Setup ILIAS E-Learning LMS On Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 With Nginx

laptop 4662049 640

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

Our previous tutorial showed you how to install ILIAS LMS on Ubuntu with Apache2 HTTP support. This one shows students and new users how to run it with Nginx server instead.

ILIAS is an open source, next generation learning management system (LMS) packed with powerful modules to build and manage online courses for students, teachers and anyone who wants to build their own online courses.

ILIAS comes with support for collaboration, communication, evaluation and assessment and built with popular web tools like PHP, MySQL, JQuery, Bootstrap and more.

This LMS is robust and mobile-friendly and responsive out-of-the-box so your students and teachers can enjoy reading and interacting with your portal from any device.

ILIAS comes with an intuitive and powerful backend that will get you started right away with solution for large businesses, universities, schools to create tailored, individual learning scenarios very easily.

If you are looking for a solution to to build and manage you own courses for your school or business without the need for any coding skills, then ILIAS is a great place to start.

For more about ILIAS, please check their Homepage

To get started with installing ILIAS, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

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

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

ILIAS 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 ILIAS.

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

ILIAS 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: ILIAS Database

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


Create a database user called iliasuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the ilias database.

GRANT ALL ON ilias.* TO 'iliasuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download ILIAS Latest Release

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

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

cd /var/www/
sudo apt install git
sudo git clone ilias

Create an extra directory outside of the ilias root directory.

sudo mkdir /var/www/extras
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/extras/

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

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx

Finally, configure Apahce2 site configuration file for ILIAS. This file will control how users access ILIAS

content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called ilias

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

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/ilias;
    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;
         include fastcgi_params;
         fastcgi_intercept_errors on;

Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the ILIAS and Rewrite Module

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

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

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

ILIAS should begin its installation wizard. Validate that all requirements are met, then continue

ILIAS LMS Ubuntu Install

ILIAS supports multiple clients with different databases. Below you enter the base data directory, log file location and the paths to third-party tools. These settings are valid for all clients you create later on.

Data Directory: /var/www/extras
Path to Log File: /var/www/extras/logs

ILIAS LMS Ubuntu Install

Please choose a client ID. Any letter (except umlauts) or number is allowed. The client ID must be in one word.
Next you enter your database connection data. Setup establishes a test connection to verify your settings and to test if the database exists. If the database does not yet exist, you may prompt Setup in the next installation step to create the database for you.

ILIAS Ubuntu Setup

Choose a database type. and continue

ILIAS Ubuntu Install

Please choose additional languages and/or remove selected languages. The default language specified the language for new user accounts or users which haven’t selected a preferred language yet.

ILIAS Ubuntu

Here you indicate additional client information and the contact data of the system administrator of this client. All information is stored in your database. On the next screen you may optionally register your installation at the ILIAS open source project server.

Ubuntu Install ILIAS

Here you can skip registration

Ubuntu ILIAS Setup

When you’re done, your site should be up and ready to use. Login with the admin account created above and begin setting up your environment.

Ubuntu ILIAS

That’s it! Login and begin building your courses.

Ubuntu ILIAS Install


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

You may also like the post below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.