Setup LimeSurvey on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM

When you want to run LimeSurvey platform with Nginx HTTP server, the steps below should be a great place to start…. Our previous post showed you how to set it up with Apache2… continue below to learn how to use Nginx instead…

LimeSurvey is an open source, lightweight, online survey platform based on PHP….  It uses the LAMP or LEMP stack to operate and allows anyone to create great online surveys for one’s audience…

Whether you are conducting simple questionnaires with few questions or advanced assessments with conditionals for any groups, LimeSurvey is the tool you want to use and can be self-hosted in your own environment…..

LimeSurvey lets you focus on building great surveys by leveraging its easy managment portal designs and technical quality without the bloats…

Whether you’re creating a personal or business survey online, LimeSurvey can help you create and manage your content on every device with its modern user and admin interface….

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install LimeSurvey on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS.

For more about LimeSurvey, please visit its homepage

When you’re ready to get LimeSurvey working on Ubuntu, please continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is the second most popular web server in use… so install it, since LimeSurvey 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 MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Magento… 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 17.10 and 18.04 LTS

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

mariadb welcome

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in 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-sqlite3 php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-imap php7.2-ldap 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
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
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: Create LimeSurvey Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called limedb

CREATE DATABASE limedb;

Create a database user called limeuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON limedb.* TO 'limeuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Step 5: Download and Install LimeSurvey CMS

Run the commands below to download LimeSurvey latest content… then unzip the download file and move the content to Nginx default root directory…

cd /tmp && wget https://download.limesurvey.org/latest-stable-release/limesurvey3.14.3+180809.tar.gz
tar -xvzf limesurvey3.14.3+180809.tar.gz
sudo mv limesurvey /var/www/html/limesurvey

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions…

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx LimeSurvey CMS Site

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

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

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

    client_max_body_size 100M;

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

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

Step 7: Enable the LimeSurvey Site and Rewrite Module

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

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

Next, open your brwoser and go to the URL.. and continue with the installation…

http://example.com/

You should see LimeSurvey installation page… choose your installation language and continue…..

Ubuntu Limesurvey install

Verify that all requirements are met, then continue

Ubuntu install limesurvey

Next, enter the database connection info and continue

Next, create an admin account and continue… after that, LimeSurvey should be installed and ready to use..

Ubuntu install limesurvey

Enjoy~

You may also like the post below:

2 Replies to “Setup LimeSurvey on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM

  1. location / {
    try_files $uri /index.php?$args;;
    }

    Please delete the last “;” :).

    Great guide!

Leave a Reply to Matteo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

%d bloggers like this: