Install tool

The Install Tool allows you to configure the TYPO3 system on a very low level, which means, not only the basic settings but also the most essential settings can be changed. You do not necessarily need a TYPO3 backend account to access the Install Tool, so it is clear that the Install Tool requires some special attention (and protection).

TYPO3 already comes with a two step mechanism out-of-the-box to protect the Install Tool against unauthorized access: the first measure is a file called ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL which must exist if the Install Tool should be accessible. The second mechanism is a password protection, which is independent of all backend user passwords.

The Install Tool can found as a stand alone application via https://<domain.tld>/typo3/install.php. It also integrates with the backend, but is only available for logged in users with administrator privileges.

The ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL file can be created by putting an empty file into the config directory. You usually need write access to this directory on a server level (for example via SSH, SFTP, etc.) or you can create this file as a backend user with administrator privileges.

Screen to enable the Install Tool

Conversely, this also means, you should delete this file as soon as you do not need to access the Install Tool any more. It should also be mentioned that TYPO3 deletes the ENABLE_INSTALL_TOOL file automatically if you logout of the Install Tool or if the file is older than 60 minutes (expiry time). Both features can be deactivated if the content of this file is KEEP_FILE, which is understandably not recommended.

The password for accessing the Install Tool is stored using the configured password hash mechanism set for the backend in the global configuration file typo3conf/LocalConfiguration.php:

'BE' => 'installToolPassword' = '$P$CnawBtpk.D22VwoB2RsN0jCocLuQFp.'

Since TYPO3 version 6.2, the Install Tool password is set during the installation process. This means, in the case that a system administrator hands over the TYPO3 instance to you, it should also provide you with the appropriate password.

The first thing you should do, after taking over a new TYPO3 system from a system administrator, is to change the password to a new and secure one. Log-in to the Install Tool and change it there.

Screen to change the Install Tool password

Since TYPO3 v9, the role of system maintainer has been introduced. It allows for selected BE users to access the Install Tool components from within the backend without further security measures. The number of system maintainers should be as small as possible to mitigate the risks of corrupted accounts.

The role can be provided in the Settings Section of the Install Tool -> Manage System Maintainers. It is also possible to manually modify the list by adding or removing the be_users.uid of the user in LocalConfiguration.php:

'SYS' => 'SystemMaintainers' => [1, 7, 36]

For additional security, the folders typo3/install and typo3/sysext/install can be deleted, or password protected on a server level (e.g. by a web server’s user authentication mechanism). Please keep in mind that these measures have an impact on the usability of the system. If you are not the only person who uses the Install Tool, you should definitely discuss your intention with the team.

TYPO3 Core updates

Since TYPO3 CMS 6.2, the Install Tool allows integrators to update the TYPO3 Core with a click of a button. This feature can be found under “Important actions” and it checks/installs revision updates only (e.g. bug fixes and security updates).

Install Tool function to update the TYPO3 Core

It should be noted that this feature can be disabled by an environment variable:

TYPO3_DISABLE_CORE_UPDATER=1

Encryption key

The encryptionKey can be found in the Install Tool (module Settings > Configure Installation-Wide Options). This string, usually a hexadecimal hash value of 96 characters, is used as the “salt” for various kinds of encryption, check sums and validations (e.g. for the cHash). Therefore, a change of this value invalidates temporary information, cache content, etc. and you should clear all caches after you changed this value in order to force the rebuild of this data with the new encryption key.

Keep in mind that this string is security-related and you should keep it in a safe place.