Shared Hosting Environment

Shared hosting environments are often quite limited about configuration and directory structure. Still in most cases you can run Yii 2.0 on a shared hosting environment with a few adjustements.

Deploying a basic application

Since in a shared hosting environment there's typically only one webroot, use the basic project template if you can. Refer to the Installing Yii chapter and install the basic project template locally. After you have the application working locally, we'll make some adjustments so it can be hosted on your shared hosting server.

Renaming webroot

Connect to your shared host using FTP or by other means. You will probably see something like the following.


In the above, www is your webserver webroot directory. It could be named differently. Common names are: www, htdocs, and public_html.

The webroot in our basic project template is named web. Before uploading the application to your webserver rename your local webroot to match your server, i.e., from web to www, public_html or whatever the name of your hosting webroot.

FTP root directory is writeable

If you can write to the root level directory i.e. where config, logs and www are, then upload assets, commands etc. as is to the root level directory.

Add extras for webserver

If your webserver is Apache you'll need to add an .htaccess file with the following content to web (or public_html or whatever) (where the index.php file is located):

Options +FollowSymLinks
IndexIgnore */*

RewriteEngine on

# if a directory or a file exists, use it directly
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d

# otherwise forward it to index.php
RewriteRule . index.php

In case of nginx you should not need any extra config files.

Check requirements

In order to run Yii, your webserver must meet its requirements. The very minimum requirement is PHP 5.4. In order to check the requirements copy requirements.php from your root directory into the webroot directory and run it via browser using URL. Don't forget to delete the file afterwards.

Deploying an advanced application

Deploying an advanced application to shared hosting is a bit trickier than a basic application because it has two webroots, which shared hosting webservers don't support. We will need to adjust the directory structure.

Move entry scripts into single webroot

First of all we need a webroot directory. Create a new directory and name it to match your hosting webroot name as described in Renaming webroot above, e.g., www or public_html or the like. Then create the following structure where www is the hosting webroot directory you just created:


www will be our frontend directory so move the contents of frontend/web into it. Move the contents of backend/web into www/admin. In each case you will need to adjust the paths in index.php and index-test.php.

Separate sessions and cookies

Originally the backend and frontend are intended to run at different domains. When we’re moving it all to the same domain the frontend and backend will be sharing the same cookies, creating a clash. It order to fix it, adjust backend application config backend/config/main.php as follows:

'components' => [
    'request' => [
        'csrfParam' => '_backendCSRF',
        'csrfCookie' => [
            'httpOnly' => true,
            'path' => '/admin',
    'user' => [
        'identityCookie' => [
            'name' => '_backendIdentity',
            'path' => '/admin',
            'httpOnly' => true,
    'session' => [
        'name' => 'BACKENDSESSID',
        'cookieParams' => [
            'path' => '/admin',