Setup CuteNews CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Nginx

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and configure CuteNews CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Nginx HTTP server.

Our previous tutorial showed you how to install CuteNews CMS on Ubuntu with Apache2. This one shows you how to run it with Nginx instead.

CuteNews 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!

It also comes with search function, file upload management, backup & restore, IP banning, permission levels supporting, flood protection and many more.

If you are looking for a solution to edit your website live and with ease and don’t want to fiddle with SQL, then CuteNews 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 CuteNews, please check their Homepage

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

CuteNews requires a web server and Nginx HTTP server is the most popular open source web server available today. To install Nginx 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

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

nginx default home page test

If you see the page above, then Nginx is successfully installed.

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

CuteNews is a PHP based CMS and PHP is required. However, PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. To run PHP 7.2-FPM 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-FPM

sudo apt update

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

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm 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 Nginx.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/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
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
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 Nginx web server. To do so, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Step 3: Download CuteNews Latest Release

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

cd /tmp
sudo mv cutenews-2.0-master /var/www/cutenews

Next, created these folders by running the commands below:

sudo mkdir /var/www/cutenews/cdata
sudo mkdir /var/www/cutenews/plugins
sudo mkdir /var/www/cutenews/cdata/{news,users,plugins,btree,backup,log}

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for CuteNews root directory and give Nginx control.

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

Step 4: Configure Nginx

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

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

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/cutenews;
    index  index.php;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/;

    client_max_body_size 100M;
    autoindex off;

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

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
         include fastcgi_params;
         fastcgi_intercept_errors on;

Save the file and exit.

Step 5: Enable the CuteNews

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

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

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

Then follow the on-screen instruction.

CuteNews ubuntu install

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

cutenews ubuntu install

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

Congratulation! You have successfully installed CuteNews CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10.

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