Run Piwik on Cloud Foundry

Piwik is an open-source analytics platform based on PHP and MySQL. That makes it a perfect application to be run on Cloud Foundry-based platforms. So, in case you are tired of sending all your data to Google Analytics but rather want to have your own analytics platform in place, this tutorial is for you. We will see what it takes to run Piwik on Cloud Foundry and what modifications are necessary to integrate it smoothly into our platform.

In this tutorial, I will use the Swisscom Application Cloud as an example, but any Cloud Foundry-based platform will do.

Get Piwik

Download the latest version of Piwik from Then unzip it and cd into its root folder. The folder contains another subfolder called “piwik” and an instructions link. We don’t need this nested structure. Execute the following command to normalize it:

$  cp -rf piwik .. && rm -rf piwik

Set Up Database

As a first step, we need to create the service in Cloud Foundry:

$ cf create-service mariadbent usage piwik-db

In the Swisscom Application Cloud, the SQL service is called mariadbent. You might have to adjust this if you are using a different CF provider.

Then we need to instruct Piwik to connect to our database provided as a Cloud Foundry service. Create a new file bootstrap.php in the root of your project and insert the following content:

  $_ENV["SQLDB"] = NULL;

  $application = getenv("VCAP_APPLICATION");
  $application_json = json_decode($application,true);

  if (isset($application_json["application_uris"])) {
    $_ENV["APPURIS"] = $application_json["application_uris"];

  $services = getenv("VCAP_SERVICES");
  $services_json = json_decode($services,true);

  if (isset($services_json)) {
    if (isset($services_json["mariadbent"][0]["credentials"])) {
      $mysql_config = $services_json["mariadbent"][0]["credentials"];
      $_ENV["SQLDB"] = $mysql_config["database"];
      $_ENV["SQLHOST"] = $mysql_config["host"];
      $_ENV["SQLPORT"] = $mysql_config["port"];
      $_ENV["SQLUSER"] = $mysql_config["username"];
      $_ENV["SQLPASSWORD"] = $mysql_config["password"];

This code runs before Piwik starts, so it allows us to overwrite the default variables that are used to connect to the database. Again, you’ll have to adjust the keyword mariadbent in the code if the SQL service is called differently with your CF provider.

When Piwik is started for the first time, it shows a configuration wizard where the user has to provide the database credentials. We can overwrite the defaults for these values with the ones coming from the service environment variables, so you can just click “next” in this wizard and don’t have to look them up every time. To do so, open the file plugins/Installation/FormDatabaseSetup.php and navigate to the definition of the init method. There, replace the following lines:

// default values
$this->addDataSource(new HTML_QuickForm2_DataSource_Array(array(
                                                               'host'          => '',
                                                               'type'          => $defaultDatabaseType,
                                                               'tables_prefix' => 'piwik_',

with these:

// default values
$this->addDataSource(new HTML_QuickForm2_DataSource_Array(array(
                                                               'host'          => $_ENV["SQLHOST"].':'.$_ENV["SQLPORT"],
                                                               'username'      => $_ENV["SQLUSER"],
                                                               'password'      => $_ENV["SQLPASSWORD"],
                                                               'dbname'        => $_ENV["SQLDB"],
                                                               'type'          => $defaultDatabaseType,
                                                               'tables_prefix' => 'piwik_',


Next, we have to add our site’s URL that we also retrieve from the CF environment in bootstrap.php as a trusted host to Piwik. Open the file plugins/Installation/Controller.php and navigate to definition of the addTrustedHosts method. There, replace the following line

$trustedHosts = array();

with these:

$trustedHosts = Config::getInstance()->General['trusted_hosts'];

if (!is_array($trustedHosts)) {
    $trustedHosts = array();

We want Piwik to enforce the use of HTTPS in favor of HTTP. To activate that, open the config/global.ini.php file and change the setting of force_ssl to 1:

force_ssl = 1


Next, we’ll improve some more of the defaults Piwik uses during the setup wizard. These changes will suggest that Piwik tracks itself using its analytics as a first site. Open the file plugins/Installation/FormFirstWebsiteSetup.php and replace the following lines of the init method:

// default values
$this->addDataSource(new HTML_QuickForm2_DataSource_Array(array(
                                                               'url' => $urlExample,

with these:

// default values
$this->addDataSource(new HTML_QuickForm2_DataSource_Array(array(
                                                               'siteName' => $_ENV["APPURIS"][0],
                                                               'url' => "https://" . $_ENV["APPURIS"][0],


Since Piwik already comes with its dependencies installed, we don’t want Composer to run again in Cloud Foundry. The PHP Buildpack won’t run Composer if it doesn’t find any files that would indicate that. So let’s ignore the Composer files when pushing. Add a .cfignore file to the root of your project and paste the following line into it:


Buildpack Configuration

The PHP Buildpack allows us to configure any PHP app using a dedicated file. Create a folder .bp-config at the root of your project and inside, add a file called options.json. This file sets the version of PHP to use, which extensions to install, and many more options. You can read more about it here. Paste the following content into our new file to install the needed PHP extensions and to use the latest PHP version:



To specify how the app should behave in Cloud Foundry, let’s add a manifest.yml file to the root of our project. Then insert the following content:

  - name: piwik
    host: my-piwik
    memory: 256M
      - piwik-db

Be creative with the host because the default one is probably already taken.


Now it’s time to deploy our app to Cloud Foundry. Since we have already configured everything in our manifest file, all we need to do is

$ cf push

When we navigate to our Piwik instance, we are presented with the configuration wizard. Since we have set all the correct defaults above, you can just click “next” on most of the steps. Piwik will complain about the file integrity check reporting some errors, but we can safely ignore that since we were the ones modifying the files. After the wizard, you should have a fully functioning Piwik installation running on Cloud Foundry. Yay!

This tutorial is based on a very similar but outdated one of the Bluemix Blog.