The recommended way to install Kimai v2 is via SSH, you need GIT and Composer.

To install Kimai 2 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 (1.7 is the latest stable release):

git clone -b 1.7 --depth 1
cd kimai2/

Now install all dependencies:

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

Configure the database connection in the .env file:


And run the Kimai installer:

bin/console kimai:install -n

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

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/
chmod -R g+rw public/avatars/

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 for authentication

If you are going to import data from Kimai v1 use a different username & email


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 2 to be compatible with their one-click installation systems.


Install kimai2 with YunoHost

Kimai 2 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.

Shared hosting

Some short hints for installation at 1&1 / Ionos, but these tipps will likely help with other shared hosters as well:

  • 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) - ask your hoster if you can’t find the correct version
    • 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

FTP installation

This is NOT recommended, but still widely used …

Please, do yourself a favour and get a hoster that includes SSH access, it is not 2002 anymore! Nowadays even cheap contracts should support SSH.

Now read on: Kimai FTP installation + tips and tricks.


Webarchitects Co-operative have written a Kimai 2 Ansible Galaxy role for automatically installing and upgrading Kimai sites on their shared hosting servers.

Installation FAQ

SQLite is a great database engine for testing, but when it comes to production usage it is not recommended for Kimai:

  • It does not support ALTER TABLE commands and makes update procedures very clunky and problematic (I try to support updates, but they are heavy on large databases)
  • It does not support FOREIGN KEY constraints out of the box, which can lead to critical bugs when deleting users/activities/projects/customers

Kimai works around the Foreign Keys issue by using a Doctrine PostConnect EventSubscriber, but this is not intended to be used in large production setups and it can’t be guaranteed that SQLite handles everything as expected.

If you insist on using SQLite: make a copy of the database file BEFORE each update, to prevent possible data loss.

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 2 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 2 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.

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.