • Easily change PHP versions

      • Lots of built-in features, but beware of code bloat!

    • Wamp (Recommended)

      • Smaller than Ampps

      • A little more configuration

  • Packaged Virtual Machines (Easily create/destroy environments. Full control. A little more configuration.)

  • Do it yourself

Install Composer

Composer is PHP's package manager. Make sure it's installed before you proceeding.

# Verify installation
composer --version

Download Composer


We use git for source control. You'll need it installed too...

Download Git

Step 2: Configure hosts

Create Virtual Host

Depending on your development environment, the process of adding a virtual host will vary. Ampps offers a GUI, most other solutions will require manually configuring apache.

Localhost alias

Local SiteAdmin instances won't work with a url like http://localhost/myproject or You'll need to configure your operating system's host file to point a fake domain name to your virtual host.


# c:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Step 3: Site Administrator install script

Though it's possible to manually install an instance of Site Administrator, we recommend using our installation script to simplify and speed up the process.

Download the install script

You can find the install script by signing into eLink's internal Gitlab. Click on the menu icon, then navigate to Snippets -> Explore Snippets -> SA 3 Install.

Download Install Script

Upload the install script

Next, upload the install script to the root directory of your project.

Execute the script

The script is a simply PHP file. To execute it, navigate to the file from your browser. If our project's virtual host were called, you would go to

The install script will create a couple of directories, and install all the necessary core modules via composer.

Step 4: Setup your database

We advise against using the root database user for all your SiteAdmin applications. Depending on your development environment, you can create a new database and corresponding user through a GUI (like phpMyAdmin) or directly through the command line.


If you're rusty on your SQL commands, follow this tutorial to create a database and user.

Step 5: Configure SiteAdmin

Configuration files are initially created through the installer. Navigate to your project's siteadmin dashboard to complete this process.

Step 6: Configure Environments

Configuration files will vary among developers, even for the same project. Copy the {project_root}/siteadmin/config/config.php file to {project_root}/siteadmin/config/devConfig.php.

Then register your custom configuration file & virtual host with the application.

$environments = array(
  'production' => array(),
  '' => array('configFile' => 'devConfig.php', 'devMode' => true, 'errorReporting' => true)

Notice the index is the same as the virtual host we configured for our project.

Build something awesome

By now, the installation process is complete. Check out the Getting Started section to learn guide you through building your next SA3 app!

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