How to Setup Gibbon LMS with Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

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This tutorial provides instructions on how to install and configure Gibbon Learning Management System (LMS) on Ubuntu 18.04/16.04 LTS servers. Gibbon LMS is a free, open-source platform designed by teachers to facilitate classroom teaching and assessment. The guide describes the installation of the Nginx HTTP Server, MariaDB Database Server, PHP 7.2-FPM, and related modules, as…

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and configure Gibbon Learning Management System (LMS) on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 LTS servers.

Gibbon LMS is a free, open-source platform created by teachers to solve problems teachers face every day in the classrooms, allowing seamless planning, teaching, and assessment.

Teachers can use this Gibbon to create powerful tools to help students learn via a user-friendly and responsive interface where students can follow each course via any device.

This LMS platform is robust, mobile-friendly, and responsive out-of-the-box, so your students can enjoy reading and interacting with your courses from multiple devices anywhere.

For more about Gibbon LMS, please check their Homepage

To get started with installing Gibbon LMS, follow the steps below:

Install Nginx HTTP Server

You will need a web server to run Gibbon LMS, and the Nginx HTTP server is the most popular open-source web server available today. So go and get it for Gibbon LMS.

To install the Nginx server, run the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing the Nginx web server, 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

Now that Nginx is installed browse your browser to the URL below to test whether the web server works.

http://localhost

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

Install MariaDB Database Server

Gibbon LMS also needs a database server to store its content. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open-source database servers to use with Gibbon LMS.

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

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

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to log on to the MariaDB server.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on. If successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message.

Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules.

Gibbon LMS is a PHP-based CMS, and PHP is required. However, PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. To run PHP 7.2-FPM 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-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2-FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-sqlite3 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 Nginx’s PHP default configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/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
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

It would be best to restart the Nginx web server whenever you change the PHP configuration file. To do so, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Create Gibbon LMS Database

Now that you’ve installed all the required packages, continue below to start configuring the servers. First, create a Gibbon LMS database.

Run the commands below to log on to MariaDB. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called Gibbon

CREATE DATABASE gibbon;

Create a database user called gibbonuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the gibbon database.

GRANT ALL ON gibbon.* TO 'gibbonuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

Download Gibbon LMS Latest Release

After installing the server and packages above, please get the latest copy of Gibbon LMS from its download site.

After downloading, use the commands below to extract the archived content into the Nginx root directory.

cd /tmp
wget https://github.com/GibbonEdu/core/archive/v18.0.01.zip
unzip v18.0.01.zip
sudo mv core-18.0.01 /var/www/gibbon

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for the Gibbon LMS root directory and give Nginx control.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/gibbon/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/gibbon/

Configure Nginx

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

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/gibbon

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;

    server_name  example.com www.example.com;
    root   /var/www/gibbon;
    index  index.php;
    
    access_log /var/log/nginx/example.com.access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/example.com.error.log;

    client_max_body_size 100M;
  
    autoindex off;

    location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
      }

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
         fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
         include fastcgi_params;
    }
}

Save the file and exit.

Enable the Gibbon LMS

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

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

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see the Gibbon LMS setup wizard complete.

http://example.com/

Before continuing with the installation wizard, validate that all requirements are met.

Next, type in the database name, username, and password and optionally add the demo data and continue.

After that, create an admin account, set your school profile, and complete the setup.

That’s it!

Enjoy~

Congratulation! You have successfully installed Gibbon LMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04

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