How to Install LEMP on Ubuntu Linux



This is a comprehensive guide on installing and using the LEMP stack, an acronym for Linux (Ubuntu), E Nginx, MariaDB or MySQL, and PHP Scripting Language, on Ubuntu Linux. The post provides step-by-step instructions on how to install Ubuntu Linux, Nginx, MariaDB (substituting for MySQL in this guide), and PHP, vital components for developing PHP-based…

This post shows students and new users how to install and use the LEMP stack on Ubuntu Linux.

LEMP is an acronym for Linux (Ubuntu), E Nginx [engine x], MariaDB or MySQL, and PHP Scripting Language. It is a group of open-source software and building blocks for many web applications and most content management systems (CMS) today.

Many popular content management systems used today use some combinations of this open-source framework. They use the LEMP stack to power their applications from WordPress to Drupal to Joomla.

If you’re developing any PHP-based applications or websites, you will probably also use the LEMP stack. Below, we’ll show you how to get the stack up and running on Ubuntu Linux.

If you’re a student or new user learning Linux, Ubuntu Linux is the easiest place to start learning. Ubuntu is the modern, open-source Linux operating system for desktops, servers, and other devices.

To get started with installing the LEMP stack on Ubuntu Linux, follow the steps below:

How to install Ubuntu Linux

L in LEMP stands for Linux, in this case, Ubuntu. This post chooses Ubuntu Linux because it’s easy to use and basically for beginners. If you’re a new student or user, Ubuntu Linux is a great place to start with Linux.

Your first task to get LEMP configured is a Linux machine. If you haven’t installed Ubuntu before, read this post to learn how to install it.

Once Ubuntu is installed, run the commands below to update it.

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt autoremove

There are lots of other settings and configurations to apply that apply to Ubuntu. However, the post is only concerned with installing LEMP.

How to install Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

Nginx (engine-x) represents the E in LEMP and is the most popular open-source web server and a key component of the LEMP stack. Nginx is available in Ubuntu repositories. Update the packages index and install Nginx with the following commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable the Nginx service to always start up when the server starts.

sudo systemctl stop nginx
sudo systemctl start nginx
sudo systemctl enable nginx

To see if Nginx is installed, open a web browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address.


nginx default home page test

If you see the above Nginx welcome page, it means Nginx is installed and functioning.

How to install MariaDB on Ubuntu Linux

The M in LEMP represents MariaDB or MySQL database server. MySQL and MariaDB are open-source, multi-threaded relational database management systems and key components of the LEMP stack.

For this post, we will install MariaDB instead of MySQL.

To install MariaDB, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install mariadb-server

After installing, you can run the commands below to view the MariaDB service status.

sudo systemctl status mariadb

After running the command above, it should output similar lines.

mariadb.service - MariaDB 10.3.31 database server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/mariadb.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Wed 2021-09-15 16:40:20 CDT; 22s ago
       Docs: man:mysqld(8)
   Main PID: 3007 (mysqld)
     Status: "Taking your SQL requests now..."
      Tasks: 31 (limit: 4651)
     Memory: 65.6M
     CGroup: /system.slice/mariadb.service
             └─3007 /usr/sbin/mysqld

Sep 15 16:40:20 ubuntu2004 /etc/mysql/debian-start[3045]: mysql
Sep 15 16:40:20 ubuntu2004 /etc/mysql/debian-start[3045]: performance_schema

MariaDB and MySQL have a script allowing you to perform security operations.

Run the commands below to invoke the script and perform some recommended tasks to secure the database.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

MariaDB and MySQL servers have the root user set to use the auth_socket authentication method by default.

The auth_socket plugin authenticates users that connect from the local host through the Unix socket file. You can’t authenticate as a root by providing a password.

Simply run the command below to log on to MariaDB and MySQL servers as root. You don’t need a password since it’s using the auth_socket method.

To log on to MariaDB, run the commands below.

sudo mysql

The server console should come up.

Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 8
Server version: 8.0.26-0ubuntu0.20.04.2 (Ubuntu)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2021, Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its
affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


How to install PHP on Ubuntu Linux

The P in LEMP stands for PHP. PHP supports many web servers, including Nginx, Apache, and others.

Nginx doesn’t have built-in support for processing PHP files and is not tightly integrated as Apache. To add PHP support for Nginx, you must install and use PHP-FPM (FastCGI process manager) to handle the PHP files.

If you’re using the Nginx web server, the commands below are used to install PHP.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install php-fpm

Because PHP isn’t tightly integrated with Nginx, if you make changes to PHP, you must restart or reload PHP and Nginx separately for the changes to apply.

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm
sudo systemctl restart nginx

Also, you must add these lines to the Nginx server block to allow Nginx to read PHP files. Remember to use the version of PHP installed and reference it in the highlighted line below.

server {

    location ~ \.php$ {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php8.0-fpm.sock;

To install the latest PHP versions unavailable in the Ubuntu repository, run the commands below to install a third-party PPA repository that includes multiple versions of PHP.

At the time of this writing, the latest version of PHP is 8.0.

sudo apt install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

After adding the repository above, you can then install another PHP version.

sudo apt install php8.0 php8.0-common php8.0-cli php8.0-gd php8.0-curl php8.0-mysql

That should do it!

For more on LEMP, read individual posts on the LEMP components


This post showed you how to install the LEMP stack on Ubuntu Linux. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.

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