Setup Joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM

If you want to run Joomla CMS on Ubuntu with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM support then the steps below should be a great place to start… Our previous tutorial showed you how to setup Joomla with Apache2 support on Ubuntu….

Joomla CMS is a free, easy and secure content management system (CMS) which enables you to build web sites and powerful online applications…. It is supported by hundreds of developers and powered millions of websites online…

If you want a content management system (CMS) that is easy to use and manage, then Joomla CMS is a good place to start… It is built on a model–view–controller web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS makes it easy to build and manage your content….

From corporate websites portals to intranets and extranets, Joomla popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework has everything you need for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web…

This platform is designed for ease of use to allow enterprises and business owners to collaborate and automate engaging experiences with users across multiple devices, including mobile…

For more about Joomla CMS, please check their Homepage

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.10 and 18.04 LTS…

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

Joomla CMS requires a web server and Nginx HTTP server is probably the second most popular open source web server available today… To install Nginx 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

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

Joomla also requires a database server to store its content… If you’re looking for a truly open source database server, then MariaDB is a great place to start… 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 18.10 and 18.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

Next, run the commands below to secure the database server with a root password if you were not prompted to do so during the installation…

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

Now that MariaDB is installed, to test whether the database server was successfully installed, run the commands below…

sudo mysql -u root -p

type the root password when prompted…

mariadb welcome

If you see a similar screen as shown above, then the server was successfully installed…

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

Joomla CMS 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-mysql php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-gd 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

Now that PHP is installed, to test whether it’s functioning, create a test file called phpinfo.php in Nginx default root directory…. ( /var/www/html/)

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Next, open your browser and browse to the server’s hostname or IP address followed by phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page…

PHP Test Page

Step 4: Create Joomla Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called joomla


Create a database user called joomlauser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON joomla.* TO 'joomlauser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Joomla Latest Release

To get Joomla latest release you will need to go to its official download page and get it from there… The link below is where to find Joomla latest archive versions…

At the time of this writing, the latest version is 3.9.1… Future version will have different links to download from….

Run the commands below to download and extract Joomla version 3.9.1

cd /tmp
sudo unzip -d /var/www/html/joomla /tmp/joomla_3-9-1-stable-full_package-zip

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

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx

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

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

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/joomla;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

     client_max_body_size 100M;

     autoindex off;
     location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

    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 Joomla and Rewrite Module

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

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

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see Joomla setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Then follow the on-screen instructions… Select the installation language and main site configuration and the backend admin account, then click Next to continue….

Joomla installation on Ubuntu

Next, type in the database info you created above and click Next to continue…

Joomla installation on Ubuntu

Confirm that the site info is correct and make sure that recommended settings are all marked as green… Then click Install to begin the installation…

Joomla installation on Ubuntu

After a brief moment, you site should be installed and ready to use…. Click the Remove installation folder to secure your site…

Joomla installation on Ubuntu

Next, logon to the backend dashboard with the superadmin account you created above….

Joomla installation on Ubuntu


Joomla Ubuntu install

Don’t forget the delete the installer directory if you didn’t do it above…

sudo rm -rf /var/www/html/joomla/installation

Congratulation! You have successfully installed joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10….

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One thought on “Setup Joomla CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM

  1. Hi!
    There are two issues. Please help to fix them. At step 3, at http://localhost/phpinfo.php , the browser always goes to download the file phpinfo.php but it doesn’t show it (in that browser). How to solve the problem? …And at step 7, at , the browser doesn’t show Joomla Installation Panel. What it really shows is the following text: ‘403 Forbidden. nginx/1.10.3 (Ubuntu)’. What is the solution?

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