Information for: DEVELOPERS   PARTNERS

Installing Acquia Lightning

Use the information on this documentation page to help you install the Acquia Lightning Drupal distribution in your local or hosted environment.

General requirements

If you already have a local or hosted environment available for your use that meets Drupal 8 system requirements (including working versions of Apache, MySQL, and PHP), you are ready to install the Acquia Lightning distribution.

The following table describes the relationship between supported versions of Acquia Lightning, Acquia BLT, and Drush:

Acquia Lightning version Drush version
Acquia Lightning 8.x-3.2.0 or greater (based on Drupal 8.6.x) Drush 9 (including versions of Acquia BLT compatible with Drush 9)
Acquia Lightning 8.x-3.1.7 or earlier (based on Drupal 8.5.x) Drush 8 (including versions of Acquia BLT compatible with Drush 8)

For information about upgrading Acquia BLT from Drush 8 to Drush 9, see Upgrading from Drush 8 to Drush 9.

Platform installation instructions

For installation instructions customized for your platform, select the environment used to host your Acquia Lightning server:

Hosting your Acquia Lightning website on Acquia Cloud allows you to manage your website’s workflow across several environments using a scalable hosting platform tuned for Drupal.


Acquia Lightning requires you use Composer to properly manage the website’s codebase. For information about installing Composer and using it with your Acquia Cloud websites, see Using Composer with Drupal 8 sites.


Follow the instructions on Creating a new application on Acquia Cloud to create Drupal websites for your use. During the installation process, ensure you select Lightning from the list of available distributions.

For information about features available during the installation process, see Acquia Lightning.

If you want to test or develop your websites using a Mac- or Windows-based server, you can install Acquia Dev Desktop, a functional, local Drupal environment containing all the required components for Acquia Lightning.

For information about downloading and installing Acquia Dev Desktop, see Installing Acquia Dev Desktop.

Installing a new Acquia Lightning website

After you have installed Acquia Dev Desktop, see Getting started with Acquia Dev Desktop for information about how to add Drupal websites for your use. Ensure you select Lightning from the list of available distributions.

Select the Lightning distribution

After downloading the distribution, complete the installation process.

Adding a local installation to Acquia Dev Desktop

If you have installed Acquia Lightning on your local server, you can install it on Acquia Dev Desktop by importing the local website.

Use this procedure to install the Acquia Lightning distribution for Drupal 8 on a local server.



After you confirm that you have access to the required software, complete the following steps:

  1. Open a command prompt window.

  2. Run the following command:

    composer create-project acquia/lightning-project MY_PROJECT --no-interaction

Composer will create a new directory called MYPROJECT containing a docroot directory with a full Acquia Lightning codebase. You can then install Drupal normally.


If you want to push your local installation to Acquia Cloud, you must update your .gitignore file as described in the .gitignore on Acquia-hosted sites versus Drupal default .gitignore Acquia Knowledgebase article.

Developer tools

  • Acquia BLT: Acquia BLT provides an automated layer for building, testing, and launching Drupal websites based on Acquia Lightning.