Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP stack) on Ubuntu 20.04

In this quickstart guide, we’ll install a LEMP stack on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

For a more detailed version of this tutorial, with more explanations of each step, please refer to How To Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP stack) on Ubuntu 20.0

Prerequisites

To follow this guide, you’ll need access to an Ubuntu 20.04 server as a sudo user.

Step 1 — Install Nginx

Update your package manager cache and then install Nginx with:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install nginx

Once the installation is finished, you’ll need to adjust your firewall settings to allow HTTP traffic on your server. Run the following command to allow external access on port 80 (HTTP):

$ sudo ufw allow in "Nginx"

With the new firewall rule added, you can test if the server is up and running by accessing your server’s public IP address or domain name from your web browser. You’ll see a page like this:

Step 2 — Install MySQL

We’ll now install MySQL, a popular database management system used within PHP environments.

Again, use apt to acquire and install this software:

You must run a security script that comes pre-installed with MySQL. Start the interactive script by running:

$ sudo mysql_secure_installation

This will ask if you want to configure the VALIDATE PASSWORD PLUGIN. Answer Y for yes, or anything else to continue without enabling. If you answer “yes”, you’ll ask to select a level of password validation.

Your server will next ask you to select and confirm a password for the MySQL root user. The default authentication method for the MySQL root user dispenses the use of a password and you should define a strong password here as an additional safety measure.

For the rest of the questions, press Y and hit the ENTER key at each prompt.

Step 3 — Install PHP

To install the php-fpm and php-mysql packages, run:

$ sudo apt install php-fpm php-mysql

Step 4 — Configure Nginx for PHP

We’ll set up a domain called your_domain and you should replace this with your own domain name.

On Ubuntu 20.04, Nginx has one server block enabled by default and is configured to serve documents out of a directory at /var/www/html. This works well for a single site and it can become difficult to manage if you are hosting multiple sites. Instead of modifying /var/www/html, we’ll create a directory structure within /var/www for the your_domain website, leaving /var/www/html in place as the default directory to be served if a client request doesn’t match any other sites.

Create the root web directory for your_domain as follows:

$ sudo mkdir /var/www/your_domain

Next, assign ownership of the directory with the $USER environment variable, which will reference your current system user:

$ sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /var/www/your_domain

Then, open a new configuration file in Nginx’s sites-available directory using your preferred command-line editor. Here, we’ll use nano:

$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain

This will create a new blank file. You paste in the following bare-bones configuration:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name your_domain www.your_domain;
    root /var/www/your_domain;

    index index.html index.htm index.php;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
    }

    location ~ \.php$ {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;
     }

    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;
    }

}

When you’re done editing, please save and close the file. If you’re using nano, you can do so by typing CTRL+X and then y and ENTER to confirm.

Activate your configuration by linking to the config file from Nginx’s sites-enabled directory:

$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

This will tell Nginx to use the configuration next time it is reloaded. You can test your configuration for syntax errors by typing:

$ sudo nginx -t

If any errors are reported, go back to your configuration file to review its contents before continuing. When you are ready, reload Nginx to apply the changes:

$ sudo systemctl reload nginx

Your new website is now active, but the web root /var/www/your_domain is still empty. Create an index.html file in that location so that we can test that your new server block works as expected:

$ nano /var/www/your_domain/index.html

After that, include the following content in this file:

<html>
  <head>
    <title>your_domain website</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h1>Hello World!</h1>

    <p>This is the landing page of <strong>your_domain</strong>.</p>
  </body>
</html>

Now go to your browser and access your server’s domain name or IP address, as listed within the server_name directive in your server block configuration file:

http://server_domain_or_IP

You’ll see a page like this:

landing page

Step 5 — Test PHP with Nginx

We’ll now create a PHP test script to confirm that Nginx is able to handle and process requests for PHP files.

Create a new file named info.php inside your custom web root folder:

This will open a blank file. As a result, add the following content inside the file:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

After that, save and close the file.

You can now access this page in your web browser by visiting the domain name or public IP address you’ve set up in your Nginx configuration file, followed by /info.php:

http://server_domain_or_IP/info.php

You will see a web page containing detailed information about your server:

phpinfo

After checking the relevant information about your PHP server through that page, it’s best to remove the file you created as it contains sensitive information about your PHP environment and your Ubuntu server. You can use rm to remove that file:

$ sudo rm /var/www/your_domain/info.php

Congratulations! You are done.

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