Setting Up A Grav Blog

Grav Blog Server

A Backdrop

Before I dive in to showing you how to set this up I think I should point out that documentation on some of the elements of GRAV is not that great. If you are willing to pick apart a prebuilt project (they call these SKELETONS) and study how it is put together you can manage to put together a decent site in a short amount of time. However, I was disappointed by the lack of specific theme and plugin documentation. Hopefully, this will help you get started and avoid some of the areas that confused me. So, lets get started.

NOTE: This tutorial assumes that you have basic knowledge of how to use a webserver, shared hosting or how to host a website locally. Once I have an article on this topic I will post a link to it here.


By the definition found on their website, GRAV is

A modern open source flat-file CMS

Being a flat-file CMS allows for a way faster and way simpler setup. Instead of having to create a database, map your data and hope that your settings are correct (or spend hours in the docs), a flat-file CMS is virtually drag and drop. The databases are essentially data files that are organized in different folders, thus the term "flat-file". The CMS is packed with many features that I feel can be valuable to bloggers and content creators.


This CMS is awesome because it can be deployed quickly and be extended over time. With GRAV you can run an online store and manage a full fledged website. While I have preferred to manage my websites in raw code instead of a traditional CMS I wanted to go this route so that writing a post would be less painfull and time consuming for me. Also, GRAV's ability to be extended will allow me to open up user registration, shopping and many other cool features as I go along.

Initial Setup

First, head over to and download their GRAV BETA CORE + ADMIN PLUGIN. At the time of this article, the newest version is still in BETA so when they do release a stable 1.4 version, go and grab that version. Don't forget that you need to be running at least PHP Version 5.5.9 or higher.

I decided to use the BETA version because of some of the newer features available and in the future switching to the newer version from version 1.3.10 won't be necessary. They also recommend that if you are starting a new site you should use the BETA. Once downloaded we can move into our FTP program to upload these files to our webserver. If you have a local webserver running for development you can move these files to your main directory.

NOTE: When you unzip the file and enter the main directory of the downloaded GRAV project you will need to change your view settings so you can see all files including hidden files. By default files that begin with a period are usually considered system files and are protected from copying. When you upload your site, if you choose to drag and drop, you will miss important .htaccess files that are necessary to make the application run correctly.

If you are using Filezilla as your FTP transfer program, navigate to the unzipped folder in the left local file explorer. Filezilla will force show all the hidden system files allowing you to copy the .htaccess files successfully. Shared Hosting Issue

If is your web hosting company you will need to modify a line in the code of the main directory's .htaccess file for the PHP application to work correctly. There is a URL rewrite issue with the configuration that 1and1 uses. "Issue" may be the wrong word but it is still annoying when you have to pull your hair out trying to figure out why a PHP application is not working...esp. when you're a PHP newb. Thankfully, GRAV does have documentation of this issue. Below is the line that needs uncommented in the .htaccess file. You can fix this by changing

# RewriteBase /


RewriteBase /

"Huston, We Are Go For Launch"

Navigate to the directory that you uploaded the GRAV files to and append /install/index.php (i.e. ''). Their documentation doesn't say specifically to go to 'index.php' but as a shared hosting user I found that this was necessary in order to successfully begin the install process. Once there you will be prompted to enter a new admin username, email, password, name and title. If you run into issues you can check out the troubleshooting part of GRAV's site located here


Congrats! You've made it to the fun part. The part where you customize your site and start to build an awesome blog. When you first log into GRAV you should see the dashboard. The login page can be found at ''

NOTE: When you navigate to the top level of your domain, there should be a dummy page that appears saying installation was successful. If it was not it will show a list of requirements that need fulfilled before continuing. An important note is that most of the grav directories will need to be writeable.

If you navigate to the base level of your domain you should see the default content. Once in the dashboard you can add pages, install themes, plugins and build a complete site. There are different types of themes that you can download from the GRAV website. Some of those are preconfigured to make initial setup easier.

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William Reeves

Content Creator

Not much to know about me. I live in North Platte, Nebraska. I love my church, my family and my tech stuff. I love to film and to teach others how to do it as well. Be sure to check out my Youtube, Instagram and Twitter.

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