Cannot get any install pages - Fatal Error in Exception.

Hello Forum,

Trying to clean install Elgg 1.9, but it keeps throwing an exception.

What I did:

  1. Uploaded files to FTP (
  2. PHP errors with start.php
  3. Renamed the settings.example.php to settings.php
  4. Renamed htaccess_dist to .htaccess
  5. Refreshed page
  6. Fatal error in exception handler. Check log for Exception #Unix timestamp
  7. Changed the info in settings.php  {{dbuser}} {{dbpassword}} {{dbname}} {{dbhost}} to respective values, e.g. {{localhost}}, and changed {{dbprefix}} to {{elgg_}}
  8. Fatal error in exception handler. Check log for Exception #Unix timestamp
  9. Cannot do anything to install.

​It's a bit of a nightmare getting it to show the first installation page.

Any advice on this would be appreciated.

Thank you,


  • What have the errors been at "2."? I would suggest trying to fix the reason for these errors (if you don't know what is causing them post at least more details about these errors).

    The installation might fail because RewriteBase in .htaccess needs to be adjusted to match the subdirectory you are installing Elgg into (for it would have to be RewriteBase /elgg/). So, you should create .htaccess by copy+renaming from htaccess_dist and then made this modification.

    Currently, installation fails if there's a settings.php file created manually (most likely will be fixed in Elgg 1.9.2). If you ever need to manually create or modify settings.php, you need to keep in mind that the curly brackets need to get removed, e.g. "$CONFIG->dbuser = 'username';". But this is only meant as reminder as currently it won't work with a fresh installation and a manually created settings.php.

    The file settings.php should get created during installation by Elgg automatically (it will ask for the necessary database credentials of the database you've created). The file .htaccess would also get created automatically, but if you need to make adjustments (like changing RewriteBase) you need to do this prior starting installation.

    For the installation to work you also need to provide write permission for the Elgg installation folder and the "engine" subdirectory temporarily. Easiest way would be setting 777 to be sure the webserver can write into these folders. After installation has finished you should restore the original permissions of these folders - don't forget this as write permissions for these folders are a security risk.

  • Hello iionly,

    Thank you for your help.

    The errors as stage 2 were regarding missing includes (settings.php) from the /engine/start.php file.

    I changed the RewriteBase line to /elgg/, but now I get 500 error.

    Both .htaccess and engine folders have CHMOD 777.

    It may be easier just to start again, paying attention to your suggestions.

    Thank you,


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