CakePHP is simple and easy to install. The minimum requirements are a web server and a copy of CakePHP, that’s it! While this chapter focuses primarily on setting up on Apache (because it’s simple to install and setup), CakePHP will run on a variety of web servers such as nginx, LightHTTPD, or Microsoft IIS.


  • HTTP Server. For example: Apache. Having mod_rewrite is preferred, but by no means required.
  • PHP 5.6.0 or greater (including PHP 7.1).
  • mbstring PHP extension
  • intl PHP extension


In both XAMPP and WAMP, the mbstring extension is working by default.

In XAMPP, intl extension is included but you have to uncomment extension=php_intl.dll in php.ini and restart the server through the XAMPP Control Panel.

In WAMP, the intl extension is “activated” by default but not working. To make it work you have to go to php folder (by default) C:\wamp\bin\php\php{version}, copy all the files that looks like icu*.dll and paste them into the apache bin directory C:\wamp\bin\apache\apache{version}\bin. Then restart all services and it should be OK.

While a database engine isn’t required, we imagine that most applications will utilize one. CakePHP supports a variety of database storage engines:

  • MySQL (5.1.10 or greater)
  • PostgreSQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server (2008 or higher)
  • SQLite 3


All built-in drivers require PDO. You should make sure you have the correct PDO extensions installed.

Installing CakePHP

Before starting you should make sure that your PHP version is up to date:

php -v

You should have PHP 5.6.0 (CLI) or higher. Your webserver’s PHP version must also be of 5.6.0 or higher, and should be the same version your command line interface (CLI) uses.

Installing Composer

CakePHP uses Composer, a dependency management tool, as the officially supported method for installation.

  • Installing Composer on Linux and macOS

    1. Run the installer script as described in the official Composer documentation and follow the instructions to install Composer.

    2. Execute the following command to move the composer.phar to a directory that is in your path:

      mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer
  • Installing Composer on Windows

    For Windows systems, you can download Composer’s Windows installer here. Further instructions for Composer’s Windows installer can be found within the README here.

Create a CakePHP Project

Now that you’ve downloaded and installed Composer, create a new CakePHP application into my_app_name folder. For this just run the following composer command:

php composer.phar create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app my_app_name

Or if Composer is installed globally:

composer self-update && composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app my_app_name

Once Composer finishes downloading the application skeleton and the core CakePHP library, you should have a functioning CakePHP application installed via Composer. Be sure to keep the composer.json and composer.lock files with the rest of your source code.

You can now visit the path to where you installed your CakePHP application and see the default home page. To change the content of this page, edit src/Template/Pages/home.ctp.

Although composer is the recommended installation method, there are pre-installed downloads available on Github. Those downloads contain the app skeleton with all vendor packages installed. Also it includes the composer.phar so you have everything you need for further use.

Keeping Up To Date with the Latest CakePHP Changes

By default this is what your application composer.json looks like:

"require": {
    "cakephp/cakephp": "3.4.*"

Each time you run php composer.phar update you will receive bugfix releases for this minor version. You can instead change this to ~3.4 to also receive the latest stable releases of the 3.x branch.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest unreleased changes in CakePHP, designate dev-master as the package version in your application’s composer.json:

"require": {
    "cakephp/cakephp": "dev-master"

Be aware that this is not recommended, as your application can break when the next major version is released. Additionally, composer does not cache development branches, so it slows down consecutive composer installs/updates.

Installation using Oven

Another quick way to install CakePHP is Oven. It is a simple PHP script which checks the necessary system requirements, installs the CakePHP application skeleton, and sets up the development environment.

After the installation completes, your CakePHP application is ready to go!


IMPORTANT: This is not a deployment script. It is aimed to help developers install CakePHP for the first time and set up a development environment quickly. Production environments should consider several other factors, like file permissions, virtualhost configuration, etc.


CakePHP uses the tmp directory for a number of different operations. Model descriptions, cached views, and session information are a few examples. The logs directory is used to write log files by the default FileLog engine.

As such, make sure the directories logs, tmp and all its subdirectories in your CakePHP installation are writable by the web server user. Composer’s installation process makes tmp and its subfolders globally writeable to get things up and running quickly but you can update the permissions for better security and keep them writable only for the web server user.

