How to install Drupal with Lighttpd on Ubuntu Linux




The article provides a comprehensive guide on how to install Drupal CMS on Ubuntu Linux with Lighttpd support. Steps include the installation and configuration of Lightttpd, MariaDB, and PHP 7.1 FastCGI. These installations are followed by the creation of a Drupal database and adjustments of Lighttpd PHP-FastCGI settings. Lastly, a Drupal package is downloaded, extracted,…

This article describes the steps to install Drupal CMS on Ubuntu Linux with Lighttpd support.

Installing Drupal with Lighttpd on Ubuntu Linux has several advantages. Lighttpd is a secure, fast, and flexible HTTP server with a smaller memory footprint than other webservers. Its event-driven architecture is optimized for many parallel connections (keep-alive), essential for high-performance dynamic applications.

On the other hand, Drupal is a powerful and popular content management system (CMS) that is flexible and can run on various HTTP servers. When these two are combined, they provide a robust and dynamic solution for building and managing websites.

Additionally, Ubuntu Linux is a stable and reliable operating system widely used in the industry, and its open-source nature makes it easy to customize and configure.

How to install Drupal on Ubuntu Linux with Lighttpd support

As mentioned, Lighttpd is a secure, fast, and flexible HTTP server with a smaller memory footprint than other webservers. 

Below is how to run Drupal and Lighttpd HTTP server on Ubuntu Linux.

Install Lighttpd

sudp apt update
sudo apt install lighttpd

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

sudo systemctl stop lighttpd.service
sudo systemctl start lighttpd.service
sudo systemctl enable lighttpd.service

Install MariaDB

Drupal also requires a database server; the MariaDB database server is a great place to start.

To install it, run the commands below.

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

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

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.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): 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

Install PHP 7.1 FastCGI  and Related Modules

PHP 7.1 isn’t available on Ubuntu’s default repositories. So, to install it, you must get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the 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

After that, run the commands below to install PHP7.1-FastCGI and related PHP modules. Many PHP modules perform different functions.

However, the ones below may be needed when developing PHP-based websites.

sudo apt install php7.1-cgi php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-cli php7.1-mysql php7.1-gd php7.1-imagick php7.1-xml php7.1-recode php7.1-tidy php7.1-xmlrpc

After installing PHP7.1-FastCGI, you can enable PHP-FastCGI modules by running the commands below.

sudo sudo lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi 
sudo lighttpd-enable-mod fastcgi-php

If the commands above fail, install the package below.

sudo apt install libterm-readline-gnu-perl

Then, run the commands to enable the modules again; this time, they should work.

 sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd force-reload

Create Drupal Database

Now that you’ve installed all the required packages continue below to start configuring the servers.

First, run the commands below to create a blank Drupal database.

To log on to the MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then, create a database called drupaldb


Create a database user called drupaluser with a new password

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

Then, grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON drupaldb.* TO 'drupaluser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Configure Lighttpd PHP-FastCGI Settings

Next, you may want to configure Lighttpd to use PHP server scripting properly. The default PHP-FastCGI configuration file is located at /etc/php/7.1/cgi/php.ini

Open the PHP Lighttpd configuration file by running the commands below

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

Then, edit the file to suit your environment. Some crucial lines to consider:

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

Next, open the Lighttpd site configuration file. By default, it’s stored at /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

sudo nano /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Then, configure the highlighted lines below to enable its rewrite module, create a VirtualHost for our site, and save the file. Remember to replace with your domain name.

server.modules = (

$HTTP["host"] =~ "(^|www\.)$" {
    server.document-root = "/var/www/html/drupal"
    server.errorlog      = "/var/log/lighttpd/"
    server.error-handler-404 = "/index.php"

server.document-root        = "/var/www/html"
server.upload-dirs          = ( "/var/cache/lighttpd/uploads" )
server.errorlog             = "/var/log/lighttpd/error.log"             = "/var/run/"
server.username             = "www-data"
server.groupname            = "www-data"
server.port                 = 80

index-file.names            = ( "index.php", "index.html", "index.lighttpd.html" )
url.access-deny             = ( "~", ".inc" )
static-file.exclude-extensions = ( ".php", ".pl", ".fcgi" )

compress.cache-dir          = "/var/cache/lighttpd/compress/"
compress.filetype           = ( "application/javascript", "text/css", "text/html", "text/plain" )

# default listening port for IPv6 falls back to the IPv4 port
## Use ipv6 if available
#include_shell "/usr/share/lighttpd/ " + server.port
include_shell "/usr/share/lighttpd/"
include_shell "/usr/share/lighttpd/"

Next, run the commands below to open the FastCGI default configuration file for Lighttpd.

sudo nano /etc/lighttpd/conf-available/15-fastcgi-php.conf

Then confirm that PHP-FastCGI is configured, as shown in the highlighted portion below, to use PHP 7.1.

# -*- depends: fastcgi -*-
# /usr/share/doc/lighttpd/fastcgi.txt.gz 

## Start an FastCGI server for php (needs the php7.1-cgi package)
fastcgi.server += ( ".php" =>
                "bin-path" => "/usr/bin/php-cgi7.1",
                "socket" => "/var/run/lighttpd/php.socket",
                "max-procs" => 1,
                "bin-environment" => (
                        "PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN" => "4",
                        "PHP_FCGI_MAX_REQUESTS" => "10000"
                "bin-copy-environment" => (
                        "PATH", "SHELL", "USER"
                "broken-scriptfilename" => "enable"

Download Drupal Package

Next, visit the Drupal site and download the latest package. Or run the commands below to download and extract Drupal content.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file and move it into a new Drupal root directory.

cd /tmp && cd /tmp && wget
tar -zxvf drupal*.gz
sudo mv drupal-8.4.2 /var/www/html/drupal

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

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

Restart Lighttpd services

sudo systemctl restart lighttpd.service

After that, open your browser and browse your domain name to launch the Drupal configuration wizard.

You should see the Drupal setup wizard complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

drupal installation ubuntu

Enter the database confirmation and continue with the setup.

drupal installation ubuntu

Continue with the wizard until you’ve successfully configured Drupal.


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