How to Install ExpressionEngine with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

ExpressionEngine is an open-source, flexible, and extensible content management system (CMS) that can create powerful and dynamic websites and blogs.

ExpressionEngine has a cloud hosting service. However, you can install it on your servers, always own your content and take it wherever you go.

ExpressionEngine CMS is built on an open-source core with support for open standards, which might be very useful in helping you run your digital content.

This CMS platform is designed for ease of use to allow enterprises and business owners to collaborate and automate engaging experiences with users across multiple devices, including mobile.

For more about ExpressionEngine CMS, please check their Homepage

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

Install Apache2 HTTP Server

ExpressionEngine CMS requires a web server, and the Apache2 HTTP server is the most popular open-source web server available today. To install the Apache2 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

Now that Apache2 is installed open your browser and browse to the URL below to test whether the web server is working.

http://localhost
Apache2 Test Page

If you see the page above, then Apache2 is successfully installed.

Install MariaDB Database Server

ExpressionEngine also requires a database server to store its content. MariaDB is a great place to start if you’re looking for a genuinely open-source database server. To install MariaDB run the commands below:

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can stop, start and enable the MariaDB service to 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 18.10 and 18.04 LTS

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

Next, run the commands below to secure the database server with a root password if you were not prompted to do so during the installation.

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

Once MariaDB is installed, run the commands below to test whether the database server was successfully installed.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Type the root password when prompted.

mariadb welcome

The server was successfully installed if you see a similar screen as shown above.

Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

ExpressionEngine CMS is a PHP-based CMS, and PHP is required. However, PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu’s default repositories. To run PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 16.04 and previous, you may need to run the commands below:

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-mysql php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-gd php7.2-bcmath php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip

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

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

The lines below are a good setting for most PHP-based CMS. Update the configuration file with these and save.

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

Every time you make changes to the PHP configuration file, you should also restart the Apache2 web server. To do so, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Once PHP is installed, create a test file called¬†phpinfo.php¬†in the Apache2 default root directory to test whether it’s functioning. ( /var/www/html/)

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Next, open your browser and browse to the server’s hostname or IP address, followed by phpinfo.php

http://localhost/phpinfo.php

You should see the PHP default test page.

PHP Test Page

Create ExpressionEngine Database

Once you’ve installed all the packages required for ExpressionEngine to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First, run the commands below to create a blank ExpressionEngine database.

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called expressionengine

CREATE DATABASE expressionengine;

Create a database user called ExpressionEngine user with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON expressionengine.* TO 'expressionengineuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Download ExpressionEngine Latest Release

To get ExpressionEngine latest release, you may want to get it from its download page below. At the time of this writing, the current version is 5.0.1.

https://expressionengine.com/

Extract the downloaded content and copy it to the Apache2 root directory.

cd ~/Downloads
sudo unzip -d /var/www/html/expressionengine ~/Downloads/ExpressionEngine5.0.1.zip

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for the ExpressionEngine root directory and give Apache2 control.

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

Configure Apache2

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

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/expressionengine.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>
     ServerAdmin admin@example.com
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/expressionengine
     ServerName example.com
     ServerAlias www.example.com

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

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

Save the file and exit.

Enable the ExpressionEngine and Rewrite Module

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

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

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see ExpressionEngine setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

http://example.com/admin.php

Then follow the on-screen instruction. Enter the database connection you created above and the backend admin account. When you’re done, click Install

ExpressionEngine

That’s it!

ExpressionEngine

You can log on to the backend using the admin email address and password created above.

Congratulation! You have successfully installed ExpressionEngine CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10.

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