RemoteControl 2 API

From LimeSurvey Manual


LimeSurvey RemoteControl 2 is a XML-RPC/JSON-RPC based web service available in LimeSurvey 2.0 or more recent which offers various API functions.

LSRC2 makes it possible for developers to control specific functionality of LimeSurvey from any other application, without being restricted to PHP as a programming language.

The following features are planned:

  • start a predefined survey (change titles and things)
  • add predefined groups or questions
  • activate the survey, restrict it to start and endtime
  • make it closed,
  • add participant data/tokens when you need them
  • return the unused tokens to the main application
  • get a fieldmap for a survey,
  • invite or remind the participants of your survey

...and much more


  • libXML installed


How to configure LSRC2

In a default LimeSurvey installation LSRC2 is disabled. In order to use LSRC2 you must first enable the service, and then adjust the settings to suit your needs. To enable LSRC2 login to the LimeSurvey administration, go to Global settings, choose the tab 'Interfaces' and select one of the two RPC services (XML-RPC or JSON-RPC) service.

Important.png  Do not forget to activate the LimeSurvey API first! To do this, access your global configuration, click on Interfaces and enable the API setting.


LSRC2 uses the same security measures as the normal administration login. That means that the permission set of the used username and password is the same as if you would login in the administration with that user/password. Also LSRC2 is protected against brute-force password cracking - like the normal administration login.

How to use LSRC2

The basic LSRC2 URL is: http://<your_domain>/<your_limesurvey_dir>/index.php/admin/remotecontrol

LSRC2 fully complies to the XML-RPC specification and JSON-RPC version 1 specifications. We recommend in general to use JSON-RPC because it is well tested and has a much smaller footprint than XML-RPC.

LSRC2 offers a lot of functions. Please check the automatically generated API Documentation. LSRC2 offers the following functions:



Using this function you can create a new XML/JSON-RPC session key. This is mandatory for all following LSRC2 function calls.

function get_session_key(string $username, string $password, string $plugin = 'Authdb')
Parameter Description
username The username used for connexion
password The password used for connexion
plugin (New in 3.2.0 ) The Auth plugin to be used

Return on success: (string) session key.

Return on error: for protocol-level errors (invalid format etc), an error message. For invalid username and password, returns a null error and the result body contains a 'status' name-value pair with the error message.


Using this function you can close a previously opened XML-RPC/JSON-RPC session.

function release_session_key(string $sSessionKey)
Parameter Description
sSessionKey Auth credentials

Return: Always 'OK' (string)

List of functions

All functions including descriptions can be found at our developers RemoteControl functions API page.

Also, you can publish your API (check out global settings) and look at it directly.

Important.png  The parameter structure uses arrays of values - you *must* send the values in the API expected order (see jsonrpc specification).

Example and helper

PHP Example

To include JSON-RPC in your application, you can write an application using the light-weight jsonRPCClient from the jsonrpcphp Github repository. The library can also get included by composer calling

composer require weberhofer/jsonrpcphp

or by inclusion of the following lines in your composer.json file:

    "require": {
        "weberhofer/jsonrpcphp": "~2"

This is an example how to connect to limesurvey:


// without composer this line can be used
// require_once 'path/to/your/rpcclient/jsonRPCClient.php';
// with composer support just add the autoloader
include_once 'vendor/autoload.php';

define( 'LS_RPCURL', 'https://localhost/limesurvey/admin/remotecontrol');  // adjust this one to your actual Remote Control URL
define( 'LS_USER', 'rpcuser' );
define( 'LS_PASSWORD', 'mypassword' );

// the survey to process

// instantiate a new client
$myJSONRPCClient = new \org\jsonrpcphp\JsonRPCClient( LS_RPCURL );

// receive session key
$sessionKey= $myJSONRPCClient->get_session_key( LS_USER, LS_PASSWORD );

// receive surveys list current user can read
$groups = $myJSONRPCClient->list_surveys( $sessionKey );
print_r($groups, null );

// release the session key
$myJSONRPCClient->release_session_key( $sessionKey );

