How to Install Bolt CMS with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

screen with web apps
screen with web apps

This article describes the steps to install Bolt CMS on Ubuntu Linux.

Bolt is a sophisticated, lightweight, and simple content management system based on PHP. It is designed to allow web admins and owners to create powerful and dynamic content websites.

If you’re looking for a simple content management platform to manage your websites or blogs, and 100% free, you’ll find Bolt helpful.

This post covers installing the latest version of Bolt, which at the time of writing is  3.4.2

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

How to install Bolt CMS on Ubuntu Linux

As described above, Bolt is a sophisticated, lightweight, and simple content management system based on PHP.

Below is how to install it on Ubuntu Linux.

Install Apache2

Bolt requires a webserver to function; the most popular web server today is Apache2. So, go and install Apache2 on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable the Apache service to always start up with the server boots.

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

Install MariaDB

Bolt also requires a database server to function. And MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it, run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

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

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure the MariaDB server.

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

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Install PHP and Related Modules

Bolt is based on PHP, so you’ll need to install it. To install PHP and related modules, run the commands below.

sudo apt install php libapache2-mod-php libapache2-mod-php php-common php-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-soap php-gd php-xml php-intl php-mysql php-cli php-mcrypt php-ldap php-zip php-curl php-sqlite3

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

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/apache2/php.ini # Ubuntu 17.10
sudo nano /etc/php/7.0/apache2/php.ini # Ubuntu 17.04

Then change to the following lines below in the file and save.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 64M
max_execution_time = 240
max_input_vars = 1500

Create Bolt Database

Now that you’ve installed all the required packages, continue below to start configuring the servers. First, run the commands below to create the Bolt database.

Run the commands below to log on to the database server. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called Bolt.


Create a database user called boltuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON bolt.* TO 'boltuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Download Bolt’s Latest Release

Next, visit the Bolt site and download the latest version.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file into the Apache2 root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
tar -zxvf bolt-latest.tar.gz
sudo mv bolt-v3.4.2 /var/www/html/bolt

Install Composer for Bolt

Once you have downloaded the Bolt package, run the commands below to install Composer. This will allow you to install the required packages to run Bolt.

cd /var/www/html/bolt
sudo curl -sS | sudo php
sudo cp /var/www/html/bolt/composer.json.dist /var/www/html/bolt/composer.json
sudo php composer.phar install

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

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

Configure Bolt Database

Next, run the commands below to create a Bolt database connection file.

sudo nano /var/www/html/bolt/app/config/config.yml

Then add the lines below into the config.yml and save.

  driver: mysql
  username: boltuser
  password: password_here
  databasename: bolt

Configure Apache2

Finally, configure the Apahce2 site configuration file for Bolt. This file will control how users access Bolt content. Run the commands below to create a configuration file called Bolt.conf.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/bolt.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/bolt/public

     <Directory /var/www/html/bolt/>
        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.

Enable the Bolt and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite bolt.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache2 by running the commands below to load all the settings above.

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. Next, you should see Bolt setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Then follow the on-screen instructions until you’ve successfully installed Bolt.

bolt ubuntu installation

After creating the first user, you should be logged into the admin dashboard.

ubuntu bolt apache2


Login to the admin dashboard


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

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