How to Setup Automad CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM

For those of you who want to run Automad CMS with Nginx HTTP and PHp 7.2-FPM support, the steps below should help you get there. Automad CMS is fully compatible with Nginx.

Our previous post showed you how to set it up with Apache2 and PHP 7.2. however, this post shows you how to do it with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM instead.;

Automad is a fast, responsive, flat content management system (CMS) and template engine written in PHP. All its content is stored in text files instead of a database. It offers features that may not be available to other PHP based CMS, like WordPress Joomla or Drupal.

For one, it doesn’t need a database server, call it database-less CMS. It browser-based dashboard offers an intuitive way of managing your sites. Configure system settings, upload images or write a blog post by using a clean and responsive user interface.

For more about Automad, please check it homepage.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Automad on Ubuntu 16.04 / 18.10 / 18.04 LTS with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM support.

When you’re ready to get Automad working, continue with the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. so install it, since Automad needs it.

To install NginxHTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable 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

To test Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Nginx default test page as shown below. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected.

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2-FPM and Related Modules

PHP 7.2-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories for some systems. if you need 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-FPM

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 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-soap php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-curl php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Nginx.

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

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

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

Step 3: Restart Nginx

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Nginx to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Step 4: Download Automad Latest Release

Next, visit Automad site and download the latest package. or run the commands below to download Automad pckages from github.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the downloaded file and move it into a new Automad root directory. After that, change into Automad root directory to install PHP required packages.

cd /tmp/

sudo mv marcantondahmen-automad-b218af08c7ce /var/www/html/automad

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for Automad to function properly.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/automad/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/automad/

Step 5: Configure Nginx Automad Site

Finally, configure Nginx configuration file for Automad. This file will control how users access Automad content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called automad

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

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.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/automad;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

     client_max_body_size 100M;

      autoindex off;

     location / {
        try_files $uri /index.php?$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.

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

Step 6: Enable the Automad Site and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below, then restart Nginx server.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/automad /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Restart Nginx

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Automad page. Login and change your password.

Ubuntu Automad Install

Automad is a databaseless flat file content management system. It’s structure allowed you to have just the amount of functionality you needed in a flat file CMS solution, adding extensions (blade packs) for further functionality, whilst allowing setup on simple servers with no database.

Create the admin account username and password. You must download the file to your local server.

automad ubuntu install

Create User Account

Before you can make use of the Automad dashboard, you have to register the first user by following these steps:

  • Create an user account using the form below and download the created file to your computer.
  • Move the downloaded file to the “/config” directory within your Automad installation.
    (via a file browser, FTP or SSH)

After completing these steps, the dashboard should be ready to use. Other users can be added later via the system preferences.

Copy the downloaded file to your /config directory.

sudo cp accounts.php /var/www/html/automad/config/


Ubuntu automad installation

Now you can logon to the dashbard:


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