Setup Kirby CMS with Nginx, PHP 7.2-FPM on Ubuntu

The steps below show you how to install Kirby CMS with Nginx and PHP 7.2-FPM support on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10 systems.

Kirby is a flat file Content Management System (CMS) with no database involved. It helps you create your personal or business websites in minutes just by uploading its content to your server. Kirby CMS 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, all its data is simply stored in the file system (file-based, flat file CMS). It also provides native mark down WYSIWYG support, SEO friendly, flexible CSS framework with no installation required.

For more about Kirby, please check it homepage.

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

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

Step 1: Install Nginx HTTP Server on Ubuntu

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use. so install it, since Kirby 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 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-FPM 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 is 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 Kirby Latest Release

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

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

Take notes of the branch number. if there are newer branch number, replace the one below with it.

cd /var/www/html/
sudo apt install git
sudo git clone --recursive  kirby

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

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

Step 5: Configure Nginx Kirby Site

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

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

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/kirby;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;        

    location ~ /panel {
        index index.php;
        try_files $uri $uri/ /panel/index.php?$uri&$args;

    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 Kirby 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/kirby /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 Kirby page.

Kirby CMS ubuntu Install

Kirby 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.

To logon to the backend panel, go to the address below:


You’ll be prompted to create a new admin account.

Kirby CMS ubuntu setup

You should be able to logon with the username and password you created.

Ubuntu Kirby Install

After creating the first admin account, you can return to the backend by using the URL below:



You have successfully installed Kirby CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 and 18.10. For more tutorials on Ubuntu please search our site.