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How to Install Craft CMS – Step by Step Installation Guide

May 21, 2021

6 Min Read
install craft cms

Until recently, the only choice for serious CMS projects was WordPress. There have been other content management systems and platforms, but none came close to the flexibility and performance of WordPress.

Craft CMS is one of the recent platforms that pose themselves as WordPress alternates. While others fail to come up to the mark, Craft manages to outdo the competition by adopting a single-track focus on content management. Once you’ll install Craft CMS, you will realize its utility for building advanced web applications. By providing an excellent environment that caters to all areas of content management, Craft CMS has managed to hold its own in the very competitive market of content management systems.

Powered by Yii, the well known (and respected) PHP framework, Craft CMS offers a scalable content management and presentation platform that is both robust and adaptable to all types of projects.

In this Craft CMS tutorial, I will discuss how you can install Craft CMS on your Cloudways server. Let’s get the show on the road! If you don’t have an account on Cloudways yet, Sign Up now.

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What Is Craft CMS?

The Craft CMS is powered by the Yii2 framework. It is an easily manageable CMS that allows users to customize their digital experience on the web and beyond. We can install Craft CMS very easily and can connect its storage to MySQL or PostgreSQL as per the project requirements. The templating done here is powered by Twig. 

Some of the features include:

  • Users can perform Admin tasks and content creation on a user-friendly panel.
  • It gives a fresh start for content modeling and front-end development.
  • The CMS gives you full autonomy to structure your content as the way you like.
  • Over 370 plugins are available.
  • It has a strong community filled with professional members.

How to Install Craft CMS

Step 1: Launch a New Server

Once you have signed up, launch a new server with PHP Stack application where we will install Craft CMS.

Wait for a few minutes to complete the server launch process. Next, select the Application and go to the Application Settings.

change application folder name

Edit application folder name to craft cms and click on Save.

saving folder name

Step 2: Download Craft CMS

Now go to your server and launch SSH Terminal. Log in with your credentials.

launch ssh terminal

Once you are logged in, head to the public_html folder and simply run the download command to download the Craft CMS project.


downloading craft cms via ssh

  1.   Unzip the Craft CMS zip file that you have just downloaded.

Now change the folder name as required like craft cms.

  1.  Open the .env file and change the DB_DATABASE,  DB_USER, and DB_PASSWORD, so that you can save a newly created database on our server.

  1.   Navigate to Application Settings on the platform and reset the permission.
  1.   You can either generate a security key by using the following command, or you can manually insert the key by accessing the .env file.
./craft setup/security-key
  1.   You can access the webpage by adding web/index.php/admin/install at the end of the URL to open the Craft installer. If you see the monkey page (see below), everything has been configured successfully.

craft installation

Now let’s begin the installation by clicking the Begin button. On the next page, create the admin account and click on Next.

creating admin account craftcms

In the next screen, give the site a name, set up the site URL, and click on Finish Up.

finishing craftcms installation

The craft will now start the installation.

complete installation craft

Once the process finishes, go to the Craft CMS application staging URL.

craft default page

If you see the above message, Craft has been successfully installed on your Cloudways server.

I hope that you have no issues in installing Craft CMS on your Cloudways server. If you have a question or wish to add to the conversation, please leave a comment.

Craft CMS Plugins

Craft CMS offers more than 370 plugins, ranging from Autoresponders to Maps along with the developer toolkits. You can access these plugins from the Craft CMS dashboard, Most of the plugins are free, while some plugins come with a price tag.

Check out the recently added plugins to the Craft CMS repository:


FreshMail is one of the leading email marketing tools that helps users to create customized emailing campaigns. This plugin helps users to integrate their FreshMail account with Craft CMS and create personalized emailing campaigns with stunning built-in templates.

Vanilla Forums

It is a popular Craft CMS plugin that allows you to integrate Vanilla Forums with your Craft CMS website. The plugin provides Single Sign-On (SSO) integration with Craft CMS, which means that users are not required to sign in to the Vanilla Forums separately.


This plugin helps you to convert your Craft CMS websites into a static one. It provides a simple integration process with Sitesauce and gives you the freedom to sync both dynamic and static websites easily.

JavaScript Helper

Using the JavaScript Helper, you can easily output all static translations into JavaScript objects. It also allows you to transfer Twig variables into JavaScript, without requiring any manual processes.

You can easily install the above-defined plugins and more by selecting the desired one from the dashboard.

Once you have installed the plugin, it will appear in the Utilities menu under System Report.

Craft CMS vs. WordPress

When we talk about a content-heavy website, it is not just about content, it is also about how to manage the content. The biggest CMS for web apps is WordPress, But Craft CMS is emerging out as a worthy challenger to WordPress. WordPress came out in 2003 and it quickly became popular because of its open-source platform. Whereas Craft CMS came out in 2012, offering only the basic version is free and is not open source at all. When it comes to the community, WordPress has a much broader community as compared to Craft CMS.

Craft CMS Hosting Made Simple

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Design and Themes

Craft CMS does not provide themes, but designs. Their designs have a large variety and are customizable easily.

WordPress offers design restrictions but provides the themes, so it is easy for beginners.

Easy to Use:

Craft CMS is lightweight and offers easily accessible plugins, but it does lack the choice over themes and the community support is not very strong.

WordPress has lots and lots of themes option and have more than 55K+ plugins. Moreover, it has a community so big that anyone can find assistance from any distant developer easily.

Q: How to update Craft CMS?

A: Craft CMS can be updated to newer versions within just a few clicks. Whenever an update is available, a notification appears in the Utilities navigation item in the sidebar. Just click on it and select Updates, it will display all the latest updates including platform versions and plugins.

Q: Is Craft CMS an open-source platform?

A: No, Craft CMS is not an open-source platform. Only the basic version of the CMS is free, while the rest are paid.

Q: What are some useful Craft CMS plugins?

A: There are many useful Craft CMS plugins available in the Plugin Store. A few of them to name are CodeMirror, ImageOptimize, SEOMatic, Splash, etc.


Craft CMS has custom fields, localization, tight integration, and built-in headless capabilities, which are quite friendly to use and configure by any e-commerce user.

With WordPress, you can perform customization within minutes. But if you are not using an optimized coding structure, you can not get the intended results or materialize what you are looking for.

Final Words

This brings us to the end of this article which highlighted in detail how to install Craft CMS on Cloudways. It is a highly advanced CMS platform that enables users to build optimized web applications in minutes. Moreover, it also provides several plugins and templates to ease the website development process and to help users quickly get started with the platform.

If you still have some more questions regarding this article, please feel free to ask them below in the comments section.

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Ahmed Khan

Ahmed was a PHP community expert at Cloudways - A Managed PHP Hosting Cloud Platform. He is a software engineer with extensive knowledge in PHP and SEO. He loves watching Game of Thrones is his free time. Follow Ahmed on Twitter to stay updated with his works. You can email him at [email protected]


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