Setup Foswiki Platform 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 Foswiki platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Nginx HTTP server.

Our previous tutorial showed you how to install Foswiki on Ubuntu with Apache2 HTTP server. This post shows you how to do it with Nginx instead.

Foswiki is a free, open source, wiki platform that provides enterprise grade collaboration features that your team can use to share and collaborate directly in their web browser.

It helps you create personal or business websites in minutes and comes with world-class text editor built-in, dynamic to-do lists, inventory systems, status board and more..

Foswiki software offers features that may not be available to other CMS, like WordPress Joomla or Drupal.

For one, it doesn’t need a database server, all its data is simply stored in the file system (file-based, flat file CMS). It also provides native mark down WYSIWYG support, SEO friendly, flexible CSS framework with no installation required.

With its built-in access controls and authentication connectors make Foswiki especially useful in the enterprise and for personal use as well.

For more about Foswiki, please check it homepage.

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

Foswiki requires a web server and Nginx HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. so you might want to install it to run Foswiki.

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

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx libfcgi-perl libfcgi-procmanager-perl

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 Perl and Related Modules

Foswiki is written in Perl which is supported on many platform. To install Perl and related modules to support Foswiki, run the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install libalgorithm-diff-perl libarchive-tar-perl libauthen-sasl-perl libcgi-pm-perl libcgi-session-perl libcrypt-passwdmd5-perl libdigest-sha-perl libemail-address-perl libemail-mime-perl libencode-perl liberror-perl libfile-copy-recursive-perl libhtml-parser-perl libhtml-tree-perl libio-socket-ip-perl libio-socket-ssl-perl libjson-perl liblocale-maketext-perl liblocale-maketext-lexicon-perl liblocale-msgfmt-perl libwww-perl liblwp-protocol-https-perl liburi-perl libversion-perl

Step 3: Download Foswiki Latest Release

Next, visit Foswiki site and download the latest package. At the time of this writing, the latest version is 2.1.6

If you find a newer version, download it instead of this. Use the commands below to download and extract the archive package, replacing the version number with the current latest.

cd /tmp/
tar xvzf Foswiki-2.1.6.tgz
sudo mv Foswiki-2.1.6 /var/www/foswiki

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

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

Next, change into Foswiki directory and run these commands to fix file permissions issues.

cd /var/www/foswiki/tools
sudo sh
sudo perl

When you’re done continue below to create Foswiki’s Nginx vhost file.

Step 4: Configure Nginx Foswiki Site

After settings above, run the commands below to copy Foswiki default config file from its root directory to Ubuntu defaults folder.

sudo cp /var/www/foswiki/tools/foswiki.defaults /etc/default/

Inside the file should be lines like the ones below:

# Tailor these settings for your installation

Next, copy the next config file into Ubuntu systemd directory.

sudo cp /var/www/foswiki/tools/systemd/foswiki.service /etc/systemd/system/

Next,, configure Nginx configuration file for Foswiki. This file will control how users access Foswiki content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called foswiki

A script to auto-generate the configuration file can be found here. Use it to generate one for your environment. Use copy and paste the configuration lines below into the file and save.

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

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 {
  set $foswiki_root /var/www/foswiki;

  root /var/www/html;
  index index.html;

  listen 80;

  location /favicon.ico {
    log_not_found off;
    access_log off;
  location /robots.txt {
    allow all;
    log_not_found off;
    access_log off;
  location / {
    try_files $uri @foswiki;

  # redirect short urls to view
  location ~ ^/(?:bin/)?([A-Z_].*)$ {
    rewrite ^/(.*)$ /bin/view/$1 last;

  # any /bin goes to foswiki
  location /bin {
    try_files $uri @foswiki;

  location ~ ^/pub/(System|Applications|cache)/ {
    root $foswiki_root;
    expires 8h;
    gzip_static on;

  location /pub {
    root $foswiki_root;
    rewrite ^/pub/(.*)$ /bin/viewfile/$1;

  location /files {
    alias $foswiki_root/pub/;
    expires 8h;
    access_log off;

  location ~ (^/lib|^/data|^/locale|^/templates|^/tools|^/work) {
     deny all;

  # optional location for WebDAVContrib. 
  location /dav {
     gzip off;
     keepalive_timeout 0;
     fastcgi_keep_conn off;

     fastcgi_split_path_info ^/dav/(.+?)(/.*)$;
     fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $foswiki_root/tools/wedav.fcgi;
     fastcgi_param  PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
     fastcgi_param  HTTP2 $http2;
     include fastcgi_params;

  location @foswiki {
     gzip off;
     fastcgi_read_timeout 120s; 

     fastcgi_split_path_info ^/bin/(.+?)(/.*)$;
     fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $foswiki_root/bin/foswiki.fcgi;
     fastcgi_param  PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
     fastcgi_param  HTTP2 $http2;

     include fastcgi_params;

Save the file and exit.

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

Step 5: Enable the Foswiki Site

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

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/foswiki /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start foswiki.service
sudo systemctl enable foswiki.service

Restart Nginx

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address to bootstrap your the install by browsing to the default view URL for your site in your web browser.
Foswiki Ubuntu Install

Follow the link in the Bootstrap banner of the returned page to the bin/configure tool, address any warnings and save your configuration.

Foswiki Ubunt Setup

Begin addressing issues on the left. when you’re done save your changes.

aed41b30 ubuntu foswiki install 2

Return from configure (button at top of page), and register your first user.



You have successfully installed Foswiki CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04. For more tutorials on Ubuntu please search our site.

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