PHPWebsite Install Help NEEDED



Hi, I have recently moved hosting over to DreamHost becuase of problems with my previous hosting company. I have heard nothing but good things about DreamHost, but now I cannot install phpwebsite.

I uploaded all the files to my “play” domain. To test the setups before using the programs for my clients. Anyway, the domain is

PHPInfo is at

The error I get is that I need to make directories. This is the first thing that comes up when I go to

The following directories need to be created:


I created the files and still received the same error.
I checked the forums and found one similar problem, but the answer was WAY over my head. I will try it as a last resort. Something to do with changing the code in the setup file.

I’ve done the installation on the previous hosting company, that is why I want to load it on DreamHost so badly. So I can just move the site over without having to do it all over again. I have almost 100 pages made with phpwebsite’s pagemaster module.

I can follow directions very easily. I know enough of php to get by, but am by no means a master. If anyone can help, Thanks ahead of time!!!


It sounds as though the PHPWebsite setup file is using an environment variable to set the path, and the variable being used is returning a different value under PHP-CGI than the programmer anticipated (hence the /dh/ part of the “directories” that you “need to create”).

You shouldn’t have to create these directories, but the program should not be looking for them there, and I’m almost entirely sure it is doing so because of the PHP environment variable the programmer used is returning a different value than he expected. This is fairly common with PHP applications that don’t take into account that they might be being run under PHP-CGI.

There a a couple of ways you can approach resolving this:

  1. Run your PHPWebsite under mod_php instead of the default PHP-CGI that DreamHost offers. You can do this by adding “application/x-httpd-php .php” to your “base” PHPWebsite directory’s .htaccess file - this information is in the “comments” of the article linked above, and you should read those so you fully understand what is happening. IF the current version of PHPWebsite does not rely on any of the features that DH’s mod_php has disabled (and there are a few!), then this alone should fix your problem.

  2. The other approach is to dig into the PHPWebsite file(s) and determine if the environment variable(s) used are ones that return unexpected results (and I believe that this is the case!), and change them to either hardcoded paths or environment variables that return the “expected” value when running PHP-CGI. Some information regarding what is involved here is available in this old DH knowledgebase article on the differences betrween mod_php and PHP-CGI

This has been discussed before on these forums, and I believe it was in the context of installing PHPWebsite
(which I used on DreamHost for several years). Do you have the link to the forum posting that you mentioned as possibly being relevant?



Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will try them tonight and see how it works.

The forum posting before was actually another of yours.
Click HERE for post

I will let you know how it goes.
I needed a simple CMS for a client’s site. Found PHPwebsite and it was indeed very simple. Before. Anyway, thanks again!


Aha! I knew this all sounded more than a little bit familiar! doh! Sometimes I think I must be losing my mind! :wink:

Hopefully, there has been an improved version of the installer since my last attempt at installing it on DreamHost. That was a very frustrating experience becuase I had many phpwebsite installations under my belt on DH before attempting to install that version, and I had no trouble installing them.

Reviewing that old post brings back a lot of memories, and for what it’s worth, I still have concerns about how well a “popular” phpwebsite will run on most shared hosts. It requires a lot of memory and, at the time I abandoned its use, had gotten more than a little “long in the tooth”. It had become considerably slower and harder to manage well than many of the newer CMS systems.

Times have continued to change, so maybe a “newer” phpwebsite version is significantly improved and you will be able to install it with only the variable changes I described, be able to complete the installation process, and have good success running it well on DreamHost.

If not, there is a time to abandon even the “good” older things, when technology passes them by, so you might want to consider one of the alternative CMS that have grown to recent popularity on the strength of their progress.

For one thing, the “pages” functions of WordPress, and the huge number of themes and available plugins, has elevated it considerably past it’s “blog software” origins, and I have several clients happily using it as a CMS for some fairly sophisticated sites.

Additionally, Joomla! is (arguably) the current “best of the breed” in the FOSS CMS world, and it, like WordPress, is available on DH as a “one-click” installation.

