SocialEngine Blog

SocialEngine is the best way to create a unique community website. Let your friends, fans or customers geek out about anything you want.

Ask John

And now, the blog post you’ve all been waiting for!

About a month ago we asked you to send in your questions for our head developer to answer and you did not disappoint. We received tons of questions spanning many different topics and have spent the past couple weeks sifting though and picking out a few that John will answer today.

So without any further ado, take it away John:

1)  When will you release a new version of SE PHP? And do you plan to continue working on it and releasing monthly updates like before?

We just released version 4.7 on November 5th. You can see our blog post on this here, which includes a list of the fixes and improvements. We plan on on releasing new improvements on a regular basis!


2) Can you suggest a way to take automatic-scheduled backups of database and files? That would be excellent advice. =]

There are many different ways to setup automated backups of your SocialEngine installation. First, check your existing hosting control panel (cPanel, Plesk, etc.) to see if there’s an automated backup feature there – you’ll usually find one. If that’s not in place, you can ask your hosting provider to set one up for you. Or, if you’re more technically included, you can setup a cron to tar the files, dump the database and copy/store it somewhere, like Amazon S3 for example.


You could do it with a bash script with something along the lines of:


BACKUP_FILE_NAME=$(date ‘+%Y-%m-%d-%H%M%S’)

tar cf ~/se$BACKUP_FILE_NAME.tar /path/to/socialengine

mysqldump -uuser -ppassword socialengine_db > ~/se$BACKUP_FILE_NAME.sql

scp ~/se$BACKUP_FILE_NAME* anotherServer

// or

s3cmd –acl-private –recursive put ~/se$BACKUP_FILE_NAME.tar s3://backups-bucket

s3cmd –acl-private –recursive put ~/se$BACKUP_FILE_NAME.sql s3://backups-bucket





3) Site speed has been an issue for me. Also site urls could be more SEO friendly. Are there solutions for SE site owners who would like these issues fixed?

We have made some improvements on page loading times by minifying/combining some javascript files and deferring their load. The plan is to refine this further. Additionally, with our release of version 4.7, we’ve optimized the size of all the images. We also plan to work on backend performance and will look into SEO-friendlier URLs in the next SE PHP release.


4) I am missing something. I see instructions to go to Admin and change language manager. But I don’t see that. I don’t see layout editor or how to create a page of content with an editor. Can you point me in the right direction?

If there’s a problem with the menu, you should disable any third-party plugins temporarily as sometimes they can cause problems with the menu. Otherwise:


5) I’ve found the Social Engine and Plug-in framework a robust set of tools for addressing architectural issues of a community. But I’m perplexed at what appears to be an aversion to addressing or improving content publishing and maintenance (HTML tools). I have found the existing resources lack the flexibility to incorporate site/community wide layer of publishing similar to what one would encounter in WordPress.

While SocialEngine does have lots of CMS functionality built in, it’s admittedly not the core focus of the software. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. WordPress is an awesome platform for blogging and publishing, and works very well as a CMS. You can certainly tie SE into a WordPress-powered site if you want to. The point is, at SocialEngine we are focused on helping you add social features to your site – which in general, is less about publishing, and more about enabling your own members and visitors to contribute their own content. Regardless, we’ll continue to make improvements to the CMS-related functionality in the platform as we push forward. In the meantime, you can use the Layout Editor to make visual changes or add new content to your SE PHP site, or access any of the HTML templates to make direct custom changes to the layout.

So there we have it! Thanks to everyone for writing in. We apologize for not being able to get to everyone but we hope this helps.

If you have any questions for our next installment of Ask John, please leave a comment or email and put “Ask John” in the subject line.

See you all next time!


  1. Jasper Laan
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    When will you add more features to socialengine? Now there is not enhough features to compete against other social networks thats what we really need new features.

  2. Posted November 13, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    When user will be able to stream videos on mobile device that does not support flash like the iPhone?

  3. Posted November 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Jasper

    We are always working to improve our product and give you guys what you want! If you have any specific feature requests please email them to and I’ll forward them on to our development staff!

  4. Posted November 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    While we don’t have a roadmap for this feature yet, I will be sure to forward this on to our development staff. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Blogary
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Why not have a backup module built-in to the admin panel that features schedule and placement of backup tar files such as at Amazon S3?

  6. Blogary
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I would like to see more features in the modules, such as, in Blogs have sub-categories! Offer the standard single column format or a grid layout!

  7. es7
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    We can configure video streaming for mobiles using our Media Projects plugin. Note, this will most likely require re-compilation of ffmpeg on your server. That’s why this feature isn’t offered out of box.
    Eugene from Webhive team

  8. es7
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    John, two technical question.

    1. Do you plan to update Zend Framework to the most recent version 1.12? Currently SocialEngine PHP still uses 1.9. There don’t seem to be any issues to use the newest versions

    2. Any long-term plan to move to Zend Framework 2? I understand it will require a serious rewrite, but it’s much faster than ZF1

  9. Chance Trahan
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    Why does my Sign In page say ‘Cookies must be enabled to Log In’? It prevents users from logging in.
    My browser is Google Chrome, but I have researched and found that it is cross browser error.
    I may login from package manager without error but the index log in page gives cookie message.

    Also, Development Mode does not show that it is in Development mode unless I refresh the page
    and Development Mode crashes some of the front end page styles when viewing site in Development Mode.

    Thank you!!!
    Chance Trahan

  10. Posted November 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Hey Chance

    For this issue I’d recommend opening a support ticket from your client dashboard ( This will allow one of our technicians to take a look and get back to you asap!

  11. barry
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    When are you going to fix the pagination problem in forums? the forums work fine as long as you only have 10 pages of replies. We now have 48 pages, and our members have to click the navigation buttons 7 times to jump to the page with the recent post on it. All our forums (which are ongoing discussions) are gradually becoming completely unusable.

  12. Posted January 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for reaching out! I have passed this issue along to our development staff and we will look into this issue as soon as possible!

  13. Chance Trahan
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    It was my plugin coding, thanks anyways!! However, I do not like paying for support after shelling out 300 bucks already, not very good practice for your business and will make your clients find better support & products from people who truly care about their customers. Just saying, this is the best you’re giving me for my hard earned money?

  14. Posted January 16, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    We completely understand. While we really do wish we could offer 100% free support, unfortunately because each support ticket requires us to send in one of our technicians to look at the configuration of your license, in order to be able to offer this service, we do need to charge a small fee. However, we are confident that our technicians will provide great support and help get you back up and running quickly and efficiently!

  15. Chance Trahan
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for answering, Kyle, you are awesome!

  16. Acheron Apostolos-Parthenopaeu
    Posted January 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    We are having an issue our fans are reporting that when they try to access our site using IPhones, Android cell phones & tablets & even Nexus can’t seem to even access the site or sign up & if they can get to the site they get a message : says loading then gets the message page not found the requested resource could not be found HELP! I thought it might have been our fans who might not be accessing correctly from those devices but I just tried with a Galaxy S4 cell phone to sign up 1st then just to sign in to an existing account & BOTH times I got the above message after reaching the dashboard . any & all help or steering me in the right direction would be helpful

  17. Posted January 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry to hear about that. For this issue I would recommend opening a support ticket from your client dashboard. This will get this issue out to our support techs and they will respond as quickly as possible!

  18. barry
    Posted November 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    When the customer clicks the ‘Forgot Passord’ button, they receive an email asking them to contact the support administrator. This is a major support headache and a big problem for customers since they are locked out of the network until an admin person can get back to them which might be several days if over the weekend. No other system I’ve ever used has such a primitive password retrieval system. Am I missing something, or is this how it was designed to work. Please help!

  19. Posted November 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


    It appears something is broken. Please open a support ticket and we’ll get on it.


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