How to Install Bolt CMS with Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

Computer monitor with security lock icon
Computer monitor with security lock icon

Bolt CMS is a sophisticated, lightweight, simple content management system (CMS) based on PHP. It is designed for ease of use to allow web admins andwwebsite owners to create powerful and dynamic content websites or blogs.

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

This brief tutorial will show students and new users how to install Bolt CMS on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 with Nginx, MariaDB, and PHP support.

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

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

Install Nginx

Bolt CMS requires a webserver to function, and the second most popular web server in use today after Apache2 is Nginx. So, go and install Nginx on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt install nginx

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable the 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

Install MariaDB

Bolt CMS 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-FPM and Related Modules

Bolt CMS is based on PHP. You’ll need to install it. In addition, install PHP-FPM and related modules by runing the commands below.

sudo apt install php-fpm 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-FPM, run the commands below to open the PHP-FPM default file.

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

Then change 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

After installing all the packages, you must 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 Bolt’s 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

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 Connection Settings

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 Bolt

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 new configuration file called a bolt.

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

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.

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

    location / {
    try_files           $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;

    location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    try_files            /index.php =404;
    fastcgi_split_path_info  ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
    fastcgi_index            index.php;
    fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock; #Ubuntu 17.10
  # fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock; #Ubuntu 17.04
    include                  fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param   PATH_INFO       $fastcgi_path_info;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

   location = /bolt {
    try_files                $uri /index.php?$query_string;
   location ^~ /bolt/ {
    try_files                 $uri /index.php?$query_string;


Save the file and exit.

Enable the Bolt Site

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

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/bolt /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

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

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see the Bolt setup wizard 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
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