Setup Flarum Forum on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 / 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 Support

When looking for a next generation forum platform, you might want to take a look at Flarum software… It’s simple, efficient and makes online discussion easy… To get Flarum installed with Nginx support, this post should be a great place to start…

Flarum is a new (still in beta), next-generation open source forum software built on PHP LAMP or LEMP stack…. It’s simple to setup and use and makes online discussions fun… Individuals and webmasters can use Flarum to set up communities in minutes to stay in touch with group of people or ideas.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users an easy way to get Flarum working on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 and 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 support.

If you’re looking for a feature-rich, efficient and free community forum platform, then you may want to consider Flarum.

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

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

http://localhost

nginx default home page test

Step 2: Install MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Magento… To install MariaDB 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

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on… if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

Step 3: Install PHP 7.1-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.1 may not be 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-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 7.1-FPM and related modules.

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

After installing PHP 7.1, 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_file_size = 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 3: Restart Nginx

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Nginx to reload PHP configurations…

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Step 4: Create Magento Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for Magento to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank Magento database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called flarum

CREATE DATABASE flarum;

Create a database user called flarumuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON flarum.* TO 'flarumuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Step 5: Download Flarum Files

Flarum utilizes Composer to manage its dependencies and extensions. So, before installing Flarum, you will need to install Composer on your machine. To do that, run the commands below

sudo apt install curl git
curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

Then follow up with the commands below to download Flarum files

sudo mkdir /var/www/html/flarum
cd /var/www/html/flarum
sudo composer create-project flarum/flarum . --stability=beta

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions…

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx Flarum Site

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

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

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/flarum;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com;

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

Run the commands below to enable the Flarum site…

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/flarum /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

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

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP addresss.

http://example.com

You should see Flarum setup wizard

Flarum ubuntu install

Follow the wizard and install Flarum…

Flarum ubuntu nginx setup

~enjoy!

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