Offline instance of SuiteCRM

I’ve had considerable success in running a self-hosted version of SuiteCRM (as a virtual machine) during a trial period. Suite CRM 7.14 with PHP 8.1.2

However management are now asking me to see if there is any way to have a clone or offsite version (read-only version) of the VM when working in the field or where there is no internet access.

I suspect what they’re asking for is not possible.

Thoughts ?

It is totally possible to run SuiteCRM disconnected from the Internet. Many people run CRM’s in internal networks only. The complicated thing is to manage how your data would be updated on those devices.

You can start by looking at ready-made solutions: QuickCRM is a mobile app for SuiteCRM and it has offline modes. But an offline mode is not the same thing as a “bring your entire database with you” mode, so it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Thanks for the feedback. To be clear this is a self-hosted internal instance of SuiteCRM, so it’s not clear to me how QuickCRM would integrate with this configuration.

In this instance, management want to work in a “bring your entire database with you” mode, or an offline mode that was a snapshot of when the device last connected to the database online.

I totally agree with you that the hard part will be on how data is managed and updated on such devices.

If you press your management, you might find out that a much simpler clone of the information could be sufficient: for example, a report with all the contacts and their details, or a list of current orders, or something. In this case you could stop thinking about a full clone of a VM, and start thinking of just some daily reports which you could somehow sync into each laptop.

If you really need a clone, yes, it is possible, it is just a lot of work. You could either install a working SuiteCRM in each PC, and sync just the database. But this could be hell to maintain, because people don’t usually leave SuiteCRM app in a “simple” state, instead, you have add-ons, custom code, Studio changes, etc.

You could also use a VM and clone it. This makes the sync process a lot heavier, gigabytes to move over to several PCs, perhaps daily…

I would definitely advise you to nudge your management into some other much simpler solution. Focus on “what actual problem are you trying to solve”, not “can I have this solution?”

I may convince management to access the data (primarily just contacts and accounts) offline by exporting the data to a CSV file and asking them to use a CSV file viewer installed on their laptop.

I agree with all of your points that there are a number of technical issues to make such a setup work reliably.

If I go down the path of using a CSV file viewer, is there in way in SuiteCRM (on-prem version) to create a cron job where an CSV file export is generated and dumpted to a fileshare or some location that can be accessed by management ?

Have a look at the Scheduled Reports function. I don’t know what formats they are able to produce, but that should get you going.


Using QuickCRM has other advantages than just offline read-only mode:

  • you can also create or edit records. Once you get back online, all your changes are stored on your server
  • records created/updated on your server are automatically loaded to the local database
  • parameters allow you define what you want to load for offline mode. This can be useful if you have a huge database.
  • the search or views capabilities can be similar to what you have in SuiteCRM
  • security is also much better than an excel/csv file. Managers often hate that users export their data. They could still have customers data when they leave the company.

Disclaimer: I am working with the company that develops QuickCRM

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Great idea. I’ve been able to create a report that seems to work well.

However it looks like there is no option to save the report as a file. My preference is to save the report as a file (on a file server for example) to allow target users to download it as required.

Maybe you can code that part without too much trouble

You can create the report you want and utilize my code, mentioned above, to export the data to json format (or whatever format is readble from excel). Instead of csv you can use Ms excel to connect(as a data source) to suitecrm via an entry point and call this report and create a pivot table for data presentation.

Excel will keep the latest version of data in the file. In order to update the data, the excel file needs access to the CRM server(whenever this is possible) then with a right click and “Refresh” will force excel to retrieve new data from the entry point.

This is only for data extraction ONLY!

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Thanks for providing some options (despite that you develop for QuickCRM - in a good way :wink: )

I have some questions:

  • Can QuickCRM be configured to work with an on-prem (only) version of SuiteCRM ?
  • Is there a desktop version of QuickCRM ? We currently don’t allow WiFi in the office due to security policies