Install FlatPress CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.04 with Apache2 and PHP 7.2

FlatPress is a flat-file content management system (CMS) based on PHP that is easy to install and setup… No database, just PHP — plain and simple!

If you are looking for a solution to edit your website live and with ease and don’t want to fiddle with SQL, then FlatPress is a great place to start…. It comes with easy plugin system, widget support and easy backup because there’s only one directory…

This CMS platform is designed for ease of use to allow webmasters to collaborate and automate engaging experiences with users across multiple devices, including mobile…

For more about FlatPress, please check their Homepage

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install FlatPress CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS…

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

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP Server

FlatPress requires a web server and Apache2 HTTP server is the most popular open source web server available today… To install Apache2 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

Now that Apache2 is installed…. to test whether the web server is working, open your browser and browse to the URL below…

http://localhost

Apache2 Test Page

If you see the page above, then Apache2 is successfully installed…

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

FlatPress is a PHP based CMS and PHP is required… However, PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories… To run PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 16.04 and previous, you may need to run the commands below:

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-sqlite3 php7.2-mysql php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-gd php7.2-bcmath php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip

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

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini

The lines below is a good settings for most PHP based CMS… Update the configuration file with these and save….

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

Everytime you make changes to PHP configuration file, you should also restart Apache2 web server… To do so, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Now that PHP is installed, to test whether it’s functioning, create a test file called phpinfo.php in Apache2 default root directory…. ( /var/www/html/)

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

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Next, open your browser and browse to the server’s hostname or IP address followed by phpinfo.php

http://localhost/phpinfo.php

You should see PHP default test page…

PHP Test Page

Step 3: Download FlatPress Latest Release

After installing the server and packages above, go do FlatPress download page and get the latest… Or use the commands below to download version 1.1 from its Github site…

cd /tmp
wget https://github.com/flatpressblog/flatpress/archive/1.1.zip
unzip 1.1.zip
sudo mv flatpress-1.1 /var/www/html/flatpress

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for FlatPress root directory and give Apache2 control….

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

Step 4: Configure Apache2

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

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/flatpress.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>
     ServerAdmin admin@example.com
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/flatpress
     ServerName example.com
     ServerAlias www.example.com

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

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
    
     <Directory /var/www/html/flatpress/>
            RewriteEngine on
            RewriteBase /
            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
            RewriteRule ^(.*) index.php [PT,L]
    </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

Save the file and exit.

Step 5: Enable the FlatPress and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite flatpress.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

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

http://example.com/

Then follow the on-screen instruction…

FlatPress Ubuntu install

Since no database, just create an admin account and continue..

FlatPress Ubuntu install

After that, the site should be created and ready to use..

FlatPress Ubuntu install

Enjoy~

Congratulation! You have successfully installed FlatPress CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.04 and 18.10….

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