Setup Grav CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 / 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB, PHP 7.2 and Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS Certificates

A new kid on the CMS block might have something to offer that WordPress, Joomla and Drupal can’t compete with… Meet Grav. Grav is an open-source flat-file CMS that offers features that may not be available to other PHP based content management systems…

For one, it doesn’t need a database server to function…  it’s a flat-file CMS… It also provides native markdown WYSIWYG support, SEO friendly, flexible CSS framework and easily installation and management…

If you’re looking for a real alternative to the big three CMS in use today, then Grav should be a great place to start…

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Grav CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 and 18.04 LTS with Nginx, PHP 7.2 support and Let’s Encrypt free SSL/TLS certificates enabled…

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use… so install it, since Grav 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 PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 isn’t 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 7.2-FPM

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 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-soap php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-curl php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Nginx…

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/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_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
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: Download Grav Latest Release

Next, visit Grav site and download the latest package…. or run the commands below to download and extract Grav content.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file and move it into a new Grav root directory.

cd /tmp && wget https://getgrav.org/download/core/grav-admin/1.3.10 -O grav.zip
unzip grav.zip
sudo mv grav-admin/ /var/www/html/grav

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

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

Step 5: Configure Nginx Grav Site

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

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

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/grav;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;

     client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /grav/index.php?_url=$uri&$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.

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

Step 6: Enable the Grav Site

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

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

Step 7: Install Let’s Encrypt Client

To get Let’s Encrypt free SSL/TLS certificates on your Ubuntu machine, you should first install its client. The client helps automate the process for you. To install it, run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install python-certbot-nginx

If python-certbot-nginx isn’t already installed, you may have to add its PPA repository and install the package..

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-nginx

Step 8: Obtaining your free SSL/TLS Certificates

After installing Let’s Encrypt Certbot client module for Nginx, run the commands below to obtain your free Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificate the domain specified… make sure to replace example.com with your own domain..

sudo certbot --nginx -m admin@example.com -d example.com -d www.example.com

After running the above commands, you should get prompted to accept the licensing terms. If everything is checked, the client should automatically install the free SSL/TLS certificate and configure the Nginx site to use the certs.

Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
https://acme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

Choose Yes ( Y ) to share your email address

Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about EFF and
our work to encrypt the web, protect its users and defend digital rights.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Y)es/(N)o: Y

This is how easy is it to obtain your free SSL/TLS certificate for your Nginx powered website.

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Pick option 2 to redirect all traffic over HTTPS. This is important!

After that, the SSL client should install the cert and configure your website to redirect all traffic over HTTPS.

Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://example.com and
https://www.example.com

You should test your configuration at:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=example.com
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=www.example.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMPORTANT NOTES:
 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem
   Your key file has been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem
   Your cert will expire on 2018-02-24. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
   with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
   your certificates, run "certbot renew"
 - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:   https://letsencrypt.org/donate
   Donating to EFF:                    https://eff.org/donate-le

The highlighted code block should be added to your Nginx Grav configuration file automatically by Let’s Encrypt certbot. Your Grav site is ready to be used over HTTPS.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/grav;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;

     client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
       try_files $uri $uri/ /grav/index.php?_url=$uri&$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;
   }

  listen 443 ssl; # managed by Certbot
     ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
     ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
     include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
     ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot

    if ($scheme != "https") {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    } # managed by Certbot

    # Redirect non-https traffic to https
    # if ($scheme != "https") {
    #     return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    # } # managed by Certbot
}

You’ll have to manually renew the certificates. You’ll get email reminder to reset when the certificates are about to expire. To test the renewal process run the commands below.

sudo certbot renew --dry-run

To setup a process to automatically renew the certificates, add a cron job to execute the renewal process.

sudo crontab -e

Then add the line below and save.

0 1 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew & > /dev/null

The cron job will attempt to renew 30 days before expiring

After that, open your browser and browse to your domain name to launch Grav configuration wizard.

You should see Grav setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

https://example.com/grav

You should see Grav setup wizard to create the default admin account…

grav ubuntu install

Create the admin account and logon… you can start configuring your site..

ubuntu grav install

Enjoy!

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How to Install Grav CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 / 18.04 with Apache2, PHP 7.2 and Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS Certificate