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Caution: You are browsing the documentation for Symfony version 2.1 which is not maintained anymore. If some of your projects are still using this version, consider upgrading.

Installing and Configuring Symfony

The goal of this chapter is to get you up and running with a working application built on top of Symfony. Fortunately, Symfony offers "distributions", which are functional Symfony "starter" projects that you can download and begin developing in immediately.


If you're looking for instructions on how best to create a new project and store it via source control, see Using Source Control.

Installing a Symfony2 Distribution


First, check that you have installed and configured a Web server (such as Apache) with PHP 5.3.8 or higher. For more information on Symfony2 requirements, see the requirements reference.

Symfony2 packages "distributions", which are fully-functional applications that include the Symfony2 core libraries, a selection of useful bundles, a sensible directory structure and some default configuration. When you download a Symfony2 distribution, you're downloading a functional application skeleton that can be used immediately to begin developing your application.

Start by visiting the Symfony2 download page at On this page, you'll see the Symfony Standard Edition, which is the main Symfony2 distribution. There are 2 ways to get your project started:

Option 1) Composer

Composer is a dependency management library for PHP, which you can use to download the Symfony2 Standard Edition.

Start by downloading Composer anywhere onto your local computer. If you have curl installed, it's as easy as:

curl -s | php


If your computer is not ready to use Composer, you'll see some recommendations when running this command. Follow those recommendations to get Composer working properly.

Composer is an executable PHAR file, which you can use to download the Standard Distribution:

php composer.phar create-project symfony/framework-standard-edition /path/to/webroot/Symfony 2.1.x-dev


For an exact version, replace 2.1.x-dev with the latest Symfony version (e.g. 2.1.1). For details, see the Symfony Installation Page


To download the vendor files faster, add the --prefer-dist option at the end of any Composer command.

This command may take several minutes to run as Composer downloads the Standard Distribution along with all of the vendor libraries that it needs. When it finishes, you should have a directory that looks something like this:

path/to/webroot/ <- your web server directory (sometimes named htdocs or public)
    Symfony/ <- the new directory

Option 2) Download an Archive

You can also download an archive of the Standard Edition. Here, you'll need to make two choices:

  • Download either a .tgz or .zip archive - both are equivalent, download whatever you're more comfortable using;
  • Download the distribution with or without vendors. If you're planning on using more third-party libraries or bundles and managing them via Composer, you should probably download "without vendors".

Download one of the archives somewhere under your local web server's root directory and unpack it. From a UNIX command line, this can be done with one of the following commands (replacing ### with your actual filename):

# for .tgz file
$ tar zxvf Symfony_Standard_Vendors_2.1.###.tgz

# for a .zip file
$ unzip

If you've downloaded "without vendors", you'll definitely need to read the next section.


You can easily override the default directory structure. See How to override Symfony's Default Directory Structure for more information.

All public files and the front controller that handles incoming requests in a Symfony2 application live in the Symfony/web/ directory. So, assuming you unpacked the archive into your web server's or virtual host's document root, your application's URLs will start with http://localhost/Symfony/web/. To get nice and short URLs you should point the document root of your web server or virtual host to the Symfony/web/ directory. Though this is not required for development it is recommended when your application goes into production as all system and configuration files become inaccessible to clients. For information on configuring your specific web server document root, see the following documentation: Apache | Nginx .


The following examples assume you don't touch the document root settings so all URLs start with http://localhost/Symfony/web/

Updating Vendors

At this point, you've downloaded a fully-functional Symfony project in which you'll start to develop your own application. A Symfony project depends on a number of external libraries. These are downloaded into the vendor/ directory of your project via a library called Composer.

Depending on how you downloaded Symfony, you may or may not need to update your vendors right now. But, updating your vendors is always safe, and guarantees that you have all the vendor libraries you need.

Step 1: Get Composer (The great new PHP packaging system)

curl -s | php

Make sure you download composer.phar in the same folder where the composer.json file is located (this is your Symfony project root by default).

Step 2: Install vendors

$ php composer.phar install

This command downloads all of the necessary vendor libraries - including Symfony itself - into the vendor/ directory.


If you don't have curl installed, you can also just download the installer file manually at Place this file into your project and then run:

php installer
php composer.phar install


When running php composer.phar install or php composer.phar update, composer will execute post install/update commands to clear the cache and install assets. By default, the assets will be copied into your web directory.

