How to Install CMS Made Simple on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.1

If you’re looking for a true open source WordPress alternative, CMS Made Simple might be a good place to start. It’s built using PHP and the Smarty Engine, which keeps content, modules and templates separated.

CMSMS is a popular and widely used open source content management system that relies on the LAMP or LEMP stack. It is designed for ease of use to allow webmasters and users to create powerful and dynamic content websites.

If you’re looking for a open source, high performance content management platform to manage your websites or blogs, you’ll find CMSMS to be useful. This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install CMSMS on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 support.

This post covers installing the latest version of CMSMS, which at the time of writing was at version 2.2.6

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

Step 1: Install Apache2

CMS Made Simple requires a webserver and the most popular webserver in use today is Apache2. So, go and install Apache2 on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, run the commands below to disable directory listing.

sudo sed -i "s/Options Indexes FollowSymLinks/Options FollowSymLinks/" /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable Apache2 service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop apache2.service
sudo systemctl start apache2.service
sudo systemctl enable apache2.service

Step 2: Install MariaDB

CMSMS also requires a database server. 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 mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.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 mysql.service

Step 3: Install PHP and Related Modules

PHP 7.1 isn’t available on 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 7.1

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.1

sudo apt update

Run the commands below to install PHP 7.1 FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.1 libapache2-mod-php7.1 php7.1-common php7.1-mbstring php7.1-xmlrpc php7.1-soap php7.1-gd php7.1-xml php7.1-intl php7.1-mysql php7.1-cli php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-zip php7.1-curl

After install PHP, run the commands below to open Apache2 PHP default file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/apache2/php.ini

Then make the change the following lines below in the file and save.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
max_execution_time = 180
memory_limit = 256M
post_max_size = 20M
upload_max_filesize = 100M

Step 4: Create CMSMS 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 CMSMS 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 cmsmsdb


Create a database user called cmsmsuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON cmsmsdb.* TO 'cmsmsuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download CMSMS Latest Release

Next, visit CMSMS site and download the latest version.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the download file into Apache2 root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
sudo apt install unzip
sudo unzip -d /var/www/html/cmsms

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

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

Step 6: Configure Apache2

Finally, configure Apahce2 site configuration file for CMSMS. This file will control how users access CMSMS content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called cmsms.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/cmsms.conf

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.

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/cmsms/

     <Directory /var/www/html/cmsms/>
        Options +FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined


Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the CMSMS and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite cmsms.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite

Step 8 : Restart Apache2

To load all the settings above, restart Apache2 by running the commands below.

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name followed by install. You should see CMS Made Simple setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

You should now be presented with a welcome screen. If, instead, you see a white screen it probably means that your
server is running old, or incompatible software and that you may be forced to use the traditional installer. It is a good
hint that if the Phar installer will not run you may have further problems with CMS Made Simple on that server.

The installation assistant can then be used to guide you through the process of installing a new version of CMSMS,
Upgrading an existing installation of CMSMS, or freshening an existing version of CMSMS. There are various options
for each path through the installation assistant and the remaining steps

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed CMS Made Simple on Ubuntu server.

When you done, delete the installer file by running the commands below.

sudo rm /var/www/html/cmsms/cmsms-2.2.6-install.php

And you’re done.

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