Install BookStack on Ubuntu 16.04 | 17.10 | 18.04 with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.1 Support

BookStack is an opensource platform for creating documentation and wikis content for your users. It’s built on the LAMP or LEMP stack and great for creating professional documentations for any project. This breif tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install BookStack on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10 and 18.04.

If you currently using an antiquated documentation creator or platform, you may want to give BookStack a try.  it’s a great alternative to other documentation software and platform. when you’re looking for help installing BookStack, then this post is a great place to start.

BookStack interface is easy and simple. The page editor has a simple WYSIWYG interface and all content is broken into three simple real world groups:

For more on BookStack, please vist its home page

When you’re ready to get BookStack working on Ubuntu, please continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. so install it, since BookStack needs it.

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

apache2 ubuntu install

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 Magento. 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 3: Install PHP 7.1 and Related Modules

PHP 7.1 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 7.1

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.1

sudo apt update

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

sudo apt install php7.1 libapache2-mod-php7.1 php7.1-common php7.1-sqlite php7.1-curl php7.1-intl php7.1-mbstring php7.1-xmlrpc php7.1-mysql php7.1-gd php7.1-xml php7.1-cli php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-tidy php7.1-zip

After installing PHP 7.1, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Apache2.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/apache2/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, save the file and close out.

Step 3: Restart Apache2

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is 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 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 PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 4: Create Magento Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called bookstack


Create a database user called bookstackuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON bookstack.* TO 'bookstackuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download and Install BookStack

Run the commands below to install Composer and use it to download BookStack content.

sudo curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/bin --filename=composer
cd /var/www/html/
sudo apt install git
sudo git clone --branch release --single-branch
cd BookStack
sudo composer install

Next, create the environment configuration file from the example file. and configure the database connection info

sudo mv .env.example .env
sudo nano .env

and enter the database connection info you created above

# Database details

Save and exit.

After that, run the commands below in the BookStack directory to create the application unique key and migrate the database

sudo php artisan key:generate
sudo php artisan migrate

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions.

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

Step 6: Configure Apache2 BookStack Site

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

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

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

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/BookStack/public

     <Directory /var/www/html/BookStack/public/>
          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, enable it by running the commands below

Step 7: Enable the BookStack Site and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite bookstack.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Next, open your brwoser and go to the URL. type in the database connection info and continue.

Type default admin user ‘‘ with password ‘password‘, and then press the ‘Login’ button.

BookStack ubuntu install

Login and begin using BookStack.


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  1. there’s a typo in step :

    sudo mv .env.example .env
    sudo nano .evn

    should be sudo nano .env

    thanks for the write up!

  2. Thank you for the tutorial, i got to the step where i can log in.
    For me the HTML page looks very strange, the icons are way too big and the site seems just broken layout-wise.
    I really dont know how to phrase the problem, does that sound familiar to anybody?

  3. It looks like I’m stuck on this step:

    sudo php artisan key:generate
    sudo php artisan migrate

    It seems like I don’t know what the bookstack directory is.

    I have followed every single step exactly as written, but when I go to the “Var” directory where the www/html folder is with the, index, and bookstack files, I open a terminal there and enter “sudo php artisan key:generate”
    but I get an error saying “could not open input file: artisan”

    I have tried this from different directories but non seem to work.

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