Setup phpwcms on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Nginx

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Our previous tutorial showed you how to install phpwcms on Ubuntu with Apache2. This post shows you how to install and run phpwcms with Nginx HTTP server on Ubuntu.

phpwcms (content management system) is a flexible and robust CMS based on PHP and MySQL, and great for webmasters who wish to create and manage their websites and blogs with ease.

phpwcms is free to download and use and comes with features that you’ll find in other PHP based CMSes, including users and groups administration, responsive design that supports all modern devices.

If you’re a small or medium size company or professional looking for a platform that is easy to install, simple to maintain and flexible, then phpwcms is a good place to start. It is a perfect CMS platform to showcase your brand.

For more about phpwcms, please check their Homepage

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

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

phpwcms 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

phpwcms 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

phpwcms 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-soap 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 phpwcms CMS Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called phpwcms


Create a database user called phpwcmsuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON phpwcms.* TO 'phpwcmsuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download phpwcms Latest Release

To get phpwcms latest release you may want to go and download from its download page. Or use the commands below to use wget and get it downloaded.

Once downloaded extract the downloaded content into the newly created phpwcms directory.

cd /tmp
sudo mv phpwcms-1.9.8 /var/www/phpwcms

Next, run the commands below to set the correct permissions for phpwcms root directory and give Nginx control.

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx

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

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

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

    client_max_body_size 100M;
    autoindex off;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$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 phpwcms

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

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

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

Then follow the on-screen instruction to complete the setup. Select the new installation button and continue.

phpwcms Ubuntu Setup

Here, type in the database username/password and the database name and continue

phpwcms Ubuntu Setup

On the next page, create the admin account

phpwcms Ubuntu Setup

After that, validate all configuration changes.

phpwcms Ubuntu Setup

Download the config file above and copy it to /var/www/phpwcms/include/config/

sudo cp ~/Downloads/ /var/www/phpwcms/include/config/

Another possible way is to connect to run the commands below to copy place this file /var/www/phpwcms/setup/ in /var/www/phpwcms/include/config

sudo cp /var/www/phpwcms/setup/ /var/www/phpwcms/include/config/

After that, delete the setup folder.

sudo rm -rf /var/www/phpwcms/setup/

After that phpwcms should be ready to use.

Login and begin setting up your environment!
phpwcms ubuntu install 4

Congratulation! You have successfully installed phpwcms on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04.

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