One common issue is that logs and tmp directories and subdirectories must be writable both by the web server and the command line user. On a UNIX system, if your web server user is different from your command line user, you can run the following commands from your application directory just once in your project to ensure that permissions will be setup properly:

HTTPDUSER=`ps aux | grep -E '[a]pache|[h]ttpd|[_]www|[w]ww-data|[n]ginx' | grep -v root | head -1 | cut -d\  -f1`
setfacl -R -m u:${HTTPDUSER}:rwx tmp
setfacl -R -d -m u:${HTTPDUSER}:rwx tmp
setfacl -R -m u:${HTTPDUSER}:rwx logs
setfacl -R -d -m u:${HTTPDUSER}:rwx logs

In order to use the CakePHP console tools, you need to ensure that bin/cake file is executable. On *nix or macOS, you can execute:

chmod +x bin/cake

On Windows, the .bat file should be executable already. If you are using a Vagrant, or any other virtualized environment, any shared directories need to be shared with execute permissions (Please refer to your virtualized environment’s documentation on how to do this).

If, for whatever reason, you cannot change the permissions of the bin/cake file, you can run the CakePHP console with:

php bin/cake.php

Development Server

A development installation is the fastest way to setup CakePHP. In this example, we use CakePHP’s console to run PHP’s built-in web server which will make your application available at http://host:port. From the app directory, execute:

bin/cake server

By default, without any arguments provided, this will serve your application at http://localhost:8765/.

If there is conflict with localhost or port 8765, you can tell the CakePHP console to run the web server on a specific host and/or port utilizing the following arguments:

bin/cake server -H -p 5673

This will serve your application at

That’s it! Your CakePHP application is up and running without having to configure a web server.


The development server should never be used in a production environment. It is only intended as a basic development server.

If you’d prefer to use a real web server, you should be able to move your CakePHP install (including the hidden files) inside your web server’s document root. You should then be able to point your web-browser at the directory you moved the files into and see your application in action.


A production installation is a more flexible way to setup CakePHP. Using this method allows an entire domain to act as a single CakePHP application. This example will help you install CakePHP anywhere on your filesystem and make it available at Note that this installation may require the rights to change the DocumentRoot on Apache webservers.

After installing your application using one of the methods above into the directory of your choosing - we’ll assume you chose /cake_install - your production setup will look like this on the file system:

    webroot/ (this directory is set as DocumentRoot)

Developers using Apache should set the DocumentRoot directive for the domain to:

DocumentRoot /cake_install/webroot

If your web server is configured correctly, you should now find your CakePHP application accessible at

Fire It Up

Alright, let’s see CakePHP in action. Depending on which setup you used, you should point your browser to or http://localhost:8765/. At this point, you’ll be presented with CakePHP’s default home, and a message that tells you the status of your current database connection.

Congratulations! You are ready to create your first CakePHP application.

URL Rewriting


While CakePHP is built to work with mod_rewrite out of the box–and usually does–we’ve noticed that a few users struggle with getting everything to play nicely on their systems.

Here are a few things you might try to get it running correctly. First look at your httpd.conf. (Make sure you are editing the system httpd.conf rather than a user- or site-specific httpd.conf.)

These files can vary between different distributions and Apache versions. You may also take a look at for further information.

  1. Make sure that an .htaccess override is allowed and that AllowOverride is set to All for the correct DocumentRoot. You should see something similar to:

    # Each directory to which Apache has access can be configured with respect
    # to which services and features are allowed and/or disabled in that
    # directory (and its subdirectories).
    # First, we configure the "default" to be a very restrictive set of
    # features.
    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
    #    Order deny,allow
    #    Deny from all
  2. Make sure you are loading mod_rewrite correctly. You should see something like:

    LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache2/

    In many systems these will be commented out by default, so you may just need to remove the leading # symbols.

    After you make changes, restart Apache to make sure the settings are active.

    Verify that your .htaccess files are actually in the right directories. Some operating systems treat files that start with ‘.’ as hidden and therefore won’t copy them.

  3. Make sure your copy of CakePHP comes from the downloads section of the site or our Git repository, and has been unpacked correctly, by checking for .htaccess files.

