How to Install FreePBX on Ubuntu Linux

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This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install FreePBX on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04.

FreePBX is an open-source, web-based application that can be used to manage Asterisk (PBX) platform. We recently showed you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

When you install Asterisk, you’ll get a terminal console where you can manage the system. The problem with managing Asterisk via the terminal is, it can be very difficult to configure complicated phone trees via the terminal.

For a simple-to-use interface, install FreePBX. This post is going to show you how to install FreePBX to manage Asterisk.

To get started with managing FreePBX, follow the steps below:

Install Asterisk PBX

Since you’re going to be managing Asterisk, your first task will be to install it. The good thing is, we’ve shown our users how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

Below is a tutorial that showed you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu.

How to install Asterisk PBX on Ubuntu Linux

After installing the Asterisk above, continue below to install and configure FreePBX.

Apache HTTP Server

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. so install it since FreePBX 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 find out if the Apache2 HTTP server is installed, simply open your web browser and type in the server’s IP or hostname.

When you see a page similar to the one below, then Apache2 is installed and working.

http://localhost
apache2 ubuntu install

After that, run the commands below to remove the Apache2 default index.html file.

sudo rm /var/www/html/index.html 

Install MariaDB Database Server

FreePBX 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 FreePBX.

To install MariaDB run the commands below.

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable the MariaDB service always 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 logon into the MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

To test if MariaDB is installed and working, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl status mariadb

That should display MariaDB’s service status.

● mariadb.service - MariaDB 10.1.44 database server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/mariadb.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Wed 2020-04-08 17:08:17 CDT; 1min 54s ago
Docs: man:mysqld(8)
https://mariadb.com/kb/en/library/systemd/
Main PID: 22363 (mysqld)

By default, on Ubuntu, MariaDB is configured to use the UNIX auth_socket plugin. You’ll want to run the SQL commands below for the root user to use mysql_native_password.

You’ll need a MariaDB root account to set up FreePBX later.

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

Switch to the MySQL database.

use mysql;

Then update the root account to use mysql_native_password.

UPDATE mysql.user SET plugin = 'mysql_native_password' WHERE User = 'root';

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

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-imap php7.2-ldap php-cas php7.2-bcmath php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip php7.2-sqlite3

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 make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below is a great 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
max_input_vars = 1500
date.timezone = America/Chicago

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

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

http://localhost/phpinfo.php

You should see the PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Install Nodejs

After installing the server above, run the commands below to add Nodejs 10 repository to Ubuntu

sudo apt update
sudo apt install curl dirmngr apt-transport-https lsb-release ca-certificates
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo bash

Then run the commands below to install Nodejs.

sudo apt-get install gcc g++ make
sudo apt install nodejs

Install FreePBX

At this point, you should have everything ready for FreePBX. To download and install FreePBX, run the commands below:

sudo apt install wget
cd /tmp
wget http://mirror.freepbx.org/modules/packages/freepbx/freepbx-15.0-latest.tgz
tar xfz freepbx-15.0-latest.tgz

Finally, run the commands below to install.

cd freepbx
sudo ./start_asterisk start
sudo ./install -n --dbuser root --dbpass type_root_password_here

If you get an error,

Error!
Unable to read /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf or it was missing a directories section

run the commands below to resolve:

sudo cp /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf.old /etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf

If you also get an error:

‘asterisk’ user…bash: line 0: cd: /home/asterisk/: No such file or directory

Run the commands below to resolve:

sudo mkhomedir_helper asterisk

When you have resolved all the errors above, go back and try the installation again.

After installing, you should get a similar message as shown below:

Updating Hooks…Done
Done installing all modules
Taking too long? Customize the chown command, See http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FOP/FreePBX+Chown+Conf
Setting Permissions…
Setting base permissions…Done
Setting specific permissions…
11864 [============================]
Finished setting permissions
Taking too long? Customize the chown command, See http://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FOP/FreePBX+Chown+Conf
Setting Permissions…
Setting base permissions…Done
Setting specific permissions…
11864 [============================]
Finished setting permissions
Generating default configurations…
Finished generating default configurations
You have successfully installed FreePBX

After installing, restart Apache2.

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo usermod -aG www-data asterisk
sudo systemctl restart apache2

Now go and access the FreePBX portal.

http://localhost

FreePBX, Asterisk Ubuntu Install

Setup, login, and start building your PBX

That’s it!

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to install Asterisk and FreePBX to create your PBX systems. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

Thanks,