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Installing and Configuring Symfony

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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.

Downloading a Symfony2 Distribution


First, check that you have installed and configured a Web server (such as Apache) with PHP 5.3.2 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 http://symfony.com/download. On this page, you’ll see the Symfony Standard Edition, which is the main Symfony2 distribution. 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 have Git installed on your computer, you should download Symfony2 “without vendors”, as it adds a bit more flexibility when including third-party/vendor libraries.

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_2.0.###.tgz

# for a .zip file
$ unzip Symfony_Standard_Vendors_2.0.###.zip

When you’re finished, you should have a Symfony/ directory that looks something like this:

www/ <- your web server directory (sometimes named htdocs or public)
    Symfony/ <- the unpacked archive


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

Finally, if you downloaded the archive “without vendors”, install the vendors by running the following command from the command line:

$ php bin/vendors install

This command downloads all of the necessary vendor libraries - including Symfony itself - into the vendor/ directory. For more information on how third-party vendor libraries are managed inside Symfony2, see “Managing Vendor Libraries with bin/vendors and deps”.

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.

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 README.md 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.


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 bin/vendors install script to download all the necessary vendor libraries.

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.