Configure CiviCRM for WordPress

Once CiviCRM has been installed, you should review the initial configuration tasks which allow you to customize CiviCRM for your organization.

Log in to your WordPress site, select CiviCRM and navigate to Administer > Administration Console > Configuration Checklist.

Use this checklist to review and complete configuration tasks for your site. You will be redirected back to this checklist after saving each setting. Settings that you have not yet reviewed will be displayed in red. After you have visited a page, the links will display in green.

Wordpress CiviCRM
WordPress CiviCRM


Localization involves adapting CiviCRM for use in a specific country or language by translating the text displayed on the screen and setting region-specific formats for dates and money (including currency).

Organization Address and Contact Info

Use this screen to enter identifying information for the organization or entity which “owns” this CiviCRM installation. The organization name and address are used to identify your organization in CiviMail mailings when you include the and domain.address tokens.

You should also enter a valid email address belonging to your organization, which will be used as the From field in system-generated (automated) emails.

Enable components

This is where you can turn on or turn off the components for your CiviCRM system.

When you first install CiviCRM the most frequently used components (CiviContribute, CiviEvent, CiviMail, CiviMember, CiviReport) are already enabled. If you do not need those components you can disable them. You can also enable any or all of CiviCampaign, CiviCase, CiviGrant, and CiviPledge. You can revisit this page at any time to enable more components.

Display Preferences

This screen allows you to modify the screen and form elements for the following tasks:

  • Viewing Contacts – Controls the tabs displayed when viewing a contact record.
  • Editing Contacts – Controls the sections included when adding or editing a contact record.
  • Contact Search – Controls the sections included in the Advanced Search form.
  • Contact Dashboard – Allows your constituents to view the groups they are subscribed to, their contribution history, event registration information and more. You can control the sections that should be included in the dashboard here.
  • WYSIWYG Editor – The editor provided to users to enter text in fields that allow HTML formatting (such as the introductory section for your online contribution pages). You can choose either CKEditor or TinyMCE. It’s a good idea to try out both and see which is more comfortable for you and your users.
  • Individual Display Name – Display name format for individual contact display names.
  • Individual Sort Name – Sort Name format for individual contact sort names.

Address Settings

CiviCRM allows you to modify the default fields for adding and editing contact and event address data. You can also change the address field layout used for screen display and mailing labels. Review the out-of-the-box defaults by adding a new contact record and noting the address fields provided on the form. Save the record and note the order in which the fields are displayed on the Contact Summary screen. If you plan on generating mailing labels for contacts, review the label layout (select Mailing Labels from the -actions- drop-down after doing a search using the Find Contacts menu option).

After reviewing the default fields and layouts, review the Address Settings screen and make changes as needed.

  • Mailing Labels – Controls formatting of mailing labels here. The default format is:
    {}{, }{contact.state_province}{ }{contact.postal_code}{}

    You must include the {contact.addressee} token here in order to include the name of the addressee in your labels. Users will be able to select from a variety of label types corresponding to the label manufacturer code when they generate the labels from a list of contacts. It’s a good idea to test your format with the type of label and printer you plan on using to verify spacing.
  • Address Display – Controls the layout of contact and event location addresses displayed on CiviCRM screens. The default format is:
    {}{, }{contact.state_province}{ }{contact.postal_code}{}
    This format applies to event locations, despite the use of the contact record type in the layout. The {contact.address_name} token is particularly useful for events where you need to include a location name (e.g. “Smithson Hall”).
  • Address Editing Fields – Modify the available address editing fields here. You can hide fields that you don’t plan on using in order to simplify the forms.
    • Street Address Parsing – CiviCRM uses the US Postal Service’s (USPS) Postal Addressing Standards to parse an address into fields to hold the address elements: Street Number, Street Name, and Apt/Unit/Suite. It’s best \to enter address information that conforms to the Postal Addressing Standards, not only for consistency in your data but also to best take advantage of the Street Address Parsing function.
  • Address Standardization – CiviCRM includes an optional feature for interfacing with the United States Postal Services (USPS) Address Standardization web service.

Mapping and Geocoding

CiviCRM includes support for both the Google and OpenStreetMap mapping services. These services allow your users to display contact addresses and event locations on a map. To enable this feature, select your mapping provider and obtain a key for your site from that provider.

You can also select a Geocoding Provider. This can be that same or different form, you mapping provider.  Once this service is enabled, your contact and event records will be automatically geocoded (the latitude and longitude for that address are inserted) as you add or edit address data.

