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Advanced Installation

Installing CakePHP with PEAR Installer

CakePHP publishes a PEAR package that you can install using the PEAR installer. Installing with the PEAR installer can simplify sharing CakePHP libraries across multiple applications. To install CakePHP with PEAR you’ll need to do the following:

pear channel-discover
pear install cakephp/CakePHP


On some systems installing libraries with PEAR will require sudo.

After installing CakePHP with PEAR, if PEAR is configured correctly you should be able to use the cake command to create a new application. Since CakePHP will be located on PHP’s include_path you won’t need to make any other changes.

Installing CakePHP with Composer

Composer is a dependency management tool for PHP 5.3+. It solves many of the problems the PEAR installer has, and simplifies managing multiple versions of libraries. Since CakePHP publishes a PEAR package you can install CakePHP using composer. Before installing CakePHP you’ll need to setup a composer.json file. A composer.json file for a CakePHP application would look like the following:

    "name": "example-app",
    "require": {
        "cakephp/cakephp": "2.5.*"
    "config": {
        "vendor-dir": "Vendor/"

Save this JSON into composer.json in the APP directory of your project. Next download the composer.phar file into your project. After you’ve downloaded Composer, install CakePHP. In the same directory as your composer.json run the following:

$ php composer.phar install

Once Composer has finished running you should have a directory structure that looks like:


You are now ready to generate the rest of your application skeleton:

$ Vendor/bin/cake bake project <path to project>

By default bake will hard-code CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH. To make your application more portable you should modify webroot/index.php, changing CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH to be a relative path:

    ROOT . DS . APP_DIR . DS . 'Vendor' . DS . 'cakephp' . DS . 'cakephp' . DS . 'lib'


If you are planning to create unit tests for your application you’ll also need to make the above change to webroot/test.php

If you’re installing any other libraries with Composer, you’ll need to setup the autoloader, and work around an issue in Composer’s autoloader. In your Config/bootstrap.php file add the following:

// Load Composer autoload.
require APP . 'Vendor/autoload.php';

// Remove and re-prepend CakePHP's autoloader as Composer thinks it is the
// most important.
// See:
spl_autoload_unregister(array('App', 'load'));
spl_autoload_register(array('App', 'load'), true, true);

You should now have a functioning CakePHP application installed via Composer. Be sure to keep the composer.json and composer.lock file with the rest of your source code.

Sharing CakePHP Libraries with multiple Applications

There may be some situations where you wish to place CakePHP’s directories on different places on the filesystem. This may be due to a shared host restriction, or maybe you just want a few of your apps to share the same CakePHP libraries. This section describes how to spread your CakePHP directories across a filesystem.

First, realize that there are three main parts to a CakePHP application:

  1. The core CakePHP libraries, in /lib/Cake.
  2. Your application code, in /app.
  3. The application’s webroot, usually in /app/webroot.

Each of these directories can be located anywhere on your file system, with the exception of the webroot, which needs to be accessible by your web server. You can even move the webroot folder out of the app folder as long as you tell CakePHP where you’ve put it.

To configure your CakePHP installation, you’ll need to make some changes to the following files.

  • /app/webroot/index.php
  • /app/webroot/test.php (if you use the Testing feature.)

There are three constants that you’ll need to edit: ROOT, APP_DIR, and CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH.

  • ROOT should be set to the path of the directory that contains your app folder.
  • APP_DIR should be set to the (base)name of your app folder.
  • CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH should be set to the path of your CakePHP libraries folder.

Let’s run through an example so you can see what an advanced installation might look like in practice. Imagine that I wanted to set up CakePHP to work as follows:

  • The CakePHP core libraries will be placed in /usr/lib/cake.
  • My application’s webroot directory will be /var/www/mysite/.
  • My application’s app directory will be /home/me/myapp.

Given this type of setup, I would need to edit my webroot/index.php file (which will end up at /var/www/mysite/index.php, in this example) to look like the following:

// /app/webroot/index.php (partial, comments removed)

if (!defined('ROOT')) {
    define('ROOT', DS . 'home' . DS . 'me');

if (!defined('APP_DIR')) {
    define ('APP_DIR', 'myapp');

if (!defined('CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH')) {
    define('CAKE_CORE_INCLUDE_PATH', DS . 'usr' . DS . 'lib');

It is recommended to use the DS constant rather than slashes to delimit file paths. This prevents any missing file errors you might get as a result of using the wrong delimiter, and it makes your code more portable.

Apache and mod_rewrite (and .htaccess)

This section was moved to URL rewriting.