Last updated: February 12, 2019
Pligg Introduction and Resources: CMS for Social Publishing
Pligg is a simple, open-source content management system (CMS), designed for the creation of social publishing networks or online social communities, similar to Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, and Digg.
Pligg is written in PHP and uses standard MySQL databases. It is licensed under the GNU Affero Public License.
Pligg was launched in 2005 by its founder, Eric Heikkinen. Over the next few years, Pligg earned a good reputation and a relatively large user base. Pligg was offered as a one-click installation by many popular hosting companies, and is still used by many web developers to build social websites.
After a decade of work on Pligg, Heikkinen got tired of maintaining it and wanted to move on to other projects. Also, with the lack of developer interest and direction, development of Pligg started slowing down and there was a fair amount of disarray among Pligg users and developers. In 2015, Pligg saw a sharp decrease in website traffic and sales, due to a lack of updates to the CMS.
In December 2015, Pligg was offered for sale by its founder and owner, Eric Heikkinen, together with the pligg.com domain name and credentials for Pligg’s GitHub account. The company was eventually sold on the cheap, for roughly $50,000.
The pligg.com domain is now a download marketplace where you can purchase trusted downloads.
The Pligg CMS was renamed to Kliqqi, and it is currently maintained by two of the primary developers of Pligg CMS. Kliqqi was announced as the official successor to Pligg shortly after the takeover. It’s a new open-source project forked from the original Pligg CMS engine. The new owners of the pligg.com domain offered their support and helped the new Kliqqi development community during the transition.
Using Pligg, you can easily create a social network or an online social community. Pligg users are in control of the content, unlike many other CMS systems which are designed for only a couple of authors. Pligg was designed for a large number of contributors, submitting and moderating content, and that’s what made it attractive back when it was launched.
Pligg is easy to use and manage, and it can power small social networks or similar interactive communities with a lot of community-generated content.
When development was discontinued, Pligg CMS 2.0.2 was the latest version of the platform. It requires the Apache web server, PHP version 5.3 or higher, and MySQL version 5.1 or higher to run. Hardware requirements are modest and given the age of the CMS, it should have no trouble running on just about any server you can find today.
At the height of its popularity, many web hosting companies offered a one-click installer for Pligg. Many Pligg installation tutorials can still be found online, but Pligg’s source code at GitHub is no longer available for download.
Instead, we suggest installing Kliqqi, Pligg’s official fork and successor, as development work on Pligg has been halted and no future updates should be expected. Also, the Pligg CMS website no longer exists, so there is no user support and little in the way of community support, since the community moved on to other platforms, namely Kliqqi. It is now possible to install Kliqqi via Softaculous
A range of professional Pligg templates were available for download from the official Pligg forum, and most of them were free. However, since the pligg.com domain was sold, they are hard to find now.
Unfortunately, work on many Pligg templates was discontinued, for two main reasons. First, Pligg templates have a huge codebase compared to other CMS systems, so coding templates required a lot of work. Second, Pligg templates had a tendency to break with every new release, so the workload of maintaining Pligg templates was simply too high and impractical for developers, especially those who contributed to the project free of charge.
Making matters even worse, Pligg templates do not work in Kliqqi without modification. In theory, they can be used, but the amount of work needed to tweak them for Pligg renders this approach impractical.
In its heyday, Pligg was a relatively successful CMS. While it wasn’t designed as an all-round CMS with mass market appeal (like WordPress), Pligg successfully catered to the needs of developers working on social network projects a decade ago.
Bear in mind that social networks were in their infancy back in 2005. They were seen as untapped markets by many entrepreneurs and developers, so Pligg appeared at the right time. It allowed developers to build a social network from the ground up in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.
One of the biggest drawbacks to Pligg was the way it handled templates. Pligg templates were cumbersome and required a lot of coding. Making matters worse, they were difficult to maintain and many needed to be tweaked for new Pligg releases.
Kliqqi is a worthy successor to Pligg, but unlike its predecessor, it did not appear at the right time. The social network frenzy wound down years before Pligg development was terminated. Demand went down, and developer interest in platforms like Pligg and Kliqqi waned.
This does not mean there is no market for Kliqqi or small, independent social networks in general, since a lot of developers are still working on them. However, demand is much lower than it used to be a decade ago.
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