How to Install ChurchCRM on Ubuntu Linux with Apache

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install and configure ChurchCRM platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Apache2 HTTP servers.

For the uninitiated, ChurchCRM is an open source CRM software built for churches that can serve as a strong alternative to the popular CRM systems in use today.

If you own a church and you want a CRM platform, then ChurchCRM might just be what you want. It comes with an intuitive dashboard the provides quick view your members, Sunday school activities, financial modules and more.

This free CRM is built on the LAMP / LEMP stack, and offers features that will help you run your business and collaborate with your customers, employees and church members…

For more about ChurchCRM, please check its homepage.

To get started with installing ChurchCRM, follow the steps below:

Install Apache2 HTTP Server

ChurchCRM requires a web server and Apache2 HTTP server is the most popular open source web server available today.

To install Apache2 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 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

Now that Apache2 is installed. to test whether the web server is working, open your browser and browse to the URL below.

If you see the page above, then Apache2 is successfully installed.

Install MariaDB Database Server

ChurchCRM also requires a database server to store its content. If you’re looking for a truly open source database server, then MariaDB is a great place to start.

To install MariaDB run the commands below:

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always 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 18.10 and 18.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

Next, run the commands below to secure the database server with a root password if you were not prompted to do so during the installation.

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

Now that MariaDB is installed, to test whether the database server was successfully installed, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

type the root password when prompted.

mariadb welcome

If you see a similar screen as shown above, then the server was successfully installed.

Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

ChurchCRM is a PHP based platform and for now, only PHP 7.2.  PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. To run PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 14.04, 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

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-mysql php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-gd php7.2-bcmath php7.2-imap php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.1, run the commands below to open PHP default configuration file for Apache2.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini

The lines below is a good settings 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
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

Everytime you make changes to PHP configuration file, you should also restart Apache2 web server. To do so, run the commands below:

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Now that PHP is installed, to test whether it’s functioning, create a test file called phpinfo.php in Apache2 default root directory. ( /var/www/html/)

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Next, open your browser and browse to the server’s hostname or IP address followed by phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page.

PHP Test Page

Create ChurchCRM Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for ChurchCRM to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank ChurchCRM database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called churchcrm


Create a database user called churchcrmuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON churchcrm.* TO 'churchcrmuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Download ChurchCRM Latest Release

ChurchCRM community edition can be downloaded from its download page here.

On Ubuntu terminal, run the commands below to download, then extract to its root directory.

cd /tmp
sudo mv churchcrm /var/www/churchcrm

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for ChurchCRM root directory and give Apache2 control.

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

Configure Apache2

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

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/churchcrm.conf

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

<VirtualHost *:80>
     ServerAdmin [email protected]
     DocumentRoot /var/www/churchcrm

     <Directory /var/www/churchcrm/>
          Options FollowSymlinks
          AllowOverride All
          Require all granted

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Save the file and exit.

Enable the ChurchCRM and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite churchcrm.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name. You should see ChurchCRM setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Then follow the on-screen instruction. Validate that all requirements are met and continue

ChurchCRM Ubuntu Install

During the setup, you’ll be prompted to enter a Root Path

For tutorial, we’re going to be accessing the portal from our main domain ( ).  Leave blank.

Next, type in the database name, username and password, then complete the setup

ChurchCRM Ubuntu setup

After that, you should be able to login with the credentials below:

Username: Admin
Password: changeme

ChurchCRM Setup


You have successfully learned how to install ChurchCRM platform on Ubuntu. You may need to configure additional settings, but the steps above give you a basic starting point.

If you find errors with the steps above, please comment below:

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