Content Migrations

If your Craft project is being developed by multiple people, or has been deployed in multiple environments, managing structural changes can become a little cumbersome, as you try to keep all environments in sync with each other.

Enter content migrations. Content migrations are migrations that are written and managed for your Craft project, rather than for Craft the application, or for a plugin.

Creating Migrations

To create a new migration, open up your terminal and go to your Craft project:

cd /path/to/project

Then run the following command to generate a new content migration file (replacing <MigrationName> with your migration name):

./craft migrate/create <MigrationName>


If your Craft install is running from a Vagrant box, you will need to SSH into the box to run this command.


Migration names must be valid PHP class names, though we recommend sticking with snake_case rather than StudlyCase as a convention.

Enter yes at the prompt, and a new migration file will be created in a migrations/ folder in your project root.

What Goes Inside

Migration classes contain methods: safeUp() and safeDown(). safeUp() is run when your migration is applied, and safeDown() is run when your migration is reverted.


By default, safeDown() will just return false, meaning that reverting the migration isn’t supported. The choice to replace that with actual migration reversion code, or just leave it alone, is up to you.

You can enter whatever logic you want into your migration’s safeUp() and safeDown() methods, depending on the purpose of the migration. You have full access to Craft’s API, as well as any APIs provided by plugins and modules.


Mike Hudson wrote an excellent article about content migrations, with some examples of how to do common tasks, like create a new custom field.

Manipulating Database Data

Your migration class extends craft\db\Migration, which provides several methods for working with the database. It’s better to use these than their craft\db\Command counterparts, because the migration methods are both simpler to use, and they’ll output a status message to the terminal for you.

// Bad:
    ->insert('{{%tablename}}', $rows)

// Good:
$this->insert('{{%tablename}}', $rows);


The api:api:yii\db\Migration::insert(), batchInsert(), and update() migration methods will automatically insert/update data in the dateCreated, dateUpdated, uid table columns in addition to whatever you specified in the $columns argument. If the table you’re working with does’t have those columns, make sure you pass false to the $includeAuditColumns argument so you don’t get a SQL error.


craft\db\Migration doesn’t have a method for selecting data, so you will still need to go through Yii’s Query Builder for that.

use craft\db\Query;

$result = (new Query())
    // ...


If you want to log any messages in your migration code, echo it out rather than calling Craft::info():

echo "    > some note\n";

If the migration is being run from a console request, this will ensure the message is seen by whoever is executing the migration, as the message will be output into the terminal. If it’s a web request, Craft will capture it and log it to storage/logs/ just as if you had used Craft::info().

Executing Migrations

There are two ways to execute content migrations: from the terminal, and from the Migrations utility in the Control Panel.

To execute migrations from the terminal, go to your Craft project and run this command:

./craft migrate/up


If your Craft install is running from a Vagrant box, you will need to SSH into the box to run this command.

To execute migrations from the Migrations utility, go to Utilities → Migrations in the Control Panel and click the “Apply new migrations” button.