Setting Up Kevin School of English

This post describes the steps we took to setup a new domain. For this walkthrough we’ll use setting up kevinschoolofenglish.com.

Registering a Domain Name

The first step is to register the domain with one of the domain registrars. For this step we chose namecheap.com. They provide excellent prices and throw in whois protection for the first year.

Getting a Hosting Provider

The next step is to purchase hosting for this domain. For this site we needed PHP and mySQL because of the software packages we were planning to use (in this case Dokeos). Since I had a hosting account with GoDaddy which allows hosting multiple domains, this was our choice. The domain kevinschoolofenglish.com was setup to use a root directory of /kevinschoolofenglish/main. Should there be a need for sub-domains later, (Ex. forum) we would create these as sub-directories under /kevinschoolofenglish (Ex. /kevinschoolofenglish/forum).

Setting up the DNS

When you register your domain with namecheap the default setup will be to use their domain servers (DNS). Since we are using GoDaddy for hosting our site and GoDaddy recommended using their DNS services, we changed our DNS servers in our namecheap account to point to GoDaddy DNS servers:

ns17.domaincontrol.com
ns18.domaincontrol.com

Note: It takes time for these changes to propagate, sometimes as long as a week.

We used a service such as  http://www.mxtoolbox.com

Type Domain Name IP Address TTL
A kevinschoolofenglish.com 50.63.38.1 60 min

Looks good – that’s the address of the GoDaddy server.

Setting Up Dokeos

Next step was to setup the chosen ELearning software. We downloaded and unzipped Dokeos and moved the contents of the extracted folder to our “root” folder (/kevinschoolofenglish/main). Most software will run the initial setup the first time you run it.

We directed our browser to http://kevinschoolofenglish.com and followed the setup procedure. This involved creating a mySQL database, setting up user accounts, customizations such as the site title etc.

Creating a mySQl Database

How you do this will varying depending on which hosting service you are using. For this walk through we’ll document the GoDaddy method.

Using the Hosting, Databases, mySQL  tab we created a mySQL DB named kgcdokeos for use with the Dokeos product.

 

Setting up Email

Most hosting providers typically have poor email clients. In our case the GoDaddy client looked good, but they only offered 100MB of combined space for all email accounts. We’ll setup Google to be our email provider. In order to do this you need to prove you own the domain. They’ll require you to add a DNS entry in order to prove you are the owner.

First we’ll get a Google Apps account.

Signing up for Google Apps

Start here Google Apps and choose the “For individuals and small teams”.  This is good for upto 10 users.

Enter your domain name and submit, then fill in the remaining information. At this point a wizard is shown that will walk through the remaining steps.

The simplest method of verification is to the add a TXT record to the DNS. Google generated a unique string to be added. After using the DNS manager, and adding the TXT record. We created a TXT record with host @ and value of google-site-verification=vDVThC……. which we cut and pasted from the Google wizard page.

Note: Google recommends “To stay verified, don’t remove the DNS record, even after verification succeeds.”

GoDaddy update said this might take a hour of so to update or DNS records, however, when we clicked Verify in the wizard, it found it and verified the domain.

Google App setup !

Your users
USERS
LAST LOGIN
SOMEUSER (ficticious)
SOMEUSER@kevinschoolofenglish.com
Never logged in

To administer this account go to https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/kevinschoolofenglish.com

In this example, the user SOMEUSER (fictitious to protect the real user) is the administrator.

Note: Google Apps no longer has free accounts

If you are looking just for an email server where you can link it to your domain, have a look at

https://domains.live.com/Signup/SignupDomain.aspx

https://www.zoho.com/mail/zohomail-pricing.html

 

Changing our MX records

Now that we have Google setup to handle our email, we need to tell anyone sending us mail where to send it. That is the purpose of DNS MX records. For Google, we’ll change our MX records to point to Google’s mail servers.

alt1.aspmx.l.google.com
aspmx.l.google.com
MX (Mail Exchanger)
Select Records
Priority
Host
Points to
TTL
10
@
aspmx.l.google.com
1 Hour
0
@
alt1.aspmx.l.google.com
1 Hour

We also setup a mail.kevinschoolofenglish record to point to the Gmail server

mail
ghs.googlehosted.com
1 Hour

To get this to work we have to change settings in Google apps.

Setup
Web address
Locally applied
Your users can access Email at:

http://mail.google.com/a/kevinschoolofenglish.com

Change URL

Pick the Change URL link  and choose the custom link.
 http:// .kevinschoolofenglish.com/ (custom)

We verified our MX records to “the outside world” by using a service such as http://www.mxtoolbox.com

mx:kevinschoolofenglish.com
Pref Hostname IP Address TTL
0 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com 74.125.130.27 60 min
10 aspmx.l.google.com 173.194.77.27 60 min

Looks good!!

Moving Dokeos to another Host

Copy all the files to a directory on the new host

Dump the Mysql DB and load on new host

DB settings are in main/inc/conf/configuration.php as are installation directories

$_configuration[‘db_host’] = ‘kgcdokeos.db.9865842.hostedresource.com’;
// Your MySQL username
$_configuration[‘db_user’] = ‘kgcdokeos’;
// Your MySQL password
$_configuration[‘db_password’] = ‘XXXXXX’;

$_configuration[‘main_database’] = ‘kgcdokeos’;
// stats Dokeos database
$_configuration[‘statistics_database’] =’kgcdokeos’;
// Scorm Dokeos database
$_configuration[‘scorm_database’] =’kgcdokeos’;
// User Personal Database (where all the personal stuff of the user is stored
// (personal agenda items, course sorting)
$_configuration[‘user_personal_database’] =’kgcdokeos’;

// Path to the webroot of system, example: /var/www/
$_configuration[‘root_sys’] = ‘/home/content/42/9865842/html/kevinschoolofenglish/main/’;

You may also have to alter the .htaccess file in the courses directory in you change the base directory. On GoDaddy, the document root was “main”.