On-Premise Installable Server

Server requirements

  • Windows Server 2012/2016/2019 Standard or Core.
  • 1Gb RAM Minimum, 2Gb or higher recommended.
  • .NET Framework 4.6.2 or higher.
  • IIS with ASP.NET.
  • SQL Server 2008 or higher (SQL Server 2017 recommended).

WhosOn Server can be installed on any machine running Windows Server 2012 or later. We recommend a machine with at least a 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM, but this should be doubled if you are planning to host your database on the same machine.

WhosOn requires IIS to run. This is included as an optional feature in any version of Windows Server and can be installed as a feature via the Windows Server Manager. While WhosOn does require other Windows roles and features, these will be added automatically during the WhosOn installation.

WhosOn requires a SQL Server database to store data. Following the installation you will have the option to download and install the free SQL Server Express 2017 to use for your database, or you can connect to any existing SQL Server instance.

For WhosOn to work outside of your server, you will need to make sure that certain ports are open external router firewalls. With the default setup for WhosOn, you would need to open ports 80, 443, 8080 and 8443 for external chat and tracking, and port 8011 for the WhosOn Client program to connect to the server. The WhosOn installer will open these ports in the local Windows Server firewall.

WhosOn can run on any physical, virtualised or cloud environment if the above criteria can be met.

We recommend not running any unnecessary programs on the same machine as WhosOn (other than SQL Server, when using a local database) to ensure that WhosOn has access to the resources it needs and that its services and components are able to run correctly.

Installation

You will receive a link to download WhosOn in your Welcome email, but you can always download the latest version from our downloads page.

Running the installer will begin the installation process. During the installation of WhosOn, the installer will install any required Windows roles and features. This includes the correct versions of .Net components and IIS features that are needed.

The installer can run on a machine that is not connected to the Internet. If this is the case, it will still be able to install the required Windows components as long as the original Windows installation media is present on the machine, but it will not be able to download and install SQL Server Express.

Registration

For WhosOn to run correctly it must be registered, using a serial key provided during a trial or following a purchase. You will be prompted for your registration details when attempting to run WhosOn following the installation. Once you have entered your details, WhosOn will connect to the Internet to attempt to automatically verify your details.

If your machine is not able to connect to the Internet, the Registration Wizard will ask for an unlock code. You can generate an unlock code from any browser with Internet access here and you can then enter that into WhosOn to complete the registration process.

If you are registering an existing serial, the details that you enter for the company name and email address must exactly match the details that have already been recorded. All fields in the registration process are case and punctuation sensitive. If you receive a message stating that the product has already been registered to another customer, this would mean that the details you are entering to register with do not match the details on your account.

First run

The first time that you run the WhosOn Service Manager following a successful registration, you will be prompted to create a System Administrator account. This is the account that will be used to access the WhosOn Service Manager. It can also be used to access the Settings Portal and the WhosOn Client. The System Administrator account will have special privileges within the Settings Portal not available to other Admin users, in that you will always be able to see the settings for all sites on the server (other Admin accounts will only see their assigned sites).

In addition to a System Administrator account, you will be asked if you would like to create a User account. This can be used to access the Settings Portal and WhosOn Client. If you do not create a User account now, you can do it later via the Settings Portal.

You will also be asked to create a site to be monitored. You can edit monitored sites, as well as add new ones, later via the Settings Portal. Even if the domain of the site that is created here does not match the domain of your actual site, it can still be used for setup and testing.

Before running the WhosOn services, you will need to connect to a SQL Server database. This could be your existing database, or the copy of SQL Server Express that can be downloaded from the database connection screen. You can connect to your database at any time using the Database Connection Wizard from the Server Settings menu. If you are using an existing SQL Server instance, you should enter the details into the Wizard and WhosOn will create a database to be used. If you are connecting to SQL Server Express that you installed from inside WhosOn, you can leave the Wizard options at their default to create a local database.

Once the database is connected, the WhosOn services will automatically start.

After starting the services, you can switch to the Server Log view to monitor the services starting.

You will see messages regarding the following services and tasks, as well as other general log messages:

Database connection – the database is required for WhosOn to work, if the database cannot be opened then WhosOn will not start. Any errors here must be corrected in the database connection wizard or inside the database itself.

Gateway connection – the WhosOn Gateway serves any web content required for WhosOn to work. This includes the ability to track visitors and show the chat button on your pages.

Getting everything running

Now that WhosOn has a database account and the services are running you will be able to access the Settings Portal and the WhosOn Client from the server itself. An external connection to the server will not be possible until the next section, IP/DNS Setup, is completed; but you will still be able to configure sites and user accounts, and use the chat from the server itself.

To configure User Accounts and Site Settings, you would need to login to the Settings Portal. At this stage, the Settings Portal will only be accessible via a browser on the WhosOn Server, at http://localhost/settings. You can login to the Settings Portal either with your System Administrator credentials, or if you created a User account when running the Service Manager for the first time, you can use that instead. Here you will be able to see the default site that was created for you, and you will be able to set up new sites and users if you require them now. You can see the Help guide for the Settings portal, including how to set up site and users here.

To see how the chat works, you would need to have a User logged into the WhosOn Client. As with the Settings Portal, this will only work locally from the server until the next setup section is completed. You can log in with any existing user profile but bear in mind your super admin profile cannot take chats. To test the chat, you should log in with your admin profile, or any user you have created in the settings portal. When testing locally on the server, you can use “localhost” for the server name. The Authentication String is found in the Service Manager under Server Settings > User Connections. To be available for a chat, a User would need to set their status to available, and it should be within the Opening Hours for your site, if you have set any in the Settings Portal.

Now that you have a User logged into the Client, you can test the chat from a website visitor’s viewpoint. The Service Manager contains a link to open your chat window, which will appear as it would to a visitor on your website. Click to begin the chat and you will be able to pick it up from inside the Client – you will now be seeing the chat from both a visitor and an agent point of view.

Now that the chat is up and running on your server, you can use the Settings Portal to make changes to the chat window and test the results yourself without it being publicly available. Remember that for any changes to take effect any chats in progress should be closed and any test pages you have open should be refreshed.

You may also test other features of WhosOn such as the Web Reports, which like the Settings Portal you can load from the Service Manager and access with an existing user account.

IP/DNS setup

Once you are happy with how the chat works internally, you will be able to configure the chat to be publicly accessible. You can do this via the IP/DNS Setup Wizard under Set Public IP in the Server Settings. Setting an IP or DNS name here will automatically change the links to the chat pages on the server.

The IP or DNS you enter here may be visible to those who use the chat, so it is preferable to use a DNS, if you have one. Once it is configured, you can now test that the chat is publicly accessible. You can do this by copying the link given for the chat page and accessing it from a machine that is outside of the server’s network. You should also now be able to connect to the WhosOn Client from outside of the network by entering your new IP or DNS name into the WhosOn Server field. This is how your agents will connect to WhosOn from now on.

The IP address or DNS that you set must be available from outside your network. If not, users attempting to connect to the client and visitors attempting to chat will see errors.

Setting server options

Before WhosOn goes live, there are some other setup steps that allow you to use all the features of WhosOn. These are setup in the Server Settings menu of the Service Manager.

For WhosOn to work from secure pages on your website you will need to apply a security certificate to the server. The precise instructions for adding a certificate to the server will vary depending on the certificate, and we always recommend following the certificate provider’s instructions for installation, but it will be added into WhosOn the same way – in the Server Settings, navigate to Gateway Server and use the Select Certificate button. This will allow you to select the correct certificate. The next time to restart the Gateway service it will load your certificate so that the chat can be used on secure pages – you will see the certificate being loaded in the server logs.

To be able to have outbound emails sent from WhosOn you will need to configure a Mail Server. In the Email tab of the Server Settings, you will have the option of using Office 365 or your own SMTP provider. Once your details are entered, you can use the Send Test Email button to test that the settings are correct. These settings will now be used to send any outbound emails from WhosOn. This will include emailed transcripts to your visitors, setup emails and user account notifications to your users and scheduled reports to your admin users.

Going live

Now that your server is prepared, there are only a few steps to get the chat on your website. If you have not done so already, now is a good time to check the domain and site settings within the Settings Portal are correct. You may want to setup all the user accounts you need, or at least set up Admin accounts for someone who will be setting up the users.

Any users that you do have will be able to download the Client and log in with the server IP or DNS, the authentication string and the user account details.

Once you have a site and users set up in the Settings Portal, the last step is to place the tracking code onto your site. This will begin tracking visitors and place a chat button onto your page, allowing your visitors to requests chat and your agents pick them up.

Once your server is running and users are logged in, the tracking code is all that is needed for visitors to chat. Placing the tracking code on your web page will begin tracking website visitors, as well as dynamically displaying a chat button when your users are online. The properties of the chat button can be changed in the Settings Portal.

