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I'm considering getting started with CiviCRM. I have a website with WordPress on a hosting provider that doesn't cater to CiviCRM. Do CiviCRM and WordPress need to be on the same web host in order for integrations to work properly?

I found some documentation on this here, which makes it look like I can run CiviCRM on a subdomain, but it seems that this doesn't integrate as well. Can someone elaborate on how this is different than running them on the same server?

  • Hi Sondra - A lot of good answers below - but I thought I would comment instead regarding your host. Why do they not cater to CiviCRM? I have not heard of any host that will not allow for CiviCRM. – themak Feb 19 at 5:37
  • @themak: By "cater to", I mean specifically seeking to support it. I've been asking around, and everyone I talk to seems to suggest I need a host which specializes in CiviCRM rather than a generic web host, although I'd be glad to hear otherwise. – sondra.kinsey Feb 20 at 16:14
  • All you need is a host that supports the requirements of CiviCRM - it does not need to specialize in CiviCRM. it would help to know what level of expertise you have with maintaining websites, etc? Also where are you currently hosted? – themak Feb 20 at 18:04
  • @themak: My impressions are based partially on this StackExchange answer. I'm on Namecheap shared hosting with jailed SSH access. – sondra.kinsey Feb 20 at 20:23
  • CiviCRM will run fine - it may lag if you have a busy site / a lot of concurrent users. Side note - we are actually looking at Namecheap'ss stellar business plans - we may make the switch - would love to know what you think of their offerings. – themak Feb 20 at 20:29
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There are multiple ways to do integration with CiviCRM.

CiviCRM and WordPress on the same server.

There are certainly benefits that come with hosting CiviCRM and WordPress together. Those benefits are a distinguishing feature compared to other CRMs that often lead folks to pick CiviCRM. For instance, using Caldera Form-CiviCRM integration, or the CiviEvent widget. Donation, membership and event signups automatically inherit your site's theme. A shared login system.

CiviCRM and WordPress on different servers

Many folks choose to keep their website and CRM separate. Sometimes the CRM contains data that necessitates higher security. Sometimes a parent organization offers CiviCRM to its branch offices, who wish to maintain their own website but use CiviCRM.

You can still do a good amount of integration. There is Remoteform to do remote event/donation pages and email signups remotely (though not yet with 100% of features of a same-site page). Contact Form 7 CiviCRM integration allows remote form submission. I have a proposal in to synchronize events from CiviCRM to a remote (or local) WordPress site running Event Calendar Pro which I would release publicly if funded. However, there's no denying these are more advanced configurations which are more difficult to set up.

The short answer

Ultimately CiviCRM requires a CMS, even as a "shell" to manage users. If you're going to go with a host capable of running CiviCRM anyway, there's no reason not to switch your WordPress site to that same server and likely save a few bucks by canceling that hosting.

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It depends on what you mean with integration of your Wordpress website and CiviCRM. At the moment it is possible to have civicrm on a separate host with integration of Contact Form 7 (https://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7-civicrm-integration/). Meaning that forms submitted with Contact Form 7 are submitted to the remote CiviCRM by wordpress.

There is a blog describing how this works: https://civicrm.org/blog/erikhommel/send-wordpress-contact-form-7-data-to-civicrm-with-api This blog post is a bit outdated because it describes that we have developed a custom API at the CiviCRM end. This custom API is not needed anymore, instead you could use the Form Processor extension (https://civicrm.org/extensions/form-processor). With the form processor extension you could handle what needs to be done with the data submitted by an external form.

There is no plugin (yet) for displaying data from CiviCRM in Wordpress. Work is in progress on that but not sure when it will be ready. Because we (CiviCooP) have no funding for it and we are doing this in our time as a contribution to the civicrm community.

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CviCRM works as a plug-in to CMSs such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla. There would be big issues with permissioning, logging in and all sorts of badness. You might be able to use external HTML snippets, but I wonder what the point would be. If you think about it, if you had to host CiviCRM on another server, you would still need WordPress, Joomla or Drupal to run it. There is no standalone version. So you might as well change your server provider and have them both running on the same server?

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    Some orgs don't have a public-facing civicrm but still use it for staff internally. In that situation two servers maybe has a point, especially if they want to try it out for a while before switching everything over to a new host. They might have to switch their email etc too which might not be a small task. But I think your first point about logging in is the key. It depends if they need to share user accounts between the two. – Demerit Feb 17 at 16:53
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I have a website with WordPress on a hosting provider that doesn't cater to CiviCRM. Do CiviCRM and WordPress need to be on the same web host in order for integrations to work properly?

Yes, to get the full range of integration your website and CiviCRM need to be on the same WordPress system. If your current hosting provider cannot support CiviCRM then migrate your website to one that does and add CiviCRM.

However ... it depends what integration you actually need between your website and CiviCRM. You can run them on separate systems and integrate specific features as Jon & Jaap have described.

It might be worth contacting a partner to talk through what you want to do so that you start off in the right direction.

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