Installing DotNetNuke DNN
Posted by Tim Botherway on 23 May 2017 04:10 PM


This guide assists with installing DotNetNuke without requiring assistance from the support team. It deals with permissions and some intermediate concepts, so you should be comfortable with DotNetNuke installations and file permissions as a starter.


The basic concept behind setting up DNN is to install the DNN into a subfolder, change permissions and setup virtual directory and run the installation via the web installer. Once this is all completed, we then move the installed files into the webroot.

  1. Setup database
  2. Upload DotNetNuke files
  3. Adjust permission via File Manager
  4. Set up a Virtual Directory for the installation folder
  5. Install DotNetNuke
  6. Move DotNetNuke files to the root directory
    1. Using FTP software
    2. Using Plesk Filemanager
  7. Remove Virtual Directory
  8. Notes

Warning: This guide does not deal with migrations. You will need to refer to DNN documentation regarding migrations if required.

1. Add new database

From your plesk panel :

1. Go and Click on  "Databases" or "Add New Database"


2. Add the following to new database:

  1. Add New Database
  2. Enter Database name and Database type (Keep it type as Microsoft SQL Server)
  3. The Database server will be listed. eq : "", take a note - it will be asked for during the web installer.
  4. Enter Database User name and password
  5. Click OK


6. Confirmation of new database added.



2. Upload DotNetNuke files

1. Using FTP client credential please log into your root directory and create a new folder "dnn" under httpdocs directory. You can use FileZilla FTP client to do so.

2. Download the latest archive of DotNetNuke from a trusted source.

3. Unzip / Unpack the archive to your local machine.

4. Now upload all unzipped DotNetNuke files and folders to dnn directory you have just created under httpdocs directory.

Note: Make sure that all the files and folders have been uploaded to dnn directory successfully.


3. Adjust permission via File Manager

1. Now go to the "File Manager" under you control panel and go to "dnn" directory you have uploaded files and folders to.

2. Now click on the drop button for the dnn directory and click on "change permissions"


3. Now please follow the "steps" in image to assign the right permission required for installation

  1. Check " Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects."
  2. Highlight Application pool group (xxxx) and select the checkbox Write and Modify and press OK



4. Set up a Virtual Directory for the installation folder

1. Under your control panel go and select Virtual Directory



2. Click Create Virtual Directory


3. Please follow the steps below. Check image for reference.

  1. Enter a Name ("dnn" is fine)
  2. Uncheck Path
  3. Manually enter path of uploaded DotNetNuke files - including /httpdocs/ "eq: /httpdocs/dnn"
  4. Check the following
    • Write permission
    • Directory Browsing
    • Change Execute permissions to Scripts and Executables
  5. Uncheck the following
    • Enable ASP server-side script debugging -> Defined by parent directory
    • Enable ASP client-side script debugging -> Defined by parent directory
  6. Now press OK



5. Install DotNetNuke via Web Installer

1. Visit - or the extension which contains your dnn files

2. Continue with the web installer and complete the following steps.

  1. Create an Administrative Username and set a password for your CMS management.
  2. Complete your website information section.
  3. In Database Information section please click radio buttons for Database type as SQL Server/SQL Server Express Database and Security as User Defined.
  4. Now complete Server Name, Database Name, Database Username and Database Password information as per your implmentation.
  5. Now Click OK

3. You must be able to see successfull installation window as image below.


6. Move DotNetNuke files to the root directory

Now that DotNetNuke is installed in a sub-directory (dnn) and permissions are all setup, we can move the installed files to the root directory of httpdocs and the permissions will not be altered. This is best done via FTP software.

Using FTP software

  1. Navigate to your httpdocs/dnn folder
  2. Select all files and folders
  3. Move selection into up one level to httpdocs
  4. Visit site without the /dnn extension ie: and the DNN installation should be visible.

NOTE If you are unable to move some folders or files, you will need to move via the Filemanager interface in your Plesk Domain.

Using Filemanager

The Plesk Filemanager has a limitation where it can only move one folder or file at a time. This method is not recommended, but is applicable where some folders/files may be unable to be moved via FTP.


7. Remove Virtual Directory

The final step once all is confirmed working is to remove the Virtual Directory; which is no longer needed.

  1. From control panel select Virtual Directories
  2. Check the checkbox next to DNN
  3. Click Remove
  4. Confirm and Accept.


Your new DotNetNuke site is now complete and setup. Please let us know if you have any issues during the guide.

8. Notes

Step 5. generalises the Web Installation process. The assumption is that you are familiar or comfortable with installing DNN passed this point. If you have any issues with the web installation, please let us know.

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