See a snippet example of list_surveys

JAVA example

To decode and code your json calls you can use the library gson as you can see in the following example:


import org.apache.http.HttpEntity;
import org.apache.http.HttpResponse;
import org.apache.http.client.methods.HttpPost;
import org.apache.http.entity.StringEntity;
import org.apache.http.impl.client.DefaultHttpClient;
import org.apache.http.util.EntityUtils;


public class TestHttpClient {
    public static String parse(String jsonLine) {
	 JsonElement jelement = new JsonParser().parse(jsonLine);
	 JsonObject  jobject = jelement.getAsJsonObject();
	 String result = jobject.get("result").getAsString();
	 return result;
    public static void main(String[] args) throws UnsupportedEncodingException {
      DefaultHttpClient client = new DefaultHttpClient();          
      HttpPost post = new HttpPost("https://PATH_OF_YOUR_SERVER/index.php/admin/remotecontrol");
      post.setHeader("Content-type", "application/json");
      post.setEntity( new StringEntity("{\"method\": \"get_session_key\", \"params\": [\"YOUR_USERNAME\", \"YOUR_PASSWORD\" ], \"id\": 1}"));
      try {
        HttpResponse response = client.execute(post);
        if(response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode() == 200){
            HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();
            String sessionKey = parse(EntityUtils.toString(entity));
            post.setEntity( new StringEntity("{\"method\": \"list_groups\", \"params\": [ \""+sessionKey+"\", \"ID_SURVEY\" ], \"id\": 1}"));
            response = client.execute(post);
            if(response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode() == 200){
                entity = response.getEntity();
      } catch (IOException e) {

Python example and glue

The following code runs with Python 2 and requires some adaptation to work with Python 3.

import urllib
import urllib2
import json
import sys
# There is an generic json-rpc implemantation in Python but it dose not work for me in this case so I worte Some functions 

def get_session_key():
    req = urllib2.Request(url='https://myurl/index.php/admin/remotecontrol',\
    req.add_header('content-type', 'application/json')
    req.add_header('connection', 'Keep-Alive')
        f = urllib2.urlopen(req)
        myretun =
        #print myretun
        return j['result']
    except :
        e = sys.exc_info()[0]
        print ( "<p>Error: %s</p>" % e )
def get_question_properties(skey,QuestionID):
    req = urllib2.Request(url='https://myurl/index.php/admin/remotecontrol',\
                                    +',[\"gid\",\"type\",\"help\",\"language\",\"sid\",\"question_order\",\"question\",\"subquestions\"]],\"id\": 1}')

    req.add_header('content-type', 'application/json')
    req.add_header('connection', 'Keep-Alive')
        f = urllib2.urlopen(req)
        myretun =
        #print myretun
        return j['result']
    except :
        e = sys.exc_info()[0]
        print ( "<p>Error: %s</p>" % e )

def release_session_key(relkey):
    req = urllib2.Request(url='https://myurl/index.php/admin/remotecontrol',\
    req.add_header('content-type', 'application/json')
    req.add_header('connection', 'Keep-Alive')
        f = urllib2.urlopen(req)
        myretun =
        #print myretun
        return j['result']
    except :
        e = sys.exc_info()[0]
        print ( "<p>Error: %s</p>" % e )

def export_responses2(skey,sid):
    req = urllib2.Request(url='https://myurl/index.php/admin/remotecontrol',\
"id\": 1}')
    req.add_header('content-type', 'application/json')
    req.add_header('connection', 'Keep-Alive')
        f = urllib2.urlopen(req)
        myretun =
        #print myretun
        return j['result']
    except :
        e = sys.exc_info()[0]
        print ( "<p>Error: %s</p>" % e )		

print export_responses2(mykey,'566237').decode('base64')
print release_session_key(mykey)

NodeJS example

This script require request, you can include easily with the command

npm install request

This is a example how to connect to limesurvey:

var request = require('request');

var options = {
  url: "https://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/index.php/admin/remotecontrol",
  method: "POST",
  headers: {
    'user-agent': 'Apache-HttpClient/4.2.2 (java 1.5)',
    'host': 'xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx',
    'path': '/index.php/admin/remotecontrol',
    'connection': 'keep-alive',
    'content-type': 'application/json'

options.body = JSON.stringify({method:'get_session_key',params:['myusername','mypassword'],id:1});

request(options, function(error, response, body){
  if (!error && response.statusCode == 200) {
      body = JSON.parse(body);

