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What is PHPSurveyor?

PHPSurveyor (now LimeSurvey) is a popular Free and Open Source surveying and polling application written in PHP.

Surveys and polls are a useful way to collect data about opinions, preferences, personal activities, demographics, and other information about large groups of people. This could be your customers, members of an organization, the public at large, or visitors to your website.

There are a number of polling and surveying apps available, but many of them are either limited in their functionality or are expensive premium services.

Lime Survey

Lime Survey was created in 2003 (under the name PHPSurveyor) to fill the gap and bring full featured polling and survey capabilities to the masses.

Lime Survey allows you to create detailed surveys of any size or complexity, and host them online, without any coding knowledge and without paying exorbitant licensing fees.

Lime Survey is completely Free and Open Source. It is also extremely feature-rich. From custom question types to conditional logic and branching, Lime Survey supports any type of survey or poll you can imagine.

Since its introduction, Lime Survey has become the most popular Open Source surveying and polling tool, winning a number of awards and rankings as the best Open Source tool in its category.

It is used by government agencies and educational institutions around the world, and is the trusted provider of survey and polling support for a number of Open Source projects and development teams.

Important Lime Survey Features

  • No limit to the number of active surveys that can be run from a single install
  • No limit to the number of questions that can be included in a survey
  • No limit to the number of participant for a survey
  • Administer survey in multiple languages; provide several translations for each question and answer
  • Multiple users/administrators, with management and permissions
  • Wide range of question types and format
  • Rich text questions with WYSIWYG editing
  • Survey quota management
  • Multimedia questions and answer choices: include images, video, and audio into your survey
  • Printer friendly versions of survey or sets of questions
  • Dynamic survey logic allows branching, skipping, and conditional questions based on user responses
  • Variable question texts allows micro-tailoring based on responses and other user data
  • Re-usable answer sets
  • Pre-written questions for common information
  • Assessment surveys
  • Allow surveys to be completed anonymously
  • Allow open access to surveys, or run them as invitation-only
  • Send survey invitations, reminders, and tokens via email
  • Let respondents save answers to finish survey later.
  • Support for cookies or sessions for data persistence
  • HTML Template Editor for customizing layout, look, and feel
  • Easy-to-use admin area for managing surveys
  • Back-end data editing and entry
  • Automatic survey expiration
  • Export survey data to a wide variety of formats, including: text, .csv, .pdf, SPSS, R, queXML, and Microsoft Excel
  • Statistical analysis and graphical representation, with export function
  • Surveys are accessible for screen readers
  • Internationalization and localization support, with 50 different language packs available.
  • Plugins for Content Management Systems: Wordpress (SurveyPress) and Drupal (LimeSurvey Sync).

Uses for Lime Survey

Lime Survey can be used to power any kind of survey or polling, or other types mass data collection based on individual responses.

A few ideas based on current Lime Survey use:

  • Market research and focus group testing
  • Psychological tests, either on individuals (diagnostic) or groups (research)
  • Customer service feedback
  • Phone-based data collection and polling (the call center operator interfaces with the system)
  • Hiring and HR (candidate testing and comparison)
  • Event coordination (polling for time or activity preferences)
  • Teacher evaluations
  • Seminar feedback

Lime Survey Hosting

The following minimum requirements must be met for installing Lime Survey on your web hosting server:

  • 80 MB disk space
  • RDBMS System. Options:
    • MySQL 4.1.0 +
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or later
    • Postgres 8.1 +
  • PHP 5.3 +
    • mbstring extension library
    • Database driver:
      • pdo_mysql or pdo_mysqli for MySQL
      • pdo_pgsql for PostgreSQL
      • pdo_sqlsrv for MS SQL on Windows
      • pdo_dblib for MS SQL on Linux

Other recommended server libraries and settings include:

  • GD Graphics Library for PHP
  • IMAP
  • LDAP
  • Zip
  • Zlib

Most of these are very standard, and almost all web hosting accounts will support the minimum requirements for running Lime Survey, if you want to install and configure it yourself. It is also supported as a one-click install from some hosting control panels.

Lime Survey is also available as a hosted SaaS solution, through Lime Service.

Another option for using Lime Survey is to install it as a plugin for WordPress or Drupal, which are both widely supported. In this case, check for server requirements and web hosting support on the primary Content Management System.

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