Sermons on the Web Instructions

Site map:


To understand Sermons on the Web from the point of view of someone browsing your church's web site, browse one of the live sites.

To evaluate sermon publication check the system requirements above and install Sermons on the Web. After installation, run Sermons on the Web Publisher, click Browse, and select an audio file with a .wav or .mp3 extension. If you don't have an audio file handy, there are several in C:\Windows\Media. If you create a file named something like 2007-11-10 AM Anderson - Just Looking.wav, you can see how Sermons on the Web automatically populates fields based on the file name.

Next click Publish. For the demo, the FTP upload step is skipped, but the other publication actions proceed as they would on an actual deployment. After publication, you can see your sermon on the online demo. From there you can also browse the administration web pages, which sound workers will use occasionally.


Sermons on the Web is designed to work with any web hosting provider that supports PHP and MySQL. Since configuration interfaces differ between providers, the exact steps to install Sermons on the Web will vary. The following table lists each step in general terms in the left column. The right column contains the details of a deployment using cPanel, a popular web hosting control panel.

StepDeployment example
1. Obtain a PC to record and upload the sermons, and connect it to your audio mixer. Almost any modern PC will do; a 1 GHz or faster processor is recommended. Run a cable from an output of your mixer into the line-in on your computer; most computer motherboards are designed well enough that a separate audio card is not required.
2. Install audio recording and editing software. Install Audacity. Sermons on the Web doesn't use the editing software, but you will need it to create the .wav files.
3. Download and install Sermons on the Web. If you wish to create archival-quality files in WMA format, also download and install Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. No product key is required.

4. Obtain a web hosting account that supports PHP and MySQL (if you don't already have one). A web hosting account is space you rent on a computer that serves your web site 24/7/365.

Select an account with enough storage to hold your sermons. Each hour of sermons uses approximately 10 MB at the default encoding rate. 1 GB of storage is enough for two half-hour sermons per week, with lots of room to spare for anything additional.

5. Configure your sermons web site.
  1. Extract
  2. Fill in Sermons\Config.php with info about your database and church.
  3. Integrate Sermons on the Web into your web site:
    • If you are using the Sermons on the Web starter web site, fill in the placeholders in the top-level index.html. Optionally, customize index.html and index.php for your site.
    • If you already have a web site and will be using Sermons on the Web as is, add a link on your web site to Sermons/. Optionally, customize index.php for your site.
    • For tighter integration, modify your existing site to call the functions in Views.php. In this method of integration, the files index.php and Main.css in the Sermons folder aren't used to display Sermons, but rather serve as examples. Within Main.css, use the "Sermons web part" section as a template for defining your styles.
    • To create a page dedicated to a single service type such as a Sunday school, see the filtering example.
Extract C:\Program Files\Sermons on the Web\ into a new folder in your Documents folder. (On 64-bit versions of Windows, the installation is in C:\Program Files (x86).) Open Sermons\Config.php in Notepad and fill in the required configuration variables. Then, if using the starter web site, open index.html in Notepad and replace the placeholders with information about your church.
6. Create a database, and initialize its structure using SermonDatabaseSchema.sql.
  1. From cPanel, click MySQL Databases.
  2. From the Create New Database section of the MySQL Account Maintenance page, in the Db field, enter sermons, and click Create Database. (Note that the actual database name may have the beginning of your hosting account name prepended, e.g. mychurch_sermons.)
  3. From the Add New User section, enter the username sermons and your web hosting account password, and click Add User. (Like the database name, the user name created may be prepended with your hosting account name.)
  4. From the Add User To Database section, select the username from the drop down box, select the database name from the other drop down box, and click Submit.
  5. Grant the select, insert, update, and delete privileges to the user.
  6. From cPanel, click phpMyAdmin.
  7. Select the sermons database, and click Import. Click Browse, and from the extracted web site files, select Sermons\Admin\SermonDatabaseSchema.sql. Click Go.
7. Upload the web application. From the extracted web site files, copy the Sermons folder to the public_html folder on your web site. You can do this with an FTP program such as FileZilla. If you are using the starter web site, also copy index.html.
8. Set security on the Admin folder.
  1. From cPanel, click Password Protect Directories.
  2. Navigate to the Admin directory. (Click the folder next to the word Sermons; then click Admin.)
  3. Check the box to enable protection, enter the resource name Sermons on the Web Administration, and click Save.
  4. Add an authorized user with the same username and password of your web hosting account.
9. Configure the Publisher.

On your PC, run Sermons on the Web Publisher. Click Tools, then Options, and set the settings in the Organization, Web site, and any other desired categories.

Optionally, from the Windows Control Panel Power Options, configure the computer to sleep after a period of inactivity. The period need not be long, since Windows considers the computer active when recording or publishing a sermon.

10. Populate the database with your service types, speakers, and series. Publish existing sermons as desired.

In the Publisher click Sermon administration. Review the services types, and modify/add to suit your needs. Add your known speakers and series. You can further modify these lists at any time.

When you are done, back in the Publisher, click Tools, then Refresh field value lists.

To publish existing sermons, follow the instructions in the "Everyday use" section below. If the number of sermons is large, you may prefer fill out the sermon information in a spreadsheet with columns that match those in the Publisher after multiple files are added. After the spreadsheet has been reviewed for accuracy, select the cells with the sermon information; then in the Publisher, click Tools, then Paste sermon table.


By default, the Sermons on the Web Publisher options folder and data folders can be read and modified by all users. You should limit who has access to the computer or set appropriate permissions on the folders. The options folder is C:\ProgramData\Sermons on the Web (or on Windows XP and earlier, C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sermons on the Web). The options folder contains the web site administration password; the password is encrypted but technically could be decrypted by any user with access to the folder. The data folders are specified in the Publisher options.

The administration password is sent to the server when uploading a web site file and adding a sermon to the database. If insecure URLs are used for the "Upload address" or "Administration address override" settings, the password will exposed to an eavesdropper. To secure the connection, deploy a valid SSL certificate to the server and configure those settings to use FTPS and/or HTTPS.


In case of difficulty, following are some tests you can perform to help identify the problem:

Everyday use

Once you have Sermons on the Web deployed, follow these steps to publish a sermon:

  1. Use your recording and editing software to record the sermon.
  2. It is recommended to save the sermon with a name that follows this pattern: 2007-08-20 AM LastName - Title of the Sermon.wav (or ending in .mp3). Using this pattern allows Sermons on the Web to infer the sermon date, service type, speaker, and title. If you have multiple of the same type of service on the same day (e.g. during a seminar), append the service number to the service type (e.g. AM1 instead of AM).
  3. Run Sermons on the Web Publisher. Drag and drop the audio file onto the Sermons on the Web window or click Browse and choose the file. You can drop or choose multiple files if you wish to publish more than one sermon.
  4. Fill in the series, scripture reference, and description, according to your needs.
  5. Click Publish.
  6. Lock the computer (if appropriate), and go fellowship.


Editing lists

When there are changes to your service types, speakers, or series, go to the sermons administration web page (you can use the link in the Publisher). From there make whatever changes you need. The administration web page does not support deletion. To delete, you must edit the database directly, for example with phpMyAdmin.


You should regularly back up your sound computer, particularly the Publisher data and options folders, and the web site database.