Should you not be able to get phpwebsite sorted, or if having gotten it running you are unhappy with it’s performance, you might consider either of those a a suitable replacement. There are also even simpler CMS solutions out there now; one that several of my clients enjoy using is WebsiteBaker.

Good luck with it, and let me know how it goes! :wink:



I didn’t realize that phpwebsite had become “more than a little ‘long in the tooth’. It had become considerably slower and harder to manage.”

My site will not be a popular site, that isn’t even the desire. Funny, huh? Its mostly for one of my clients to use for their business.

I have it almost complete but am totally unhapping with the hosting company I was using (Not DreamHost obviously). So I am in the process of moving all my domains over to DH, while completing their site. Didn’t really want to start all over. Its not too complicated a site, but I just figured out most of the ins and outs of phpwebsite. Now to learn another. Fun, Fun, Fun.

I started out hand-coding my html sites. Then, when using Dreamweaver, I got out of practice with keeping up with all the code. Then CGI & PHP exploded around me and I find myself seriously behind the times. Guess thats what good forums and awesome people like you are for.

Thanks again for your help. BTW, if you could take a look at the site and let me know which CMS (that works on DH) you think would work best, I’d like to try that first! Thanks again!


Please understand that those kinds of evaluations are often somewhat subjective, and I was not intending to disparage your choice of platform - I was only meaning to share my experience, and yours may well vary. :wink:

My objective reasons for changing had to do with the slow development pace of PHPWebsite, the lack of activity and readily available help on its forums, the lack of third-party developers creating new themes and exciting add-ons for it, and the relatively high memory requirements … but most of all the speed with which it functioned.

On the site you have under development at present, how much of the blame for how slowly it loads (and for me it loaded very slowly!) lies with that host, and how much of it lies with the PHPWebsite software, is hard for me to judge, as I have no experience with that host.

The site you are building is actually very well suited for either WordPress (using the “Pages” functionality) or Joomla! The present 5 “static pages” that comprise the site should place no load at all on the server (they are not really “static”, because they are built from the CMS, but they are relatively light in functionality and have no memory or CPU intensive interactive features). To my thinking, a CMS is a bit of any overkill for that kind of site, but I still use CMS systems for such things as the site owner can make his own changes.

All things considered, from my knowledge of PHPWebsite, WordPress, Joomla! and other popular CMS systems that are readily available, I would use either WordPress or Joomla!, partly because they are so easily installed on DH via their “one-click” installer but mainly because of the huge selection of templates and add-ons, and their active user and developer communities.

Of those two, most feel that WordPress is easier to learn (it ought to take about an hour!), while Joomla! has more immediate potential for growth because of all the different modules available for it (much like PHPWebsite, but with orders of magnitude more tools available!). It is also likely to take you a bit longer to get your head around the way Joomla! handles “pages” and Sections, and categories, etc.

Bottom line, for that site I’d have to use WordPress if I wanted it up as quickly as possible. If I had some time to spend, I would probably do it in Joomla!, just to leave myself the flexibility and expansion capabilities available in case the site really took off and I wanted to add a lot of features later.

There are plenty of “features” also available for WordPress, but Joomla! is more of a “full-blown” CMS architecture than WordPress, which started out purely as “blogging” software and has grown to have more than enough CMS functionality for the kind of site you are presently building.

You could probably build a working and attractive WordPress site using the content already on your dev site in half-a-day - and that is including the time to install it and learn your way around.

I would just pick one of the available templates that was “close” to what I already designed (the DH installation comes with about 50, and there are well over a thousand available!), modify it by adding my already prepared graphics from the dev site, and copy/paste my content from the existing pages to the new ones.

Joomla! would also work very well, but you will need considerably more time to thoroughly explore and understand how it works than you will with WordPress - probably comparable to what you have invested in learning PHPWebsite.

All that said, do not let me discourage you from pursuing getting PHPWebsite running on DreamHost - it may well meet your needs and there is always a real value to “dancing with the devil you know!” :wink: