Getting and installing WP Symposium

Note: this post is applicable up to the version running at (see footer of any web page)


I’m going to make the following assumptions:

  • You have the latest version of WordPress installed somewhere and you can login as an administrator
  • You know your administrator username and password
  • Your WordPress installation has access to the internet (you’re not sitting in a coal mine)
  • You are reasonably okay using websites and know how to navigate around the WordPress admin dashboard (but don’t worry if you’re not an expert, you don’t need to be)
  • You are using a single-install version of WordPress (ie. not multi-site, please see the Multi-site chapter for more information if you are).
  • You are using the TwentyEleven theme and no other plugins (you can keep Hello Dolly and Akismet as they come with WordPress.

Getting and Installing

The most straightforward way to install WP Symposium is via the WordPress admin dashboard. Go to Plugins -> Add New and do a search for Symposium.

This will allow you to search all of the plugins currently stored on the WordPress repository. There are a lot. I mean a lot!

Right now, this is the current count:


Now that’s a log of plugins, and a lot of downloads. It’s one of the reasons why WordPress is so popular. If you’re particularly interested, you can get the latest number for the above at!

So doing a search for symposium, you get the following results (or something very similar):


You want to click on Install Now, and WP Symposium will be downloaded and installed into your WordPress installation. When downloaded, go ahead and activate the plugin.


The first time you install WP Symposium, it creates a bunch of tables in your database and so takes a little longer. Upgrading doesn’t take so long. After activating, you will be returned to the WordPress dashboard.

Whenever you install or upgrade WP Symposium a welcome message is shown saying hello, and reminding you to visit the installation page to complete the installation/upgrade, along with some other helpful information that you can read now or later. Click on the “Dismiss” button to hide the welcome and visit the installation page.

You can re-display the welcome message at any time via the menu item WP Symposium -> Welcome/help message.


 Your first step after installation

Your installation page verifies your WP Symposium installation, and allows you to set up pages within your social network.

The installation page is divided into three main areas:

  1. The activated features (and activate those you want)
  2. The activation code
  3. A set of tools to help check your installation

The activation code

This is not something you need to worry about at the moment. If and when you decide to use certain WP Symposium bronze features, to avoid having a polite notice shown at the top of your website, you will need to enter an activation code.

See the chapter on Bronze membership for more information.

The Activated Features

After your initial installation, you will have no features activated. This is normal. We need to activate some of the WP Symposium features so they can be used on your website. So…

Activating WP Symposium features

Go the your WP Symposium Installation page, via the admin dashboard menu -> WP Symposium -> Installation. You will see a number of features, some of them in a section marked “Bronze member features”.

If you are using a brand new WordPress installation, your list will probably look something like that shown below. activating_features

The only feature activated is the “core” (which is always activated), which is all well and good, but won’t allow you to do anything. So we need to activate some of the others. We are going to focus on the basic features just for now, so click check “Activate” for the following and click on Update.

  • Profile
  • Forum
  • Members Directory
  • Mail


Those four features will allow you to get your social network up and running.

So we now need to add them to our website.

Adding WP Symposium features to your website

WP Symposium features are added to WordPress pages. With a clean WordPress install there are no pages that currently exist (other than the Sample page). Hence the drop down lists that are shown beside each WPS feature only has Sample page listed.

That’s fine; we are going to create a new page for each of our WP Symposium features.

To do that, click on the New Page button beside Forum.


This will instruct WordPress to go away, create a new page, and put the shortcode [symposium-forum] on to that page. It happens quickly and then your list of WPS features will look like this.


Note that the New Page button (and drop-down list) has been replaced with a link to your new page, and an [Edit] link allows you to edit the page that was created.

Also notice that the status column to the right shows that WP Symposium has updated it’s internal reference to the new page. That’s a good thing as it’s used elsewhere throughout WP Symposium, not that you need to worry about that.

So, let’s take a look at the page that was created. Click on the Edit link as shown below.


You will be taken to the WordPress page edit screen, where you can see the shortcode has been entered for you (for the forum in this example).


Removing WP Symposium from a page

If you followed the previous section, you will be looking at a new WordPress page with the WP Symposium forum shortcode in its content.

If not, then get to one of your existing WordPress pages with a WP Symposium shortcode in the content, and we will carry on together!

To remove the forum from this page, simply remove the [symposium-forum] shortcode and click on Update.

Now, what you must do, which is very important whenever you remove or manually add a WP Symposium shortcode to a page is re-visit the WP Symposium -> Installation page.

When you re-visit the page, you can see that WP Symposium has updated its internal information with the change your made, and that you are now prompted once again to add the forum to a new or existing page.


Completing the initial set of pages

Having added the forum in the previous section – go back and do it if you skipped ahead! – we can now add the other features. On the WP Symposium -> Installation page click on the Add New button for each of the remaining features so you end up with a list similar to the following.

Note that I’ve tidied up my Permalinks. See the next chapter “Tidying up your WordPress installation”.


You now have all four features (forum, profile, mail and member directory) set up and ready to use.

Go to your website and marvel at your creation. Your home page will probably be set to the blog, like WordPress does, we’ll tidy that up in the next section.

But your menu should look like this.


Clicking on Forum, Mail, Members and Profile and you should see your social network come to life!

Well, with you as the only member it’s not exactly kicking with activity yet, but the building blocks are now in place. Also bear in mind that the screenshots below may not match exactly with yours as there are changes from time to time, but you get the idea.

Pat yourself on the back.

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 18.07.02

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