Installing with an Empty Site documentation for the dotCMS Content Management System

By default, when you first install dotCMS your dotCMS instance is created to contain the dotCMS starter site, which is a mock-financial site includes a full set of Content Types, pages, files, content, users and Roles, permissions, and other configuration which demonstrate key dotCMS features and provide you with example code and implementations you can use and build upon to quickly create your own sophisticated site. To see what content is included in the starter site, you can view the dotCMS demo site, which is a continually-refreshed site that just includes all the content which is created by the default starter site.

Note: You can view the internal contents of the dotCMS demo site by logging into the demo site back-end with the user name “” and password “admin”).

If you are new to dotCMS, it is strongly recommended that you install the starter site and use some of the proven examples and code as a basis for your own site, since it provides a much faster and easier way to build a site than creating everything from scratch.

However if you are experienced with dotCMS, you may wish to create a new “empty” dotCMS instance without all the demonstration objects and code, since you may not use some or all of it. This is especially common for customers using dotCMS in a headless implementation, where there are no plans to display any content on the dotCMS front-end.

To install an “empty” dotCMS instance, you may do the following:

  1. Download the “empty” file located in the dotCMS Artifactory repository.
    • You must download the appropriate empty file for your dotCMS version.
      • The appropriate file is the most recent one created before the release date for your version.
      • For example, version 5.2.4 of dotCMS was released on January 24, 2020, and the empty starter file for this version is the file in the empty_20190911 folder.
    • This starter site contains only the most basic dotCMS system content types, the necessary system roles, and a single user (, with the password “admin”).
  2. Replace the existing file in your dotCMS distribution folder with the empty file.
    • It is strongly recommended that you do this using a static plugin (rather than replacing the file within the dotCMS folder hierarchy directly).

For more information on how to create and deploy a starter site that is different from the default starter site, please see the Deploying a Custom Starter Site documentation.