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How to install LAMP

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How To Install Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stack on Ubuntu 16.04

 

Introduction

A "LAMP" stack is a group of open source software that is typically installed together to enable a server to host dynamic websites and web apps. This term is actually an acronym which represents the Linux operating system, with the Apache web server. The site data is stored in a MySQL database, and dynamic content is processed by PHP.

In this guide, we'll get a LAMP stack installed on an Ubuntu 16.04 Droplet. Ubuntu will fulfill our first requirement: a Linux operating system.

 

Prerequisites

Before you begin with this guide, you should have a separate, non-root user account with sudo privileges set up on your server. You can learn how to do this by completing steps 1-4 in the initial server setup for Ubuntu 16.04.

 

Step 1: Install Apache and Allow in Firewall

The Apache web server is among the most popular web servers in the world. It's well-documented, and has been in wide use for much of the history of the web, which makes it a great default choice for hosting a website.

We can install Apache easily using Ubuntu's package manager, apt. A package manager allows us to install most software pain-free from a repository maintained by Ubuntu. 

For our purposes, we can get started by typing these commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apache2

Since we are using a sudo command, these operations get executed with root privileges. It will ask you for your regular user's password to verify your intentions.

Once you've entered your password, apt will tell you which packages it plans to install and how much extra disk space they'll take up. Press Y and hit Enter to continue, and the installation will proceed.

Next, assuming that you have followed the initial server setup instructions to enable the UFW firewall, make sure that your firewall allows HTTP and HTTPS traffic. You can make sure that UFW has an application profile for Apache like so:

sudo ufw app list
Output
Available applications:
  Apache
  Apache Full
  Apache Secure
  OpenSSH

If you look at the Apache Full profile, it should show that it enables traffic to ports 80 and 443:

sudo ufw app info "Apache Full"
Output
Profile: Apache Full
Title: Web Server (HTTP,HTTPS)
Description: Apache v2 is the next generation of the omnipresent Apache web
server.

Ports:
  80,443/tcp

Allow incoming traffic for this profile:

sudo ufw allow in "Apache Full"

You can do a spot check right away to verify that everything went as planned by visiting your server's public IP address in your web browser (see the note under the next heading to find out what your public IP address is if you do not have this information already):

http://your_server_IP_address

You will see the default Ubuntu 16.04 Apache web page, which is there for informational and testing purposes. 

 

If you see this page, then your web server is now correctly installed and accessible through your firewall.

How To Find your Server's Public IP Address

If you do not know what your server's public IP address is, there are a number of ways you can find it. Usually, this is the address you use to connect to your server through SSH.

From the command line, you can find this a few ways. First, you can use the iproute2 tools to get your address by typing this:

ip addr show eth0 | grep inet | awk '{ print $2; }' | sed 's/\/.*$//'

This will give you two or three lines back. They are all correct addresses, but your computer may only be able to use one of them, so feel free to try each one.

An alternative method is to use the curl utility to contact an outside party to tell you how it sees your server. You can do this by asking a specific server what your IP address is:

sudo apt-get install curl
curl http://icanhazip.com

 

 

Regardless of the method you use to get your IP address, you can type it into your web browser's address bar to get to your server.

 

Step 2: Install MySQL

Now that we have our web server up and running, it is time to install MySQL. MySQL is a database management system. Basically, it will organize and provide access to databases where our site can store information.

Again, we can use apt to acquire and install our software. This time, we'll also install some other "helper" packages that will assist us in getting our components to communicate with each other:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

Note: In this case, you do not have to run sudo apt-get update prior to the command. This is because we recently ran it in the commands above to install Apache. The package index on our computer should already be up-to-date.

Again, you will be shown a list of the packages that will be installed, along with the amount of disk space they'll take up. Enter Y to continue.

During the installation, your server will ask you to select and confirm a password for the MySQL "root" user. This is an administrative account in MySQL that has increased privileges. Think of it as being similar to the root account for the server itself (the one you are configuring now is a MySQL-specific account, however). Make sure this is a strong, unique password, and do not leave it blank.

When the installation is complete, we want to run a simple security script that will remove some dangerous defaults and lock down access to our database system a little bit. Start the interactive script by running:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

You will be asked to enter the password you set for the MySQL root account. Next, you will be asked if you want to configure the VALIDATE PASSWORD PLUGIN.

