Install Exponent CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.2

Exponent CMS is an open source content management systems (CMS) that allows webmasters and anyone for that matter to build beautiful and dynamic websites without necessarily directly coding web pages, or managing site navigation.

It comes with everything, from user management, to site configuration, to content editing, and many more features that available with other popular CMS platforms.

Exponent is designed for ease of use with security features that may help protect your content out of the box.

For more about Exponent, please check its homepage.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Exponent CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 | 18.10 with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.2 support.

To get started with installing Exponent CMS, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. so install it, since Bludit needs it.

To install Apache2 HTTP on Ubuntu 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

To test Apache2 setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Apache2 default test page as shown below. When you see that, then Apache2 is working as expected.

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 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

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-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 Apache2.

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Restart Apache2

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Apache2 to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Apache2, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Apache2, create a phpinfo.php file in Apache2 root directory by running the commands below

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

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file. then browse to your server hostname followed by /phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page.

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 2: Install MariaDB

Exponent also requires a database server to function. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

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

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server.

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

Restart MariaDB server

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 4: Create Exponent Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create Exponent database.

Run the commands below to logon to the database server. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called exponentcms

CREATE DATABASE exponentcms;

Create a database user called exponentcmsuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON exponentcms.* TO 'exponentcmsuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Exponent Latest Release

Next, visit Exponent site and download the latest version.

After downloading, run the commands below to install git and download Exponent’s content into Apache2 root directory.

cd /var/www/html/
sudo apt install git
sudo git clone git:// exponentcms
sudo touch /var/www/html/exponentcms/install/not_configured

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for Exponent CMS to function.

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

Step 6: Configure Apache2

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

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/exponentcms.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/html/exponentcms

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

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
     <Directory /var/www/html/exponentcms/>
            RewriteEngine on
            RewriteBase /
            RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
            RewriteRule ^(.*) index.php [PT,L]


Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the Exponent and Rewrite Module

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

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

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

You should see Exponent’s installation wizard. This installation wizard will guide you step by step through the configuration and setup of your new Exponent-powered website.

Exponent CMS Ubuntu install

Next, confirm that all the requirements are met. Exponent requires that several file permissions be set correctly in order to operate. Sanity checks are being run right now to ensure that the web server directory you wish to install Exponent in, is suitable.

Exponent CMS Ubuntu setup

On this page, you configure the database connection you created above. Exponent requires a database to store and manage content. Simply create a database using your database tool of of choice, and fill in the information on this page.

Exponent cms install

After the database configuration page, continue with the setup.

On the next page, enter some basic site information and continue.

Exponent cms ubuntu setup

Next, you select a template to use with your setup. Then create an admin account and continue.

The user you’re about to create will be the Super Administrator for the entire system. This level of administration has un-restricted access and abilities throughout the entire website.

Exponent system setup

Your installation is complete.

Exponent ubuntu setup


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