Last updated: December 29, 2018
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Oxwall is a collaboration platform which enables users to quickly create various community-based projects, such as fan sites, small social networks, collaboration tools, and various other community sites.
Oxwall’s popularity is usually attributed to ease of use, flexibility, and the ability to customize it to meet a lot of different needs. However, downsides include the fact that most Oxwall websites are built with a few premium plugins for additional functionality and the fact that you have to make a donation to have the “powered by” notice removed from the footer.
While Elgg was more popular in the past, in recent years Oxwall has become a strong competitor and many developers are choosing it over Elgg. Flexibility and ease of use are the most frequently cited reasons for Oxwall’s rise in popularity. However, Elgg still has a bigger total user base. It’s been around a bit longer and, unlike Oxwall, you can build an Elgg site without relying on premium plugins or paying the developer to remove a “powered by” notice. The hosting requirements are similar, so they probably won’t be a deciding factor.
Oxwall comes with a number of useful SEO features out of the box and collects a lot of useful statistics. It can be made even better with the addition of a few plugins, some of which are free while others are commercial. These plugins can be used to further enhance Oxwall SEO by optimizing load time, making URLs search friendly, and more.
Since Oxwall is open-source software, published under the Common Public Attribution License, you will not have to pay to use Oxwall. However, if you plan to use some commercial add-ons (called plugins), and most Oxwall sites do, you will have to pay for them. Also, if you need to remove the “Powered By Oxwall” link in the footer, you will have to make a donation to the developer. In other words, while the core Oxwall software is free, you might be looking at some expenses for additional features and customizations.
One of Oxwall’s best features is the level of extensibility and customization available to any user. Oxwall can be used to create blogs, forums, groups, wikis, — and all this can be done in multiple languages. Oxwall also features a lot of different themes and an appearance tweaking tool that should help you customize the aesthetics. Numerous Oxwall plugins are available as well.
The Oxwall community offers a large plugin library, including lots of plugins created by the official Oxwall developer (Skalfa LLC) and third party developers. Most of these plugins are free, but there are a lot of commercial plugins as well. The sheer number of plugins means that you can completely alter Oxwall’s appearance and functionality. To give you an idea of what’s available, with the most popular plugins you can add a live chat feature, allow users to create polls, add include video conferencing to your site, fundraise, and more.
Oxwall’s core code is well structured and easily accessible, allowing third-party developers to easily create their own plugins without having to mess around with the core. This means plugins can be easily developed and tested. The fact that you don’t have to alter the core code to create something new adds to its flexibility, as developing custom sites does not entail any changes to the core code, which may compromise stability and compatibility.
Oxwall is available as a one-click installation by many hosts since it was added to the Softaculous software collection in 2011. Installing Oxwall manually is straightforward and well document as well, so you should have no trouble installing it as long as your server meets the requirements.
Oxwall is written in PHP and relies on MySQL. You will need PHP 5.3 or higher, Apache 2 or higher, and MySQL 5.0 or higher. Most of these requirements will be met by any hosting plan, even low-cost hosting plans.
It all depends on the size of your network and the comprehensiveness of the design and content hosted on the site. Obviously, if you are going for a minimal design with few users, you won’t need a lot in the way of storage. However, if you expect your users to share a lot of files (amateur photography, some business niches), it might be a good idea to look for a hosting plan with a lot of storage and bandwidth.
You should have no trouble finding all the documentation you need. Simply head to the official Oxwall website and look for the link to the DOCS. Oxwall is well documented and relies on a community of third-party developers for a lot of plugins and additional tools. You should be able to find code repositories, extensive documentation, examples, guides, and much more.