Taking Care of Requirements

Obtain or prepare an environment to host the XOOPS system you will install, as detailed in Requirements

Download XOOPS

Download the XOOPS 2.5.11 release from GitHub

Extract the files from the downloaded archive to prepare for copying to your server.

Decide on a Strategy

The htdocs directory of the XOOPS distribution contains two special directories.

  • xoops_data

  • xoops_lib

It is recommended that you relocate these two directories out of the web root if possible. You should also consideer renaming these two directories with randomized names, especially if you cannot relocate them out of the web root directory.

Why are these directories special?

These directories, especially xoops_data contain sensitive information, such as database credentials, or possibly sensitive cached information.

If these directories are placed unchanged into the web root (i.e. the public_html directory of many hosting accounts) the directories can easily be probed with a common web browser to verify the existence and location of the files. Combined with other vulnerabilities, perhaps even existing in other accounts on the same box, the sensitive information can be disclosed. Sometimes, you will find reports of a host accidentally introducing mis-configurations during a system upgrade, where php files are no longer executed, and instead are served as plain text!

Relocating these directories out of the web root makes probing them with a browser impossible. Renaming them makes finding them even more difficult. While this is not complete protection, it is part of what you would describe as defense in depth.

In our example install, we will adopt a strategy of moving these directories out of the web root into a separate directory, giving us a directory structure that looks like this:

If you can't have directories outside the web root, you can try a structure like this:

Decide ahead of time how you are going to handle the xoops_data and xoops_lib directories based on what options are available to you.

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