Create and host your own survey on your server – LimeSurvey

Limesurvey - logoSurveymonkey is probably the most popular online question and answer survey tool, but some survey can be very confidential and you don’t want any third party having access to the results, or simply you want to control from end to end your survey and be able to customize it as you wish.


If this the case, LimeSurvey is what you need. It’s a self hosted survey application  that allows users to simply create powerful online question-and-answer surveys and yet with great reliance (Can support thousands of participants without much effort).

LimeSurvey gets an impressive list of features, such as:

  • Unlimited number of surveys at the same time
  • Unlimited number of questions in a survey (only limited by your database)
  • Unlimited number of participants to a survey
  • Multi-lingual surveys
  • User-management
  • 28 different question types with more to come
  • WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • Quotas management
  • Integration of pictures and movies into a survey
  • Creation of a printable survey version
  • Conditions for questions depending on earlier answers (Skip Logic / Branching)
  • Piping and Micro-tailoring using a powerful expression engine
  • Re-usable editable answer sets
  • Ready-made importable questions
  • Assessment surveys
  • Anonymous and Not-Anonymous survey
  • Open and closed group of participant surveys
  • Optional public registration for surveys
  • Sending of invitations, reminders and tokens by email
  • Option for participants to buffer answers to continue survey at a later time
  • Cookie or session based surveys
  • Template editor for creating your own page layout
  • Extended and user-friendly administration interface
  • Back-office data entry possibility
  • Survey expiry dates for automation
  • Enhanced import and export functions to text, CSV, PDF, SPSS, R, queXML and MS Excel format
  • Basic statistical and graphical analysis with export facility
  • Screen Reader Accessiblity
  • W3C compliance
  • Supporting more than 50 different languagesin frontend and backend

Then on top of this long list, third party modules are available to connect LimeSurvey to

And it is not enough, you can build or install a wide list of plugins.

You can actually use LimeSurvey for any type of survey/data collection, such as marketing surveys, customer satisfaction, order form for product samples, university tests, etc…Well, of course, the best for you is to give it a try!Interested? Let’s install it then!


As usual, you need to have a working Apache, MySQL, PHP “combo” in order to use LimeSurvey. If it is not the case, you can read one of my previous article dedicated on this.

But note that it can work with the superior PostgreSQL if you prefer.

1) Install some useful PHP Extension (Optional)

If you want to have nice charts in statistics, captchas, email bounce tracking system, etc… I recommend you to install the following PHP extension. In root (sudo), run:

apt-get install php5-gd php5-imap zip

2) Clone their git Master branch repository into your /var/wwwOf course, you need to have git installed first.Still in root:

apt-get install git

Then clone the repo:

cd /var/www
git clone git://

Note that this can take quite a lot of time as their repo is quite big (280mb)If you don’t want to download the full project over git, you can simply use their latest archive available on their download page.3) Change the owner of the LimeSurvey folder, to apache user

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/LimeSurvey

4) Create a dedicated MySQL database/user/password for LimeSurveyI recommend you to use PHPMyAdmin to do it (Or equivalent software) if you are not familiar with MySQL.5) Run the Web installerSimply point to the web page http://YourIP/LimeSurveyand follow the steps.- Select your language, then accept the licence and ensure you pass the pre-installation check.Limesurvey - pre installation checkIn my case, as you can see, I do not have PHP LDAP Library installed (As I don’t use it), if you need it, simply run:

apt-get install php5-ldap

– Then fulfill the information of your database and proceed to the next step.Limesurvey - Database configurationAs you have created the database, an information message will ask you if you want to populate the tables, simply accept.

– Finally, you will have the chance to configure some optional settings (You can obviously modify them later in the admin panel), such as the admin login and password, email, admin name, etc…LimeSurvey - Admin panel

And then you are ready for your first survey!!

As LimeSurvey has a long list of possibilities, I strongly suggest you to read their online wiki to learn more on this great tool.


Loves to discover web-based apps to install on his own server@home and write articles about it


Add a comment