Setup Claroline e-Learning Platform on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1-FPM

When looking for an open source and free learning management system, Claroline is a great place to start. We showed students and new users how to set it up with Apache2 webserver. this post shows you how to install it with Nginx instead.

Claroline is a free , easy and flexible learning management platform designed by educators and built on the LAMP / LEMP stack which allows users and educators to create educational communities and empower students to publish, work together while improving access to education and knowledge globally.

Some of its features include, course management, user and authentication and enrollment, allowing students to easily post to site, use hashtags, view and edit posts from any device and many more. It also supports WYSIWYG with strong privacy setings to create space for individuals to share personal thoughts with groups or other users.

Whether you are a learner or a trainer, you will be able to create innovative and meaningful content using Claroline.

For more about Claroline LMS, please check its Homepage

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Claroline LMP on Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP 7.1-FPM  support.

When you’re ready to get Claroline, installed, follow the steps below

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

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

To install Nginx HTTP 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 MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Magento. 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 17.10 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 7.1-FPM  and Related Modules

PHP 7.1-FPM 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 7.1-FPM

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.1-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.1 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.1-fpm php7.1-common php7.1-sqlite3 php7.1-curl php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-intl php7.1-mbstring php7.1-xmlrpc php7.1-mysql php7.1-gd php7.1-xml php7.1-cli php7.1-ldap php7.1-apcu php7.1-zip

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

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/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
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
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 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: Create Claroline Database

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

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

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called claroline


Create a database user called clarolineuser with new password

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

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON claroline.* TO 'clarolineuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download and Install Claroline LMS

Run the commands below to download Claroline LMS content. then unzip the download file and move the content to Nginx default root directory.

cd /tmp && wget 
tar -xvzf claroline-16.05.tar.gz
sudo mv claroline-16.05 /var/www/html/claroline

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions.

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

Step 6: Configure Nginx Claroline LMS Site

Finally, configure Nginxconfiguration file for Claroline LMS . This file will control how users access Claroline LMS content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called claroline

sudo nano /etc/fpm/sites-available/claroline

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/claroline;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
        try_files $uri @rewriteapp;

    location @rewriteapp {
        rewrite ^(.*)$ /app.php/$1 last;

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-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 7: Enable the Claroline LMS Site

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

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/claroline /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Next, open your brwoser and go to the URL. and continue with the installation.

Start the setup wizard by clicking Install Claroline button. Next, select the installation language and continue.

claroline ubuntu install

Confirm that all the required packages are installed.

Your server must provide the following libraries to enable all features of Claroline. The missing libraries shown in orange letters are optional, but some features of Claroline might be disabled if they are not installed. You can still install those libraries later on to enable the missing features.

When you’re ready, click Next

Type in the site name and the database connection info.

Claroline needs a single MySQL database, with a user that can connect to it. They recommend that this is a user you have created just for Claroline, rather than one you share with other applications. You should create your database before entering the details here. If you’re using a shared host, you may have an option called “MySQL Database Wizard” that will speed you through the process.

Claroline ubuntu install

Create the admin account to use to manage the platform.

Claroline ubuntu install

Finally, click Launch installation now to complete.

Ubuntu claroline setup

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