7 min read

One of the most important aspects of running a DotNetNuke portal is trying to figure out how to administer the portal. From adding modules to working with users, it may take a while before you have mastered all the administration tasks associated with running a portal.

DotNetNuke uses a few terms that may be unfamiliar at first. For example, the term “portal” can be used interchangeably with the more common term “site”. Similarly, the terms “tab” and “page” may be used interchangeably within the context of DotNetNuke. Knowing that they are interchangeable will help to understand the topics that we will discuss.

User accounts

If you are used to working within a network environment, or have worked with different portals in the past, then you are probably comfortable with the term “users”. For those of us who may not be very familiar with this term, can think of a website that you have registered with in the past. When the registration had been completed, a user account was provided to you. This account lets you return to the site and log in as a recognized user.

Everything that takes place on your portal revolves around users and user accounts. Whether users are required to register in order to use your services (such as a member site) or only a few user accounts are required to manage the content, functionality, and layout of your site, you will need to understand how to create and manage user accounts. Let’s start with a general description of a user, and then you will see how to create and manage your users. In order to work through the examples, you will need to bring up your portal and sign in as an administrator account, such as the one created during the initial portal installation.

Who is a user?

The simplest definition of a user is an individual who consumes the services that your portal provides. However, a user can take on many different roles, from a visitor who is just browsing (unregistered user) or a person who registers to gain access to your services (registered user), to a specialized member of the site such as a content editor, to the facilitator (administrator or host) who is responsible for the content, functionality, and design of your portal. The difference between an administrator account and a host (or super user) account will be explained later in detail. For now, we will focus on the administrator account that is associated with a single portal. Everything in DotNetNuke revolves around the user, so before we can do anything else, we need to learn a little about user accounts.

Creating user accounts

Creating user accounts Before you create user accounts, you should decide and configure how users will be able to register on the site. You can choose from the following four different types of registrations:

  • None
  • Private
  • Public (default)
  • Verified

To set the registration type for your portal, go to the Site Settings link found in the ADMIN menu, as shown in the following screenshot:

The User Registration section can be found under Advanced Settings | Security Settings, as shown in the next screenshot:

Many sections within DotNetNuke may be collapsed or hidden by default. To view these sections, you will need to expand them by clicking the ‘+‘ in front of them.

The type of registration you use depends on how you will be using your portal. The following table gives a brief explanation of the different User Registration types:

Registration setting



Setting the user registration as None will remove the Register link from your portal. In this mode, users can only be added by the administrator or host users. Thanks to the new features in DotNetNuke 5, users who have been given the proper permissions can also manage user accounts. This allows the administrator or host users to delegate account management to other individuals with the proper access. If you plan to have all sections of your site available to everyone (including unregistered users), then selecting None as your registration option is a good choice.


If you select Private, then the Register link will reappear. After users fi ll out the registration form, they will be informed that their request for registration will be reviewed by the administrator. The administrator will decide whom to give access to the site. Unless an administrator approves (authorizes in DNN terms) a user, they will not be able to log in.


Public is the default registration for a DotNetNuke portal. When this is selected, the users will be able to register for yoursite by entering the required information. Once the registration form is fi lled out, they will be given access to the site and can log in without requiring any action on the part of an administrator.


If you select Verified as your registration option, then the

users will be sent an e-mail with a verifi cation code, once they fi ll out the required information. This ensures that the e-mail address they enter in the registration process is valid. The fi rst time they sign in, they will be prompted for the verifi cation code. Alternatively, they can click on the Verification link in the e-mail sent to them. After they have been verifi ed, they will need to type in only their login name and password to gain access to the site. Please note that proper SMTP confi guration is required to ensure delivery of the verifi cation e-mails.

Setting required registration fields

The administrator has the ability to decide what information the user will be required to enter when registering. If you are logged in as an administrator, then you can accomplish this through a combination of User Settings and Profile Properties.

A user who is given the appropriate permissions can also modify these settings; however, this requires a few additional configuration steps that we will not cover in this section.

To manage the Profile Properties for your site, select the ADMIN | User Accounts link. The User Accounts section appears as shown in the following screenshot:

In the preceding screen, select Manage Profile Properties, either by selecting the link at the bottom of the module container or by selecting the link in the Action menu—the menu that pops up when you point on the drop-down button adjacent to the module title, User Accounts (more information on Action menu is provided later). When you select this link, you will be redirected to a screen (see the next screenshot) that displays a list of the currently configured Profile Properties.

You can manage some attributes of the Profile Properties from within this screen. For instance, you can delete a property by clicking on the ‘X‘ icon in the second column. Alternatively, you can change the display order of the properties by clicking on one of the Dn or Up icons in the third and fourth columns. If you change the order this way, make sure you click the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the page to save any changes. Your changes will be lost if you leave this screen without clicking the Apply Changes button.

If you want even more control, then you can edit a single property by clicking on the pencil icon in the first column.

You will see this icon extensively in the DNN user interface. It allows you to Edit/Modify the item it is associated with.

You can also add a new property by selecting the Add New Profile Property action from the Action menu. In either case, you will be redirected to another page, where you can enter information about the property. You will be redirected to the Add New Property Details page, as shown in the following screenshot:

Note that if you are editing an existing property, the Property Name field cannot be changed, so make sure you get it right the first time. If you need to change the Property Name, then you will need to delete and recreate the property. Most of these fields are self explanatory, but we will describe a few of these fields.

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