    //*********KEEP THE KEY*********  
    if(SESSIONKEY==="") {
      console.log("NEW KEY -->"+body.result);
  else console.log("ERROR -->"+body);  

R example and helper

The easiest way to use lsrc2 is by means of the limer package, See

Example of usage of this client

# first limer (check version: must be recent) must be installed
if(!require("devtools")) {


#change the next options (website, user, password)
(lime_api = '')
options(lime_username = 'user')
options(lime_password = 'password')

# first get a session access key

# list all surveys. A dataframe is returned
#    sid           surveyls_title startdate             expires active
#1  999999  XXXX               NA 2016-03-08 15:20:30      Y
#2  999998  XXXX               NA   <NA>      Y

#Read the data of the first survey (sid=999999) into a data.frame. 
#Notice that the default sLanguageCode = en, so maybe you have to 
#specify another language (here: All languages)
data<- get_responses(iSurveyID= 999999, sLanguageCode= '', sResponseType='short')

C# (Copy & Paste from Forum)

I have written a small json-rpc client in c#. It is a small one but enough for my purposes. You can use it in your wiki as example or maybe it helps here other people. It is tested and works in my environment but it is possible that i havent found all bugs. You need from nuget package manager Newtonsoft JSON.


using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Net;
using System.Text;
using Newtonsoft.Json;
using Newtonsoft.Json.Linq;
namespace JsonRPCclient {
  public class JsonRPCclient {
    private int id = 0;
    /// <summary>
    /// Set JSON-RPC webservice URL
    /// </summary>
    public string URL { set; get; }
    /// <summary>
    /// Set JSON-RPC method
    /// </summary>
    public string Method { set; get; }
    /// <summary>
    /// Add JSON-RPC params
    /// </summary>
    public JObject Parameters { set; get; }
    /// <summary>
    /// Results of the request
    /// </summary>
    public JsonRPCresponse Response { set; get; }
    /// <summary>
    /// Create a new object of RPCclient 
    /// </summary>
    public JsonRPCclient() {
      Parameters = new JObject();
      Response = null;
    /// <summary>
    /// Create a new object of RPCclient
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="URL"></param>
    public JsonRPCclient(string URL) {
      this.URL = URL;
      Parameters = new JObject();
      Response = null;
    /// <summary>
    /// POST the request and returns server response
    /// </summary>
    /// <returns></returns>
    public string Post() {
      try {
        JObject jobject = new JObject();
        jobject.Add(new JProperty("jsonrpc", "2.0"));
        jobject.Add(new JProperty("id", ++id));
        jobject.Add(new JProperty("method", Method));
        jobject.Add(new JProperty("params", Parameters));
        string PostData = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(jobject);
        UTF8Encoding encoding = new UTF8Encoding();
        byte[] bytes = encoding.GetBytes(PostData);
        HttpWebRequest request = (HttpWebRequest)WebRequest.Create(URL);
        request.Method = "POST";
        request.ContentType = "application/json";
        request.KeepAlive = true;
        request.ContentLength = bytes.Length;
        Stream writeStream = request.GetRequestStream();
        writeStream.Write(bytes, 0, bytes.Length);
        HttpWebResponse response = (HttpWebResponse)request.GetResponse();
        Stream responseStream = response.GetResponseStream();
        StreamReader readStream = new StreamReader(responseStream, Encoding.UTF8);
        Response = new JsonRPCresponse();
        Response = JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<JsonRPCresponse>(readStream.ReadToEnd());
        Response.StatusCode = response.StatusCode;
        return Response.ToString();
      catch (Exception e) {
        return e.ToString();
    public void ClearParameters() {
      this.Parameters = new JObject();
  public class JsonRPCresponse {
    public int id { set; get; }
    public object result { set; get; }
    public string error { set; get; }
    public HttpStatusCode StatusCode { set; get; }
    public JsonRPCresponse() { }
    public override string ToString() {
      return "{\"id\":" + id.ToString() + ",\"result\":\"" + result.ToString() + "\",\"error\":" + error + ((String.IsNullOrEmpty(error)) ? "null" : "\"" + error + "\"") + "}";


