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Getting started

PyroCMS, like many other content management systems including WordPress, Typo3, or Drupal, comes with a pre-developed installation process. For PyroCMS, this installation process is easy to use and comes with a number of helpful hints just in case you hit a snag while installing the system. If, for example, your system files don’t have the correct permissions profile (writeable versus write-protected), the PyroCMS installer will help you, along with all the other installation details, such as checking for required software and taking care of file permissions.

Before you can install PyroCMS (the version used for examples in this article is 2.2) on a server, there are a number of server requirements that need to be met. If you aren’t sure if these requirements have been met, the PyroCMS installer will check to make sure they are available before installation is complete. Following are the software requirements for a server before PyroCMS can be installed:

  • HTTP Web Server
  • MySQL 5.x or higher
  • PHP 5.2.x or higher
  • GD2
  • cURL

Among these requirements, web developers interested in PyroCMS will be glad to know that it is built on CodeIgniter, a popular MVC patterned PHP framework. I recommend that the developers looking to use PyroCMS should also have working knowledge of CodeIgniter and the MVC programming pattern.

Learn more about CodeIgniter and see their excellent system documentation online at http://ellislab.com/codeigniter.


If you haven’t explored the Model-View-Controller (MVC) programming pattern, you’ll want to brush up before you start developing for PyroCMS. The primary reason that CodeIgniter is a good framework for a CMS is that it is a well-documented framework that, when leveraged in the way PyroCMS has done, gives developers power over how long a project will take to build and the quality with which it is built. Add-on modules for PyroCMS, for example, follow the MVC method, a programming pattern that saves developers time and keeps their code dry and portable.

Dry and portable programming are two different concepts. Dry is an acronym for “don’t repeat yourself” code. Portable code is like “plug-and-play” code—write it once so that it can be shared with other projects and used quickly.

HTTP web server

Out of the PyroCMS software requirements, it is obvious, you can guess, that a good HTTP web server platform will be needed. Luckily, PyroCMS can run on a variety of web server platforms, including the following:

  • Abyss Web Server
  • Apache 2.x
  • Nginx
  • Uniform Server
  • Zend Community Server

If you are new to web hosting and haven’t worked with web hosting software before, or this is your first time installing PyroCMS, I suggest that you use Apache as a HTTP web server. It will be the system for which you will find the most documentation and support online. If you’d prefer to avoid Apache, there is also good support for running PyroCMS on Nginx, another fairly-well documented web server platform.


Version 5 is the latest major release of MySQL, and it has been in use for quite some time. It is the primary database choice for PyroCMS and is thoroughly supported. You don’t need expert level experience with MySQL to run PyroCMS, but you’ll need to be familiar with writing SQL queries and building relational databases if you plan to create add-ons for the system. You can learn more about MySQL at http://www.mysql.com.


Version 5.2 of PHP is no longer the officially supported release of PHP, which is, at the time of this article, Version 5.4. Version 5.2, which has been criticized as being a low server requirement for any CMS, is allowed with PyroCMS because it is the minimum version requirement for CodeIgniter, the framework upon which PyroCMS is built. While future versions of PyroCMS may upgrade this minimum requirement to PHP 5.3 or higher, you can safely use PyroCMS with PHP 5.2.

Also, many server operating systems, like SUSE and Ubuntu, install PHP 5.2 by default. You can, of course, upgrade PHP to the latest version without causing harm to your instance of PyroCMS. To help future-proof your installation of PyroCMS, it may be wise to install PHP 5.3 or above, to maximize your readiness for when PyroCMS more strictly adopts features found in PHP 5.3 and 5.4, such as namespaceing.


GD2, a library used in the manipulation and creation of images, is used by PyroCMS to dynamically generate images (where needed) and to crop and resize images used in many PyroCMS modules and add-ons. The image-based support offered by this library is invaluable.


As described on the cURL project website, cURL is “a command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax” using a large number of methods, including HTTP(S) GET, POST, PUT, and so on. You can learn more about the project and how to use cURL on their website http://curl.haxx.se. If you’ve never used cURL with PHP, I recommend taking time to learn how to use it, especially if you are thinking about building a web-based API using PyroCMS.

Most popular web hosting companies meet the basic server requirements for PyroCMS.

Downloading PyroCMS

Getting your hands on a copy of PyroCMS is very simple. You can download the system files from one of two locations, the PryoCMS project website and GitHub.

To download PyroCMS from the project website, visit http://www.pyrocms.com and click on the green button labeled Get PyroCMS! This will take you to a download page that gives you the choice between downloading the Community version of PyroCMS and buying the Professional version. If you are new to PyroCMS, you can start with the Community version, currently at Version 2.2.3. The following screenshot shows the download screen:

To download PyroCMS from GitHub, visit https://github.com/pyrocms/pyrocms and click on the button labeled Download ZIP to get the latest Community version of PyroCMS, as shown in the following screenshot:

If you know how to use Git, you can also clone a fresh version of PyroCMS using the following command. A word of warning, cloning PyroCMS from GitHub will usually give you the latest, stable release of the system, but it could include changes not described in this article. Make sure you checkout a stable release from PyroCMS’s repository.

git clone https://github.com/pyrocms/pyrocms.git

As a side-note, if you’ve never used Git, I recommend taking some time to get started using it. PyroCMS is an open source project hosted in a Git repository on Github, which means that the system is open to being improved by any developer looking to contribute to the well-being of the project. It is also very common for PyroCMS developers to host their own add-on projects on Github and other online Git repository services.


In this article, we have covered the pre-requisites for using PyroCMS, and also how to download PyroCMS.

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