Search Settings

These let you adjust search behaviors such as the use of wildcards and which data to include in quick search results. Adjusting search settings can improve performance for large datasets.

A wildcard character is a special character that can be used to substitute for any other character or characters in searches. CiviCRM allows you to use the percent (%) character to substitute for zero or more characters, and the underscore (_) character to substitute for any single character. Wildcards are useful for broadening your search results.

For example, typing ‘Volunteer%’ as your Activity Subject will match any record whose subject starts with “Volunteer” (e.g. “Volunteer for Open House” or “Volunteering Opportunities”).

  • Automatic Wildcards – By default, when users search for contacts by Name, the Search interface treats the text as if it was surrounded by percent signs.
  • Include Email – By default, when users search contacts by Name, the Search interface also searches for the text in email addresses. Disabling this feature will speed up searches significantly for large databases, but users will need to use the Email search fields (from Advanced Search, Search Builder, or Profiles) to find contacts by email address.
  • Include Nickname – By default, nicknames are automatically not included when users search by Name. Change this value to Yes if you want nicknames to be included.
  • Include Alphabetical Pager – If disabled, the alphabetical pager will not be displayed on the search screens. This will improve response time for search results on large datasets.
  • Include Order By Clause– If disabled, search results will not be ordered. This will improve response time for search results on large datasets significantly.
  • Default Contact Search Profile – You can select a Profile to override the columns displayed by default in Find Contacts search results.
  • Smart group cache timeout – Smart groups are basically saved searches. The list of contacts for each smart group is cached in the database in order to avoid running the saved search every time you access a smart group. This field determines the number of minutes to maintain the cache before refreshing it. The default value of 0 means the cache is emptied immediately when any contact is edited or a new one is added. If your contact data changes frequently, you may want to try setting this to a value of 5 minutes (or even longer) to reduce the processing load on your server. The drawback of delaying the refreshing of the cache is that old data will still be served up to users for a few minutes after new data is added.
  • Autocomplete Contact Search – If enabled, selected fields will be displayed in auto-complete dropdown lists and the “Quick Search” box on the navigation menu. The contact name is always included.
  • Contact Reference OptionsSelected fields will be displayed in autocomplete dropdown search results for ‘Contact Reference’ custom fields. Contact Name is always included. NOTE: You must assign ‘access contact reference fields’ permission to the anonymous role if you want to use custom contact reference fields in profiles on public pages. For most situations, you should use the ‘Limit List to Group’ setting when configuring a contact reference field which will be used in public forms to prevent exposing your entire contact list.
  • Autocomplete Results – This specifies the maximum number of contacts to show at a time when typing in an autocomplete field. The default is 10.
  • InnoDB Full-Text Search – If you are using MySQL 5.6+ you can enable InnoDB full-text search optimizations.

Miscellaneous (Undelete, PDFs, Limits, Logging, reCAPTCHA, etc.)

Use the Miscellaneous Settings screen to configure and control the following behaviors:

  • Dashboard Cache Timeout – The number of minutes to cache dashlet content on the dashboard.
  • Checksum Lifespan – The number of days before a personalized (hashed) link will expire.
  • Contact Trash and Undelete – If enabled, deleted contacts will be moved to the trash (instead of being destroyed). Users with the proper permission are able to search for the deleted contacts and restore them (or delete them permanently).
  • Logging – If enabled, all actions performed on non-cache tables will be logged (in the respective log_* tables). By default, these tables will be created in the same database.
  • Attach PDF copy to receipts – If enabled, CiviCRM sends PDF receipt as an attachment during event signup or online contribution.
  • The path to wkhtmltopdf executable – wkhtmltopdf is an alternative utility for generating PDF’s which may provide better performance especially if you are generating a large number of PDF letters or receipts. Your system administrator will need to download and install this utility and enter the executable path here.
  • New Version Alerts – If enabled on-screen alerts will be displayed to users with “Administer CiviCRM” permissions when a new version of CiviCRM is available. This setting will only work if the “Version Check & Statistics Reporting” setting is enabled.
  • Version Checking and Statistics Reporting – This feature automatically checks the availability of a newer stable version of CiviCRM. New version alerts are displayed on the main CiviCRM Administration page. Statistics about your CiviCRM installation are also reported anonymously to the CiviCRM team to assist in prioritizing ongoing development efforts. The following information is gathered: CiviCRM version, versions of PHP, MySQL and framework (Drupal/Joomla!/Wordpress), and default language. Record counts (but no actual data) are also reported. You can set this field to No if you are not comfortable with having this information reported for your site.
  • Display “empowered by CiviCRM – When enabled, “empowered by CiviCRM” is displayed at the bottom of public forms. This will help increase awareness of CiviCRM.
  • Maximum Attachments – You can increase or decrease the maximum number of files (documents, images, etc.) that can be attached to emails, activities, and grant records. The default value is 3.
  • Maximum File Size (in MB) – Maximum size of a file (documents, images, etc.) which can attach to emails or activities. Note that your PHP configuration files, php.ini, should support at least as big a file size as the value specified here.
  • Allow second-degree relationship permissions – If enabled, contacts with the permission to edit a related contact will inherit that contact’s permission to edit other related contacts. This can be used, for example, to let the teacher of a class edited the records for students in that class when they are both linked to the class (set up as an organization sub-type) via relationships.
  • reCAPTCHA – reCAPTCHA is a free service that helps prevent automated abuse of your site by requiring users to read a random pair of words and type them into the form. To use reCAPTCHA on public-facing CiviCRM forms, sign up at Google recaptcha, enter the provided public and private reCAPTCHA keys here, then enable reCAPTCHA under the Advanced Settings section in a Profile where you want it used. If you want to use reCAPTCHA protection for online contribution, membership signup or event registration forms, you’ll need to configure a Profile with reCAPTCHA enabled, and then include it in those forms.
  • You can find a reCaptcha guide to 10 CAPTCHA options at  –

Contact Types

You can modify the names of the built-in Contact Types (Individual, Household, Organizations), and you can create and modify “contact subtypes” for more specific uses (e.g. Student, Parent, Team, etc..)

Outbound email

If you are sending emails to contacts using CiviCRM, you need to enter settings that allow CiviCRM to connect to your mail server. Such emails include sending receipts to contributors, sending confirmations to people registering for events, and using CiviMail to send bulk mailings.

CiviCRM supports three different methods of connecting to a mail server: mail (the built-in PHP mail function); SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol); and Sendmail. Each method requires that you enter specific settings. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, or unsure of the correct values for these settings, check with your system administrator, ISP or hosting provider.

You should always send a test email after you enter or modify the settings. Simply click “Save and Send Test Email”(shown in the following screenshot). An email will be sent to the email address associated with your user login account. The From email address will be the default From address you’ve configured in the previous section.

Disabling outbound email

If you do not want users to send outbound emails from CiviCRM at all, select “Disable Outbound Email”. However, if you disable outbound email, and you are using Online Contribution pages or online Event Registration, you will need to turn off the automated receipting and registration confirmation features.

Redirect to Database – If this option is selected, all emails will be recorded as archived mailings instead of being sent out.

From Email Addresses

CiviCRM will use the default From address defined here when sending automated emails. If you’ve already entered an email address in the Domain Information screen, that address will be listed here (as illustrated on the leftmost field of the following screenshot).

Payment Processors

Payment processors are companies that handle credit card transactions for merchants and non-profit organizations and then transfer funds to the organization’s bank account. If you plan on using CiviCRM to accept online contributions, online membership signup, and renewal or online event registration, you will need to select and configure a payment processor for your site.

Permissions for anonymous users

Sites permissions for anonymous and other users are set after navigating to Administer > Users and Permissions > Permissions > Access Control.

System Workflow Templates

CiviCRM comes with a set of system-generated emails, including contribution receipts and event registration confirmations. These are known as system workflow templates, and it’s a good idea to review them. They will be sent out with your organization’s name on them. You can customize the style and wording of these messages.

Workflow messages include text AND necessary program logic. Use caution when editing so as not to modify the program logic. Be sure to test the workflow and review the emails sent after making any changes. If you find that your changes have caused problems, errors or missing information – you can always “Revert” to the system default for that workflow.

You should now have reviewed all the basic configuration tasks.  The remaining tasks on the checklist involve an understanding of the ways in which you can record and use contact data.



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3 responses to “Configure CiviCRM for WordPress”

  1. Avatar

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  2. Thomas Avatar

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    1. torbjornzetterlund Avatar


      Thanks for the feedback, we work on improving the speed, what computer and browser do you use, and what is country you live in. As speed can depend on the zones the server is in and you try to access from outside that zone it takes a bit longer.


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