Bolt CMS 3.6.0 Released — Here’s How to Install / Upgrade on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx, PHP 7.2-FPM

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The steps below show students and new users how to upgrade to the latest version of Bolt CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM support.

Bolt CMS, an open source, sophisticated, lightweight and simple content management system has recently been updated to version 3.6.0. and this brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install / upgrade to it.

This release brings some changes including a new feature that allows you to time the publication of new posts and pages to the minute and a collapsing repeater that can can now re-order the sets inside Repeaters and Blocks by drag-n-drop.

Bolt is designed for ease of use to allow webmasters and owners create powerful and dynamic content websites based on the LAMP or LEMP stack.

If you’re looking for a simple and straightforward content management platform to manage your websites or blogs and 100% free, you’ll find Bolt to be useful. This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Bolt CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM support.

To get started with installing Bolt, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use. so install it, since Bludit needs it.

To install Nginx HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable Nginx service to always start-up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

To test Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Nginx default test page as shown below. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected.

nginx default home page test

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories for some systems. if you need it, you will have to get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the below third-party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.2-FPM

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-mysql php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-soap php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-curl php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Nginx.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below is great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, save the file and close out.

Step 3: Restart Nginx

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Nginx to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Step 2: Install MariaDB

Bolt also requires a database server to function. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 4: Create Bolt Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create Bolt database.

Run the commands below to logon to the database server. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called bolt


Create a database user called boltuser with new password

CREATE USER 'boltuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON bolt.* TO 'boltuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Bolt Latest Release

Next, visit Bolt site and download the latest version.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file into Nginx root directory.

cd /tmp
tar -zxvf bolt-latest.tar.gz
sudo mv bolt-v3.6.0 /var/www/html/bolt

Install Composer for Bolt

cd /var/www/html/bolt
sudo apt install curl git
curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer
sudo cp /var/www/html/bolt/composer.json.dist /var/www/html/bolt/composer.json
sudo php composer.phar install

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for Bolt to function.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/bolt/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/bolt/

Step 6: Configure Bolt Database Connection Settings

Next run the commands below to create Bolt database connection file.

sudo nano /var/www/html/bolt/app/config/config.yml

Then add the lines below into the config.yml and save.

  driver: mysql
  username: boltuser
  password: password_here
  databasename: bolt

Step 7: Configure Nginx

Finally, configure Apache2 site configuration file for Bolt. This file will control how users access Bolt content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called bolt

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/bolt

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/bolt/public;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    location / {
    try_files        $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
         fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
         include fastcgi_params;

   location = /bolt {
    try_files                $uri /index.php?$query_string;
   location ^~ /bolt/ {
    try_files                 $uri /index.php?$query_string;


Save the file and exit.

Step 8: Enable the Bolt and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/bolt /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see Bolt setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Then create the first admin user for the portal and complete.

Bolt ubuntu installation

After creating the first user, you should be logged into the admin dashboard.

ubuntu bolt apache2


Logon to the admin dashboard

Upgrading Bolt

If you want to upgrade Bolt to a new version, follow the steps below:

First, stop the web server.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service

Make a full backup, all files and directories.

sudo cp -rf /var/www/html/bolt /var/www/html/bolt_bak

Remember which version of Bludit you are using for a possible roll-back.

The update itself is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is set the following in your composer.json:

sudo nano /var/www/html/bolt/composer.json

Then set the following highlighted line. Change the version number to the latest and save.

"require": {
    "php": "^5.5.9 || ^7.0",
    "bolt/bolt": "^3.6",
"minimum-stability": "beta",
"prefer-stable": true,

Then run the commands below to upgrade.

cd /var/www/html/bolt
sudo composer update --optimize-autoloader
sudo php app/nut init

Start the web server.

sudo systemctl start nginx.service

Log into the admin area and check your settings.

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