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 v7.0.0:


Pro Dada Subscriber?

Download Pro Dada at:


Here's more information about Pro Dada:


Step #2 Upload the, "dada-7_0_0-alpha1.tar.gz" distro into your cgi-bin

Once you download the dada-7_0_0-alpha1.tar.gz distro, upload it to your hosting account's cgi-bin. For Pro Dada users, this distro is named, pro_dada-7_0_0-alpha1.tar.gz - use that name for the rest of the directions, below.

In these directions, we suggest uploading into the cgi-bin directory, 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 into 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 directory - right alongside the dada-7_0_0-alpha1.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-7_0_0-alpha1.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 with a link to use the actual installer. Click the link at the bottom 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-7_0_0-alpha1.tar to uncompress!You may have to uncompress and prep Dada Mail manually.

Configuring Dada Mail with the Dada Mail Installer

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 walk through all the options:

Choose, "Installation"

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

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/Config.pm 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/Config.pm file.

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

".dada_files " Directory Location

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

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.

The installer will do its best to pre-fill out its best guess for a good location for you.

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:


Support Files Directory

Dada Mail needs a collection of static files (image files, css files, javascript files, etc) to work correctly. During configuraation, the Installer will copy over these resources 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.

Unlike the .dada_files directory, you will want to be able to access the dada_mail_support_files directory through your web browser.

By default, a pretty good guess is made for the location 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, as well as copy over a few directories holding the required resources.

Make sure That this URL and the Program URL either both domain name, or are located on the same subdomain. The following examples will work great:

Same Domain

Program URL: http://example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi

Dada Mail Support Files Dir: http://example.com/dada_mail_support_files

Same Subdomain

Program URL: http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi

Dada Mail Support Files Dir: http://www.example.com/dada_mail_support_files

Same Subdomain

Program URL: http://list.example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi

Dada Mail Support Files Dir: http://list.example.com/dada_mail_support_files

The following examples will not work well:

Different Subdomain!

Program URL: http://www.example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi

Dada Mail Support Files Dir: http://example.com/dada_mail_support_files

Different Subdomain!

Program URL: http://example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi

Dada Mail Support Files Dir: http://list.example.com/dada_mail_support_files

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. This password will be stored in a one-way encrypted form, so there will be no way to retrieve it, later on.

Dada Mail Backend

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


Select Default if you cannot, do not know how, or do not want the SQL backend option.

MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite

Both MySQL and PostgreSQL will have the same features available and work under the hood, basically the same way.

SQLite is also an option, but we recommend using it for local 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.

Test Your SQL Connection

A button labeled, Test Your SQL Connection when pressed, will run a quick connection test, to see if Dada Mail can connect to your SQL server. This can help you make sure your SQL credentials for Dada Mail are working correctly.


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 left hand admin menu.

Some of the plugins/extensions have additional configuration that will need to done, before they work completely. For some 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. See the documentation on the Bounce Handler for more information:



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.

Advanced Configuration (Optional)

Dada Mail's Installer also supports setting quite a few advanced global configuration settings and parameters. This section is covered in detail, here.

Many of the Advanced Configuration parameters are only available in Pro Dada:


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.

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, Move the, 'dada/installer' Directory, Disable the, 'install.cgi' script 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.

Do You Need to Manually Edit The, "dada/DADA/Config.pm" 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/Config.pm 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!

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. How to configure more of Dada Mail's more advanced global features is covered here:


Running Dada Mail for the First Time

Once you've gotten the, dada/DADA/Config.pm 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!

Making Additional Global Configuration Changes using the Dada Mail Installer

Along with Installing Dada Mail, the Dada Mail Installer can also help reconfigure the global configuration of Dada Mail, at any time in the future, after your installation.

Dada Mail comes with a plugin called, Global Configuration to make this easy. It itself can be installer using the Dada Mail installer. Once installed, it can be accessed in the List Control Panel, under, "Plugins". Make sure you have logged into a mailing list, with the Dada Mail Root Pass, as it's not available, if you log in with the List Password.

You can also re-enable the Dada Mail Installer Manually.

To do this, you will need to:

When asked if you want to Install or, Upgrade your Dada Mail, choose, Upgrade and make sure the textbox labeled, Current .dada_files Location is filled in with the correct absolute path to the parent directory that holdsd your .dada_files directory. Click the button labeled, Continue..., to bring you back to the Configuration screen. Make your changes on this screen (make sure to select, Create a new .dada_config file on the top of the form).

Once you've completed your configuration changes, click the Configure Dada Mail! button as before, and follow the same directions you did during the installation, for the next screen.


This screencast goes step by step, slowly through the entire process of installing Dada Mail, on your own website.

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>./install.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.

Manual Installation

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


Dada Mail Project