Install Dada Mail w/Dada Mail Installer

Installing and Configuring Dada Mail

Step #1: Download Dada Mail

Here's the direct download to Dada Mail v5.2.1

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Step #2 Upload the, "dada-5_2_1.tar.gz" distro to your cgi-bin

Download the dada-5_2_1.tar.gz distro (you will not have to uncompress the distribution) and then upload it to your hosting account's cgi-bin.

In these directions we suggest the cgi-bin, but feel free to use any directory that you know will work. See also: Installing Dada Mail in a directory other than in your, "cgi-bin"

Step #3 Upload the, "uncompress_dada.cgi" script to your cgi-bin

Download the, uncompress_dada.cgi script from here:

and upload this script (PlainTest/ASCII mode - NOT binary!) to your hosting account's cgi-bin - right alongside the dada-5_2_1.tar.gz distro you just put up.

Step #4 Change permissions of the, "uncompress_dada.cgi" file to, "755"

Step #5 Visit the, "uncompress_dada.cgi" script in your web browser.

The, uncompress_dada.cgi should attempt to uncompress the dada-5_2_1.tar.gz distro, change the necessary permissions of various files and prep the actual installer for you to use.

Once it's finished running, you should be presented a link to use the actual installer. Click the link at the end of the screen and go ahead and configure Dada Mail!

See, Prepping Dada Mail Manually if this doesn't happen and you get a message in your browser window, sort of like this:

Can't find dada-5_2_1.tar to uncompress!You may have to uncompress and prep Dada Mail manually.

Configuring Dada Mail with the, "install.cgi" Script

The installer should be relatively straightforward on how it's used - just fill it out with the information it's asking for. Below, we'll explain exactly what it's looking for.

Choose, "Installation"

The first screen of the installer will ask you if you'd like to Install, or Upgrade Dada Mail. Choose, "Installation" and click, "Continue..."

Onto the next screen!

A Warning Up Top?

It's possible that before you even start using the Dada Mail installer, that you'll receive a warning stating that Dada Mail won't be able to edit the, dada/DADA/ file. This would be because there's a difference in file permissions/privileges between the user that the installer is running under and the user that owns the dada/DADA/ file.

This means you'll need to edit one line in the dada/DADA/ file to get Dada Mail running correctly.

".dada_files " Directory Location

Fill out the location on where to place the, .dada_files directory.

The installer will do its best to pre-fill out the best location for you - and you can just use it's best guess and forgo having to know the exact details.

For most installations, we suggest having the installer create the, .dada_files directory in your home directory. All you'll need to do is fill out where your home directory is located. Find out what the location of your home directory is from your webhost, if you do not already know it.

  • Select AUTO

    If the installer has successfully selected your home directory, or you like the directory it has selected.

  • Select MANUAL

    (and fill in the location you'd like) if the installer doesn't pick a good location or you'd rather the directory be somewhere else.

    See, .dada_files Directory Location for help on picking an alternative location for your .dada_files directory.

Dada Mail URL

The Dada Mail URL is simply the URL that you will access Dada Mail's, mail.cgi file from. This form field should be filled out automatically, but if something doesn't look right, just look at the URL of the installer - for example, if the URL of the installer is:

Your Dada Mail URL will be:

Dada Mail Root Password

The, Dada Mail Root Password is the main administrative password to your Dada Mail installation - choose a good, strong password - all you'll need to do is enter it twice, just to make sure you know exactly what it's set to.

Dada Mail Backend

Dada Mail will need to save its mailing lists and other information in various files and/or an SQL database. The SQL database is optional, but we highly suggest using it:

Tons of stuff.


Select Default if you cannot, do not know how, or do not want the SQL backend option (we really suggest going the distance and using the SQL backend)

MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL will have the same features available and work under the hood, basically the same way. We personally like PostgreSQL better, but MySQL is going to be tested a bit more thouroughly and probably is more familiar to most people, so at the moment, it's the backend that we recommend.

SQLite is also an option, but we recommend using it for testing purposes, only.

When you select one of the SQL backends, you'll also be asked to fill in the SQL connection information, including the database server, the port number, the name of the database itself and the username and password.

This database has to be set up beforehand. It's not too hard to do if you have a cPanel w/phpMyAdmin to help you along. Just note the Server, Database, Username and Password, once you create the database (No tables have to be created, beforehand). The SQL user will need full priviliges to your database. We don't suggest, for security reasons, giving this same user any permissions to any other database.

Don't worry about filling any of these out if you've chosen to use the SQLite backend. Yeah!

  • Database Server

    The majority of the time, you'll set this to, localhost, unless you have specific instructions to set it to something a little different.

  • Database

    Fill this out to whatever you've called your database.

  • Port

    By default, this is set to, auto. If you do not know what port your database uses, Dada Mail will take its best guess. By default, if you use MySQL, the port will be, 3306, for PostgreSQL, the port will be: 5432. Unless your database is set up different from the default configuration, these two numbers should work for the majority of people out there.

  • Username

    Fill this with the username that's associated with your database

  • Password

    Fill this with the password associated with the username.


Optionally, you may also install many of the plugins and extensions that come with Dada Mail. Access to the plugins/extensions will be available in the list control panel's admin menu.

Some of the plugins/extensions have additional configuration that will need to done, before they work completely. For the majority of these plugins/extensions, you'll need to also set a cron job.

One plugin, Bounce Handler, also requires you to fill out the credentials for the bounce handler email account you need to set up to capture bounced emails.


Optionally, you may also configure the WYSIWYG editors that come bundled with the Dada Mail distribution. These WYSIWYG editors will enable you to author and edit your HTML Mailing List Messages right in your List Control Panel.

Install and Configure WYSIWYG Editors

If you would like to use the bundled WYSIWYG editors with Dada Mail, check the option, Install and Configure WYSIWYG Editors - which is checked by default. Uncheck this option, if you'd like to skip setting up the WYSIWYG editors - the various options will be hidden.

Support Files Directory

To install the WYSIWYG editors, the Installer will copy over the WYSIWYG editors to a new directory on your hosting account called, dada_mail_support_files. You will need to tell the Installer where this new directory should reside. Absolute Directory and the Corresponding URL.

Unlike the .dada_files directory, you will want to be able to access the dada_mail_support_files directory through your web browser. The File Browser (KCFinder) enables you to upload images to use in your mailing list messages, and those images will also need to be publically accessable.

By default a pretty good guess is made as what to set both the Server Absolute Path to your base public HTML directory, as well as the corresponding URL to access that same directory through your web browser.

If the default location looks fine, keep it as-is. If you'd like to customize/fix where this directory should live, you may do so.

The Installer will create the, <dada_mail_support_files> and under the directory you set and install the WYSIWYG editors (ckeditor, tiny_mce, fckeditor, the File Browser/Image Uploader (kcfinder), as well as the directory that images/files are uploaded to, (file_uploads).

Completing the Installation and Configuration.

Once you've filled out the form completely, just click the, Configure Dada Mail! button. The screen will refresh and go about configuring Dada Mail for your hosting setup.

If everything works well (and we hope it does) you should be all set to run Dada Mail.

Do You Need to Manually Edit The, "dada/DADA/" File?

There's a possibility, especially if you were issued the warning before filling out the configuration form, that you'll have to edit a line in the, dada/DADA/ file. If this is the case, the installer will show you which file to look for and what to change it to.

Be careful when editing this file, as any error will stop Dada Mail from working. When saving the file and putting it back up to your hosting account, make sure to upload the file in ASCII/Plain Text mode, NOT binary!

Moving the, "installer" directory

Dada Mail will not start working, until you move the, dada/installer directory out of the way. This is a security precaution, so someone else doesn't come along and attempt to reconfigure your Dada Mail!

The provided button should do the trick, but if it fails (it'll let you know), you'll have to remove it manually. If you had to do the above step manually, you'll most likely have to do this step manually, too.

Making Additional Edits

The installer should give you the full path to the, .dada_config file it creates. This is the file that is written that holds your configuration that the installer just created. There's a ton of additional configuration options you can set - the installer just gets you up and running correctly.

Making additional configurations is a lot more advanced than running the installer, so be careful when editing this file - make a backup, first.

Running Dada Mail for the First Time

Once you've gotten the, dada/DADA/ file edited (if needed) and moved the, installer directory out of the way, it's time to begin using Dada Mail. Click the, Start Working With Dada Mail! button to begin!

Good Luck!

Command Line Interface

An alternative, command line interface is available, instructions can be found on how to use it, by invoking the script with the, --help flag,

 shell>./installer.cgi --help

most of the options available on the web-based interface are available in the command line interface, except the installation of the plugins/extensions.


The below screencasts go through the installation process:

How to Download, Install and Configure Dada Mail v5

Manual Installation

We suggest using the Dada Mail Installer, but you can still install Dada Mail manually: