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

Our previous tutorial showed you how to install Roundcube Webmail client on Ubuntu with Apache2 HTTP support. This post shows you how to do it with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM instead.

Roundcube is web-based multilingual IMAP client with apps-like user interface which allows you to access all your external mail boxes from a single web interface. With LAMP / LEMP support, it a great way to bring all your external mails like Google, Yahoo, and other SMTP inboxes onto your own server.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Roundcube web-mail client on Ubuntu with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.2-FPM support.

Roundcube also comes with decent performance, simple installation and upgrade with support for IMAP and SMTP protocols (SSL, STARTTLS), sieve scripts support, integration with Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Dropbox and many more via plugins.

For more about Roundcube, please check out its homepage.Some highlights of Roundcube:

  • Modern user interface.
  • Complete support of IMAP and SMTP protocols including SSL and STARTTLS.
  • Sieve scripts (Filters and vacation message).
  • Minimalistic resources requirements.
  • Multilingual capabilities
  • Find-as-you-type address book
  • Richtext/HTML message composing
  • Searching messages and contacts
  • Shared folders and ACL

When you’re ready to get Roundcube install on Ubuntu, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use. so install it, since Roundcube 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 whether Nginx is installed, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected.

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 Roundcube. 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 2: 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-FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-curl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-intl php7.2-ldap php7.2-imagick php7.2-json php7.2-cli

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 is 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

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Nginx, create a phpinfo.php file in Nginx root directory by running the commands below

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

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file. then browse to your server hostname followed by /phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 4: Create Roundcube Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called roundcube


Create a database user called roundcubeuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON roundcube.* TO 'roundcubeuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 3: Download and Configure Roundcube

Now that Nginx and PHP 7.2 are installed, use the steps below to download and configure Roundcube environment on Ubuntu servers. First use the commands below to download the latest version.

cd /tmp

After that create Roundcube directory and extract the download content there.

tar -xvzf roundcubemail-1.3.8-complete.tar.gz
sudo mv roundcubemail-1.3.8 /var/www/html/roundcube

After that, run the commands below to import Roundcube database tables to initiate the database.

cd /var/www/html/roundcube
sudo mysql -u roundcubeuser -p roundcube < SQL/mysql.initial.sql

Next, configure the directory access permission for Nginx.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/roundcube/
sudo find /var/www/html/roundcube/ -type d -exec chmod 750 {} ;
sudo find /var/www/html/roundcube/ -type f -exec chmod 640 {} ;

When you’re done, run the commands below to create Roundcube Nginx configuration file.

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

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/roundcube;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

     location / {
            try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$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;

     location ^~ /data {
         deny all;

Save the file and exit.

Next, run the commands below to enable Roundcube virtual host and restart Nginx.

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

Finally, open your web browser and browse the server name to access the back-end portal.

You should see that all the checks are ok. Click Next to continue with the setup.

Roundcube Ubuntu install

On the next page, focus mainly on the Database, IMAP and SMTP sections. The easiest IMAP and SMTP host to use is Google.

Roundcube ubuntu setup

Google IMAP settings.

Google SMTP host

Google SMTP settings.

roundcube ubuntu install 2

Finally, check if you can send test email via your logon. if everything successful, you should be able to finish the setup. After that, use the URL below to logon to Roundcube back-end portal.

Run the commands below to delete the installer folder.

sudo rm -rf /var/www/html/roundcube/installer

Login and begin configuring Roundcube
roundcube ubuntu install 4

Congratulations! You have successfully installed and configure Roundcube on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Nginx and PHP 7.2.

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