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How to install Backdrop CMS

If you're looking to install Backdrop from the command line, see our advanced instructions.

After the installation is complete, you will be redirected to your site's home page.

  1. Step1: Download Backdrop and extract the files

    Backdrop can be downloaded from our home page or from the Github releases page.

    Once downloaded, most computers can extract the files with a double-click. On nix systems you may need to use the unzip command.

    Make sure that the files are placed in a functional webroot, you will need to access the website with a browser for step 3.

  2. Step 2: Enter the MySQL database information in settings.php

    Backdrop needs both a database, and a database user in order to be installed, and these need to be specified in the settings.php file. In most cases, Backdrop will update this file for you automatically as you go through the installer steps. So you may want to try skipping to the next step, and give it a go. If the installer is not able to automatically configure your settings.php file, you will need to return to this step, and update it manually:

    Edit your settings.php file in a text editor, and locate the "Database configuration" section at the top. Enter the database username and password, and provide the database name (replace the user, pass, and database_name placeholders in 'mysql://user:pass@localhost/database_name' accordingly, with the respective actual values - the result will be something like 'mysql://db_admin:S3cur3_P@ssW0rd@localhost/backdrop_db').

    If the database user you provided has enough privileges to create the database (this is common on shared hosting) Backdrop will create the database for you; if not, then you will need to create the database manually:

    • (optional) Create the MySQL database

      If Backdrop is unable to create the database for you, you will need to create an empty database manually.

      The database can be created using a browser-based control panel like PHPMyAdmin or cPanel, or from the mysql command line.

      Create a database, and make a note of the database name and hostname (usually localhost).

    • (optional) Create the database user
      If you do not already have a database user, you will need to create one manually.

      The database user can also be created using a browser-based control panel like PHPMyAdmin or cPanel, or from the mysql command line.

      Create a database user, and make a note of the username and password. Grant this new user ALL privileges on the database just created.

      GRANT ALL ON databasename.* TO 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

  3. Step 3: Run the installer

    To run the Backdrop install script, point your browser to the base URL of your web site (for example, http://localhost or

    If the installation process does not appear, add install.php to the end of your site's URL (for example, http://localhost/install.php or

    The installer will guide you through several questions:

    1. Choose language

      If you want to install using a language other than English, see Learn how to install Backdrop in other languages.

    2. (hidden) Choose installation profile

      In most cases, this question will not be shown to you, since the standard installation profile is optimal. It is shown only when installing a special distribution of Backdrop.

    3. Verify requirements

      If your installation directory is not configured properly, you'll be informed on this page. Correct each problem, and either refresh the browser window or click 'Proceed with the installation' to see if there are any other errors.

    4. Set up database

      This question will be skipped if you have manually updated you settings.php file with the correct database information in Step 2. If shown, enter the database name, the username, and password as per Step 2. Note that this is not the username and password for your Backdrop site; those will be created in the next step.

    5. Installing Backdrop

      A progress bar will appear and display updates regarding the progress of the installation. If no errors are encountered, the next page will automatically load in your browser.

    6. Set site info & main account

      Provide basic settings like your site name and logo. Also supply information for the first user account (this account will be assigned full administration permissions)

Troubleshooting / Additional steps

  • Set the permissions/ownership of the settings.php file

    After the installation is complete, you may want to confirm that the permissions on the settings.php file is write-protected. Important: Failing to remove write permissions to the settings.php file is a security risk.

  • Set the permissions/ownership on the files directory

    The files directory in the Backdrop root must be writable by the webserver.

    If the user who logs into the server (either by ftp or ssh) is myuser and the webserver user is www-data then sensible ownership and permissions for the files directory could be:

    drwxrwx--- 13 myuser www-data 442B Nov 5 18:38 files

    You can achieve this configuration either in your FTP client or on the command line with commands like this:

    chown -R myuser:www-data files && chmod -R 770 files

    Note: you may need sudo depending on the access of the user who owns the directory.