Instead of copying your Symfony assets, you can create symlinks if your operating system supports it. To create symlinks, add an entry in the extra node of your composer.json file with the key symfony-assets-install and the value symlink:

"extra": {
    "symfony-app-dir": "app",
    "symfony-web-dir": "web",
    "symfony-assets-install": "symlink"

When passing relative instead of symlink to symfony-assets-install, the command will generate relative symlinks.

Configuration and Setup

At this point, all of the needed third-party libraries now live in the vendor/ directory. You also have a default application setup in app/ and some sample code inside the src/ directory.

Symfony2 comes with a visual server configuration tester to help make sure your Web server and PHP are configured to use Symfony. Use the following URL to check your configuration:


If there are any issues, correct them now before moving on.

One common issue is that the app/cache and app/logs directories must be writable both by the web server and the command line user. On a UNIX system, if your web server user is different from your command line user, you can run the following commands just once in your project to ensure that permissions will be setup properly.

Note that not all web servers run as the user www-data as in the examples below. Instead, check which user your web server is being run as and use it in place of www-data.

On a UNIX system, this can be done with one of the following commands:

$ ps aux | grep httpd


$ ps aux | grep apache

1. Using ACL on a system that supports chmod +a

Many systems allow you to use the chmod +a command. Try this first, and if you get an error - try the next method. Be sure to replace www-data with your web server user on the first chmod command:

$ rm -rf app/cache/*
$ rm -rf app/logs/*

$ sudo chmod +a "www-data allow delete,write,append,file_inherit,directory_inherit" app/cache app/logs
$ sudo chmod +a "`whoami` allow delete,write,append,file_inherit,directory_inherit" app/cache app/logs

2. Using Acl on a system that does not support chmod +a

Some systems don't support chmod +a, but do support another utility called setfacl. You may need to enable ACL support on your partition and install setfacl before using it (as is the case with Ubuntu), like so:

$ sudo setfacl -R -m u:www-data:rwX -m u:`whoami`:rwX app/cache app/logs
$ sudo setfacl -dR -m u:www-data:rwx -m u:`whoami`:rwx app/cache app/logs

3. Without using ACL

If you don't have access to changing the ACL of the directories, you will need to change the umask so that the cache and log directories will be group-writable or world-writable (depending if the web server user and the command line user are in the same group or not). To achieve this, put the following line at the beginning of the app/console, web/app.php and web/app_dev.php files:

umask(0002); // This will let the permissions be 0775

// or

umask(0000); // This will let the permissions be 0777

Note that using the ACL is recommended when you have access to them on your server because changing the umask is not thread-safe.

When everything is fine, click on "Go to the Welcome page" to request your first "real" Symfony2 webpage:


Symfony2 should welcome and congratulate you for your hard work so far!



To get nice and short urls you should point the document root of your webserver or virtual host to the Symfony/web/ directory. Though this is not required for development it is recommended at the time your application goes into production as all system and configuration files become inaccessible to clients then. For information on configuring your specific web server document root, read Configuring a web server or consult the official documentation of your webserver: Apache | Nginx .

Beginning Development

Now that you have a fully-functional Symfony2 application, you can begin development! Your distribution may contain some sample code - check the file included with the distribution (open it as a text file) to learn about what sample code was included with your distribution.

If you're new to Symfony, check out "Creating Pages in Symfony2", where you'll learn how to create pages, change configuration, and do everything else you'll need in your new application.

Be sure to also check out the Cookbook, which contains a wide variety of articles about solving specific problems with Symfony.


If you want to remove the sample code from your distribution, take a look at this cookbook article: "How to remove the AcmeDemoBundle"

Using Source Control

If you're using a version control system like Git or Subversion, you can setup your version control system and begin committing your project to it as normal. The Symfony Standard edition is the starting point for your new project.

For specific instructions on how best to setup your project to be stored in git, see How to Create and store a Symfony2 Project in git.

Ignoring the vendor/ Directory

If you've downloaded the archive without vendors, you can safely ignore the entire vendor/ directory and not commit it to source control. With Git, this is done by creating and adding the following to a .gitignore file:


Now, the vendor directory won't be committed to source control. This is fine (actually, it's great!) because when someone else clones or checks out the project, he/she can simply run the php composer.phar install script to install all the necessary project dependencies.