Help Desk Software

Hesk Quick Start Guide - get started in 5 minutes

We designed Hesk to be simple and intuitive, with a shallow learning curve. This guide aims to help you get started with your new Hesk help desk and benefit from this excellent tool. Let's dive in!



Part I: Installation

Tip: if you already have Hesk installed, skip down to Part II: Basic Configuration.

You can install Hesk on your server, or you may prefer to use Hesk Cloud instead. Which one is for you?


» Option #1: Install Hesk on your server

This is a do it yourself option. You take care of downloading and installing Hesk on your server and maintenance (upgrades, backups, cron configuration, mail server configuration, etc.).

So, first, go ahead and Install Hesk, then return to this article.


» Option #2: for the ultimate experience, choose Hesk Cloud

We will take care of all the back-end technicalities for you for a small monthly fee while you focus on supporting your customers.

Benefit from:

  • instant installation,
  • exclusive advanced modules,
  • automated updates,
  • free migration of your existing Hesk tickets and settings,
  • we take care of maintenance, server setup and optimization, backups, and more!

To compare Hesk Cloud plans and pricing... click here.



Part II: Basic Configuration

When your Hesk is installed, it's time to make some basic setup.

Open your Hesk administrator panel (i.e., or similar), log in with your username and password, then:


» Step #1: Your profile

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel
  2. in the top right corner, click on your name, then View profile
  3. click Edit profile
  4. set your name and email address
  5. click Update profile

When editing the profile, you can visit several sub-pages like Signature, Preferences and Notifications. You can visit those pages, get familiar with the options, or skip this for later.


» Step #2: Basic settings

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Settings > General
  3. modify these settings:

    Website title - enter the title of your main website (not your help desk), like or similar,
    Website URL - enter the URL of your main website, for example, "My lovely website",
    Webmaster email - enter an alternative email address people can contact if your help desk is unavailable.
  4. at the bottom of the page, click Save changes

You can return to the settings page again later and explore all the options. To view details about a setting, click the icon.


» Step #3: Support categories

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Categories
  3. on this page, you can create new ticket categories and edit existing ones.


You cannot delete the default category, but you can (and probably should) rename it.

A support category has a name (title), a default priority, and a type; customers can select public categories, whereas private categories can only be selected by support staff.

A category can auto-assign tickets submitted into that category to team members.


» Step #4: Support team members (support staff)

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Team
  3. due to the sensitivity of this page, you may be prompted to enter your password again to access this page
  4. on the Team page, you can manage support staff accounts; these are the people who will log in to Hesk to respond to support tickets.

You can use two user types in Hesk:

  • Administrators who have full access to all Hesk features
  • Staff who you can restrict access to categories and features

You should only appoint Administrator level access sparingly to people you trust who will not, willingly or by mistake, make unwanted changes.

Anyone with the permission to manage your team (Administrators and Staff with "Manage users" permission) can create and edit team members with the same or more restrictive permissions. In other words, if you don't have access to the category "Widgets", you will not be able to permit any team member you create to access "Widgets" nor will you be able to edit or delete any team member who has access to "Widgets".


» Step #5: Useful Tools

You can access many helpful features under the Hesk Admin Panel Tools sub-menu. For example, you can:

  • modify the "Submit a ticket" form by creating custom fields,
  • make public announcements (Service messages),
  • modify email templates,
  • create custom ticket statuses,
  • ban disruptive customers,
  • and more.

Take some time to get familiar with each available tool and test them. You learn by doing!


» Step #6: Create a Knowledgebase

A Knowledgebase is a collection of articles, guides, and answers to frequently asked questions, usually organized in multiple categories.

A clear and comprehensive knowledgebase can drastically reduce the number of support tickets you receive, thereby saving you significant time and effort in the long run.

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Knowledgebase > Manage
  3. create Knowledgebase categories, then articles inside those categories.

Think a bit about the most logical way of organizing the knowledgebase structure (categories) for your specific use case. You can always move and reorganize articles later if needed.

Entire categories or articles can be made Private - visible only to your logged-in team members.

Articles can also remain drafts; those will be visible only to team members who are either Administrators or Staff with the "Manage knowledgebase" permission.


» Step #7: Don't repeat yourself

Sometimes several support tickets address the same issues - allowing you to use pre-written ("canned") responses.

To compose canned responses, go to Templates > Responses - you will be able to select them when replying to a support ticket.

Similarly, you can create Templates > Tickets - your staff may select these when submitting a support ticket on the client's behalf, for example, from telephone conversations.


» Step #8: Secure your help desk

Make sure your help desk is as secure as possible by going through the Hesk security checklist.


» Step #9: Stay updated

Hesk regularly receives improvements and bug fixes; make sure you know about them!

Or, switch to Hesk Cloud, and we will take care of updates for you.


» Step #10: Look professional

To support Hesk development and look more professional, remove "Powered by" links from your help desk.

Note that removing "Powered by" links is already included in some Hesk Cloud plans.



Part III: Advanced Configuration

» Email sending

Some servers need a special configuration to allow Hesk to send emails.

You can set up Hesk to use an SMTP server to send emails on the Settings > Email page.

Additionally, please refer to these articles:


» Email to ticket

If you wish to convert customer emails into tickets, Hesk has several options available. For details about each of the options, please see this article.

Once the email to ticket functionality is set up, your customers can also reply to emails, and their replies will be recorded provided:

  • the ticket tracking ID is found in the subject or mail header, and
  • the reply comes from the same email address as the original ticket.

Note that for security reasons, staff members cannot reply to tickets via email. They must log in to the Hesk web interface to reply.


» Overdue ticket notification

Hesk can notify staff when a ticket is past its due date. A cron (scheduled) job needs to be set up on the server to do that; please see:

Enable email notifications of overdue tickets


» Rich text ticket replies (HTML, WYSIWYG editor)

Instead of relying on plain text, support staff can use the built-in HTML rich-text editor to write better responses to customer support tickets.

To enable rich text staff ticket replies, please:

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Settings > Help desk
  3. at the bottom of the Features section, select:

    Ticket formatting (Staff): Rich Text (HTML)
  4. at the bottom of the page, click Save changes

Note that customer replies are always limited to plain text for security reasons.


» Additional fields on the "Submit a ticket" form

You can add up to 50 custom fields to the "Submit a ticket" form to gather additional information from your customers. Please:

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Tools > Custom fields
  3. click the  New custom field button

Custom fields can be of different types (text field, checkbox, radio button, select...), public or private (visible to staff only), required or optional, and tied to specific categories.

Some of the default "Submit a form" fields (email, subject, message) can be made optional or even hidden in Settings > Help desk under Features.


» Reduce table padding (empty space)

Do you want to reduce your Hesk table padding (the empty space in the list of tickets, list of users, list of categories...)? Here's a built-in trick:

  1. go to Hesk Admin panel,
  2. in the left main menu, click Settings > General
  3. find Admin CSS and select Load an extra custom style file for the admin panel
  4. enter URL of the included /css/reduce_table_padding.css file on your server, for example:
  5. save changes

Similarly, you can load any external CSS file to your Hesk Admin panel to override Hesk's default style without the fear that your changes will be overwritten by Hesk updates.




That's it. We hope you enjoyed this short guide. You will find more useful information and specific guides in the comprehensive HESK Knowledgebase.


Help Desk Software