Install Drupal CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1-FPM Support

I have installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on my test machine for testing purposes… and the steps below is how I got Drupal CMS installed on the latest edition of Ubuntu…

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to easily install Drupal CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1-FPM support. For those who don’t know Drupal is a content management system (CMS) that enables webmasters and website owners to build dynamic and powerful websites.

Drupal is free to use and easy to customize and many websites owners can use it to create great websites and web applications. If WordPress or Joomla is not meeting your needs, you may want to give Drupal a try. It may just be what you need to run your website content online.

This post covers installing the latest version of Drupal, which at the time of writing was at version 8.3.7.

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

Since Drupal requires a web server and Nginx is a great HTTP server, run the commands below to install Nginx..

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get 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

Step 2: Install MariaDB Server

Drupal also needs 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 3: Install PHP 7.1-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.1 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 7.1

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

Finally, run the commands below to install PHP 7.1 and related modules..

sudo apt-get install php7.1-fpm 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-tidy php7.1-recode php7.1-zip php7.1-curl

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

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

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

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
max_execution_time = 30
date.timezone = America/Chicago

Step 4: Create Drupal Database

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

To logon to MariaDB, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called drupal


Create a database user called drupaluser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON drupal.* TO 'drupaluser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Drupal Latest Release

Next, run the commands below to download Drupal latest release. The commands below to download Drupal archive package.

cd /tmp && wget

Then run the commands below to extract the download file and rename the folder drupal.

sudo tar -zxvf drupal*.gz -C /var/www/html
sudo mv /var/www/html/drupal-8.3.7/ /var/www/html/drupal/

Change modify the directory permission.

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx

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

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

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/drupal;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

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

    location @rewrite {
               rewrite ^/(.*)$ /index.php?q=$1;

    location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;
         fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
         include fastcgi_params;

    location ~ ^/sites/.*/files/styles/ { # For Drupal >= 7
               try_files $uri @rewrite;

    location ~ ^(/[a-z\-]+)?/system/files/ { # For Drupal >= 7
        try_files $uri /index.php?$query_string;

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the Drupal site

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

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

Step 8 : Restart Nginx and PHP-FPM

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

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service
sudo systemctl restart php7.1-fpm.service

Then browse to the domain of the site and you should see Drupal site setup wizard.

drupal installation ubuntu

Enter the database confirmation and continue with the setup.

drupal installation ubuntu

Continue with the wizard until you’ve successfully configured Drupal.


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