Setup Anchor CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 / 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 Support

Few days ago we showed you how to install Anchor CMS on Ubuntu with Apache2 HTTP support… However, Anchor also runs on Nginx and you want to set it up with Nginx instead, the steps below should be a great place to start….

Anchor is a super simple, opensource, content management system (CMS) with slick admin interface…. its lightweight codebase is designed with performance in mind….. This platform is for bloggers who just want to write, and offers features that may not be available to other PHP based CMS, like WordPress Joomla or Drupal…

It also provides native markdown WYSIWYG support, Drag-n-drop, SEO friendly, flexible CSS framework and easily installation and management…

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Anchor CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 and 18.04 LTS with Nginx and PHP 7.2 support….

For more about Anchor CMS, check out its homepage

When you’re ready to get Anchor working, continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is the second most popular web server in use… so install it, since Anchor needs it..

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

sudo apt update
sudo apt 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

To test Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Nginx default test page as shown below.. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected..


nginx default home page test

Step 2: Install MariaDB

Anchor CMS 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 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 16.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service

Run these on Ubuntu 17.10 and 18.04 LTS

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

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 3: Install PHP 7.1-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.1-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories for some systems…. if you need 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-FPM

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.1-FPM

sudo apt update

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

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

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

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/fpm/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
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

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

Step 4: Create Anchor 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 Anchor CMS 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 anchor


Create a database user called anchoruser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON anchor.* TO 'anchoruser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Anchor Latest Release

Next, visit Anchor site and download the latest package…. or run the commands below to install git which is require to download Anchor pckages from github….

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

sudo apt install git curl

Next, run the commands below to install composer package and install.. you must have curl package installed for the commands to work.. if not, just run sudo apt install curl to install it…

curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

After that, change into Anchor root directory to install PHP required packages…

cd /tmp && sudo composer create-project anchorcms/anchor-cms
sudo mv anchor-cms /var/www/html/anchor

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

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx Anchor Site

Finally, configure Nginx configuration file for Anchor. This file will control how users access Anchor content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called anchor

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

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/anchor;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

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

    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;


Save the file and exit.

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

Step 7: Enable the Anchor Site

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below, then restart Nginx server…

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/anchor /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Anchor setup page…

Anchor CMS Ubuntu Install

Next, enter the database connection details you created above… Anchor needs them to store all of your blog’s information, so it’s vital you fill these in correctly. If you don’t know what these are, you’ll need to contact your webhost.

Anchor CMS Ubuntu setup

Next, create an admin account for the backend and complete the installation…

Anchor CMS install


Anchor CMS ubuntu install

Don’t forget to run the commands below to delete the install folder…

sudo rm -rf /var/www/html/anchor/install/

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