IIS & ARR Setup

ARR (Application Request Routing) can be used to have the Chat and Gateway services run over the standard http and https ports (80 and 443) on a single IP. This is the recommended configuration for servers with a single IP address.

To start, you would need to first download and install the IIS extensions of URL Rewrite and Application Request Routing.

The name of this is not important, check the “Online” check box. For the server Address add localhost and check “Online” then click Finish. You will then be prompted to add a URL rewrite rule, click Yes.

Within the new Server Farm options, go to Caching and uncheck “Enable Disk Cache” and set the “Memory Cache Duration” to 0. Now, go to Load Balance and set the “Load Balance algorithm” to “Weighted Round Robin”. In Routing Rules, check “Offload SSL”, then go to Proxy and uncheck “Include TCP Port from client IP”.

Then click on the top level IIS node and select “URL Rewrite” and modify the routing rule that is in place. If one does not exist then add one (The name of this rule isn’t important)

In the Match URL section:
Set Request URL to “Matches the Pattern”
Set Using to “Regular Expression” Set the Pattern to – ^[^/?]*(\?.*)?$

Under Conditions you need to add four rules, one for each of the WhosOn applications.

The rules should be set up as follows:

{REQUEST URI} Does not Match the Pattern .*/whosoncharts$
{REQUEST URI} Does not Match the Pattern .*/settings$
{REQUEST URI} Does not Match the Pattern .*/newchat$
{REQUEST URI} Does not Match the Pattern .*/webclient$

Once this is set up open the WhosOn Service Manager then go to Server Settings -> Gateway Server and set the “Bind To Interface” to the “127.0.0.1 On Software Loopback Interface”. Also change the “Listen For Page Tagging Web Requests On Port:” to 80 and the “SSL Port:” to 443.

Then open Command Prompt with “Run as Administrator” and enter in the following commands:

netsh
http
add iplisten {Server IP}
Then press CTRL+C
net stop http
Answer Yes
iisreset

Now start the WhosOn Gateway from the Service tab and check that it is working from the WhosOn Service Manager test page.

Monitoring errors

WhosOn contains a realtime log of server activity. This will give you a good idea of what the server is doing at any given time, and let you know of any errors. This log appends the physical file PSL.log in your Settings Path, to allow you to see historical records.

From the Command tab, you also have the option to Enable Debug Logging. This will add further messages into the log to allow you to better troubleshoot issues. It is not recommended to leave debug logging turned on for long periods of time as the logs may become unmanageably large.

Errors with WhosOn can often be resolved by stopped and starting the server under the Server Status tab and monitoring the log to make sure that it starts ok with no errors.

Upgrading

A guide for self-hosted customers

Upgrading to WhosOn 2019
A guide for self-hosted customers

This guide covers how to upgrade your WhosOn service to the latest release. Please note that to upgrade to WhosOn 2019, your existing server must have the latest (2018) server kit running.

Your server update: a step by step guide

Advisory backup steps

We always advise backing up before beginning any major software upgrade. Before you start upgrading to WhosOn 2019, we recommend that you take these backup actions:

  1. Backup the following directories:
    • C:\Program Files (x86)\Parker Software\WhosOn Installable\
    • C:\ProgramData\Parker Software\WhosOnV6
  2. Keep these backups in an easy to find directory, such as C:\WhosOn 2018 Backup\
  3. Backup the SQL Server database to disk in case of any problems

Installing the update

  1. First, CHECK YOUR SUPPORT STATUS. You’ll need an active support agreement in place to gain access to product upgrades.
  2. Next, DOWNLOAD the WhosOn 2019 server kit to your WhosOn server.
  3. Your existing license key will work in the new environment. So, please enter your current licence key to proceed.
  4. Before you run the WhosOn 2019 server kit’s installation, you need to uninstall the WhosOn 2018 server kit. Do this using Control Panel: Add/Remove Programs.
  5. Configuration will be preserved. However, if you have any specific customisations, please check with your WhosOn account manager before an uninstallation.
  6. Now, you’re ready to run the WhosOn 2019 server kit’s installation.
  7. Follow the wizard until the process is complete.
  8. Once installed and selecting to run the WhosOn Service Manager for the first time, you’ll need to register the product. Ensure you have all of the details for your license, including your company, contact and email address used for the registration.
  9. Your server is now set up. Your chat client will now automatically react to this upgrade by making the new range of features available.

Eligibility

Hosted Dedicated On-premise
You don’t need to do anything. Our hosted subscription customers will receive a free upgrade. Dedicated customers will be contacted to schedule the upgrade. Self-hosted / On-premise customers will need to have a support contract.