How to Install Automad CMS with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

graphic designer 4562741 640
graphic designer 4562741 640

Automad is a fast, responsive, flat content management system (CMS) and template engine written in PHP. All its content is stored in text files instead of a database. As a result, it offers features that may not be available to other PHP-based CMS, like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.

For one, it doesn’t need a database server; call it database-less CMS. Its browser-based dashboard offers an intuitive way of managing your sites. Configure system settings, upload images or write a blog post using a clean and responsive user interface.

For more about Automad, please check its homepage.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Automad on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.10 / 18.04 LTS with Apache2 and PHP 7.2 support.

When you’re ready to get Automad working, continue with the steps below:

Install Apache2 HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. Install it since Automad needs it.

To install Apache2 HTTP on the Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable the Apache2 service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop apache2.service
sudo systemctl start apache2.service
sudo systemctl enable apache2.service

To test the Apache2 setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address, and you should see the Apache2 default test page as shown below. When you see that, then Apache2 is working as expected.

apache2 ubuntu install

Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories for some systems. So you will have to get it from third-party repositories if you need it.

Run the commands below to add the below third party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.2

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2 libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-common php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-soap php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-curl php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open the PHP default config file for Apache2.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini

Then save the changes on the following lines below in the file. The value below is an excellent setting to apply in your environment.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, please save the file and close it.

After installing PHP and related modules, you must restart Apache2 to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Apache2, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Apache2, create a phpinfo.php file in the Apache2 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 the PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Download Automad Latest Release

Next, visit the Automad site and download the latest package. Or run the commands below to download Automad packages from GitHub.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file and move it into a new Automad root directory. After that, change into Automad root directory to install PHP required packages.

cd /tmp/
sudo mv marcantondahmen-automad-b218af08c7ce /var/www/html/automad

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for Automad to function correctly.

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

Configure Apache2 Automad Site

Finally, configure the Apache2 configuration file for Automad. This file will control how users access Automad content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called automated. conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/automad.conf

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your domain name and directory root location.

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/automad/

     <Directory /var/www/html/automad/>
          Options FollowSymlinks
          AllowOverride All
          Require all granted

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined


Save the file and exit.

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

Enable the Automad Site and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, please enable it by running the commands below, then restart the Apache2 server.

sudo a2ensite automad.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache2

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Next, open your browser and browse the server hostname or IP address, and you should see the Automad page. Login and change your password.
Ubuntu Automad Install

Automad is a databaseless flat file content management system. Its structure allowed you to have just the amount of functionality needed in a flat file CMS solution, adding extensions (blade packs) for additional functionality while allowing setup on simple servers with no database.

Create the admin account username and password. Next, you must download the file to your local server.

automad ubuntu install

Create User Account

Before you can make use of the Automad dashboard, you have to register the first user by following these steps:

  • Create a user account using the form below and download the created file to your computer.
  • Move the downloaded file to the “/config” directory within your Automad installation.
    (via a file browser, FTP, or SSH)

After completing these steps, the dashboard should be ready to use. Other users can be added later via the system preferences.

Copy the downloaded file to your /config directory.

sudo cp accounts.php /var/www/html/automad/config/


Ubuntu automad installation

Now you can log in to the dashboard:

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