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WebMO - Computational chemistry on the WWW
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March 31, 2020
WebMO Installation Instructions for Mac OS X

These instructions are to be used for installing a copy of WebMO for the first time. To upgrade an existing WebMO configuration, refer to the WebMO upgrade instructions instead.

  1. Obtain a WebMO license
  2. Download "WebMO for Linux/Mac" to your Mac. (The WebMO.*.tar.gz distribution will automatically be expanded into a WebMO.*.tar file.)
  3. Configure OS X Web Server
    1. Turn on the Apache web server
      Start a terminal session (Applications/Utilities), and type:
          $ sudo apachectl start
          $ sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd Disabled -bool false
    2. Configure Apache
      Edit the file: /etc/apache2/httpd.conf
      Uncomment the line 'Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf'
      Uncomment the line 'LoadModule userdir_module libexec/apache2/mod_userdir.so'
      Uncomment the line 'LoadModule cgi_module libexec/apache2/mod_cgi.so'
      Edit the file: /etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf
      Uncomment the line: 'Include /private/etc/apache2/users/*.conf'
    3. Configure Apache for WebMO
      Determine your home directory
          $ echo $HOME
      Create a HTML directory (if necessary)
          $ mkdir /Users/smith/Sites
      Create CGI directory
          $ mkdir /Users/smith/Sites/cgi-bin
      Move into apache configuration directory
          $ cd /etc/apache2/users
      Define CGI directory
          $ sudo vi smith.conf (enter administrative password)
              i (to enter insert mode)

      <Directory "/Users/smith/Sites/">
          AllowOverride All
          Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
          Require all granted
      ScriptAlias /~smith/cgi-bin/ "/Users/smith/Sites/cgi-bin/"
              :wq (to exit insert mode, save file, and exit vi)
    4. (Additional step for Mac OS X Server ONLY)
      Edit the file: /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_server_app.conf
      Uncomment the line 'Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf'
      Uncomment the line 'LoadModule apple_userdir_module...'
    5. Restart Apache
          $ sudo apachectl restart
  4. Untar the WebMO distribution
        $ cd {download directory}
        $ tar xf WebMO.9.x.xxx.tar
  5. Run the setup script
        $ cd WebMO.install
        $ perl setup.pl
  6. Follow the directions that are given in the setup script
    • Enter WebMO license number when prompted
    • Path to Perl binary: 1 (/usr/bin/perl)
    • Webserver's name: localhost (or output of 'hostname' in Terminal)
    • HTML Directory: /Users/smith/Sites/webmo
    • HTML URL: /~smith/webmo
    • CGI Directory: /Users/smith/Sites/cgi-bin/webmo
    • CGI URL: /~smith/cgi-bin/webmo
    • User Directory: /Users/smith/webmo
    After the distribution files are copied, the command line portion of WebMO setup is complete
  7. Follow the URL given at the end of setup process (http://localhost/~smith/cgi-bin/webmo/login.cgi) and continue with the on-line WebMO configuration
    • Login as user 'admin' with an empty password
    • Reset the admin password when prompted
    • Register your copy of WebMO when prompted
    • If the registration process fails (e.g., due to no internet connectivity), login again from the URL at the end of the setup process as user 'admin' with the new password
    • Click 'Interface Manager'
      • Click the 'Enable interface' icons to enable any computational chemistry packages that you have installed on your system
      • Click the 'Edit interface' icon and make any neccessary changes in the interface configuration
      • Click 'Submit' to commit the changes
      • Click 'Return' and 'Return to Admin' to return to the WebMO administration page
    • Click on the 'User Manager'
      • Click the 'New User' button
      • Specify a Username and Password
      • Click 'Submit' to create the user
      • Click 'Return to User Manager' and 'Return to Admin' to return to the WebMO administration page
    • Setup is complete. Click the 'Logout' button to logout of the WebMO administration page
  8. Login as the WebMO user that you created. In the job manager, click 'Create New' to run a test job.
  9. If you have not yet installed any computational chemistry programs on your unix computer, see the separate support pages for installing binary versions of Gamess, Mopac, or Gaussian. Then enable, configure, and test these packages as described above.
  10. Questions or feedback?
    Please visit the WebMO Support Forum or send email to support@webmo.net.


To fully uninstall WebMO for Mac OS X, simply delete the following directories (assuming the default installation locations):

  • htmlBase: /Users/smith/Sites/webmo
  • cgiBase: /Users/smith/Sites/cgi-bin/webmo
  • userBase: /Users/smith/webmo
Note: WebMO stores its configuration in /Users/smith/Sites/cgi-bin/webmo/interfaces/globals.int and therefore does not make any make any entries in the /Users/smith/Library directory.


If you experience any problems, please refer to the WebMO troubleshooting page.

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