Domain of One’s Own: Grav

Grav is a content management system (CMS) or, said another way, it’s an application to make websites. But differs from other CMSs like Drupal or WordPress in its underlying technology. While it’s a PHP app like those two, unlike them it does not have a database. All data is written directly to files rather than stored and retrieved from a database. This is known as a flat-file system and it can help with performance given numerous database calls can slow down sites.

Why and when would you use Grav? Grav should maybe be reserved for the technically-savvy user. It’s not that Grav is particularly difficult (every CMS has a learning curve) but rather it gets really interesting when you can integrate it into Github using the Github Sync plugin, which syncs everything on your Grav site to a Github repository for others to contribute to, clone, or fork. Grav also requires a familiarity with Markdown, a lightweight Markup language, so that’s something to be aware of as well.

 Set Up Your Grav Application 

  1. Sign in to Domain of One’s Own ( with your Bryn Mawr College credentials.
  2. Upon signing in to Domain of One’s Own, you click on the Applications icon that is on the left side panel of your screen.
  3. Once you enter, look for and click on Application Browser.
  4. When you arrive to the Application browser, scroll down and find section called: the Apps For Content Management that looks like the following –

    Please note that the icons may be arranged differently within the Applications section on your screen. 
  5. Click on Grav. On your screen, you should see the following –Screenshot of Grav installation page
  6. Click the “install this application” button, on the top right side of the screen
  7. Begin filling out the form to set up the “instance” of your Grav application. In the Settings section, don’t forget to change the admin username and password to something you will remember. When you are done, click the Install button at the lower right of the page.
  8. You will be redirected to the My Applications tab, where you can see the Grav installation taking place. It should take a moment for the installation to occur. When it is done, you should see the following next to an image of the homepage of your domain. Screenshot of Grav post installation pagePlease note that Grav1 is the name I have given my Grav application as an example, and whatever name you have given your domain will appear where the blurs are. You may have also decided to use a different domain entirely, and in that case, that domain will appear instead of the blurs and 
  9. To use Grav, click on the admin link, which should be the second link. In a new tab, you should see the following – Screenshot of Login PagePlease note that the domain you have created this Grav application for will appear where the blur is. Your login information is what you created when made this “instance” of your Grav application. 
  10. Upon logging in, you should see your dashboard, which looks similar to the following – Screenshot of Grav DashboardPlease note that the numbers under Maintenance, in the left side panel, and the purple box, as well as the Notifications and News Feed sections, may be different.

Adding, Editing, and Managing Pages 

  1. Adding a New Page
    1. On the side panel, navigate to the Pages tab.Screenshot of Grav Dashboard
    2. On the top right click the add button to add a new pageScreenshot of Manage Pages
    3. Enter the page title as you’d like it to appear on the front-end in the Page Title section of the form.
      Form for Adding a New Page
    4. If you’d like the page to be accessed from a given page, select that page title in the Parent page drop-down menu as below, otherwise  select  /(root)Screenshot of Parent page drop-down Menu
    5. Choose a page template from the Page Template drop-down menu as below-  Screenshot of Page Template Drop-down Menu
  2. Editing Existing Page
    1. On the Manage Pages tab, click on the name of the page you want to open it in edit  modeScreenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting Manage Pages tab
    2. To preview the page, click on the eye icon to its right as below- Screenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting page preview icon on Manage Pages tab
    3. Use the editing toolbar to add or format page contentScreenshot Highlighting the editing toolbar
    4. Select the eye icon to the right of the editing toolbar highlighted above to preview the page.
  3. Select the eye icon to the right of the editing toolbar highlighted above to preview the page.

Updating Plugins 

  1. To update a plugin, click on one of the “Update available!” buttons. Screenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting plugin “Update available!” buttonPlease note that the Admin Panel plugin will be updated here as an example. You may update your plugins in whichever order you prefer. 
  2. As you navigate to the different sections, update the settings to your preferences.
  3. Changes are not saved automatically. When you are done, click on Save in the upper right corner. Screenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting the save button on Plugin: Admin Panel tab
  4. Click the Update Plugin button to complete the update and select continue when the update page pops up

Screenshot highlighting Update Plugin button

Backing Up Your Grav Application 

  1. Navigate to the Maintenance section of your Dashboard and click on the Backup Now button. Screenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting Backup Now buttonPlease note that if your Grav application is not 100 % updated, the Update button will be to the right of the Backup Now button in the maintenance section.  
  2. Click on the down arrow next to Backup Now to use the Default Site Backup or Backups Manager –
  3. If you would like to customize the settings for how your Grav application is backed up, you may click on Backups Manager. Otherwise, you can click on Default Site Backup to back up your Grav application now.

Updating Your Grav Application 

  1. To update your Grav application, navigate to your Dashboard, and click on the Update button. Screenshot of Grav Dashboard highlighting the Update button under the Maintenance section
  2. Upon clicking the Update button, you should see the screen below. Click on the Continue button to proceed.Screenshot showing packages in Grav that need to be updated Please note that version numbers may be different. 
  3. When you are done, you will get a message in a purple box (upper right corner of the screen) saying that the packages have been successfully installed. 

For more information on how to use Grav, visit the Grav official documentation at  or view the videos on this YouTube playlist –