Warning: Enabling this feature is something of a judgment call. If enabled, passwords which don't match the specified criteria will be rejected by MySQL with an error. This will cause issues if you use a weak password in conjunction with software which automatically configures MySQL user credentials, such as the Ubuntu packages for phpMyAdmin. It is safe to leave validation disabled, but you should always use strong, unique passwords for database credentials.

Answer y for yes, or anything else to continue without enabling.

VALIDATE PASSWORD PLUGIN can be used to test passwords
and improve security. It checks the strength of password
and allows the users to set only those passwords which are
secure enough. Would you like to setup VALIDATE PASSWORD plugin?

Press y|Y for Yes, any other key for No:

You'll be asked to select a level of password validation. Keep in mind that if you enter 2, for the strongest level, you will receive errors when attempting to set any password which does not contain numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters, or which is based on common dictionary words.

There are three levels of password validation policy:

LOW Length >= 8
MEDIUM Length >= 8, numeric, mixed case, and special characters
STRONG Length >= 8, numeric, mixed case, special characters and dictionary file

Please enter 0 = LOW, 1 = MEDIUM and 2 = STRONG: 1

If you enabled password validation, you'll be shown a password strength for the existing root password, and asked you if you want to change that password. If you are happy with your current password, enter nfor "no" at the prompt:

Using existing password for root.

Estimated strength of the password: 100
Change the password for root ? ((Press y|Y for Yes, any other key for No) : n

For the rest of the questions, you should press Y and hit the Enter key at each prompt. This will remove some anonymous users and the test database, disable remote root logins, and load these new rules so that MySQL immediately respects the changes we have made.

At this point, your database system is now set up and we can move on.

 

Step 3: Install PHP

PHP is the component of our setup that will process code to display dynamic content. It can run scripts, connect to our MySQL databases to get information, and hand the processed content over to our web server to display.

We can once again leverage the apt system to install our components. We're going to include some helper packages as well, so that PHP code can run under the Apache server and talk to our MySQL database:

sudo apt-get install php libapache2-mod-php php-mcrypt php-mysql

 

This should install PHP without any problems. We'll test this in a moment.

In most cases, we'll want to modify the way that Apache serves files when a directory is requested. Currently, if a user requests a directory from the server, Apache will first look for a file called index.html. We want to tell our web server to prefer PHP files, so we'll make Apache look for an index.php file first.

To do this, type this command to open the dir.conf file in a text editor with root privileges:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/dir.conf

It will look like this:

/etc/apache2/mods-enabled/dir.conf
<IfModule mod_dir.c>
    DirectoryIndex index.html index.cgi index.pl index.php index.xhtml index.htm
</IfModule>

We want to move the PHP index file highlighted above to the first position after the DirectoryIndexspecification, like this:

/etc/apache2/mods-enabled/dir.conf
<IfModule mod_dir.c>
    DirectoryIndex index.php index.html index.cgi index.pl index.xhtml index.htm
</IfModule>

When you are finished, save and close the file by pressing Ctrl-X. You'll have to confirm the save by typingY and then hit Enter to confirm the file save location.

After this, we need to restart the Apache web server in order for our changes to be recognized. You can do this by typing this:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

We can also check on the status of the apache2 service using systemctl:

sudo systemctl status apache2
Sample Output
 apache2.service - LSB: Apache2 web server
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/apache2; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
  Drop-In: /lib/systemd/system/apache2.service.d
           └─apache2-systemd.conf
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2016-04-13 14:28:43 EDT; 45s ago
     Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
  Process: 13581 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/apache2 stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 13605 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/apache2 start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Tasks: 6 (limit: 512)
   CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
           ├─13623 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─13626 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─13627 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─13628 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─13629 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           └─13630 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

Apr 13 14:28:42 ubuntu-16-lamp systemd[1]: Stopped LSB: Apache2 web server.
Apr 13 14:28:42 ubuntu-16-lamp systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Apache2 web server...
Apr 13 14:28:42 ubuntu-16-lamp apache2[13605]:  * Starting Apache httpd web server apache2
Apr 13 14:28:42 ubuntu-16-lamp apache2[13605]: AH00558: apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using 127.0.1.1. Set the 'ServerNam
Apr 13 14:28:43 ubuntu-16-lamp apache2[13605]:  *
Apr 13 14:28:43 ubuntu-16-lamp systemd[1]: Started LSB: Apache2 web server.

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