Install Joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Apache2, MariaDB, PHP 7.1 and Let’s Encrypt free SSL/TLS

Although WordPress is the current favorite with it comes to open source content management systems, you can’t count Joomla out when deciding which CMS to use to power your websites and blogs…

Joomla is a powerful and popular content management systems (CMS) use by webmasters and website owners to create dynamic websites and blogs. If you’re going to be running a dynamic website or blog and want to manage it easily, you may want to take a look at Joomla to help you.

In today’s environments, Joomla is frequently being installed with SSL/TLS encryption so that all traffic to and from the website is protected over HTTPS. Also, websites that use HTTPS may rank better with Google and other search engine providers.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Joomla on Ubuntu 17.04 / 17.10 with Apache2, MariaDB, PHP and Let’s Encrypt support. When you’re done, your website will automatically be configured to use HTTPS for all traffic.

To get started with installing Joomla with Let’s Encrypt support, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Apache2

Joomla 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

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

Joomla also requires 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 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 and related modules.

sudo apt install 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-ldap php7.1-zip php7.1-curl

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

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

Then change the following lines below in the file and save. You may increase the value to suite your environment.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_file_size = 64M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

Step 4: Create Joomla 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 Joomla 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 joomla


Create a database user called joomlauser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON joomla.* TO 'joomlauser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Joomla Latest Release

Next, visit Joomla site and download the latest package…. or run the commands below to download and extract Joomla content.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file and move it into a new Joomla root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
sudo apt-get install unzip
sudo unzip Joomla*.zip
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/joomla
sudo unzip Joomla*.zip -d /var/www/html/joomla

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

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

Step 6: Configure Apache2 Joomla Site

Finally, configure Apache2 configuration file for Joomla. This file will control how users access Joomla content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called joomla.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/joomla.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/joomla/

     <Directory /var/www/html/joomla/>
        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 Joomla Site

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

sudo a2ensite joomla.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

Step 9: Obtain and Configure Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates

Now that the Joomla configuration is done, continue below to get Let’s Encrypt installed and configured. Let’s Encrypt now provides a Apache2 module to automate this process. To get the client/module installed on Ubuntu, run the commands below

sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache

After that run the commands below to obtain your free Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificate for your site.

sudo certbot --apache -m -d -d

After running the above commands, you should get prompted to accept the licensing terms. If everything is checked, the client should automatically install the free SSL/TLS certificate and configure the Nginx site to use the certs.

Please read the Terms of Service at You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

Choose Yes ( Y ) to share your email address

Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about EFF and
our work to encrypt the web, protect its users and defend digital rights.
(Y)es/(N)o: Y

This is how easy is it to obtain your free SSL/TLS certificate for your Nginx powered website.

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Pick option 2 to redirect all traffic over HTTPS. This is important!

After that, the SSL client should install the cert and configure your website to redirect all traffic over HTTPS.

Congratulations! You have successfully enabled and

You should test your configuration at:

 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
   Your key file has been saved at:
   Your cert will expire on 2018-02-24. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
   with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
   your certificates, run "certbot renew"
 - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:
   Donating to EFF:          

The highlighted code block should be added to your Apache2 Joomla site configuration file automatically by Let’s Encrypt certbot. Your Joomla site is ready to be used over HTTPS.

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

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

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

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{SERVER_NAME} [OR]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_NAME}
RewriteRule ^ https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [END,NE,R=permanent]

A new configuration file for the domain should also be created named /etc/apache2/sites-available/joomla-le-ssl.conf. This is Apache2 SSL module configuration file and should contain the certificate definitions defined in it.

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:443>
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/wordpress/
      <Directory /var/www/html/wordpress/>
        Options +FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted
     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
Include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf

After that, open your browser and browse to your domain name to start Joomla configuration wizard. You should see Joomla setup wizard… Please follow the wizard carefully.

joomla ubuntu let's encrypt

Type the database connection info and continue

Finally, install

joomla ubuntu let's encrypt

When you login to the admin dashboard, to go System ==> Global Configuration… click on the Server tab and set the Force SSL option to Entire Site.

joomla ubuntu

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed Joomla with Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificates.

To setup a process to automatically renew the certificates, add a cron job to execute the renewal process.

sudo crontab -e

Then add the line below and save.

0 1 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew & > /dev/null

The cron job will attempt to renew 30 days before expiring


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Install Joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Nginx, MariaDB PHP 7.1 and Let’s Encrypt free SSL/TLS