The recommended way to install Kimai is via SSH, you need GIT and Composer.

To install Kimai in your production environment, connect with SSH to your server and change to your webservers (document) root directory. You need to install Git and Composer if you haven’t already.

First clone this repo (2.0.35 is the latest stable release):

git clone -b 2.0.35 --depth 1
cd kimai/

Now install all dependencies:

composer install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader -n

Configure the database connection in the .env file:


And run the Kimai installer:

bin/console kimai:install -n

File permissions

The webserver needs write permissions for several directories, so make sure the file permissions are correct.

Adjust file permission

You have to allow PHP (your webserver process) to write to var/ and it subdirectories.

Here is an example for Debian/Ubuntu (to be executed inside the Kimai directory):

chown -R :www-data .
chmod -R g+r .
chmod -R g+rw var/

Test Kimai before executing these commands (they are likely not required in a shared-hosting environment). You probably need to prefix them with sudo and the group might be called different than www-data.

Create your first user

There are several options to create your first user:

  • via command: bin/console kimai:create-user username ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN
  • via login screen: you can register a user, the first one will be promoted to the role ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN
  • you can configure LDAP or SAML for authentication

If you are going to import data from Kimai v1 choose a username & email that was not used in v1.


Configure your web server (like Nginx or Apache) to point its DocumentRoot at the public/ directory. For more details, see the Webserver How-To.

Oh … wait! Before you leave, please read the initial setup guide.


There is a dedicated article about Docker setups for Kimai, suitable for development and production.

Hosting and 1-click installations

The following platforms adopted Kimai to be compatible with their one-click installation systems.


Install kimai2 with YunoHost

Kimai package for YunoHost.


Cloudron provides a secure and ready to use Kimai package, which will be kept up-to-date automatically.

Install Kimai with Cloudron

Vesta Control Panel

Be aware that VestaCP uses the admin user instead of www-data. Replace the names in the permission commands above. Read this issue if you have further questions.


CloudJiffy provides a scalable, hourly billed and easy to use PaaS platform and the setup of Kimai is only a click of a button away. Kimai is always deployed from the latest Github branch, thus you can rest easy that your software will always be up-to-date.

Shared hosting

How to install Kimai at shared hosting companies. Please share our insights if you have managed to get it up and running with another company!

If you can’t find the correct version, ask your hoster! Or let us help you.

Ionos / 1&1

  • GIT is normally pre-installed and can be used via SSH
  • composer has to be installed manually
  • The default PHP version is often too low (PHP 5.x) - you can check that with php -v
    • If it is lower than 7.2, you have to prefix all commands with the proper version, eg. /usr/bin/php7.3-cli (even composer)
    • Example composer: /usr/bin/php7.3-cli composer.phar install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader
    • Example installation: /usr/bin/php7.3-cli bin/console kimai:install -n


  • GIT is pre-installed and can be used via SSH
  • composer has to be installed manually: curl -sS | php7.3.5-cli
  • The default PHP version is often too low (PHP 5.x or even PHP 4.x) - you can check that with php -v
    • If it is lower than 7.2, you have to prefix all commands with the proper version, eg. php7.3.5-cli (even composer)
    • Example composer: php7.3.5-cli composer.phar install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader
    • Example installation: php7.3.5-cli bin/console kimai:install -n


Strato has a special setup of PHP, you need to find the proper version first.

  • PHP-Directory: /opt/RZphp{major}{minor}/bin/php-cli (Shared Hosting)
  • PHP-Directory: /usr/bin/php{major}{minor} (Managed Server)

For example, if you want to use PHP 7.3 use always the absolute path when running a PHP based command: so prefix all commands with eg. /opt/RZphp73/bin/php-cli in bash.

How to install Kimai:

  • Install composer: curl -sS | /opt/RZphp73/bin/php-cli
  • Clone Kimai as stated above and then cd kimai
  • Install composer packages with /opt/RZphp73/bin/php-cli ../composer.phar install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader
  • Configure your .env file, eg. with nano .env
  • Install Kimai database /opt/RZphp73/bin/php-cli bin/console kimai:install -n

Reload your configuration /opt/RZphp73/bin/php-cli bin/console kimai:reload


If a subdomain has not yet been added, login to the Plesk frontend and add a new subdomain, e.g. Use the database tab of the new subdomain to create a new database for Kimai. Also check the selected PHP version for this subdomain in the development-tools section of the subdomain.

Next, the actual installation needs to be done in the command line of the webserver directly.

