How to Install LimeSurvey with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

Computer screen with app icons
Computer screen with app icons

LimeSurvey is an open-source, lightweight online survey platform based on PHP. It uses the LAMP or LEMP stack to operate and allows anyone to create great online surveys for one’s audience.

Whether you are conducting simple questionnaires with few questions or advanced assessments with conditionals for any groups, LimeSurvey is the tool you want to use and can be self-hosted in your environment.

LimeSurvey lets you focus on building great surveys by leveraging its easy management portal designs and technical quality without the bloats.

Whether creating a personal or business survey online, LimeSurvey can help you create and manage your content on every device with its modern user and admin interface.

This brief tutorial will show students and new users how to install LimeSurvey on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 LTS.

For more about LimeSurvey, please visit its homepage.

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

Install Apache2 HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. Install it since LimeSurvey 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 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 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-sqlite3 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-imap php7.2-ldap 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 LimeSurvey Database

Once you’ve installed all the packages required for LimeSurvey 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 limedb


Create a database user called limeuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON limedb.* TO 'limeuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Download and Install LimeSurvey CMS

Run the commands below to download LimeSurvey’s latest content. Then unzip the download file and move the content to the Apache2 default root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
tar -xvzf limesurvey3.14.3+180809.tar.gz
sudo mv limesurvey /var/www/html/limesurvey

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

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

Configure Apache2 LimeSurvey CMS Site

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

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/limesurvey.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/limesurvey

     <Directory /var/www/html/limesurvey/>
          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, please enable it by running the commands below.

Enable the LimeSurvey Site and Rewrite Module

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

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

Next, open your browser, go to the URL., and continue with the installation.

You should see the LimeSurvey installation page. Choose your installation language and continue.

Ubuntu Limesurvey install

Verify that all requirements are met, then continue

Ubuntu install limesurvey

Next, enter the database connection info and continue

Next, create an admin account and continue. After that, LimeSurvey should be installed and ready to use.

Ubuntu install limesurvey


You may also like the post below:

Posted by

I love computers; maybe way too much. What I learned I try to share at


  1. I have problems with php7.2-imap, ubuntu says it is already installed but Limesurvey doesn’t detect

  2. This was extremely helpful and well documented. I was up and running in less than 20 minutes! A few things you may wish to change:
    1. STEP 5: the stable release changes, so you may wish to let people know about this. stable release when I was installing is/was limesurvey3.14.6+180821.tar.gz
    2. STEP 7: Next, open your brwoser and go to the URL.. and continue with the installation… The URL should be 🙂

    Thanks again!

  3. I do not have internet domain name, can I run locally on my LAN or home network only? For educational purpose only that would be fine… How to set it up?

  4. You need to make clear that is a placeholder!

    Belief it or not, I am currently helping someone in the Limesurvey forum who configured everything with and wonders why Limesurvey doesn’t open when calling

  5. It seems the link to LimeSurvey CSS given as “…3.14.3+180809.tar.gz” is not longer valid. At I can’t find a download page. Where can I find the latest stable release or is this no longer possible?

    1. Barrett Campbell

      The free, self-hosted edition is at with links to current version and installation manual from that page.

  6. Grace Langhoffen

    In the 4th step of LimeSurvey installer I am unable to configure the database. There is a new field called MySQL database engine type: (where I select “InnoDB”), after that I click on Next and I get the error saying “Please fix the following input errors: Could not determine the database engine version. Please check your credentials. “

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: