FusionPBX Basic Configuration: Introduction and Creating an Extension

The intent of this article is to show you how to do a few basic things in FusionPBX and to give you a little bit of the “flavor” of it. Both FusionPBX itself and this article are works in progress, and particularly if you are reading this within the first week or so after I post it (or even the first YEAR in this case), you might want to check back later since there is a high likelihood I will have made edits and corrections. If you haven’t yet installed FusionPBX, see Installing FusionPBX successfully — Part 1: Installing Debian Linux and Installing FusionPBX successfully — Part 2: Installing FusionPBX for information on that.

The main menus

The first thing you should do have you have installed and logged into the FusionPBX GUI is to get a feel of the main menu, which consists of a top menu bar with six items. As you mouse over each of those items, a dropdown menu appears, giving you more choices. So, for example, here is how you would get to the menu that allows you to add or edit an extension:

FusionPBX Menu – Accounts – Extensions

If you wanted to create an Outbound Route, you’d go here:

FusionPBX Menu – Dialplan – Outbound Routes

And if you wanted to check the status of your SIP extensions and gateways:

FusionPBX Menu – Status – SIP Status

I mention this at the beginning so that if I tell you to go to Accounts | Extensions (as an example), you will understand that it simply means you should mouse over Accounts in the top menu bar and click on Extensions as the option. Note that the top menu items are themselves clickable, although that’s not immediately obvious.

Also, in many cases, when you click on a menu item, you will see a page that will list all your extensions, routes, etc. There won’t be any listed when you first go there, but you will see one or more icons in such lists, on the right hand side of the page, that look like these:

    Click this icon to add an item, such as an extension or route. If you are creating the first such item, this will probably be the only icon available.

    Click this icon to edit an existing item.

    Click this icon to delete an existing item. BE CAREFUL you don’t click this accidentally, because (at least in the case of extensions) there is no confirmation dialog to make sure that you really intended to delete that item.  Given the small size of the icon and the proximity to the edit icon, it would be nice if you got the chance to confirm that you really meant to delete something.

Creating an Extension:

Go to Accounts | Extensions and this menu should appear:

FusionPBX Extensions List with no extensions

Click on the “add” icon and you should see a page like this, which I have filled in with some values for a test extension:

Adding a new extension in FusionPBX

This might be a good time to remind you that you can click on any image in this blog to enlarge it, assuming it’s larger than the allotted column width for the blog.

The only thing absolutely necessary, at least in many cases, is an extension number, but you probably will at least want to fill in the caller ID information. I didn’t have a DID for this test extension so I just used the extension number as the external caller ID number. Note that you could create a range of extensions at once by using the Range dropdown. If you are observant, you may note that there’s no password field. But if you go ahead and save the filled-in page, you will come back to the extensions list, which should now show the extension you just added:

FusionPBX Extensions List with one extension added

And if you click the Edit button, you will see that now the password fields for extension and voicemail have appeared:

Editing an extension in FusionPBX

You might wonder why they do it that way, but it is because when FusionPBX creates an extension, it also creates a fairly secure password consisting of letters, numbers, and punctuation, which you can expose if you position the mouse cursor anywhere in the Password field and click (this also works for the Voicemail Password, although a secure password is not automatically generated for that):

Positioning the cursor in the Password field and clicking reveals the password

If you are happy with the generated password, simply use it with your SIP client. If not, you are free to fill in your own.

The FusionPBX Wiki notes that once you have your phone or device configured, you can test it by dialing *9664 which is a code for music on hold.

By the way, voicemail should work “out of the box” but if you want to enable the option of e-mailing voicemails, you will need to configure an e-mail server.  To do that, go to Advanced|Default Settings, where you will see a screen like this:

FusionPBX Default Settings page

I would suggest checking and (if necessary) modifying the Time Zone setting, and the fixing the e-mail settings. If you don’t have a local mail server that will accept SMTP connections (you didn’t elect to install a mail server when installing the operating system), then you can use any Gmail account (even one associated with a Google Voice account, since you shouldn’t be receiving mail on the account):

FusionPBX Default Settings showing example settings for Gmail account

The settings shown above should work for Gmail. With Gmail, it doesn’t seem to matter what you put in the smtp_from field as long as you put something there (someone could see it if they view all the headers in an e-mail, but almost all e-mail programs hide the majority of e-mail headers by default).  The smtp_username must be the full e-mail address of the account.  Note that if you have a version of FusionPBX prior to Revision 3046, the password is displayed in plain text here, so don’t use an e-mail account that you also use for super sensitive information. This is fixed as of Revision 3046, which displays ******** instead of the password.

If you did elect to install an email server (and you configured it using sudo dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config or otherwise did whatever was necessary) then you can leave the smtp_auth, smtp_password, and smtp_username fields blank (I’d also set smtp_password to disabled — it’s probably optional whether you want to set the other unused fields as disabled), set smtp_host to “localhost” and set smtp_secure to “none“. But do put something reasonable in the smtp_from and smtp_from_name fields.

You might wonder where you can access extension features such as Call Forward, Follow Me, or Do Not Disturb.  Those are accessible if you click on System in the top menu bar.  Do not select an item from the dropdown, just click on “System” and a page like this should appear:

FusionPBX — clicking System in main menu exposes Call Forward, Follow Me, Do Not Disturb options

If you then click any of the links in the “Tools” column, you’ll get a page like this:

FusionPBX page to set or modify extension features

If create a user account for your each of your users in Accounts|User Manager, and then use the “User List” dropdown on the extension configuration page to add those users to their designated extension(s), they should be able to log in and change the above settings themselves, without bothering you to do it for them. This is entirely optional; you don’t have to use the “User List” dropdown if you don’t want to.

A couple more notes about extensions:  Unless you have some valid need for it, for the moment you may want to avoid using the “Account Code” field for anything.  Later on, I will show how that field can be used to facilitate outbound call routing.  There are other ways to accomplish the same thing, so if you really need the Account Code field, go ahead and use it, but if you don’t, avoid it for now. Also, if you have a situation where when a remote extension (one not on your local network) places a call to another extension, and then hangs up but the called extension doesn’t stop ringing right away, that can sometimes be fixed by clicking on the Advanced button and the using the dropdown in the SIP Force Contact field to make a selection. Try any of the choices shown (start with “Rewrite Contact IP and port 2.0“); perhaps one of them will help. Don’t forget to save your changes!

For more information on creating extensions in FusionPBX, see:

Extensions (FusionPBX Wiki)
Getting Started (FusionPBX Wiki)

If you have any hints, tips, or discoveries to add, please feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail me at the address in the right-hand column near the bottom of this page.

Next article: FusionPBX Basic Configuration: Creating a Gateway to an Asterisk server and an Outbound Route

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