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How to install Fast Warn

Fast Warn can be used to quickly display an alert box or critical warning message to your website visitors. Also outputs a compliant RSS v2.0 xml file that can be used to push updates automatically to Twitter and Facebook.

Supports multiple users, the last of whom is logged so you can see who posted/edited the previous message.

Who's it for?

  • Webmasters with basic-to-intermediate HTML/PHP experience
  • Webmasters who do not wish to use, or do not have access to, a database
  • Webmasters/users who need/want to edit and manage a critical web alert message
  • Webmasters/users who need/want to update their website, and push those updates to Twitter or Facebook, from one location

Installing the Fast Warn back-end

  1. First you need to download the Fast Warn zip package, so give the download box at the top of the page a click and save it somewhere on your computer. The desktop is a convenient place. Downloads are available when you view the full version of this website on a desktop computer.
  2. After you've unzipped the Fast Warn package, browse to the "fast_warn/fast_warn_config.php" file and enter your settings.
  3. Using an FTP client (FileZilla is a good one and it's FREE), upload the entire Fast Warn package to a folder of your website. It can go in the root, or in a sub-folder of your choice.
  4. CHMOD the "fast_warn/_content/" folder to 755 (Try 777 if 755 doesn't work).
  5. Include the message on your .php web page, anywhere you like, with this line of code (make sure the path is correct);
    <?php echo file_get_contents('path/to/fast_warn/_content/index.txt');?>
  6. That's it! Now login at "http://www.mywebsite.com/path/to/fast_warn_v1_0/" to manage your message!

Styling the Fast Warn front-end

The text file that hold the Fast Warn message is located at "fast_warn/_content/index.txt". Just use the file_get_contents() or include() PHP commands to insert this into your .php web page and customise it any way you wish - wrap it in a <table> or <div> and style away!

If you only want to show the Fast Warn message when there is something to show (makes sense), just pop this snippet in your web page and style the parent <div> (or <table>, or whatever) with CSS;

$message = file_get_contents('path/to/fast_warn/_content/index.txt'); // make sure this path is correct
if ($message != '') // if there is a message...
    echo '<div class="my-class">';
    echo $message;
    echo '</div>';

Additional usage - Auto-feed updates to Twitter and Facebook

An RSS v2.0 xml file is (re)generated every time you update your Fast Warn message and you can use this file to push updates automatically to Twitter and Facebook. This is great for you as it means you only update once, and your message is fed out to other, multiple destinations, without any extra intervention from you. Less effort, less fuss!

Use one of these FREE services to push Fast Warn updates automatically to your Twitter or Facebook account;

Any problems setting up Fast Warn?

If you experience any problems setting up your installation of Fast Warn and you can't find a troubleshooting answer in the Questions & Answers page, please tell me all about it via the online contact form. I'll try and work through things with you, and document the findings on this website. Ultimately your feedback can help future others in a similar situation, so please take a moment to share.

Last updated: May 11th, 2016