Custom System Messages


Brian Litzinger - Bold Minded

3rd Party (Commercial)
Current Version: 2.5
Release Date: Feb 19, 2013

License Agreement

Buy Now!


EE Version Support

  • ExpressionEngine 2


If an item is crossed out, it might be untested, not applicable or incompatible. Contact the developer to be sure.

  • Updater
  • Multi Site Manager
  • Stand Alone Entry Form
  • Low Variables
  • Content Elements
  • Better Workflow
  • Matrix
  • Grid
  • Webservice
  • Publisher


Add-On Type(s)

Extension, Plugin


Custom System Messages provides an alternative to the the Specialty Templates for ExpressionEngine. All ExpressionEngine messages, regardless of type or severity, are filtered through the same group of templates, which are only editable within the Control Panel. If you use Subversion or Git to version your templates, the Specialty Template are left out. On top of this fact the Specialty Templates do not not parse other template tags, so embedding other templates, or using tags from third party add-ons do not work... until now.

This extension lets you define any 2 templates within your template groups to be used as the error page. You have access to all the usual variables from the Specialty Templates, plus two new ones {referrer} and {action}. The full list of available variables are:

  • {title}
  • {meta_refresh}
  • {heading}
  • {content}
  • {link}
  • {action} - ACT ID
  • {error} - Boolean
  • {referrer} - The URL prior to receiving the error.

There are also aliases for for each variable that are parsed early, thus they can be used in conditional statements and other template tags. Each variable above has an alias prefixed with csm:. For example {content} is also available with {csm:content}. If you are having trouble with the original variables, try the aliases.

{action} will return the ACT ID which you can use it in your templates to show messages specific to the action the user performed. The {error} variable returns true or false if the form returns as an error. By default, EE uses the same ACT ID for success or error messages, only internally does it know which message to display (e.g. what the {content} variable is set to).

Example Template

Even though the {action} and {error} variables are available, you may want to use entirely different templates for each ACT and on their success or error results instead of conditionals. You can do this by selecting which template each action in the drop down is assigned to, there is also an “(On Error)” version for each action.

Custom System Messages Links

Hooks Used

If the add-on is an extension, and ties into ExpressionEngine's core files, it will use ExpressionEngine hooks. We are listing any hooks the add-on uses for developers to have an easier time locating other add-ons that they can reference for their own work.

  1. sessions_start

This entry was created January 22, 2010, 10:14 am.
This entry was last updated October 28, 2014, 10:02 pm.

Disclaimer: Information about ExpressionEngine add-ons is provided as a service to you, the user, and every member of the ExpressionEngine community. devot:ee is not responsible if you hose, mangle, wreck, or otherwise destroy your EE website by installing an add-on that you found out about at this site, regardless of its rating, Favorites status, commercial or free status, or general popularity. Caveat EEmptor!

Returns: devot:ee has a 30-day return policy on all commercial add-ons sold through If you need to return an add-on, do not go to the developer or the developer's site, but rather visit our returns page at to initiate your return. If you have questions, email

9 Reviews:

mrfletch 03.22.14

Rating - {addon_rating_average}


Biscuiterie 10.25.13

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

Very useful and easy to use add-on worth your money.

ByteMyPixel 02.16.12

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

This Extension makes me very very happy!  Goodbye ugly native EE message templates and trying to explain “it’s just how EE handles messages…” & hellooo freedom!  This is from now on part of our default EE setup!  Thank you so much for this!

Lindsey D 01.26.12

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

Amazing! CSM let me spice up those crappy error message pages in MINUTES! I was able to easily drop in my standard site-wide header and footer. Those bland message pages have bugged me on every EE site I’ve ever done, but never again… Thanks a million, this extension is brilliant!

mithra62 09.22.11

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

Custom System Messages is one of those add-ons every EE site needs. I can’t for the life of me understand why EE is ok having the problem Custom System Messages fixes but thankfully Custome System Messages fixes it very well.

Say goodbye to those NASTY default messages pages :)

VosSavant 05.30.11

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

This should be default EE functionality. Very intuitive and robust interface, does just what you need it to.

rougeExciter 03.23.11

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

Superb extension, which not only easily efficiently lets you make your messages look like the rest of your site, but also make EE behave the way it always should have. Take note Ellis Labs, this is your next SafeCracker.

Tidy 06.03.10

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

This add-on is really handy. It has always irked me that this functionality isn’t built into EE, so it’s great to have a quick and easy way of theming these pages using your existing templates. Having back links that work without javascript is an added bonus

Adam Khan 01.28.10

Rating - {addon_rating_average}

Terrific, and free! Another one of those that will become part of my standard install because it’s how the system should really be working.