Mounting Omeka

We’re now working on each of us having our own installation of Omeka, so that people can a) have the experience of maintaining an instance of it, and b) compare it to other CMS’s, such as WordPress and Drupal.

Please follow the directions on  These are described as “7 Easy Steps for Installing with LAMP server setup,” but they do take some trial and error. For some further newbie tips, keep reading.

  1. First, create a subdomain. You already have wordpress running on your website.  How will you run Omeka at the same?  By creating a subdomain.  So, for example, if your website is, you can create a subdomain  Then you can mount Omeka so that anyone typing in the url will get there. In your hosting interface, go to the domain area, and you will probably have a tab titled “subdomains.” Go there, and add a new subdomain, with a title that makes sense to you–either related to the material you might want to put on an Omeka installation or something related to Omeka (mine is, where you’ll find the shell, and nothing else yet).
  2. If you’re using Reclaim hosting, you are in luck, as you have a one-click install. Install Omeka into your chosen subdomain, and you’re ready to go. Have fun with Omeka!
  3. If you’re not using Reclaim: download Omeka to your computer. It’s in a zip file, which you’ll have to open on your computer. On a Mac, all you have to do is double-click it. Here are Windows instructions.
  4. Follow the Omeka install instructions for Steps 1 and 2. When you are following Step 3 of the Omeka installation instructions, remember to keep all your username, password information in quotation marks.  Why? Remember our syntax lessons from HTML/CSS.  In this case, if you have any punctuation marks as part of your username or password, you’ll get an install error if you don’t use quotation marks (trust me one this; it happened to me). And people: remember to save your changes to the db.ini file!
  5. To upload Omeka (Step 4), if your host has cpanel, you can use the “universal FTP,” which is a Java application.  I would recommend Safari or Firefox for this if you’re on a Mac. Also, on any platform, your computer may think that this is a security breach.  You can either go through the steps to have your computer trust this, or use an FTP client on your computer (just look it up; there are several free to download from the internet).
  6. When you upload it, don’t upload the unzipped Omeka folder itself.  Upload the contents of the folder to the folder on your host that is now specifically for the subdomain.  You’ll find it if you dig around enough, usually in one of the “public” folders.
  7. With your favorite internet browser, go to the url that you’ve picked for your Omeka install, and get started.  Don’t worry too much about what you enter on that first page.  Just about all of it can be changed once you get into the Omeka control panel.
  8. Set the PHP-CLI path.  If you want to use any Omeka plug-ins (and you will for class), you’ll need to make sure that the your Omeka install can access PHP on your server.  Here’s how to do it on Bluehost.  First, go to cPanel, and open the file manager.  Find your Omeka folder, then the application folder, then the config folder, to find your config.ini file.  That’s the file that gives the entire Omeka directions for how it works with the server, and some other global controls.  Select that file, and click on the “Code Editor.”  You can now edit your config file (don’t worry about saving a copy of the initial file; you have a copy on your hard drive from when you downloaded the entire package from  If you go to lines 146-152, you’ll see that Omeka will try to autodetect the path for PHP.  But in Bluehost, it can’t.  So for the background.php.path (line 152), enter “user/bin/php-cli”.  Hit save changes.  Your plug-ins should now work.  Woohoo!

4 thoughts on “Mounting Omeka”

  1. So, I’ve been experiencing a bit of trouble with Omeka (nothing that I couldn’t finally hack my way through…). But the whole time, I’ve been really thinking about something.

    The Digital Humanities, as a discipline (or an inter-discipline, or a sub-discipline, or whatever it is/we are) seems to be all about experimentation. Trying things out and seeing what works, experiencing a few crushing failures, and then doing a little face-palm ( when we finally figure out what we were doing wrong the whole time.

    Is that experience my own, or has anyone else noticed that, too?

  2. Not just your own experience: that’s pretty typical, and part of the fun. Do a search for “digital humanities” and tinkering, and you’ll find dozens of interesting hits for pedagogy, for particular projects, and for general mindset. It’s the case for newbies, but also the case for people neck-deep in it. If you follow the DH tweetosphere, you’ll regularly “hear” about people trying this, making that, getting frustrated with a certain line of code or tool that needs work, etc.

  3. Omeka has been working fine for me (after a bunch of playing around)… until today. I’m trying to log in, but the admin page is completely blank. Did I do something wrong during the ftp process? Did I do something wrong since then?

  4. Dan– hard to say without knowing what you did (or where the page is and what it’s showing). It’s the equivalent of telling your car mechanic “My car won’t start.” Could be battery, starter, spark plugs, out of gas, your engine has been eaten by an alien… Admittedly, the last one is the least likely.

    First, I’d refresh your browser, just in case, but I would make sure that you haven’t moved or erased the files by mistake.

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