      string Baseurl = "http://localhost/limesurvey/index.php?r=admin/remotecontrol";
      JsonRPCclient client = new JsonRPCclient(Baseurl);
      client.Method = "get_session_key";
      client.Parameters.Add("username", "admin");
      client.Parameters.Add("password", "mypassword");
      string SessionKey = client.Response.result.ToString();
      if(client.Response.StatusCode == System.Net.HttpStatusCode.OK){
        client.Method = "import_survey";
        client.Parameters.Add("sSessionKey", SessionKey);
        client.Parameters.Add("sImportData", Base64Encode(yourImportDataString));
        client.Parameters.Add("sImportDataType", "lss");
        //client.Parameters.Add("sNewSurveyName", "test");
        //client.Parameters.Add("DestSurveyID", 1);
      Console.WriteLine("new survey id:" + client.Response.result.ToString());

VBA for Excel

To ‘automaticaly’ export the answers of a survey to an Excel sheet you can use this code.


' -----------------------------------------------------------------------
' -----------------------------------------------------------------------
' This file will contain the settings needed to access json RPC with vba.
' This VBA code use two different modules:
' VBA JSON tools:
' Base64 Deconding:
' I used the script made by vkuzmin as a base:
Sub export_limesurvey()
Dim key As String
Dim limeuser As String, limepass As String, limeurl As String, URL As String
Dim jsonText As String, jsonObject As Object
Dim SurveyID As String, DocumentType As String
Dim export64 As String, export64Decoded As String
limeurl = ""
limeuser = "user"
limepass = "pasword"
SurveyID = "id"
DocumentType = "csv"
'Clear page
Set objHTTP = CreateObject("WinHttp.WinHttpRequest.5.1")
URL = limeurl + "/admin/remotecontrol"
objHTTP.Open "POST", URL, False
objHTTP.setRequestHeader "User-Agent", "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)"
objHTTP.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/json"
'Get key
sendtext = "{""method"":""get_session_key"",""params"": [""" + limeuser + """,""" + limepass + """],""id"": 1}"
objHTTP.Send (sendtext)
jsonText = objHTTP.responseText
Set jsonObject = JsonConverter.ParseJson(jsonText)
key = jsonObject("result")
'Export answers
sendtext = "{""method"":""export_responses"",""params"": [""" + key + """,""" + SurveyID + """,""" + DocumentType + """],""id"": 1}"
objHTTP.Send (sendtext)
jsonText = objHTTP.responseText
Set jsonObject = JsonConverter.ParseJson(jsonText)
export64 = jsonObject("result")
'Decode answers
export64Decoded = Decode64(export64)
'Close session
sendtext = "{""method"":""release_session_key"",""params"": [""" + key + """],""id"": 1}"
objHTTP.Send (sendtext)
'Divide the respond in multiple lines, otherwise evrything is in one cell
s = export64Decoded
i = 0
While Split(s, Chr(13) + Chr(10))(i) <> ""
   Cells(i + 1, 1) = Split(s, Chr(13) + Chr(10))(i)
   i = i + 1
'Convert CSV
Columns("A:A").TextToColumns Destination:=Range("A1"), DataType:=xlDelimited, _
        TextQualifier:=xlDoubleQuote, ConsecutiveDelimiter:=False, Tab:=False, _
        Semicolon:=True, Comma:=False, Space:=False, Other:=False, TrailingMinusNumbers:=True
Cells.WrapText = False
End Sub

JSON-RPC notes

The content-type of the HTTP request must be application/json.  Most formatting errors are a failure to set the content-type header. This will result in a null response from the server (not a JSON response).  Below is an example of a valid request and response pair.


 HTTP headers:




   user-agent=Apache-HttpClient/4.2.2 (java 1.5)

 Post body:


Response body: