Install Cacti Systems Monitoring Platform on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10

Cacti is a popular LAMP/ LEMP based network monitoring software that helps you gain insights and simplifies logs data from your networking devices so you can make sense of them. It helps you monitor, search and analyse the vast amount of data, (especially in a larger environments) into a simple format that you can easily read and digest.

Cacti provides a fast poller, advanced graph templating, multiple data acquisition methods, and user management features out of the box.

Cacti supports majority of the network devices in use today. from many major manufacturers. including vast majority of the networking devices deployed.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Cacti software on Ubuntu 16.04 / 17.10  and 18.04 LTS servers.

For more about Cacti, please check its homepage.

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

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP Server

Cacti 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.

Step 2: Install MariaDB Database Server

Cacti 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.

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

Cacti is a PHP based app and PHP is required. However, PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. To run PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 16.04 and previous, 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-snmp php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip

After installing PHP 7.2, 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 apps. 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

Step 4: Create Cacti Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called cacti


Create a database user called cactiuser with a new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON cacti.* TO 'cactiuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Install Cacti

Now that all the servers are installed, run the commands below to install additional requirements for Cacti.

sudo apt-get install cacti snmp snmpd snmp-mibs-downloader rrdtool

During the installation, you will get a prompt to configure a web server. select None

   ┌─────────────────────────┤ Configuring cacti ├──────────────────────────┐
   │ Please select the web server for which Cacti should be automatically   │ 
   │ configured.                                                            │ 
   │                                                                        │ 
   │ Select "None" if you would like to configure the web server manually.  │ 
   │                                                                        │ 
   │ Web server:                                                            │ 
   │                                                                        │ 
   │                               apache2                                  │ 
   │                               lighttpd                                 │ 
   │                               None                                     │ 
   │                                                                        │ 
   │                                OK                                      │ 
   │                                                                        │ 
   │                                                                        │ 

You’ll also get a prompt to configure a database. select No

┌───────────────────────────┤ Configuring cacti ├───────────────────────────┐
 │                                                                           │ 
 │ The cacti package must have a database installed and configured before    │ 
 │ it can be used. This can be optionally handled with dbconfig-common.      │ 
 │                                                                           │ 
 │ If you are an advanced database administrator and know that you want to   │ 
 │ perform this configuration manually, or if your database has already      │ 
 │ been installed and configured, you should refuse this option. Details on  │ 
 │ what needs to be done should most likely be provided in                   │ 
 │ /usr/share/doc/cacti.                                                     │ 
 │                                                                           │ 
 │ Otherwise, you should probably choose this option.                        │ 
 │                                                                           │ 
 │ Configure database for cacti with dbconfig-common?                        │ 
 │                                                                           │ 
 │                <Yes>                   <No>                               │ 
 │                                                                           │ 

After that, run the commands below to open Cacti config file.

sudo nano /usr/share/cacti/site/include/config.php

then edit the highlighted lines and save.

/* make sure these values reflect your actual database/host/user/password */
$database_password = 'new_password_here';
$database_ssl      = false;

After that, run the commands below to import Cacti SQL content into the database using the database account you created above.

sudo mysql -u cactiuser -p cacti < /usr/share/doc/cacti/cacti.sql

Next, run the commands below to open snmpd.conf file.

sudo nano /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf

then edit the highlighted line and save.

#                                                 #  system + hrSystem groups on$
view   systemonly  included   .
view   systemonly  included   .
                                                 #  Full access from the local $
rocommunity  localhost
                                                 #  Default access to basic sys$
# rocommunity public  default    -V systemonly

When you’re restart Apache2 and snmpd.

sudo systemctl restart snmpd
sudo systemctl restart apache2

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

You should see Cacti’s home page to sign in.

That’s it!

Congratulation! You have successfully installed Cacti on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10.

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