Why create your own private social network when there are already lots of websites available? People would like to create their own social network when they want to interact only with a certain group of people.

Social networking websites have predominantly occupied the web world and play a vital role in building business networks and new connections.

Social networking websites like Orkut, Facebook, Google Plus, no longer keep us confined within a small circle. We get to interact with a lot of fresh minded people and these social networking websites change the way we perceive things.

But all this happens outside your organization, how about building healthier relationships and bridging communication gaps within your organization? For this you need something called Enterprise Social Networking Software that could help you to build a private social network. This will help you to interact and build bonds with your peers within your company spanning across geographical locations.

Create Your Own Private Social Network Using Elgg

Though there are lot of options available for you to create your own private social network, Elgg is recommended.

Create Your Own Private Social Network using Elgg

Elgg is an award winning, open source, social networking engine which is being used by renowned organizations like NASA, Wiley Publishing, World Bank, UNESCO and many more. Do not forget to take a look at their showcase that displays some of the other cool websites that use Elgg.

Installing Elgg on Windows

  • Before we start installing Elgg we need to do some basic environment setup, so let’s first do that.
  • Download and install XAMPP (ignore this step if you are already using one)
  • Open the C:\xampp\apache\conf\httpd.conf file and ensure if you have uncommented the highlighted line in the below screenshot by removing the # symbol before it.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • Open the C:\xampp\php\php.ini file and ensure the arg_separator.output variable is assigned as shown in the below screenshot

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • Download Elgg (3.68 MB)
  • My XAMPP installation points to the local path as shown below:


  • Create a folder inside htdocs called Elgg and extract the downloaded zip file contents into the folder.
  • Now create another folder called data inside htdocs. Now you should have two folders inside htdocs and your folder structure should look as shown below:

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • The data folder is required to store files like photos, profile icons, uploaded files, etc that you use within Elgg.
  • The last step is to create a MySQL database. Use your favorite database editor and create an empty database.
  • I would recommend MySQL workbench.
  • Launch MySQL workbench and click create a new schema in the connected server icon (or) use the below query in a SQL tab to create the database.

create database elggdb

In the above SQL Query elggdb is the database name.

  • We have now prepared the environment for installing Elgg, now browse to the below URL from your browser. The port number may vary depending on your XAMPP configuration.


  • You should now see Elgg installation welcome screen. You are just six steps away from setting up your own private social networking engine. Click Next.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • The requirement check screen will check if your server’s PHP, web server and database requirements are suffice to run the installation. Click Next.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • In the database installation screen, provide your MySQL username, password and provide the name of the database that you had created earlier. Leave the Database Host and table prefix values as it is and click Next.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • You should see a message in the Configure site screen that says “Database has been installed.” Enter the Site Name that you desire, email address and enter the data directory URL. Leave rest of the options as it is and click Next.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • In the Create Admin account screen enter the display name, email address, username, password and click Next.

Create Your Own Private Social Network

  • You should see a message that says “Admin account has been created.” That’s it, you have successfully completed your installation.
  • Click the Go to site button and you will be taken to the Administration or back-end page of Elgg.

Features of Elgg

Let’s quickly have a glance at some of the features of this awesome social networking engine,

  • You can invite friends or coworkers to join you on this network, provide a list of email addresses and just hit send button to bring them on to your own private social network.
  • You can set access level to the content that you post or upload on Elgg.
  • You can add files, bookmarks or blog post and share them with your friends or coworkers. If you are running a private project then these features could be really helpful.
  • You can send private messages to users within your network.
  • You can configure notification settings on per user basis level.
  • The administration dashboard quickly shows who is online, list of new users, content statistics, etc.
  • You can create groups and invite friends or coworkers within Elgg to that group.
  • You can create Group Discussions and debate on a topic.
  • You can also allow users to authenticate their Elgg account using Twitter.

New to Elgg? Create your own private social network using Elgg and let us know how it went.

Already using Elgg? What do you like the most?