How to Install InvoiceNinja with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

Computer screen with app icons
Computer screen with app icons

Invoice Ninja is a robust and user-friendly open-source web invoicing platform ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, offering invoice management, expense tracking, and time-keeping. This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install InvoiceNinja on Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04 using Apache2, MariaDB, and PHP 7.2 – covering everything from server setup to enabling services and database creation.

Invoice Ninja is an open-source web invoicing application that allows users and businesses to manage their invoices, track expenses and payments, and many more. This free, open-source platform is built on the LAMP or LEMP stack and can be a great alternative to your current implementation.

You may find this helpful app for small or medium-sized businesses. It’s designed from the ground up for ease of use to allow business owners to create and manage their business invoices and expenses.

If you’re looking for a robust, secure, and easy-to-use invoicing and time-tracking system that’s 100% free, you may want to try Invoice.

This brief tutorial will show students and new users how to install InvoiceNinja on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Apache2, MariaDB, and PHP 7.2 support.

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

Install Apache2 HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. Install it since Invoice Ninja needs it.

To install Apache2 HTTP on the 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 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

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

apache2 ubuntu install

Install MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open-source database servers for Magento. 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 18.04 and 18.10 LTS

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 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

Type the commands below to log into the MariaDB server to test if MariaDB is installed.

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

Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. 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 7.2

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

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

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

Then save the changes on the following lines below in the file. The value below is an ideal setting to apply in your environment.

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

After making the change above, please save the file and close it.

After installing PHP and related modules, you must 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 the 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 the PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Create Invoice Ninja Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called invoiceninja

CREATE DATABASE invoiceninja;

Create a database user called invoiceninjauser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON invoiceninja.* TO 'invoiceninjauser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Download InvoiceNinja Latest Release

You may want to use the GitHub repository to get Invoice Ninja’s latest release. Install Composer, Curl, and other dependencies to get started.

sudo apt install curl git
curl -sS | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

After installing curl and Composer above, change into the Apache2 root directory and download Invoice Ninja packages from Github.

cd /var/www/html
sudo git clone
cd /var/www/html/invoiceninja
sudo composer install

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

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

Configure Apache2

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

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

     <Directory /var/www/html/invoiceninja/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.

Enable the InvoiceNinja and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite invoiceninja.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. You should see the InvoiceNinja setup wizard complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Then follow the on-screen instructions. You will be asked to input your database configuration, administrative details, and other configuration settings. When complete, you may sign in and start using InvoiceNinja. Return to anytime after that to sign in.

Invoice Ninja Ubuntu Install


invoiceninja ubuntu setup

Congratulation! You have successfully installed InvoiceNinja on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04, and may work on 18.10.

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  1. Good mornig.
    About the tutorial:
    I followed this tutorial, all went fine until the very last part.
    When I browse to, doesn’t appears the setup wizard, instead appears a wierd page saying: EXAMPLE DOMAIN This domain is established to be used for illustrative examples…
    I really need give Invoiceninja a try, please help.

  2. Sorry, the next day I repeated the process and it works!, obviously, something I did wrong the first time.
    The software is very easy and intuitive to use. Excellent!

  3. Awesome work guys. Got it running on my EC2 with no sweat.

  4. Hi,

    I have followed this tutorial and was successfully able to use Invoice Ninja on a subdomain. I have one question though. Is it possible to use an SSL certificate with this setup? I already have a wildcard SSL certificate. I just need to know how to configure the server so that Apache can use it, HTTP gets redirected to HTTPS, etc.

  5. Might want to add these to the instructions:

    sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf
    sudo rm /var/www/html/index.html
    sudo rm /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

    1. Thanks! It helps me.

  6. I have setup according the instruction when i am hit the url at server directory is open of invoicenija . No setup here

  7. Fails at composer install step, as described here.
    1) “Do not run Composer as root/super user!”

    2) “Warning: The lock file is not up to date with the latest changes in composer.json. You may be getting outdated dependencies. It is recommended that you run `composer update`”

    I don’t –want– to know how to ‘update composer,’ I just want to install invoiceninja. And there are several dependencies that each need to be resolved.

    The majority of this document is very helpful. Shame that the update process for the composer tool made this a hot mess. Oh, might also be worth changing out the ‘mysql’ notes with mariadb, except in the database type section.

    1. Lachlan Fielding

      sudo composer self-update –1
      then carry on with sudo composer install
      chances are youre on composer 2

      1. Does not work “[InvalidArgumentException]
        Version “–1” could not be found.

        The “–1/composer.phar.sig” file could not be downloaded (HTTP/2 404 )”
        But sudo sudo composer self-update 1.10.19

  8. I tried to install invoice ninja using 2 versions and none worked. I mean it does not look easy for me. I am not really trying to learn that much, trying to get the thing running for office work. I can show you why its difficult if you want to learn how to rewrite the instructions. Unless its my machine is broke,. I have a telephone number to set up an appointment to iron out the difficulties

  9. These instructions are completely out of date now. This installs PHP 7.2 and then when you run the composer install step it fails saying PHP 8.1 or higher is required lol.

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