How to Install FreePBX on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install FreePBX on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04.

FreePBX is an opensource, web based application that can be used to manage Asterisk (PBX) platform. We recently showed you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

When you install Asterisk, you’ll get a terminal console where you can manage the system. The problem with managing Asterisk via the terminal is, it can be very difficult to configure complicated phone trees via the terminal.

For a simple to use interface, install FreePBX. This post is going to show you how to install FreePBX to manage Asterisk.

To get started with managing FreePBX, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Asterisk PBX

Since you’re going to be managing Asterisk, you first task will be to install it. The good thing is, we’ve shown our users how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

Below is a tutorial that showed you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

After installing Asterisk above, continue below to installing and configuring FreePBX.

Step 2: Apache2 HTTP Server

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use… so install it since FreePBX needs it..

To install Apache2 HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below…

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, the commands below can be used 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

To find out if Apache2 HTTP server is installed, simply open your web browser and type in the server’s IP or hostname.

When you see the page similar to the one below, then Apache2 is installed and working.

http://localhost

apache2 ubuntu install

After that, run the commands below to remove Apache2 default index.html file.

sudo rm /var/www/html/index.html 

Step 3: Install MariaDB Database Server

FreePBX also needs a database server to store its content… and MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with FreePBX.

To install MariaDB run the commands below…

sudo apt 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

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

To test if MariaDB is installed and working, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl status mariadb

That should display MariaDB service status.

● mariadb.service - MariaDB 10.1.44 database server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/mariadb.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Wed 2020-04-08 17:08:17 CDT; 1min 54s ago
Docs: man:mysqld(8)
https://mariadb.com/kb/en/library/systemd/
Main PID: 22363 (mysqld)
Status: "Taking your SQL requests now…"
Tasks: 27 (limit: 4666)
CGroup: /system.slice/mariadb.service
└─22363 /usr/sbin/mysqld
Apr 08 17:08:17 ubuntu1804 /etc/mysql/debian-start[22396]: mysql

By default on Ubuntu, MariaDB is configured to use the UNIX auth_socket plugin. You’ll want to run the SQL commands below for the root user to use mysql_native_password.

You’ll need MariaDB root account to setup FreePBX later.

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Switch to the myql database.

use mysql;

Then update the root account to use mysql_native_password.

UPDATE mysql.user SET plugin = 'mysql_native_password' WHERE User = 'root';

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Step 4: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 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

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt update

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

sudo apt install php7.2 libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-common php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-imap php7.2-ldap php-cas php7.2-bcmath php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip php7.2-sqlite3

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Apache2…

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/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
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
max_input_vars = 1500
date.timezone = America/Chicago

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

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Apache2, create a phpinfo.php file in Apache2 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

http://localhost/phpinfo.php

You should see PHP default test page…

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 5: Install Nodejs

After installing the server above, run the commands below to add Nodejs 10 repository to Ubuntu

sudo apt update
sudo apt install curl dirmngr apt-transport-https lsb-release ca-certificates
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo bash

Then run the commands below to install Nodejs.

sudo apt-get install gcc g++ make
sudo apt install nodejs

Step 6: Install FreePBX

At this point, you should have everything ready fro FreePBX. To download and install FreePBX, run the commands below:

sudo apt install wget
cd /tmp
wget http://mirror.freepbx.org/modules/packages/freepbx/freepbx-15.0-latest.tgz
tar xfz freepbx-15.0-latest.tgz

Finally, run the commands below to install.

cd freepbx
sudo ./start_asterisk start
sudo ./install -n --dbuser root --dbpass type_root_password_here

If you get an error,

Error!
Unable to read /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf or it was missing a directories section

run the commands below to resolve:

sudo cp /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf.old /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf

If you also get an error:

‘asterisk’ user…bash: line 0: cd: /home/asterisk/: No such file or directory

Run the commands below to resolve:

sudo mkhomedir_helper asterisk

When you have resolved all the errors above, go back and try the installation again.

After installing, you should get similar message as shown below:

Updating Hooks…Done
Done installing all modules
Taking too long? Customize the chown command, See http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FOP/FreePBX+Chown+Conf
Setting Permissions…
Setting base permissions…Done
Setting specific permissions…
11864 [============================]
Finished setting permissions
Taking too long? Customize the chown command, See http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FOP/FreePBX+Chown+Conf
Setting Permissions…
Setting base permissions…Done
Setting specific permissions…
11864 [============================]
Finished setting permissions
Generating default configurations…
Finished generating default configurations
You have successfully installed FreePBX

After installing, restart Apache2.

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo usermod -aG www-data asterisk
sudo systemctl restart apache2

Now go and access FreePBX portal.

http://localhost

FreePBX, Asterisk Ubuntu Install

Setup, login and start building your own PBX

That’s it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to install Asterisk and FreePBX to create your own PBX systems. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

Thanks,

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30 thoughts on “How to Install FreePBX on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04

  1. sudo ./install -n –dbuser root –dbpass type_root_password_here

    PHP Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function FreePBX\Install\simplexml_load_file() in /tmp/freepbx/install:19

    HEEELP!!! )))

    1. You probably have multiple versions of php installed. check in /etc/php. If you have 7.2 and 7.4, you either run sudo apt install php7.4-xml or
      1. apt-get purge php7.*
      2. apt-get install -y php7.2
      3. apt-get install -y php7.2-xml

      the latter is preferred, i discovered php7.4 caused an error during the freepbx installation.

