System Administrator's Guide/Installing Mahara/

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  1. Download the latest XAMPP software from
  2. Once downloaded, install the software by following the steps on the screen.
  3. Once installed, make sure you have turned on Apache and MySQL from the XAMPP Control Panel

Xampp control panel.png

  1. On your favorite browser, go to http://localhost and you should see the XAMPP welcome page.
  1. Once your server is up and running with MySQL, we need to create a Mahara database. Head to http://localhost/phpmyadmin which should log you in to your mysql database . Once in, create a new database called 'mahara' having a collation of utf8_general_ci

Mahara phpmyadmin create dn.png

  1. Clone the latest version of Mahara from
  1. The next step is to configure all the variables in the config-dist.php file. You need to complete this file with the values of your installation:
$cfg->dbtype   = 'mysql5'; 
$cfg->dbhost   = 'localhost';
$cfg->dbport   = null;
$cfg->dbname   = 'mahara';  // this is the name of the mahara database
$cfg->dbuser   = 'root'; // this is usually the default user for the database administrator.
$cfg->dbpass   = ''; If you have added a password to your root user, you should add the password here.
$cfg->dbprefix = '';

You need to configure the paths for the wwwroot and dataroot directories with the values in your installation. In my case: $cfg->wwwroot = 'http://localhost/mahara/'; and $cfg->dataroot = 'C:\\xampp\\data'; (the double slashes are important).

Leave the rest of the config-dist file as it is. Once you have saved the file, rename it as 'config.php'

  1. Create a VirtualHost file under XAMPP to make sure your http://localhost/mahara points to C:\xampp\htdocs\mahara\htdocs\ . More info can be found here: System_Administrator's_Guide/Installing_Mahara#Apache_Configuration

After installing Mahara, you see see something like this:

CSS files are not present in your htdocs/theme/raw/style directory.
If you are running Mahara from a git checkout, run "make css" to build the CSS files. If you are running Mahara from a ZIP download, try downloading and unzipping again.

To resolve this on Windows you should download cygWin (32 bit) from here. When you run the setup file, make sure you select the make package from the 'devel' dropdown as shown below :

Make install cygwin.png

This would make sure that you have the make command installed for CygWin and ready to use. Browse to the mahara directory ( cd C:\xampp\htdocs\mahara) and run:

make css

on the cygwin terminal.

$ make css
npm install
npm WARN package.json mahara-themes@1.0.0 No repository field.
npm WARN package.json path@0.11.14 path is also the name of a node core module.
Building CSS...
[01:50:21] Using gulpfile ~\PhpstormProjects\mahara\gulpfile.js
[01:50:21] Starting 'css'...
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\custom
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\default
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\modern
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\ocean
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\primaryschool
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\raw
Compiling CSS for htdocs\theme\subthemestarter
[01:50:47] Finished 'css' after 26 s