How to install Backdrop CMS

  1. 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 4.

  2. Create the MySQL database

    Backdrop needs both a database, and a database user in order to be installed. Both these things can be created using a browser-based control panel like PHPMyAdmin or cPanel, or directly from the command line.

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

    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. Update Backdrop's settings.php file

    Skip to the next step and see if you can run the installer. If not, return to this step to update the settings.php file manually. (In some cases, Backdrop will update the settings.php file automatically.)

    If Backdrop was not able to update this file for you automatically, open it in a text editor. At the top of the file you will see a database connection information in the form
    $database = 'mysql://user:pass@localhost/database_name'; $database_prefix = '';

  4. Set the permissions/ownership on the files directory

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

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

    drwxrwx--- 13 my-user 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 my-user:www-data files && chmod -R 770 files

    • you may need sudo depending on who owns the directory currently
  5. Replace the user:pass segment of the connection string with the database username and password from step 2, above.

    Replace the localhost/backdrop segment of the connection string with the hostname and database name from step 2, above.

    When you are finished, your connection string should resemble the following:
    $database = 'mysql://backdrop:backdrop01@localhost/backdrop';

    Save the file, and continue to the next step.

  6. 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 simply appear by entering the base URL of your site, add install.php to the end of your site's URL (for example,

    The installer will guide you through several questions:

    1. Choose language

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

    2. (hidden) Choose profile

      In most cases, the standard profile is optimal so this question will be skipped. When installing a special distribution of Backdrop you may be asked to select that option on this step.

    3. Verify requirements

      If your installation directory is not yet configured properly, you'll be informed on this page. You can correct the settings individually and either refresh the browser screen or click 'proceed with the installation' to see whether there are any errors left.

    4. Set up database

      Enter the database name, the user name, and the password for the database user that you created in 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 notes from the installer 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 some basic web site settings like the Site name, Logo, and email address (the website will use this emial address like the password reset email)

      Enter the information for the first user account (which will be automatically assigned full administration permissions).

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

    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.