  2. cd to /etc/php and see which versions of PHP are installed. In my case, I had 7.2 and 7.4 apparently.

    sudo apt install php7.x-xml – where 7.x are the versions listed in /etc/php. You should find that the XML extension for one of the versions wasn’t installed. This should fix your problem.

  3. Hi, i have this problem “The command “/usr/sbin/fwconsole chown” failed.” after i wrote sudo ./install -n –dbuser root –dbpass (pass)

    Can anyone help me?

    Thanks a lot

    1. Do the following:
      1. apt-get purge php7.*
      2. apt-get install -y php7.2
      3. apt-get install -y php7.2-xml
      4. apt-get install -y php7.2-mysql
      5. sudo ./install -n –-dbuser root –-dbpass (pass)

  4. I have an issue when start asterisk
    sudo ./start_asterisk start
    ./start_asterisk: line 45: /usr/sbin/safe_asterisk: No such file or directory
    Asterisk Started

    sudo ./install -n –dbuser root –dbpass password
    Error!
    Error communicating with Asterisk. Ensure that Asterisk is properly installed and running as the asterisk user
    Asterisk does not appear to be running
    Try starting Asterisk with the ‘./start_asterisk start’ command in this directory

    Could you please help

    1. I am getting the same thing, no errors during the entire process other than the ones outlined above, and by using the procedures I was able to get past the point where I was getting hung up previously, but when i go to http://localhost/ i get auto-redirected to http://localhost/admin/config.php, which is a blank (white with no text) website. I am running Ubuntu 20.04.

    1. If you are on Ubuntu 20.04. installing php 7.4 worked for me. I used:

      sudo apt install php

      sudo sed -i ‘s/\(^upload_max_filesize = \).*/\120M/’ /etc/php/7.4/apache2/php.ini
      sudo sed -i ‘s/\(^upload_max_filesize = \).*/\120M/’ /etc/php/7.4/cli/php.ini

      sudo a2enmod rewrite
      sudo systemctl restart apache2

  5. For me, the error 500 looks like it is caused by a permissions issue. I have checke the file called error.log located in /var/log/apache2/ and it says PHP Warning: include_once(/etc/freepbx.conf): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /var/www/html/admin/config.php on line 126

    Still researching on a solution

  6. HI Guys, i got this error:

    admin-asterisk@adminasterisk-VirtualBox:/tmp/freepbx$ sudo ./install -n
    Assuming you are Database Root
    Checking if SELinux is enabled…Its not (good)!
    Reading /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf…Done
    Checking if Asterisk is running and we can talk to it as the ‘asterisk’ user…Yes. Determined Asterisk version to be: 16.12.0
    Checking if NodeJS is installed and we can get a version from it…Yes. Determined NodeJS version to be: 10.22.0
    Preliminary checks done. Starting FreePBX Installation
    Checking if this is a new install…Yes (No /etc/freepbx.conf file detected)
    Error!
    PDO Driver ‘mysql’ is missing from the system

    Can anyone help me pls?

  7. Hi All,
    I got the following error message, can any one help please?

    STARTING ASTERISK
    Asterisk is already running
    root@freepbx:/tmp/freepbx# sudo ./install -n –dbuser root –dbpass type_root_password_here
    Assuming you are Database Root
    Checking if SELinux is enabled…Its not (good)!
    Reading /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf…Done
    Checking if Asterisk is running and we can talk to it as the ‘asterisk’ user…Yes. Determined Asterisk version to be: 16.12.0
    Checking if NodeJS is installed and we can get a version from it…Yes. Determined NodeJS version to be: 10.22.0
    Preliminary checks done. Starting FreePBX Installation
    Checking if this is a new install…Yes (No /etc/freepbx.conf file detected)
    Error!
    PDO Driver ‘mysql’ is missing from the system

  8. for the blank page and permission denied on error log, you can try this one
    /etc/apache2/envvars

    change this line

    # export APACHE_RUN_USER=www-data
    # export APACHE_RUN_GROUP=www-data
    export APACHE_RUN_USER=asterisk
    export APACHE_RUN_GROUP=asterisk

  9. There’s quite a few problems with this guide.

    1. I had to use PHP 7.3 to avoid installation issues. Both 7.2 and 7.4 gave errors.

    2. The biggest mistake in the instructions is including php-cas in the php installs. This will by default install PHP 7.4 as well, causing conflicts if you are using another version of PHP.

    3. Basically for people starting out with this, make sure whatever PHP library you install, it should coincide with your particular PHP version. Otherwise it will break stuff.

    Good luck guys, don’t give up! It works. I encountered almost every error mentioned in the comments and managed to fix them all.

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