Start Installation Assistant

Now, in your browser, type the URL of the directory where you put the files, and the name of the installer file you uploaded/extracted. For example:

You should now be presented with a welcome screen. If, instead, you see a white screen it probably means that your server is running old, or incompatible software and that you may be forced to use the traditional installer. It is a good hint that if the Phar installer will not run you may have further problems with CMS Made Simple on that server.

The installation assistant can then be used to guide you through the process of installing a new version of CMSMS, Upgrading an existing installation of CMSMS, or freshening an existing version of CMSMS. There are various options for each path through the installation assistant and 9 steps:

Step 1

Step 1 asks you to select a language and optionally allows you to enable "Advanced Mode". Advanced mode enables various additional options throughout the assistant and increases the verbosity of the status output.

Step 2

The second step does checks for existing software in your installation directory. If an existing installation of CMS Made Simple is detected you will be presented with options to proceed through the "upgrade" or "freshen" paths (depending upon the version detected). If no version of CMS Made Simple is installed you will be guided through the "installation" process.

Step 3

Step 3 performs various tests on your PHP environment to try to ensure that the PHP environment is compatible with CMS Made Simple. If important tests fail you will be notified of them and not allowed to continue. However, if some non critical tests fail you will be allowed to continue. We recommend that you adjust your PHP environment (you may need to contact your host for assistance) until all tests pass.

Step 4

This step is used only during the installation or freshen paths. It asks you to provide basic configuration information for the CMS Made Simple environment. This includes database information and credentials, and a server time zone.

As mentioned in the requirements above. CMSMS requires a mysql database to store data, and user credentials to access it. The user account provided must have ALL PRIVILEGES to the database. You can normally create databases, and create user accounts for database from within your web host's control panel.

Additionally, you are asked to specify the time zone of the server (not your local time zone). You may need to ask your host for information about this.

Upon submit, the installation assistant will validate your database credentials, and check the database to ensure you are not accidentally overwriting an existing installation of CMSMS.

Step 5

This step is used only during the installation path. It asks you to provide basic credentials to the first Admin user account. This Admin user account allows you to login to the CMSMS Admin console with all privileges and access to all of its functionality. From within the CMSMS Admin console you can create user groups, and further user accounts for additional site managers or editors.

Unless you have enabled "Advanced mode" in step 1, you must also provide an email address. The email address will be used to send you your login credentials in the event of a lost or forgotten password. An email will also be sent to you with your initial login credentials.

Step 6

This step asks you for a human readable name for your website, and allows you to select additional language packs to install.

Additional language packs allow users who login to the CMSMS Admin console to display the output in their native language. Please note: though there are multiple languages available, not all of them are complete.

Step 7

This step copies all of the CMSMS core files from within the installation assistant into your CMS Made Simple install. It also cleans up those files.

Step 8

This step interacts with the database to ensure that all tables and initial content are created properly.

During the installation process numerous tables and indexes are created in the database, and necessary initial data is installed. Additionally (by default) sample data is installed. The sample data provides useful instructions on how to interact with, and build sites with, CMS Made Simple. It is recommended reading.

During the upgrade process, any necessary database changes are preformed to ensure that the database tables, and their contents, are compatible with the new version of CMSMS.

Step 9

This step finishes the installation and performs a clean-up.

During the installation process all core modules are installed, necessary temporary directories created, and the configuration file is written.

During the upgrade process core modules are upgraded if necessary, and a new version of the configuration file is written. Any existing configuration file is backed up for safety. Additionally, the CMSMS cache is cleared.

Once everything is complete you will be presented with links to either visit your CMSMS website, or to login to its Admin console.


After successful completion of the installation assistant, you should, using either the command line or your web hosts file manager, delete the installation assistant .php file and the README text file from your server.

Available Options

The installation assistant supports the following URL based options:

  1. TMPDIR=/absolute/path
    Specify the absolute path to the directory to be used for temporary files. This directory must be writable by the PHP process. This option should not be needed on most hosts.
  2. debug=1
    Attempt Turn on error reporting, and to display some meaningful help information.
  3. nobase
    Do not output a base href tag in the generated HTML.
  4. dest
    Allow specifying a custom destination directory (must be an absolute path).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a PHAR?
A: A Phar is a single, self contained, executable PHP Archive. It allows us to distribute the CMSMS installation assistant as a single file even though it contains numerous libraries, classes, stylesheets, and scripts. This allows CMSMS users to install, upgrade or freshen their CMSMS systems by uploading a single file to their web server.

Q: Why is there a .php file inside the archive, and not a .phar?
A: Most web servers are not configured to treat files ending with .phar as executable PHP scripts. Therefore we have renamed the file as a .php file so that web servers will know to execute the script. Please note however, that this is a binary file and must be treated as such.

Q: I get a message saying: "unable to create temporary file for decompression of gzipped phar archive"
A: Some hosts have restricted PHP's write access to the system temporary directory, which the installer needs to expand archives. However there is a mechanism to use a different temporary directory for the installer.
You can add a TMPDIR=/absolute/path/to/writable/directory argument to the URL on the first page. If this directory is writable it will be used for storing temporary files throughout the execution of the installation assistant.

Q: I Get a white screen, what can I do?
A: A white screen indicates a PHP error of some sort. In order to figure out the problem you will need to find out exactly what error, and then understand that error.
You should check your Apache error logs. If you don't know where they are, or how to enable them contact your host for assistance.
Failing that, you can try to add ?debug=1 to the URL for the installer, this will enable a simple debug mode. This, depending on your host configuration may allow you to see error messages.

Q: I still get a white screen, and I've enabled debug mode... now what?
A: This could indicate that either your installer upload is corrupted OR that your host does not allow you to change debug settings in the standard way. You will probably have to contact your host in order to get at the actual error.