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Managing CMS Settings

Any CMS-specific project type, meaning any of the non-generic CMS Quickstarts, has settings that DDEV manages to save you time and optimize configuration for local development.

Generally, DDEV will:

  • Create a main settings file if none exists, like Drupal’s settings.php.
  • Create a specialty config file with DDEV-specific settings, like AdditionalSettings.php for TYPO3 or settings.ddev.php for Drupal.
  • Add an include of the specialty file if needed, like adding settings.ddev.php include to the bottom of Drupal’s settings.php.

While this reduces setup time for new users, makes it easier to try out a CMS, and speeds up project creation, you may still want to modify or override DDEV’s CMS-specific behavior.

Controlling or Removing CMS Settings

There are several ways to back off DDEV’s CMS settings management:

  1. Take control of files by removing the #ddev-generated comment.
    DDEV will automatically update any it’s added containing a #ddev-generated comment. This means you don’t need to touch that file, but also that any changes you make will be overwritten. As soon as you remove the comment, DDEV will ignore that file and leave you fully in control over it. (Don’t forget to check it into version control!)

    Reversing the change

    If you change your mind and want DDEV to take over the file again, delete it and run ddev start. DDEV will recreate its own version, which you may want to remove from your Git project.

  2. Disable settings management.
    You can tell DDEV to use a specific project type without creating settings files by either setting disable_settings_management to true or running ddev config --disable-settings-management.

  3. Switch to the generic PHP project type.
    If you don’t want DDEV’s CMS-specific settings, you can switch your project to the generic php type by editing type: php in the project’s settings or running ddev config --project-type=php. DDEV will no longer create or tweak any settings files. You’ll lose any perks from the nginx configuration for the CMS, but you can always customize nginx settings or Apache settings separately.

  4. Un-set the $IS_DDEV_PROJECT environment variable.
    This environment variable is set true by default in DDEV’s environment, and can be used to fence off DDEV-specific behavior. When it’s empty, the important parts of settings.ddev.php and AdditionalSettings.php (for TYPO3) are not executed. This means that DDEV’s settings.ddev.php won’t be invoked if it somehow ends up in a production environment or in a non-DDEV local development environment.

Ignore .ddev/.gitignore

The .ddev/.gitignore file is created when you run ddev start and disable_settings_management is false. You should not check this file in, since it ignores itself and DDEV’s temporary and automatically-managed files. This makes it easier for teams to share the .ddev folder via Git, even if the .ddev/.gitignore file changes with different versions.

CMS-Specific Help and Techniques

Drupal Specifics

Drupal Settings Files

By default, DDEV will create settings files for your project that work out of the box. It creates a sites/default/settings.ddev.php and adds an include in sites/default/settings.php to bring that in. There are guards to prevent the settings.ddev.php from being active when the project is not running under DDEV, but it still should not be checked in and is gitignored.

Database requirements for Drupal 9.5+

  • Using MySQL or MariaDB, Drupal requires SET GLOBAL TRANSACTION ISOLATION LEVEL READ COMMITTED and DDEV does this for you on ddev start.
  • Using PostgreSQL, Drupal requires thepg_trm extension. DDEV creates this extension automatically for you on ddev start.

Twig Debugging

With the default Drupal configuration, it’s very difficult to debug Twig templates; you need to use instead of services.yml. Add this line in your settings.php or settings.local.php. See discussion at and the Drupal documentation.

$settings['container_yamls'][] = DRUPAL_ROOT . '/sites/';


  1. Start with the DDEV Drupal 8 Multisite Recipe.
  2. Update configuration files.

    1. Update each site/{site_name}/settings.php:

       * DDEV environments will have $databases (and other settings) set
       * by an auto-generated file. Make alterations here for this site
       * in a multisite environment.
      elseif (getenv('IS_DDEV_PROJECT') == 'true') {
         * Alter database settings and credentials for DDEV environment.
         * Includes loading the DDEV-generated `default/settings.ddev.php`.
        include $app_root . '/' . $site_path . '/';
    2. Add a in each site/{site_name}/:

       * Fetch DDEV-generated database credentials and other settings.
      require $app_root . '/sites/default/settings.ddev.php';
       * Alter default database for this site. `settings.ddev.php` will have
       * “reset” this to 'db'.
      $databases['default']['default']['database'] = 'site_name';
    3. Update your web_environment config option if you’re using site aliases:

        # Make DDEV Drush shell PIDs last for entire life of the container
        # so `ddev drush site:set @alias` persists for all Drush connections.

TYPO3 Specifics

Settings Files

On ddev start, DDEV creates a public/typo3conf/AdditionalConfiguration.php file with database configuration in it.

Setup a Base Variant (since TYPO3 9.5)

Since TYPO3 9.5 you have to setup a Site Configuration for each site you like to serve. To be able to browse the site on your local environment, you have to set up a Base Variant in your Site Configuration depending on your local context. In this example we assume a Application Context Development/DDEV which can be set in the DDEV’s config.yaml:

- TYPO3_CONTEXT=Development/DDEV

This variable will be available after the project start or restart.

Afterwards add a Base Variant to your Site Configuration:

    base: ''
    condition: 'applicationContext == "Development/DDEV"'

See also TYPO3 Documentation.