To install Imbo on the server you should use Composer. Create a composer.json file for your installation, and install Imbo and optional 3rd party plug-ins via the composer binary. First, you will need the following directory structure:


where the composer.json file can contain:

  "name": "yourname/imbo",
  "require": {
    "imbo/imbo": "^3.0"

and the config/ directory contains one or more configuration files that will be merged with the default configuration. Imbo will load all .php files in this directory, and the ones returning an array will be used as configuration.

If you want to install 3rd party plug-ins and/or for instance the Doctrine DBAL library and the MongoDB PHP library simply add these to the require object in your composer.json file:

  "name": "yourname/imbo",
  "require": {
    "imbo/imbo": "^3.0",
    "rexxars/imbo-hipsta": "dev-master",
    "imbo/imbo": "^3.0",
    "doctrine/dbal": "^2.5",
    "mongodb/mongodb": "^1.1"

If some of the 3rd party plug-ins provide configuration files, you can link to these in the config/ directory to have Imbo automatically load them:

cd /path/to/install/config
ln -s ../vendor/rexxars/imbo-hipsta/config/config.php 01-imbo-hipsta.php

To be able to control the order that Imbo uses when loading the configuration files you should prefix them with a number, like 01 in the example above. Lower numbers will be loaded first, meaning that configuration files with higher numbers will override settings set in configuration files with a lower number.

When you have created the composer.json file you can install Imbo with Composer:

composer install -o --no-dev

After composer has finished installing Imbo and optional dependencies the Imbo installation will reside in /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo. The correct web server document root in this case would be /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public.

If you later want to update Imbo you can bump the version number you have specified in composer.json and run:

composer update -o --no-dev

Regarding the Imbo version you are about to install you can use dev-master for the latest released version, or you can use a specific version if you want to (recommended). Head over to Imbo on Packagist to see the available versions. If you’re more of a YOLO type of person you can use dev-develop for the latest development version. If you choose to use the dev-develop branch, expect things to break from time to time.

Imbo strives to keep full BC in minor and patch releases, but breaking changes can occur. The most secure way to install one or more Imbo servers is to specify a specific version (for instance 3.0.0, or by using semver: ^3.0) in your composer.json file. Read the Imbo ChangeLog and the Upgrading Imbo chapter before doing an upgrade.

Web server configuration

After installing Imbo you will have to configure the web server you want to use. Imbo ships with sample configuration files for Apache, Nginx and Lighttpd that can be used with a few minor adjustments. All configuration files assume the httpd runs on port 80. If you use Varnish or some other HTTP accelerator simply change the port number to the port that your httpd listens to.


You will need to enable mod_rewrite if you want to use Imbo with Apache. Below is an example on how to configure Apache for Imbo:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    # Servername of the virtual host
    ServerName imbo

    # Define aliases to use multiple hosts
    # ServerAlias imbo1 imbo2 imbo3

    # Document root where the index.php file is located
    DocumentRoot /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public

    # Logging
    # CustomLog /var/log/apache2/imbo.access_log combined
    # ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/imbo.error_log

    # Rewrite rules that rewrite all requests to the index.php script
    <Directory /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public>
        RewriteEngine on
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteRule .* index.php

You will need to update ServerName to match the host name you will use for Imbo. If you want to use several host names you can update the ServerAlias line as well. You must also update DocumentRoot and Directory to point to the public directory in the Imbo installation. If you want to enable logging update the CustomLog and ErrorLog lines. RewriteCond and RewriteRule should be left alone.


Below is an example on how to configure Nginx for Imbo. This example uses PHP via FastCGI:

server {
    # Listen on port 80
    listen 80;

    # Define the server name
    server_name imbo;

    # Use the line below instead of the server_name above if you want to use multiple host names
    # server_name imbo imbo1 imbo2 imbo3;

    # Path to the public directory where index.php is located
    root /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public;
    index index.php;

    # Logs
    # error_log /var/log/nginx/imbo.error_log;
    # access_log /var/log/nginx/imbo.access_log main;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
        location ~ \.php$ {
            fastcgi_index index.php;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public/index.php;
            include fastcgi_params;

You will need to update server_name to match the host name you will use for Imbo. If you want to use several host names simply put several host names on that line. root must point to the public directory in the Imbo installation. If you want to enable logging update the error_log and access_log lines. You must also update the fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME line to point to the public/index.php file in the Imbo installation.


Below is an example on how to configure Lighttpd for Imbo. Running PHP through FastCGI is recommended (not covered here).

# Use the line below instead of the next one if you want to use multiple host names
# $HTTP["host"] =~ "^(imbo|imbo1|imbo2|imbo3)$" {

$HTTP["host"] == "imbo" {
    # Listen on port 80
    server.port = 80

    # Path to the public directory where index.php is located
    server.document-root = "/path/to/install/vendor/imbo/imbo/public"

    # Logs
    # server.errorlog = "/var/log/lighttpd/imbo.error_log"
    # accesslog.filename = "/var/log/lighttpd/imbo.access_log"

    # Rewrite all to index.php
    url.rewrite-if-not-file = ("^/[^\?]*(\?.*)?$" => "index.php/$1")

You will need to set the correct host name(s) used with $HTTP["host"] and update the server.document-root to point to the correct path. If you want to enable logging remove the comments on the lines with server.errorlog and accesslog.filename and set the correct paths. If you want to specify a custom access log path you will need to enable the mod_accesslog module.

This example requires the mod_rewrite module to be loaded.


Imbo strives to follow the HTTP Protocol, and can because of this easily leverage Varnish.

The only required configuration you need in your VCL is a default backend:

backend default {
    .host = "";
    .port = "81";

where .host and .port is where Varnish can reach your web server.

If you use the same host name (or a sub-domain) for your Imbo installation as other services, that in turn uses Cookies, you might want the VCL to ignore these Cookies for the requests made against your Imbo installation (unless you have implemented event listeners for Imbo that uses Cookies). To achieve this you can put the following snippet into your VCL file:

sub vcl_recv {
    if ( == "") {
        unset req.http.Cookie;

or, if you have Imbo installed in some path:

sub vcl_recv {
    if ( ~ "^(www.)?$" && req.url ~ "^/imbo/") {
        unset req.http.Cookie;

if your Imbo installation is available on [www.]

Database setup

If you choose to use a RDBMS to store data in, you will need to manually create a database, a user and the tables Imbo stores information in. You will find information regarding how to authenticate against the RDBMS of you choice in the Configuration topic.