    CakePHP app directory (will be copied to the top directory of your application by bake):

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
       RewriteEngine on
       RewriteRule    ^$    webroot/    [L]
       RewriteRule    (.*) webroot/$1    [L]

    CakePHP webroot directory (will be copied to your application’s web root by bake):

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteRule ^ index.php [L]

    If your CakePHP site still has problems with mod_rewrite, you might want to try modifying settings for Virtual Hosts. On Ubuntu, edit the file /etc/apache2/sites-available/default (location is distribution-dependent). In this file, ensure that AllowOverride None is changed to AllowOverride All, so you have:

    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
    <Directory /var/www>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from all

    On macOS, another solution is to use the tool virtualhostx to make a Virtual Host to point to your folder.

    For many hosting services (GoDaddy, 1and1), your web server is being served from a user directory that already uses mod_rewrite. If you are installing CakePHP into a user directory (, or any other URL structure that already utilizes mod_rewrite, you’ll need to add RewriteBase statements to the .htaccess files CakePHP uses (.htaccess, webroot/.htaccess).

    This can be added to the same section with the RewriteEngine directive, so for example, your webroot .htaccess file would look like:

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteBase /path/to/app
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteRule ^ index.php [L]

    The details of those changes will depend on your setup, and can include additional things that are not related to CakePHP. Please refer to Apache’s online documentation for more information.

  4. (Optional) To improve production setup, you should prevent invalid assets from being parsed by CakePHP. Modify your webroot .htaccess to something like:

    <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteBase /path/to/app/
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/(webroot/)?(img|css|js)/(.*)$
        RewriteRule ^ index.php [L]

    The above will prevent incorrect assets from being sent to index.php and instead display your web server’s 404 page.

    Additionally you can create a matching HTML 404 page, or use the default built-in CakePHP 404 by adding an ErrorDocument directive:

    ErrorDocument 404 /404-not-found


nginx does not make use of .htaccess files like Apache, so it is necessary to create those rewritten URLs in the site-available configuration. This is usually found in /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_virtual_host_conf_file. Depending on your setup, you will have to modify this, but at the very least, you will need PHP running as a FastCGI instance. The following configuration redirects the request to webroot/index.php:

location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

A sample of the server directive is as follows:

server {
    listen   80;
    listen   [::]:80;
    return 301$request_uri;

server {
    listen   80;
    listen   [::]:80;

    root   /var/www/;
    index  index.php;

    access_log /var/www/;
    error_log /var/www/;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        try_files $uri =404;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;


Recent configurations of PHP-FPM are set to listen to the unix php-fpm socket instead of TCP port 9000 on address If you get 502 bad gateway errors from the above configuration, try update fastcgi_pass to use the unix socket path (eg: fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;) instead of the TCP port.

IIS7 (Windows hosts)

IIS7 does not natively support .htaccess files. While there are add-ons that can add this support, you can also import htaccess rules into IIS to use CakePHP’s native rewrites. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Use Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer to install the URL Rewrite Module 2.0 or download it directly (32-bit / 64-bit).
  2. Create a new file called web.config in your CakePHP root folder.
  3. Using Notepad or any XML-safe editor, copy the following code into your new web.config file:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
                <rule name="Exclude direct access to webroot/*"
                    <match url="^webroot/(.*)$" ignoreCase="false" />
                    <action type="None" />
                <rule name="Rewrite routed access to assets(img, css, files, js, favicon)"
                    <match url="^(img|css|files|js|favicon.ico)(.*)$" />
                    <action type="Rewrite" url="webroot/{R:1}{R:2}"
                      appendQueryString="false" />
                <rule name="Rewrite requested file/folder to index.php"
                    <match url="^(.*)$" ignoreCase="false" />
                    <action type="Rewrite" url="index.php"
                      appendQueryString="true" />

Once the web.config file is created with the correct IIS-friendly rewrite rules, CakePHP’s links, CSS, JavaScript, and rerouting should work correctly.

I Can’t Use URL Rewriting

If you don’t want or can’t get mod_rewrite (or some other compatible module) running on your server, you will need to use CakePHP’s built in pretty URLs. In config/app.php, uncomment the line that looks like:

'App' => [
    // ...
    // 'baseUrl' => env('SCRIPT_NAME'),

Also remove these .htaccess files:


This will make your URLs look like rather than