Inexpensive Hosting Service Now Available

After more than twelve years as a purely volunteer venture ChurchInfo has teamed up with a small company called ChurchInfo Services to provide hosting service and automated installation.  This service is designed to be an inexpensive option for churches that don't have access to the necessary technical skills to build and maintain their own installations.  There is no change to the core mission and values of the ChurchInfo project.  The goal is to expand the availability of ChurchInfo to more churches, especially those which found the initial installation to be too much of a hurdle.

Here is a link to the ChurchInfo Services web site.

 

 

Upgrading ChurchInfo

All versions of ChurchInfo since 1.2.7 are designed to upgrade the database automatically.  Here are the steps to complete the upgrade process:

 

  • Back up your database using phpMyAdmin.  Select your ChurchInfo database from the list to the left, then select the export tab across the top to the right.  The default export options should be fine and it should give you a copy of your entire database in a ".sql" file.
  • Make a copy of your old file Include/Config.php.  This file contains the database configuration settings near the beginning of the file.
  • If you have been uploading images make a copy of your Images directory with the sub-directories Person, Person/thumbnails, Family, and Family/thumbnails.
  • Extract the ChurchInfo distribution from the .tar.gz file of the .zip file.
  • Copy the new files over your previous installation, making sure they wind up in the same place.  FileZilla is good about doing this recursive upload copy if you need to use FTP.
  • Transfer the database settings from your saved copy of Include/Config.php to the new installation.
  • Log in as usual.  The first thing it will do is upgrade the database, then the new version will be operational.
If you prefer, you can rename your installation directory to set it aside and then install the ChurchInfo distribution into the original installation directory.  If you install this way you will need to copy any image files from the renamed installation directory to the same spot in the new installation.

 

 

Release 1.3.0 Available Now

Major new feature: Self-Service Interface

The self-service interface allows members to maintain their own personal
information, enter pledges and electronic payment methods, and make immediate
or scheduled electronic donations.  This interface is designed to be easily
embedded in a church web site or it can run stand-alone.  The starting point
for the self-service interface is SelfRegisterHome.php.

Support for newer versions of PHP and MySQL (now MariaDB)

The developers of PHP have obsoleted the mysql library that was used in
previous versions of ChurchInfo.  This release uses the newest library for
compatibility with PHP 7.  Many of the developers of MySQL have moved to
a new purely open-source database called MariaDB which is based on MySQL and
fully compatibly with ChurchInfo.  Several of the query constructs used in
previous versions of ChurchInfo are now unsupported and have been updated
in this release.

Electronic donations through Vanco

The new self-service interface supports electronic donations through Vanco
only.  There will probably be another release soon to support Authorize.NET
and perhaps Moneris if there is interest.

Numerous bug fixes and minor improvements

There are numerous bug fixes and minor improvements in this release.  Details
are in the Git repository "CodeGit" on SourceForge.

Moving ChurchInfo

I often get this question- "How can I move ChurchInfo from one server to another?"  Fortunately, the process for moving ChurchInfo is pretty easy:

- Use phpMyAdmin to back up the entire database to a sql file
- Copy the entire file structure under the churchinfo directory to the new server
- Use phpMyAdmin on the destination to create the ChurchInfo database, populate it using the back-up file rather than running SQL/Install.sql
- Edit the file Include/Config.php on the destination to establish the database connection on the new server
- Log into ChurchInfo on the new server

The only tricky step is editing Include/Config.php.  Hosting services tend to have different and incompatible rules about how databases and database users are named, and the database host may be different from "localhost".

This process transfers everything so all the same logins will still work on the new server.

The nature of the servers does not matter as long as Include/Config.php contains the necessary database connection information.  For my own church I frequently bring the database back to a PC running xampp to try things that I would not try on the active server.

 

Read Before Downloading

ChurchInfo is a web server application, which is nice because you can use it from anywhere with a browser but it isn't your typical download/install application.  If you just want to run stand-alone on a PC please read the article below "Simple Installation on Windows".  You can get the server infrastructure from xampp and then browse to localhost.  The general instructions for installing on any server are in the distribution file Documentation/Readme.txt.  There is a shared demo running on our web site; see article below "Try our demo".  You can also register for a private demo that will run for a few weeks.  See the article below "Private Demos Now Available".  Your experience running a demo on our web site will be exactly the same as running your own installation.  If you have any trouble with the shared demo, or a private demo, please use the "Contact Us" link above and tell us what happened.  We can normally fix issues with the demos the same day.

If you want to use a commercial server please do not use GoDaddy.  Their servers seem to be overwhelmed and trying to use the admin interface is terribly frustrating.

Demonstration Videos

Introduction Video

This is a very quick demonstration video showing operation of our demo installation.  You can use the demo any time starting from the link near the bottom of this page.  If the shared demo gets too messed up please send me a message and I will reset it.

Watch introduction

Self-Service Features Video

This video uses the nightly build demonstration to show off the new self-services feature in release 1.3.0.  The nightly build is reset every night so it is a good place to do experiments starting from a fresh installation.

Watch self-service

Financial Features Video

A lot of people have been watching the quick introduction video so I decided to make another one focusing on the deposit slip.  I get a lot of questions about the financial features of ChurchInfo and this video answers many of the most common questions.  If you would like to see more videos for other subjects please use the contact link to send me email.

Watch financial features

Installation Demonstration

This new video shows the latest version of ChurchInfo being installed on a free server service.

Watch Installation on Free Server

These two videos take you through the entire process of installing on a commercial server.  These videos are older and the server services have improved since the videos were made.  The free server installation above is more representative of modern server services.

Watch installation

Watch test and debug

Auction Automation

This video is about using the ChurchInfo FundRaiser feature to facilitate an auction event.

Watch Auction

 

Private Demos Now Available

We can now host private demo installations to facilitate your evaluation process.  These demo installations are created in randomly named directories.  The purpose of these private demos is to give you a chance to experiment in your own space.  You can enter a little data, show your minister and your treasurer how it works, without having to worry about someone changing the admin password or deleting half the menu options.  Your demo space will be private but not particularly secure or permanent.  Please don't put a lot of work into it as it will be deleted in about a week unless you ask for more time.  Assuming your evaluation goes well please plan to download and install in your own world as soon as possible.

Please don't put nonsense for contact information.  Your contact information will only be used to communicate about ChurchInfo and will not be shared or sold for any other purpose.  If you put nonsense in the Private Demo Form your demo will probably be recycled soon and you will get Error 404 page not found while trying to use your private demo.

To get started with your private demo use this link: Private Demo Form

If you have any trouble with the private demo please use the "Contact us" link at the top of the page and tell us what happened.  We should be able to fix it for you.

To our international users

You can set the language by changing sLanguage in Admin->Edit General Settings.  ChurchInfo currently supports the following settings: de_DE (German), en_AU (Australian English), fr_FR (French, not updated recently), it_IT (Italian, not updated recently), nl_NL (Dutch), pt_BR (Brazilian Portuguese), sv_SE (Swedish).  If you would like to develop a new translation please let me know!

Try our Demo

logoWe have a demo installation of the latest version 1.3.0 available here The self-service interface for this demo installation is here.

Feel free to play with this database to see if ChurchInfo will work for your church. The password for this demo database is: “demoadmin” for Admin.  See the links below if you find a bug or want to discuss an issue.

Help Test The Very Latest from the Development Team

There is an automatically updated installation directly from our Git source control server here.  Please play with this version and report any issues in the bug trackers.  Log in with user name admin, password demoadmin.  No other logins are configured automatically.  If you prefer to take the very latest to your own playground this installation archive .tar.gz file is updated nightly: churchinfo-latest.tar.gz.

 

Simple Installation on Windows

I often get request from people who want to quickly install ChurchInfo on a computer running Windows.  This is a great way to get started and experiment, although the real power of ChurchInfo is best appreciated when it is running on a server and accessed from multiple different computers.  I use this procedure to install ChurchInfo for experimenting or development on a Windows laptop.

I have had good luck hopping back and forth between this stand-alone installation as a real server, simply using phpMyAdmin to back up and restore the database.

Here are the step-by-step instructions:

Install xampp for Windows.  This provides Apache, PHP and MySQL.  I tell it to run Apache and MySQL as services.

Unpack the churchinfo directory from the distribution into the directory C:\xampp\htdocs\churchinfo
Use Firefox or Chrome to browse to: http://localhost
Click the phpMyAdmin link
Select the Privileges tab
Press Add a new user

Set User name to "churchinfo", Host to "localhost", Password to "churchinfo", Re-type to "churchinfo", enable "create database and assign all priviledges; them press Go (bottom-right)
Select the new churchinfo database from the link to the left
Select the Import tab
Press Browse...
Navigate to C:\xampp\htdocs\churchinfo\SQL\Install.sql and choose this file
Press the Go button
Now browse to: http://localhost/churchinfo
Log in with user name "admin", password "churchinfoadmin"
It will ask you to change the password immediately.

 
downloadnow
Collecting Attendance Data
 

About our demo

Our demo installation is used by many experimenters to evaluate ChurchInfo.  Please let us know promptly if you have any trouble logging in, or if the configuration or data already in the demo is hindering your evaluation.  We frequently reset the demo site data.

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