Setup Drupal CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 Support

I am currently running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in my lab environment… and the steps below is how I got Drupal CMS installed… If you’re looking for a simple yet powerful tutorial to install Drupal on Ubuntu, below is a great place to start…

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to easily install Drupal CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 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 Apache2 HTTP Server

Drupal needs a web server and the most popular webserver in use today is Apache2. Run the commands below to install Apache2:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apache2

After installing Apache2, run the commands below to disable directory listing.

sudo sed -i "s/Options Indexes FollowSymLinks/Options FollowSymLinks/" /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

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

Step 2: Install MariaDB Server

Drupal also requires a database server… 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 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 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 default PHP file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/apache2/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
max_execution_time = 30
max_input_vars = 1500
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 log on to MariaDB server, 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 Apache2

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.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/drupal.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 [email protected]
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/drupal/

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

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

      <Directory /var/www/html/>
            RewriteEngine on
            RewriteBase /
            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
            RewriteRule ^(.*)$ index.php?q=$1 [L,QSA]

Save the file and exit.

After that, enable Apache2 modules by running the command below:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2enmod env
sudo a2enmod dir
sudo a2enmod mime

Step 7: Enable the Drupal Site and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite drupal.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

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

drupal installation ubuntu

Follow the on-screen instructions until you’ve successfully installed Drupal.


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  1. You’re the best.

  2. Upon completing the setup, by loading the URL, I got blank white screen.

    May I get your help in this regard?

    with thanks

    1. Hi,

      Please try running below commands and check.

      sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf
      service apache2 reload

      Apparently the default site configuration was overriding my vhost configuration.

  3. Hi there. I’ve gotten as far as trying to create the drupal.conf file. However, the apache2 directory is not in the /etc file. I have an apache2 directory /opt/lampp. What am I missing? Thanks

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