  • Login to the web server via SSH
  • Locate the current PHP version. Plesk stores its PHP instances in the directory /opt/plesk/php. Depending on which PHP version was configured for Kimai subdomain, make sure to use this version during the installation. For example, if using version 7.3, the path to PHP should be /opt/plesk/php/7.3/bin/php.
  • Switch user to be “root” (otherwise access to Plesk subfolder is denied) with su.
  • Navigate to the root folder where Plesk is hosting the websites from. Typically, the root can be found at /var/www/vhosts/<domain_name>. For hosting location on Windows, please refer to official Plesk documentation:
    cd /var/www/vhosts/
  • Install composer: curl -sS | /opt/plesk/php/7.3/bin/php
  • Clone Kimai: git clone -b 2.0.35 --depth 1
  • Enter Kimai directory: cd kimai
  • Install composer packages: /opt/plesk/php/7.3/bin/php ../composer.phar install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader
  • Configure .env file to have correct database credentials
  • Install Kimai database: /opt/plesk/php/7.3/bin/php bin/console kimai:install -n
  • Change ownership of kimai folder:
      cd ..
      chown -R psacln:psaserv kimai
      chmod -R g+r kimai
      chmod -R g+rw kimai/var/
      chmod -R g+rw kimai/public/avatars/
  • Switch user back to your normal user account (must not be root), e.g. ‘user’: su -p user
  • Reload caches:
      cd kimai
      bin/console kimai:reload --env=prod
  • Create first user: bin/console kimai:create-user username ROLE_SUPER_ADMIN
  • Adjust Apache configuration to point to the “public” subfolder of the Kimai installation, i.e. set the path to /var/www/vhosts/ Also ensure that ServerName and ServerAlias are set to and


  • Clone Kimai in the root folder as stated above and then cd kimai
  • Install composer: curl -sS | /usr/bin/php
  • Install dependencies: php composer.phar install --no-dev --optimize-autoloader
  • configure your .env file, eg. nano .env
  • install kimai: php bin/console kimai:install -n
  • reload config: php bin/console kimai:reload
  • Configure Netcup (using the customer controlpanel) to use “/kimai/public” as root folder for the domain (or subdomain) of your choice and add SSL (Letsencrypt) for this domain

See issue #1620.

FTP installation

Installation via FTP is not supported. Kimai cannot be installed with FTP.

You have two choices:


Webarchitects Co-operative have written a Kimai Ansible Galaxy role for automatically installing and upgrading Kimai sites on their shared hosting servers.


Asterion Digital have written a guide and automated process for deploying Kimai on Kubernetes.

The guide is specifically oriented towards Google Kubernetes Engine, however the .yaml resource definition files in the /config directory of the respository can be easily applied to any conformant kubernetes cluster by running kubectl apply -f config/*.yaml after cloning the repository.

Installation FAQ

SQLSTATE[HY000] [2006] MySQL server has gone away

That usually means that your DATABASE_URL is wrong. You can run a command like bin/console doctrine:schema:validate to check, if the software can connect successfully to your database.

If that gives you the same error, it is configuration issue which you need to solve first, before you are able to install Kimai.

Malformed parameter “url”

If you see an error message like this, then you have a special character in your DATABASE_URL.

!!  In DriverManager.php line 259:
!!    Malformed parameter "url".  

This can be a character like @ or / or some others, which need to be urlencoded. This can easily be done with one command, lets assume your password is mG0/d1@3aT.Z)s then you get your password like this:

php -r "echo urlencode('mG0/d1@3aT.Z)s');"

Then your DATABASE_URL might look like this:


Which user to use, www-data, httpd or your own?

The installation instructions are intended primarily for server applications.

If you are installing Kimai on your personal computer - maybe for use in a local network, but where the computer primarily serves as a single user computer - you will avoid permission errors by substituting www-data in the relevant commands with your username.

In particular, sudo -u www-data is a command which grants the www-data user temporary administrator/super-user privileges). However, depending on the configuration of your particular computer, you may be able to avoid sudo altogether (your user may already have adequate permissions). Or your webserver user is not called www-data but httpd.

You can try first leaving sudo -u www-data altogether in the relevant commands. If you have permission errors, you can substitute it for sudo -u $USER in the relevant commands, where username is the username that runs the server - if you don’t know, it is likely your own username that you login with.

chown & chmod commands

Further, chown and chmod commands should be for the username that runs the server instead of www-data (again, if you don’t know, it is likely your own username).

Also note that, depending on where you are installing Kimai and how your computer is configured, you may also receive “operation not permitted” errors when setting file permissions (chown and chmod commands). In that case, prefix them with sudo.


Internal Server Error 500

This error can have several causes. Here is a small summary what to check for if this error occurs when trying to access the Kimai frontend:

  • There could be something wrong with your file permissions. Please check the log var/log/prod.log in your installation directory.
  • Make sure not to reload Kimai as root (e.g. via bin/console kimai:reload --env=prod). The application will create folders and files. If root started the process you most likely will have permission errors if the web-server is not started as root as well. Fix file permissions!

Still doesn’t work?

These infos were added to give you some possible guidance if you run into troubles. The Linux (and Mac) filesystem with its permission structure, especially when using server software, can be tricky and challenging.

But this has NOTHING to do with Kimai and we might not be able to help you in such situations … it is your system and responsibility, be aware that wrong permissions might break Kimai and can also lead to security problems.