How to Install Automad CMS on FreeBSD 12

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Automad is an open source file-based content management system (CMS) and template engine written in PHP. The Automad source code is hosted on Bitbucket. This guide will show you how to install Automad CMS on a FreeBSD 12 Vultr instance.


  • PHP version 5.4 or higher.
  • Web server software. In this guide, we use Nginx.

Before you begin

Check the FreeBSD version.

uname -ro# FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE

Ensure that your FreeBSD system is up to date.

freebsd-update fetch installpkg update && pkg upgrade -y

Install the necessary packages.

pkg install -y sudo vim unzip curl wget bash socat git

Create a new user account with your preferred username. We will use johndoe.

adduser# Username: johndoe# Full name: John Doe# Uid (Leave empty for default): <Enter># Login group [johndoe]: <Enter># Login group is johndoe. Invite johndoe into other groups? []: wheel# Login class [default]: <Enter># Shell (sh csh tcsh nologin) [sh]: bash# Home directory [/home/johndoe]: <Enter># Home directory permissions (Leave empty for default): <Enter># Use password-based authentication? [yes]: <Enter># Use an empty password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter># Use a random password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter># Enter password: your_secure_password# Enter password again: your_secure_password# Lock out the account after creation? [no]: <Enter># OK? (yes/no): yes# Add another user? (yes/no): no# Goodbye!

Run the visudo command and uncomment the %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL line, to allow members of the wheel group to execute any command.

visudo# Uncomment by removing hash (#) sign# %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Now, switch to your newly created user with su.

su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo tzsetup

Install PHP

Install PHP, as well as the necessary PHP extensions.

sudo pkg install -y php72 php72-mbstring php72-tokenizer php72-pdo php72-pdo_mysql php72-openssl php72-hash php72-json php72-phar php72-filter php72-zlib php72-dom php72-xml php72-xmlwriter php72-xmlreader php72-pecl-imagick php72-curl php72-session php72-ctype php72-iconv php72-gd php72-simplexml php72-zip php72-filter php72-tokenizer php72-calendar php72-fileinfo php72-intl php72-phar php72-soap php72-xmlrpc

Check the version.

php --version# PHP 7.2.19 (cli) (built: Jun 20 2019 01:25:01) ( NTS )# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

Soft-link php.ini-production to php.ini.

sudo ln -s /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production /usr/local/etc/php.ini

Enable and start PHP-FPM.

sudo sysrc php_fpm_enable=yessudo service php-fpm start

Install Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo pkg install -y nginx

Check the version.

nginx -v# nginx version: nginx/1.14.2

Enable and start Nginx.

sudo sysrc nginx_enable=yessudo service nginx start

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/automad.conf and set up Nginx for Automad.

server {  listen 80;  server_name;  root /usr/local/www/automad;  index index.php index.html;  client_max_body_size 100M;  location / {    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$args;  }  location ~ /.php$ {    fastcgi_index index.php;    fastcgi_pass;    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;    include fastcgi_params;  }}

Save the file and exit.

Now we need to include automad.conf in the main nginx.conf file.

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf and add the following line to the http {} block.

include automad.conf;

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo service nginx reload

Install Automad

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/www/automad

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/automad directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /usr/local/www/automad

Navigate to the document root.

cd /usr/local/www/automad

Using curl download the latest release of Automad CMS. Don’t forget to bump up the version numbers if there is a newer release.

curl -O -J -L

Uncompress the zip archive.


Move all Automad files to the document root and remove zip archive.

mv marcantondahmen-automad-6fff2a0456dc/* . && mv marcantondahmen-automad-6fff2a0456dc/.* .rm marcantondahmen-automad-6fff2a0456dc.ziprmdir marcantondahmen-automad-6fff2a0456dc

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/automad directory to www.

sudo chown -R www:www /usr/local/www/automad

As the last step, create a user account to use the browser-based user interface called the Dashboard. Therefore navigate to and follow the instructions.

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