Quick Start Guide documentation for the dotCMS Content Management System

The following steps can be used to quickly setup and install the dotCMS starter site from the dotCMS distribution.

This process is intended for EVALUATION and DEVELOPMENT only.
For Production installations, please read, at a minimum, the Installing from Release documentation.

Installation Steps:

  1. Download and install Java JDK 1.8.
    • This can be found on Oracle's Java download site, or the OpenJDK site.
    • Note: dotCMS only supports Oracle Java or OpenJDK.
      • dotCMS does NOT support other JVMs, such as IBM, GNU or JRocket Java.
    • Make sure that you have a JAVA_HOME environmental variable that points to the root of the JDK install directory.
  2. Download the dotCMS distribution file in zip (Windows) or tar.gz (Linux/OS-X/Unix) format.
  3. Unzip or unpack the dotCMS distribution file into its own folder. Note that:
    • The folder name and path to the folder must NOT contain spaces.
  4. From the root of the expanded dotCMS directory, start the server using the supplied startup script:
    • Linux/OS-X/Unix:
    • Windows:

Important Notes

  • dotCMS may take 5 minutes or more on first time startup to load the default starter/demo site.
    • If you would like to follow the process, you can view or tail the log file found here:
    • You will know that the server has started up when you see the following message in the log files:
      2014-10-28 14:25:21,616 INFO com.dotmarketing.common.reindex.ReindexThread - Reindex Thread started with a sleep of 500
  • By default, dotCMS is configured to start up in an H2 database.
    • To run dotCMS in H2DB, no database configuration is required.
    • However the H2 database should NOT be used for a production environment.
  • If you have multiple versions of your application servers (e.g. Tomcat) installed on your server, make sure that the appropriate environment variables (e.g. CATALINA_HOME) are set to point to the application server folder where dotCMS is installed.
    • Note that this will be true if you already have Tomcat installed on your server, and you install dotCMS from the default dotCMS distribution (rather than from a WAR file).
  • Any errors will be reported in the dotcms.log file.
    • If you are unable to start dotCMS and need assistance, please include this log file with your request.

Special Note for Windows Users:

Make sure that:

  • If you have a JRE_HOME environment variable, it is set to the root of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) install directory that matches the Java version of your JAVA_HOME environment variable. For example:
        JRE_HOME=C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_65
  • The paths to your JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME environment variables do not contain spaces.
    • This means that on 32-bit-only versions of Windows your JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME environment variables must use 8.3 names and must not contain a space. For example: JAVA_HOME=C:\Progra~1\Java\jdk18~1.0_6\

Accessing the Starter Site

To view the starter site, enter the following address in your browser:


To login to the Admin console on the starter site:

  1. Enter the address http://localhost:8080/dotAdmin into your browser.
  2. Login using the following credentials:
    • User: admin@dotcms.com
    • Password: admin