Requirements for Running Exponent CMS

Before you can run Exponent CMS, there are four components you must have installed on your computer or web hosting environment:

  1. Web Server — most web hosting environments will have this installed and this can be added to most personal computers including Windows and OSX using XAMPP.
    • Apache — v2.0+ required. If you are setting up your own web hosting computer, visit the Apache Download page.
      • Must have mod-rewrite installed with the AllowOverrides directive set properly to enable search engine friendly URLs
    • IIS - support added in v2.4.2patch1
      • Must have url_rewrite module installed to enable search engine friendly URLs
    • Exponent CMS should run on other web servers (lighttpd, Nginx, etc...), but we do not ship any running configurations which would allow using the search engine friendly URLs.  If this feature is turned on these servers, all links may take you back to the home page.  This can be corrected by turning the SEF-URL feature off.
      • Nginix config to enable search engine friendly URLs should include:
      • location / {  
                      try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
  2. PHP — this is the programming language in which Exponent CMS is written. PHP support should be included with most web hosting packages. For information about installing PHP, visit the PHP Download page.
    • PHP v8.2 initial support added v2.7.0patch2
    • PHP v8.1 initial support added v2.7.0
    • PHP v8.0 initial support added v2.6.0
    • PHP 7.3.x or 7.4.x - (v7.4 support added v2.5.1patch1).
    • PHP 5.6.x, 7.0.x, 7.1.x, or 7.2.x,  - deprecated support, minimum required version.
    • PHP 5.5.x support was removed in Exponent CMS v2.5.0
    • PHP 5.2.x support was removed in Exponent CMS v2.3.3
    • PHP 5.3.x and 5.4.x support was removed in Exponent CMS v2.4.2
  3. Database — this is used to store and manage the the text and data content for your website. This is included with most advanced web hosting packages.
    • MySQL (or MariaDB) 5.0+ is highly recommended for performance and security. For information about installing MySQL visit the MySQL Download page.
      • MySQL v5.7+ 'strict' support added v2.6.0
      • MySQL v8.0 'rank' keyword and INT data type change support added v2.7.0
    • Microsoft SQL Server support is also supported since v2.5.0. Performance may be affected when accessing the server remotely from the web server.
  4. Exponent CMS Package — this is the Content Management Software.  Details about getting the package are here.

Additional Requirements for Exponent

These are software extensions and system settings for your hosting environment which Exponent needs for specific tasks. You do not need to have these to run Exponent, but will loose functionality and may experience some problems without them:

  1. GD Graphics Library — this is used for imaging functions such as creating automatic thumbnails and Captcha tests. For more info see GD Graphics Library website.
    • Version 2.0.x+
  2. Zlib Support — this is used for uncompressing Tar and Zip archives when using the automatic Themes and Modules installers.
  3. XML (Expat) Library Support — this gives you access to web services extensions which some Exponent modules use.
  4. Safe Mode Disabled — Exponent works best when Safe Mode is Disabled. Having Safe Mode Enabled is a security measure present in some Shared Hosting Environments which limits PHP scripts from including or modifying files that are not owned by that script's owner. If you decide to run with Safe Mode Enabled, make sure that ALL files included in the Exponent package are owned by the same system user.
  5. Open BaseDir Disabled — Exponent works best when Open BaseDir is Disabled and it may cause severe problems if this is not the case. Having Open BaseDir Enabled is a security measure present in some Shared Hosting Environments which limits PHP scripts from dealing with files outside of a given directory. This may cause problems with some Exponent file operations, including the Multi-Site manager.
  6. File Uploads Enabled — some web servers will have PHP uploads disabled or have problems processing uploaded files. Without this ability you will be unable to upload new code, patches, images or resources.
  7. Temporary File Creation — Exponent needs to create temporary files to accomplish many tasks. This is possible with most web hosting packages. This error may be caused by having incorrect File Permissions on the /tmp/ folder.
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