App Configuration

All of the configuration files for Winter are stored in the config directory. Options are usually documented in the configuration files directly, so it is recommended to look through the files to become familiar with the available options.

Web server configuration

Winter has basic configuration that should be applied to your webserver. Common webservers and their configurations can be found below.

Apache configuration

If your webserver is running Apache, there are some extra configuration requirements.

  1. mod_rewrite should be enabled.
  2. AllowOverride option should be set to All.

In some cases you may need to uncomment this line in the .htaccess file of your Winter installation.

## You may need to uncomment the following line for some hosting environments,
## if you have installed to a subdirectory, enter the name here also.
# RewriteBase /

If you have installed to a subdirectory, you should add the name of the subdirectory also:

RewriteBase /mysubdirectory/

Nginx configuration

There are small changes required to configure your site in Nginx.

Use the following code in the server section. If you have installed Winter into a subdirectory, replace the first / in location directives with the directory Winter was installed under.

location / {
    # Let Winter CMS handle everything by default.
    # The path not resolved by Winter CMS router will return Winter CMS's 404 page.
    # Everything that does not match with the whitelist below will fall into this.
    rewrite ^/.*$ /index.php last;

# Pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server
location ~ ^/index.php {
    # Write your FPM configuration here


# This may be needed to allow error codes to be handled correctly through Winter CMS.
# This will also pass any error codes sent from PHP-FPM.
error_page 404 = /index.php;

# Whitelist
## Let Winter handle if static file not exists
location ~ ^/favicon\.ico { try_files $uri /index.php; }
location ~ ^/sitemap\.xml { try_files $uri /index.php; }
location ~ ^/robots\.txt { try_files $uri /index.php; }
location ~ ^/humans\.txt { try_files $uri /index.php; }

# Block access to all dot files and folders except .well-known
location ~ /\.(?!well-known).* { deny all; }

## Let nginx return 404 if static file not exists
location ~ ^/storage/app/uploads/public { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/storage/app/media { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/storage/app/resized { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/storage/temp/public { try_files $uri 404; }

location ~ ^/modules/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/behaviors/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/behaviors/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/widgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/widgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/formwidgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/formwidgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/reportwidgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/modules/.*/reportwidgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }

location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/behaviors/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/behaviors/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/reportwidgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/reportwidgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/formwidgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/formwidgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/widgets/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/plugins/.*/.*/widgets/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }

location ~ ^/themes/.*/assets { try_files $uri 404; }
location ~ ^/themes/.*/resources { try_files $uri 404; }

Lighttpd configuration

If your webserver is running Lighttpd you can use the following configuration to run Winter CMS. Open your site configuration file with your favorite editor.

Paste the following code in the editor and change the host address and server.document-root value to match your project.

$HTTP["host"] =~ "" {
    server.document-root = "/var/www/example/"

    url.rewrite-once = (
        "^/(plugins|modules/(system|backend|cms))/(([\w-]+/)+|/|)assets/([\w-]+/)+[-\w^&'@{}[\],$=!#().%+~/ ]+\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|svg|swf|avi|mpg|mpeg|mp3|flv|ico|css|js|woff|ttf)(\?.*|)$" => "$0",
        "^/(system|themes/[\w-]+)/assets/([\w-]+/)+[-\w^&'@{}[\],$=!#().%+~/ ]+\.(jpg|jpeg|gif|png|svg|swf|avi|mpg|mpeg|mp3|flv|ico|css|js|woff|ttf)(\?.*|)$" => "$0",
        "^/storage/app/uploads/public/[\w-]+/.*$" => "$0",
        "^/storage/app/media/.*$" => "$0",
        "^/storage/app/resized/.*$" => "$0",
        "^/storage/temp/public/[\w-]+/.*$" => "$0",
        "^/(favicon\.ico)$" => "$0",
        "(.*)" => "/index.php$1"

IIS configuration

If your webserver is running Internet Information Services (IIS) you can use the following in your web.config configuration file to run Winter CMS.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
                <rule name="Winter CMS to handle all non-whitelisted URLs" stopProcessing="true">
                    <match url="^index.php" negate="true" />
                    <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll">
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" matchType="IsFile" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/.well-known/*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/storage/app/uploads/public/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/storage/app/media/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/storage/app/resized/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/storage/temp/public/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/themes/.*/(assets|resources)/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/plugins/.*/(assets|resources)/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                        <add input="{REQUEST_FILENAME}" pattern="/modules/.*/(assets|resources)/.*" ignoreCase="false" negate="true" />
                    <action type="Rewrite" url="index.php" />

Application configuration

Debug mode

The debug setting is found in the config/app.php configuration file with the debug parameter and is enabled by default.

When enabled, this setting will show detailed error messages when they occur, along with other debugging features. While useful during development, debug mode should always be disabled when used in a live production site. This prevents potentially sensitive information from being displayed to the end-user.

The following features are enabled when debug mode is enabled:

  1. Detailed error pages are displayed.
  2. Failed user authentication provides a specific reason.
  3. Combined assets are not minified by default.
  4. Safe mode is disabled by default.

IMPORTANT: Always set the app.debug setting to false for production environments.

Safe mode

The safe mode setting is found in the config/cms.php configuration file with the enableSafeMode parameter. The default value is null.

If safe mode is enabled, the PHP code section is disabled in CMS templates for security reasons. If set to null, safe mode is on when debug mode is disabled.

CSRF protection

Winter provides an easy method of protecting your application from cross-site request forgeries. When enabled, a random token is created in your user sessions, that is then included when the opening form tag is used or when an AJAX request is made. This token is then validated server-side to ensure that the request is made by the correct user.

While CSRF protection is enabled by default, you can disable it with the enableCsrfProtection parameter in the config/cms.php configuration file. This is not recommended.

Bleeding edge updates

The Winter platform and some marketplace plugins will implement changes in two stages to ensure overall stability and integrity of the platform. This means they have a test build in addition to the default stable build.

You can instruct the platform to prefer test builds from the marketplace by changing the edgeUpdates parameter in the config/cms.php configuration file.

| Bleeding edge updates
| If you are developing with Winter, it is important to have the latest
| code base, set this value to 'true' to tell the platform to download
| and use the development copies of core files and plugins.

'edgeUpdates' => false,

TIP: If you are using Composer to manage updates, you may replace the default Winter CMS requirements in your composer.json file with the following in order to download updates directly from the develop branch. This is more or less the same as enabling edge updates.

"winter/storm": "dev-develop as 1.2.999",
"winter/wn-system-module": "dev-develop as 1.2.999",
"winter/wn-backend-module": "dev-develop as 1.2.999",
"winter/wn-cms-module": "dev-develop as 1.2.999",
"laravel/framework": "~9.0",

Using a public folder

A good security practice in production environments is to configure your web server to use a public folder to ensure only public files can be accessed. Winter is able to create and mirror the public files in a public folder with the winter:mirror command.

php artisan winter:mirror public/

This will create a new directory called public in the project's root directory. From here, you should modify the webserver configuration to use this new path as the home or "web root" directory.

To ensure that all necessary public files are available, you will need to run this command after each Winter CMS update, or when a plugin is installed, updated or removed.

NOTE: The above command may need to be performed with System Administrator or sudo privileges. The resulting public folder and all contents within should also be owned by the user that your webserver runs as. This is normally the www-data or nobody user, but may be different in your production environment.

Using a shared hosting provider

It is good practice that if you share a server with other users through a shared hosting setup or provider, you should act as if your neighbor's site may be compromised.

Make sure all files with passwords (e.g. CMS configuration files like config/database.php) cannot be read from other user accounts, even if they figure out absolute paths of your files. Setting permissions of such important files to 0600 (read and write only to the owner, with no access to anyone else) is a good idea.

You can setup this protection in the file location config/cms.php in the section titled Default permission mask.

| Default permission mask
| Specifies a default file and folder permission for newly created objects.

'defaultMask' => ['file' => '644', 'folder' => '755'],

NOTE: Don't forget to manually check to see if the files are already set to 0644 permissions. Depending on your environment, Winter may not be able to automatically set the requested permissions.

Backend-only Mode

Winter CMS can be configured to run with only the Backend module installed, allowing Winter CMS to be used for self-contained applications. This may be useful for managing API data or administrating a headless CMS.

You can disable the CMS module from running by making the following changes to your config/cms.php file in your Winter CMS installation.

'backendUri' => '', // Set to an empty string to use the root domain or subdomain.

'loadModules' => ['System', 'Backend'], // Remove 'Cms' to not use the CMS module.

This allows the root domain or subdomain that hosts your Winter CMS install to load up the backend immediately when accessing the URL in your browser.

After making these changes, you may delete the modules/cms folder from your project, as the module will no longer be required.

If you have installed Winter CMS via Composer, you can remove the winter/wn-cms-module line in the require block within the composer.json file in the root folder of your Winter CMS install, and this will prevent Composer from installing or updating the CMS module.

NOTE: Some plugins may make references to classes within the CMS module. If this is the case, you will need to keep the CMS module files available in your install.

Trusted Hosts

Winter CMS provides support for trusted hosts, a security feature that specifies the domains that your site will accept and respond to when receiving requests. Using this feature will prevent malicious users from phishing data from users or hijacking requests to your site.

By default, this feature is disabled as this sort of protection should generally be applied at the server configuration level, but can be enabled through the trustedHosts configuration value within config/app.php. By setting this value to true, your site will be set to only accept requests to the URL provided in url configuration value in the same file. You can, alternatively, specify an array of domains in which you will accept requests from if your site is available on multiple domains.

'trustedHosts' => true,

'trustedHosts' => [
    '',           // Matches just
    '',       // Matches just
    '^(.+\.)?example\.com$', // Matches and all subdomains
    '',   // Matches just

Trusted Proxies

For sites that run through proxy hosts, such as CloudFlare or Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, Winter CMS can be configured to trust requests from proxies. This may be required in the case of secure HTTPS connections, as some proxies will terminate the SSL connection on their end before sending the (insecure) request to your host server.

If your site has SSL connections being forced (ie. you have enabled the cms.backendForceSecure configuration) without trusted proxies, the user's request may be declined or even forced into a redirect loop.

To enable trusted proxies, you can set the trustedProxies and trustedProxyHeaders configuration values in config/app.php.

The trustedProxies value specifies the IP address(es) that proxy connections will be accepted from, either as a comma-separated string or an array. You may also use '*' to allow all proxy requests.

// To trust all proxies:
'trustedProxies' => '*',

// To trust two IP addresses as proxies
'trustedProxies' => ',',
'trustedProxies' => ['', ''],

The trustedProxyHeaders value specifies which headers will be allowed to define the request when forwarded from the proxy. By default, you would generally allow all headers, but you may fine-tune this to your specific needs.

// To trust all headers
'trustedProxyHeaders' => 'HEADER_X_FORWARDED_ALL',

// To trust only the hostname
'trustedProxyHeaders' => Illuminate\Http\Request::HEADER_X_FORWARDED_HOST,

// To trust the hostname, IP and port
'trustedProxyHeaders' => Illuminate\Http\Request::HEADER_X_FORWARDED_FOR
    | Illuminate\Http\Request::HEADER_X_FORWARDED_HOST
    | Illuminate\Http\Request::HEADER_X_FORWARDED_PORT

NOTE: Amazon Elastic Load Balancing users must use the HEADER_X_FORWARDED_AWS_ELB option to accept the correct headers.

'trustedProxyHeaders' => Illuminate\Http\Request::HEADER_X_FORWARDED_AWS_ELB

Environment configuration

Defining a base environment

It is often helpful to have different configuration values based on the environment the application is running in. You can do this by setting the APP_ENV environment variable which by default it is set to production. There are two common ways to change this value:

  1. Set APP_ENV value directly with your webserver. For example, in Apache this line can be added to the .htaccess or httpd.config file:

    SetEnv APP_ENV "dev"
  2. Create a .env file in the root directory with the following content:


In both of the above examples, the environment is set to the new value dev. Configuration files can now be created in the path config/dev and will override the application's base configuration.

For example, to use a different MySQL database for the dev environment only, create a file called config/dev/database.php using this content:


return [
    'connections' => [
        'mysql' => [
            'host'     => 'localhost',
            'port'     => '',
            'database' => 'database',
            'username' => 'root',
            'password' => ''

Domain driven environment

Winter supports using an environment detected by a specific hostname. You may place these hostnames in an environment configuration file, for example, config/environment.php.

Using this file contents below, when the application is accessed via, the environment will be set to global and likewise for the others.


return [
    'hosts' => [
        '' => 'global',
        '' => 'local',

Converting to DotEnv configuration

As an alternative to the base environment configuration, you may place common values in the environment instead of using configuration files. The config is then accessed using DotEnv syntax. Run the winter:env command to move common config values to the environment:

php artisan winter:env

This will create an .env file in project root directory and modify configuration files to use env helper function. The first argument contains the key name found in the environment, the second argument contains an optional default value.

'debug' => env('APP_DEBUG', true),

It is also important that your .env file is not accessible to the public in production. To accomplish this, you should consider using a public folder.

TIP: Your .env file should not be committed to your application's source control, since each developer or server using your application could require a different environment configuration.

Copyright © 2024 Winter CMS
Edit on GitHub