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

SproutCMS is an open source, lightweight and beautiful web publishing platform (CMS) that you can use to create dynamic websites and blogs. With SproutCMS, you can manage your content from a single backend and publish across all your sites.

SproutCMS allows you to build dynamic content from shared modules, revert changes to previous versions, comes with built-in search controls and mobile friendly .. It lets you focus on building content by leveraging its easy management portal designs and technical quality without the bloats.

Whether you’re creating a personal or business website, SproutCMS can help you create and manage your content on every device with its modern user and admin interface.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install SproutCMS on Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04 and 18.10.

When you’re ready to get SproutCMS working on Ubuntu, please continue with 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 SproutCMS 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 MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with SproutCMS. 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

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

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

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on. if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. in order to install 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-sqlite3 php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-cli 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
short_open_tag = 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 4: Create SproutCMS Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called sproutcms


Create a database user called sproutcmsuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON sproutcms.* TO 'sproutcmsuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download and Install SproutCMS

Run the commands below to download SproutCMS latest content. then unzip the download file and move the content to Apache2 default root directory.

cd /tmp
sudo apt install git
tar -xvf sprout-3.0.0.tar.bz2
sudo mv sprout-3.0.0 /var/www/html/sproutcms

Next, create a new file with the highlighted content below:

sudo nano /var/www/html/sproutcms/src/config/database.php

Then copy and paste the content below into the file

* Database connection settings.
* Each array is a separate group, which can be connected to independently.
* The standard connection used by {@see Pdb} is the 'default' group, but
* the method {@see Pdb::connect} can be used to connect to other groups
* Group Options:
*  connection      Array of connection specific parameters:
*       type       Only supported value is 'mysql'
*       host       Hostname
*       user       Username
*       pass       Password
*       port       If non-empty, specifies a non-standard port
*       database   Database name
*  character_set   Database character set

    // Live server config
    $config['default'] = [
        'connection' => [
            'type' => 'mysql',
            'user' => 'sproutcmsuser',
            'database' => 'sproutcms',
            'host' => 'localhost',
            'port' => FALSE,
        'character_set' => 'utf8',

    // Rather than entering the PRODUCTION database password direct in
    // the config (which would then be saved in repo history and could
    // accidently become public), it's much better to include this in
    // a separate file, preferably outside of DOCROOT.
    // Example file content:
      require DOCROOT . './database.config.php';

} else {
    // Test server config
    $config['default'] = [
        'connection' => [
            'type' => 'mysql',
            'user' => '-- username --',
            'pass' => '-- password --',
            'database' => '-- database --',
            'host' => 'localhost',
            'port' => FALSE,
        'character_set' => 'utf8',

Next, create another file with the database password and save.

sudo nano /var/www/html/sproutcms/database.config.php

Copy and paste the content below into the file and save.

* Copyright (C) 2017 Karmabunny Pty Ltd.
* This file is a part of SproutCMS.
* SproutCMS is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms
* of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either
* version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
* For more information, visit <

$config['default']['connection']['pass'] = 'database_user_password_here';

Save the file and close out.

When you’re done above, open another config file and remove the lines below:

sudo nano /var/www/html/sproutcms/src/config/config.php

then comment out or remove the section entirely.

// .
// The following code should be found at about lines 40-42;
// make sure these lines don't begin with //
* Remove these three lines once SproutCMS has been set up

Save the file and close out.

Next, run the commands below to set the correct permissions for SproutCMS to function properly.

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

Step 6: Configure Apache2 SproutCMS Site

Finally, configure Apache2 configuration file for SproutCMS. This file will control how users access SproutCMS content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called sproutcms.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/sproutcms.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/sproutcms/src

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

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

Save the file and exit.

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

Step 7: Enable the SproutCMS Site and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below, then restart Apache2 server.

sudo a2ensite sproutcms.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache2

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Next, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see SproutCMS page setup page.

You should see the page below with some tasks for your to complete. Task one should be done using the files you created above. Refresh the page and the color should change to bright green when the task is done.

SproutCMS Ubuntu setup

Do that for each task until you’re done. The steps simply need to be taken in order until they’re all the happy bright green colour. Once they have been comnpleted, clicking the ‘reload’ button at the bottom will send you to the home page of your new SproutCMS site.

SproutCMS ubuntu setup

That’s it!

To logon to the backend as admin, go to the URL below:


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