Setup Gibbon LMS on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Nginx

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and configure Gibbon Learning Management System (LMS) on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 LTS servers.

Our previous tutorial showed you how to configure it with Apache2 HTTP server which you can read from here.

Gibbon LMS is a free, open source platform created by teachers to solve problems teachers face everyday in the classrooms, allowing seamless planning, teaching and assessment.

Teachers can use this Gibbon to create powerful sets of tools to help students learn via a user friendly and responsive interface where students can follow each course via any device.

This LMS platform is robust, mobile-friendly and responsive out-of-the-box so your students can enjoy reading and interacting with your courses from multiple devices anywhere.

Gibbon LMS comes with an intuitive and powerful backend that will get you started right away without knowing anything about coding in HTML or CSS. You also get a powerful search tool, backend analytics, drag n drop media panel and more.

If you’re looking for an open source learning management platform to administer online classes for your students at school or your employees at your businesses, then Gibbon LMS is a great place to start.

For more about Gibbon LMS, please check their Homepage

To get started with installing Gibbon LMS, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

You will need a web server to run Gibbon LMS and Nginx HTTP server is the most popular open source web server available today. So go and get it for Gibbon LMS.

To install Nginx server, run the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx webserver, 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 MariaDB Database Server

Gibbon LMS also needs a database server to store its content. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Gibbon LMS.

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

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

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

Gibbon LMS 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
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
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 4: Create Gibbon LMS Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First create a Gibbon LMS database.

Run the commands below to logon to MariaDB. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called gibbon


Create a database user called gibbonuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the gibbon database.

GRANT ALL ON gibbon.* TO 'gibbonuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Gibbon LMS Latest Release

After installing the server and packages above,  go and get the latest copy of Gibbon LMS from its download site.

After downloading, use the commands below to extract the archived content into Nginx root directory.

cd /tmp
sudo mv core-18.0.01 /var/www/gibbon

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

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx

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

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

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

    client_max_body_size 100M;
    autoindex off;

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

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

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the Gibbon LMS

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

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

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see Gibbon LMS setup wizard to complete.

Before you can continue with the installation wizard, validate that all requirements are met.

Gibbon Ubuntu Install

Next, type in the database name, username and password and optionally add the demo data and continue.

Gibbon Ubuntu Install

After that create an admin account and set you school profile and complete the setup.

Gibbon Ubuntu Install

That’s it!

Gibbon Ubuntu Install


Congratulation! You have successfully installed Gibbon LMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04

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