Content Management Tutorial

This tutorial will walk you through the creation of a simple CMS application. To start with, we’ll be installing CakePHP, creating our database, and building simple article management.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A database server. We’re going to be using MySQL server in this tutorial. You’ll need to know enough about SQL in order to create a database, and run SQL snippets from the tutorial. CakePHP will handle building all the queries your application needs. Since we’re using MySQL, also make sure that you have pdo_mysql enabled in PHP.

  2. Basic PHP knowledge.

Before starting you should make sure that you’re using a supported PHP version:

php -v

You should at least have got installed PHP 8.1 (CLI) or higher. Your webserver’s PHP version must also be of 8.1 or higher, and should be the same version your command line interface (CLI) PHP is.

Getting CakePHP

The easiest way to install CakePHP is to use Composer. Composer is a simple way of installing CakePHP from your terminal or command line prompt. First, you’ll need to download and install Composer if you haven’t done so already. If you have cURL installed, run the following:

curl -s | php

Or, you can download composer.phar from the Composer website.

Then simply type the following line in your terminal from your installation directory to install the CakePHP application skeleton in the cms directory of the current working directory:

php composer.phar create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app:5 cms

If you downloaded and ran the Composer Windows Installer, then type the following line in your terminal from your installation directory (ie. C:\wamp\www\dev):

composer self-update && composer create-project --prefer-dist cakephp/app:5.* cms

The advantage to using Composer is that it will automatically complete some important set up tasks, such as setting the correct file permissions and creating your config/app.php file for you.

There are other ways to install CakePHP. If you cannot or don’t want to use Composer, check out the Installation section.

Regardless of how you downloaded and installed CakePHP, once your set up is completed, your directory setup should look like the following, though other files may also be present:


Now might be a good time to learn a bit about how CakePHP’s directory structure works: check out the CakePHP Folder Structure section.

If you get lost during this tutorial, you can see the finished result on GitHub.


The bin/cake console utility can build most of the classes and data tables in this tutorial automatically. However, we recommend following along with the manual code examples to understand how the pieces fit together and how to add your application logic.

Checking our Installation

We can quickly check that our installation is correct, by checking the default home page. Before you can do that, you’ll need to start the development server:

cd /path/to/our/app

bin/cake server


For Windows, the command needs to be bin\cake server (note the backslash).

This will start PHP’s built-in webserver on port 8765. Open up http://localhost:8765 in your web browser to see the welcome page. All the bullet points should be green chef hats other than CakePHP being able to connect to your database. If not, you may need to install additional PHP extensions, or set directory permissions.

Next, we will build our Database.