How to Setup Claroline CMS with Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

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Claroline is a free, flexible learning management platform that enables users and educators to create educational communities, improve global access to education, and allow collaboration. It provides various features such as course management, user authentication, and enrollment. It also supports WYSIWYG with strong privacy settings. This post explains installing Claroline on Ubuntu with needed tools and server configurations, including setting up Nginx HTTP Server, MariaDB Database Server, and PHP 7.1-FPM support.

Claroline is a free, easy, and flexible learning management platform designed by educators and built on the LAMP / LEMP stack, which allows users and educators to create educational communities and empower students to publish and work together while improving access to education and knowledge globally.

Some of its features include course management, user and authentication, and enrollment allowing students to quickly post to the site, use hashtags, view and edit posts from any device, and many more.

It also supports WYSIWYG with strong privacy settings to create space for individuals to share personal thoughts with groups or other users.

You can create innovative and meaningful content using Claroline, whether a learner or a trainer.

For more about Claroline LMS, please check its Homepage

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Claroline LMP on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB, and PHP 7.1-FPM  support.

When you’re ready to get Claroline installed, follow the steps below

Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is the second most popular web server in use. Install it since Claroline LMS needs it.

To install Nginx HTTP on the Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

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

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

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

nginx default home page test

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 7.1-FPM and Related Modules.

PHP 7.1-FPM 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 7.1-FPM

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

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.1-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.1 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.1-fpm php7.1-common php7.1-sqlite3 php7.1-curl php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-intl php7.1-mbstring php7.1-xmlrpc php7.1-mysql php7.1-gd php7.1-xml php7.1-cli php7.1-ldap php7.1-apcu php7.1-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open Nginx’s PHP default config file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/fpm/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
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
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 Nginx to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Create Claroline Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages required for Claroline LMS 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 caroline.


Create a database user called clarolineuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON claroline.* TO 'clarolineuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Download and Install Claroline LMS

Run the commands below to download Claroline LMS content. Then unzip the download file and move the content to the Nginx default root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
tar -xvzf claroline-16.05.tar.gz
sudo mv claroline-16.05 /var/www/html/claroline

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

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

Configure Nginx Claroline LMS Site

Finally, configure the Nginx configuration file for Claroline LMS. This file will control how users access Claroline LMS content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called caroline.

sudo nano /etc/fpm/sites-available/claroline

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.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/claroline;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
        try_files $uri @rewriteapp;

    location @rewriteapp {
        rewrite ^(.*)$ /app.php/$1 last;

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;
         fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
         include fastcgi_params;

Save the file and exit.

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

Enable the Claroline LMS Site

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

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/claroline /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

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

Start the setup wizard by clicking the Install Claroline button. Next, select the installation language and continue.

claroline ubuntu install

Confirm that all the required packages are installed.

Your server must provide the following libraries to enable all features of Claroline. The missing libraries shown in orange letters are optional, but some features of Claroline might be turned off if not installed. You can still install those libraries later on to enable the missing features.

When you’re ready, click Next.

Type in the site name and the database connection info.

Claroline needs a single MySQL database with a user that can connect. They recommend that this is a user you have created just for Claroline rather than one you share with other applications. It would be best to make your database before entering the details here. If you’re using a shared host, you may have an option called “MySQL Database Wizard” to speed you through the process.

Claroline ubuntu install

Create the admin account to use to manage the platform.

Claroline ubuntu install

Finally, click Launch Installation Now to complete.

Ubuntu claroline setup

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  1. Vincent Desmadryl

    Useful and nice site!

  2. I follow all the steps but I get this message in the step 6
    [ Error writing /etc/fmp/sites-available/claroline: No such file or directory ]

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