Install Magnolia

This page provides instructions on how to do a basic installation of Magnolia using the Magnolia CLI. You should do this before starting the Hello Magnolia for front-end developers tutorial.

Get Java

Magnolia needs at least a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to run. Check if there’s a version of Java already installed on your computer by opening the terminal or command prompt and typing java -version. If the system reports a version number, Java is installed on your computer.

See Certified stack to confirm that the version installed is supported.
  • Windows

  • Mac

  • Linux

On Windows, you need a Java SE Development Kit (JDK). The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is not enough because the Tomcat application server does not recognize it.

  • JRE is for users who run Java programs on their computers.

  • JDK is for developers who write Java-based applications.

Download and install JDK. By default, JDK is installed at C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-<version>\.


Check for JAVA_HOME

  1. Open the command prompt.

  2. Type set and press ENTER.

  3. Find JAVA_HOME in the command output and verify that the path points to your JDK installation directory, for example, C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-<version>>.xx.

  4. If JAVA_HOME is missing or it points to the wrong directory, see Set JAVA_HOME.


  1. Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.

  2. Set the path for JAVA_HOME.

    setx /m JAVA_HOME "path\to\Java\jdk" (1)
    1 Where path\to\Java\jdk is where your Java Development Kit is saved.

The set command creates the JAVA_HOME environment variable and sets its value to the JDK directory. The command is executed when Magnolia starts.

For Mac, you need to download or update to Java 11 or higher. After reviewing and agreeing to the terms of the license agreement, download the file, then double-click it to launch the installation wizard and follow the installation instructions.

The installation directory varies from one Linux system to another. On Debian-based distributions, JREs or JDKs are usually installed in /usr/lib/jvm/.

Get node.js

Magnolia CLI is an npm package providing a command line interface (CLI) tool to set up and facilitate light development with Magnolia. The Magnolia CLI tool runs on Node.js. If you do not have Node.js installed, go to Node.js and download and install the latest LTS version.

To check the version of your node installation, run the following command in a shell:

node -v

Get Magnolia CLI

Run the following command in a shell to install Magnolia CLI:

  • Mac or Linux

  • Windows

sudo npm install @magnolia/cli -g
npm install @magnolia/cli -g (1)
1 Depending on your permissions and the location where you have installed Node.js, you may have to execute the command above with root permissions. Without installation permissions you will notice messages such as npm ERR! in the shell.

If the installation is successful, you see the following or a similar output in the shell:

/usr/bin/mgnl -> /usr/lib/node_modules/@magnolia/cli/bin/mgnl.js

> spawn-sync@1.0.15 postinstall /usr/lib/node_modules/@magnolia/cli/node_modules/spawn-sync
> node postinstall

+ @magnolia/cli@2.2.0
added 209 packages in 11.40

Once you have installed Magnolia CLI, test the installation by running the following command in the shell:

mgnl help
Usage: mgnl <command> [options]

A tool to setup and facilitate light development with Magnolia CMS

  -v, --version output the version number
  -h, --help output usage information

  jumpstart download and setup a Magnolia CMS instance for development.
  start start up a Magnolia CMS instance. To stop it, enter CTRL-C
  add-availability add component availability.
  build scan a node_modules folder for npm packages with the keyword "magnolia-light-module" (in package.json) and extract them to a directory of choice.
  create-app create an app.
  create-block create a block.
  create-component create a component and optionally add availability for it.
  create-content-type create a content type.
  create-light-module create a light module.
  create-page create a page template.
  create-virtual-uri create a virtual uri mapping.
  customize-local-config extract "mgnl-cli-prototypes" folder and "mgnl-cli.json" file to customize CLI configuration.
  install install a light module from npm to the local Magnolia instance.
  search search for a light module on npm.
  tab-completion install tab autocomplete feature for Bash, zsh or PowerShell
  version display mgnl and node.js versions
  help [cmd] display help for [cmd]
  mgnl: 3.1.0 node: v8.10.0 os: linux

Installing Magnolia with CLI only

Use the jumpstart command to install Magnolia. This command downloads, unpacks and pre-configures a Magnolia bundle of your choice.

The jumpstart command automatically creates a light modules directory for you in the current folder. If you already have a different directory that you want to use for light modules, use the -p option with the jumpstart command to specify the path to your existing light modules folder. For example: mgnl jumpstart -p /Users/<username>/<shared-projects>/light-modules/

To install Magnolia:

  1. Change to the directory to where you want to install the Magnolia bundle. For example:

    cd /Users/<username>/dev/
  2. Execute the Magnolia CLI jumpstart command:

    mgnl jumpstart
  3. Choose the magnolia-community-demo-webapp containing Magnolia Community Edition bundled with the Travel Demo and a Tomcat server. It creates folders for the Tomcat server and for the light modules according to the CLI configuration.

    Once the setup operation is complete, you should see a message similar to this one:

    info Magnolia has been successfully setup for light development!
    info You can now open a new terminal tab or window and start it up with the CLI command 'mgnl start'
    info Magnolia will be ready after a few seconds at localhost:8080/magnoliaAuthor. Username and password is superuser

    The following files and folders are created:

    ├── apache-tomcat/
    │ ├── bin/
    │ ├── conf/
    │ ├── lib/
    │ ├── logs/
    │ ├── temp/
    │ └── webapps/
    ├── light-modules/
    └── downloads/

Start Magnolia with CLI

Go to the parent directory of the apache-tomcat directory and execute the Magnolia CLI start command:

mgnl start

When starting for the first time, Magnolia runs a web update and automatically installs all its modules.


Go to http://localhost:8080/magnoliaAuthor and sign in as a superuser :

  • Username: superuser

  • Password: superuser

Magnolia is ready to use and gives you a list of suggestions to get started.

superuser is a system administrator account that has permissions to do everything. It is useful for testing.
Related topics

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Magnolia 6.3 beta

Magnolia 6.3 is in beta. We are updating docs based on development and feedback. Consider the 6.3 docs currently in a state of progress and not final.

We are working on some 6.3-beta known issues during this phase.