Configure pH7CMS ( pH7 Builder) on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM

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Out of the box, pH7 CMS works great with Apache2 HTTP server. Our previous post showed you how to run it with Apache2. For those who prefer Nginx instead, this post is going to show you how to run pH7 CMS with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM

pH7 CMS (now known as pH7 Builder) lets you build your own professional, open source social & dating CMS websites on your own servers.  Written in OOP PHP with the MVC, this platform will help you be the next

pH7 Dating CMS enables you to build robust social networking websites for your school, company or for any group looking to collaborate around the same ideas or issues.

Whether you’re creating a personal or company social networking platform, pH7 CMS can help you build and manage your content on every device with its intuitive and powerful user and admin dashboard.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install pH7 CMS with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2 support on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS.

For more on pH7 CMS social platform , please visit its home page

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use today. since pH7 CMS needs it go and install it on Ubuntu.

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 MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with pH7 Social. To install MariaDB run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

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

Run these on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service

Run these on Ubuntu 17.10 and 18.04 LTS

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 by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

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

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on. if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. in order to install 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-FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli 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 are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
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

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Nginx, create a phpinfo.php file in Nginx root directory by running the commands below

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file. then browse to your server hostname followed by /phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 4: Create pH7CMS Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for pH7 CMS to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank pH7 CMS database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called ph7builder


Create a database user called ph7user with new password

CREATE USER 'ph7user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON ph7builder.* TO 'ph7user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download and Install pH7 CMS

To get pH7 CMS latest release you may want to use Github repository… Install Composer, Curl and other dependencies to get started…

sudo apt install curl git
curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

After installing curl and Composer above, change into the /tmp directory. download and extract, then move pH7 content to Nginx root directory…

After that, use composer to install its dependencies.

cd /tmp
sudo mv pH7-Social-Dating-CMS-master /var/www/html/ph7builder
cd /var/www/html/ph7builder
sudo composer install

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/ph7builder/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/ph7builder/

Step 6: Configure Nginx pH7 CMS Site

Next, configure Nginx configuration file for pH7 CMS . This file will control how users access pH7 CMS content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called ph7builder

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/ph7builder

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/ph7builder;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

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

    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;

Save the file and exit.

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

Step 7: Enable the pH7 CMS Site

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below, then restart Nginx server.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/ph7builder /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your browser and go to the URL. and continue with the installation.

You should see pH7 CMS installation wizard page. select the installation language and continue.

pH7 CMS Builder

Next, create a protected directory. the default location should be good. Continue

pH7 CMS Builder

Next, type in the database name, user and password created above and continue.

pH7 CMS Builder

After that, create an admin account for the back-end and continue.

pH7 CMS Builder

Next, select the kind of social networking site you’d like to build. and finish the setup.

pH7 CMS Builder

After that, pH7 CMS builder should be installed and ready do use.

pH7 Builder cms


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  1. I’m getting a failure to start, stop and enable mariadb.

    root@example:~# sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
    Failed to stop mariadb.service: Unit mariadb.service not loaded.
    root@example:~# sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
    Failed to start mariadb.service: Unit mariadb.service not found.
    root@example:~# sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service
    Failed to execute operation: No such file or directory

  2. Also, instead of opening the phpinfo.php page, it downloads it as a .php file.

  3. HI, Thank you for the guide.
    I got to the installation page, all good, but I can’t log with the admin details or create any accounts, the page is just refreshing when pressing the create/login button.
    Do you have any ideas how to fix that?
    Thank you in advance

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