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Owais Ali
Owais Ali

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Set up a Yii 2.0 Application in Windows

PHP Yii 2.0 Framework

Let’s setup a Yii 2.0 Application on local PC. We will setup Yii 2.0 advanced application on Windows alongwith:

  • Connection with MySQl
  • Enabling Pretty URLs
  • Virtual Hosts (for backend and frontend)
  • Installing AdminLTE Theme

Installing the project

Let’s install the application in our PC using Composer (you should install composer first if you don’t have already).

Head over to your xampp/htdocs folder and run this command in cmd:

composer create-project --prefer-dist yiisoft/yii2-app-advanced ows-yii2-application

The application will be installed in ‘ows-yii2-application’ directory/folder. You can rename it according to your project name

Enter into the folder ‘ows-yii2-application’ in cmd and then run the command:


Choose ‘0’ or ‘dev’ to initialize the application in development environment.

Run the following command to install dependencies:

composer install 

You now have the working application in your local PC. Turn on your Apache server using XAMPP/WAMP or any other server that you use and headover to




DB Connection with MySQL

Make a database in your local machine with name ‘ows_database’. To connect to this database, go to common/config/main-local.php and set dbname to

'dsn' => 'mysql:host=localhost;dbname=ows\_database',
'username' => 'root',
'password' => ''

(and edit the username and password also if you have changed them otherwise leave it as it is)

Now, run the command

yii migrate

This will generate the user table in your database and RBAC tables as well for future use.

Now, Go to


And create a user with

username : testusername

password : testpassword

Now, you can login into the application using these credentials.

Enabling Pretty URLs

Currently, the URL looks like:


but we want it to be as follows:


In order to enable pretty URLs, go to backend\config\main.php and uncomment the following code in $components‘urlManager’:

'urlManager' => [
            'enablePrettyUrl' => true,
            'showScriptName' => false,
            'rules' => [
                '<alias:\w+>' => 'site/<alias>',

Make a .htaccess file with the following code and place it in backend/web folder:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{REQUEST\_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST\_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . index.php

Do the same in frontend application.

Virtual Hosts

Now, we want to run our backend and frontend applications from two different and easy to remember domains/server names. Like: for backend application

and for frontend application.

In order to achieve that, copy and paste the following in your httpd-vhosts file, most likely on ‘xampp\apache\conf\extra\httpd-vhosts’ (Make sure to change the DocumentRoot to set it as your own web directory)

<VirtualHost \*:80>
       DocumentRoot "E:\xampp\htdocs\ows-yii2-application\backend\web"

<VirtualHost \*:80>
       DocumentRoot "E:\xampp\htdocs\ows-yii2-application\frontend\web"

and the following in your hosts file at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc (you may be required to open the file in Administrator mode):

Restart your Apache server.

Now, you can access your backend and frontend applications on and respectively.

Installing AdminLTE Theme in Yii 2.0 Application

Let’s now setup the AdminLTE Theme with our application as well. Run the following command

composer require dmstr/yii2-adminlte-asset "^2.1"

Now, go to frontend/config/main.php and add this in components[‘view’]

'view' => [
            'theme' => [
                'pathMap' => [
                    '@app/views' => '@vendor/dmstr/yii2-adminlte-asset/example-views/yiisoft/yii2-app'

Follow the similar steps for the backend application if you want to enable the AdminLTE theme in backend application too.


So we have successfully set up our Yii 2.0 Application, a great PHP Framework. You can find all this stuff in my repository at:

if you don’t understand anything. Also, if you are new to Github and want to learn the basics, then give it a read:

Learn Git and Github Step By Step

Thank you for reading. If you liked the article, please give it a clap.

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