First Steps

Introduction

If you are reading this part of the AutoRank PHP manual, you most likely just installed it on your server. If that is the case, there are a number of things you will want to do to get started. This document will cover the items you will most likely want to do right away, and it will also point you to other parts of the manual where you can find more information about each specific step.

Important Notes

You may feel like snooping around your AutoRank PHP installation with an FTP client to see what files have been installed, and that is fine. What you shouldn't do is delete or modify any of the files or directories that have been installed. All of the changes that you will need to make are done through the control panel. You should never try to manually edit any of the files that are located in the AutoRank PHP installation directory or any of it's subdirectories. Doing so will most likely end up with AutoRank PHP no longer functioning properly. Unless you are specifically instructed by the tech support staff or the documentation to do something with the files, you should avoid doing anything to them.

Logging Into The Control Panel

If you haven't already, go ahead and login to your AutoRank PHP control panel. You may want to bookmark the control panel URL so you can quickly access it when you need to.

The left hand side of the control panel contains the menu, which you will use to access the control panel's features. When you click a link in the menu, AutoRank PHP will load up the appropriate page in the main portion of the browser window. We recommend that you keep your browser window maximized at all times when working in the control panel. It was designed for a screen resolution of 1024x768 or larger.

Note: You will not be able to access the functions of the control panel until you have configured and saved your settings in the Edit Options interface. Even if you click on one of the other function links, it will still take you to the Edit Options interface until your settings have been saved.

Changing Your Username and Password

You may have noticed that when you initialized the software a default username and password were created for the control panel. It is very important that you do this as the first step in using the software. If you don't change your username and password, anyone with knowledge of the default AutoRank PHP username and password will be able to access your control panel.

To change your username and password click on the Change Login link in the Setup section of the control panel menu. A page will load where you can enter the new username and password that you want to use. Make sure that you select a secure password that is a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Using a word out of the dictionary is highly discouraged as those types of passwords are very easy to crack. Make sure you write down your username and password so you do not forget them.

Create a Ranking Page

During the installation process the default ranking page is created for your toplist, however you may want to create more pages. If that is the case you can do this through the control panel's Manage Pages interface. The Creating and Managing Ranking Pages section of the software manual has additional information about this interface. After adding a new ranking page, make sure to run the Rerank Member Accounts function so that the new page can be viewed when it is accessed by yourself and visitors to your site.

Setup Links and Banners For Your Members

When someone creates an account at your site you will need to provide them with the links and banners they are allowed to use with your program. The Setting Up Links and Banners section of the software manual covers this in more detail.

Test the Account Creation Form

You are now ready to test the account creation form. Point your browser to the accounts.php script and fill in the form that is displayed. If you have any problems be sure to check how the software is configured through the Edit Options interface. There is much more information about account creation and management in the Creating and Managing Accounts section of the manual.

Setting Up Your Templates

AutoRank PHP comes installed with default templates which you may or may not like. Templates control the layout of everything from your account creation form, to e-mails, to your ranking pages themselves, and all of them can be edited through the control panel. Editing all of the templates can take time, so it may not be something you want to do right away, but you probably eventually will. There are sections of this manual dedicated to each type of template, so please read them over before you start making changes.

From Here

The steps above cover the major things you will want to do to get started with AutoRank PHP. Of course there are many other optional things you can do, but this will get you off to a good start. There are many other sections of the manual which have not been covered in this document. It is highly recommended that you read the entire manual. It may take some time to get through, but it will be worth it in the end.