Installing Umbraco 5

In this tutorial I will show you how to install Umbraco 5 on a server or on a local development machine. I will be using Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5 on Windows 7 Enterprise.

You will need to have the following software installed before you start this tutorial.

Getting Umbraco

There are two ways to install Umbraco. You can use the Web Platform Installer or you can download a zipped archive from Codeplex. Codeplex is a place where open source software projects are hosted.

The Web Platform Installer can be found on's download page. Personally, I prefer going to Codeplex and downloading the zip file, because it gives me more control over where files end up, so I'll demonstrate the installation process using the zip file.

Setting up IIS

Next thing is to set up your web server.

  • Open the Internet Information Service (IIS) Manager
  • In the tree on the left, right-click the Sites folder and choose Add Web Site...
  • In the panel that appears, choose a Site name, select the Physical path (this is where you just unpacked the zip archive), type in a Host name and click OK.

    Add website IIS panel

    Note: I chose a host name that I use for local development. In the next step I will map this hostname to my local ip address ( If you are installing Umbraco 5 on a server you must fill out your real domain name here and your domain name should be configured in DNS to point to your server's IP address.
  • Still in IIS Manager, in the tree on the left, click Application pools. Find you application pool (it has the same name as your site), double click it and set the .NET framework version to

    set the application pool to .net 4

Edit your hosts file

If you are installing Umbraco 5 for local development, you must link the host name you just supplied to IIS to the IP address of your computer. If you are installing on a server you can skip this step. Address translation on a server is handled by a DNS server.

Windows has a special file called "hosts" that allows you to link hostnames to IP addresses.

  • Open your hosts file with a text editor. In Windows 7 it is located in C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc. Note: In Windows 7 you might have to adjust the rights settings of the hosts file before you are allowed to save it, or you can copy it to your desktop, change it, and then copy it back to its original location.
  • Add the line below to the hosts file. If you chose a different host name, use that one. 
  • Save the hosts file and close and open you browser, so it picks up the new hosts file entry (Chrome will do this without restart). 

Enable application development features for IIS

For the Umbraco installer to work you need to enable .NET application development features for IIS. 

  • Go to Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off.
  • In the small window that appears go to World Wide Web Services > Application Development Features  and check the ASP.NET check box.

    ASP.NET development features

    Then click OK and wait for a couple of moments for the features to install

Prepare your database

Umbraco 5 can run on SQL Server (Express) 2008 or on  SQL CE 4, a free embedded database.

  • If you chose to use Sql Server, prepare a database with a user that is allowed to create tables. 

If you don't know how to create a database, look here.

Visit your development url

Now open your browser and visit (or the name you configured). You should see the Umbraco introduction page below. If it doesn't show up, and you're seeing an error message like "Could not load file or assembly 'System.Web.Mvc... etc", than you don't have Microsoft MVC installed and you should read the next paragraph. 

Umbraco introduction page

Start the installation wizard

  • Start the installation wizard by visiting loc.umbracosite/Install or by clicking the link on the introduction page. 

You will be presented with a nicely styled welcome page. Click the "Lets get started" button to go to step 2 pf the wizard.

Database settings

In the second step of the wizard you will be asked to provide information about your database. I am going to assume you will be using an external SQL Server database. 

Umbraco database settings

Provide your databases' connection details and click Install. The database installation process will take a while to complete. 

  • When the database installation completes, click the continue button to go to the next step.

Create a user

When I installed Umbraco 5 for the first time the wizard skipped the "create user" step and went right to the login screen. Perhaps this is some bug. I removed the UmbracoSite folder and the database and started over and the second time I did get to the Create User screen below.

Create user


  • Fill out your name, email a username and password and continue to the next step.

Install a starter kit?

If you want to install a starter kit, you can do it in this step of the wizard. I like my Umbraco plain and simple so I can create my own functionality, so I am skipping this step with the SKIP button.

Log in!

You have now successfully installed Umbraco.  You can now login to Umbraco at with the credentials you filled out in the "create user" step.