How to Install Grav CMS on Debian 9

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Grav is an open source flat-file CMS written in PHP. Grav source code is publicly hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Grav CMS on a fresh Debian 9 Vultr instance.


  • Web Server (Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed, Lightly or IIS). In this guide we will use Nginx.
  • PHP 5.5.9 or higher

Before you begin

Check the Debian version.

lsb_release -ds# Debian GNU/Linux 9.5 (stretch)

Ensure that your system is up to date.

apt update && apt upgrade -y

Install unzip and sudo packages.

apt install -y unzip sudo

Create a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

adduser johndoe --gecos "John Doe"usermod -aG sudo johndoesu - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Install PHP and required PHP extensions

Install PHP and PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.0 php7.0-cli php7.0-fpm php7.0-common php7.0-curl php7.0-gd php7.0-json php7.0-mbstring php7.0-xml php7.0-zip php7.0-opcache php-apcu

Check the version.

php --version# PHP 7.0.30-0+deb9u1 (cli) (built: Jun 14 2018 13:50:25) ( NTS )

Install and configure Nginx

Grav can work with many web servers with PHP support. In this guide we will use Nginx.

Install Nginx.

sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the version.

sudo nginx -v# nginx version: nginx/1.10.3

Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/grav.conf and configure Nginx for Grav. Save the file and exit.

server {  listen 80;  server_name;  root /var/www/grav;  index index.html index.php;  location / {    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;  }  location ~* /(/.git|cache|bin|logs|backup|tests)/.*$ { return 403; }  location ~* /(system|vendor)/.*/.(txt|xml|md|html|yaml|yml|php|pl|py|cgi|twig|sh|bat)$ { return 403; }  location ~* /user/.*/.(txt|md|yaml|yml|php|pl|py|cgi|twig|sh|bat)$ { return 403; }  location ~ /(LICENSE/.txt|composer/.lock|composer/.json|nginx/.conf|web/.config|htaccess/.txt|/.htaccess) { return 403; }  location ~ /.php$ {    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+/.php)(/.+)$;    fastcgi_index index.php;    include fastcgi_params;    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root/$fastcgi_script_name;  }}

Activate new grav.conf configuration by linking the file to the sites-enabled directory.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/grav.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Test Nginx configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Grav

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/grav

Change ownership of the /var/www/grav directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /var/www/grav

Navigate to the document root folder.

cd /var/www/grav

Download the latest Grav ZIP package and extract it.

wget 1.4.8mv grav-admin/* . && mv grav-admin/.* .rm -rf grav-admin 1.4.8

Change ownership of the /var/www/grav directory to www-data.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/grav

Open in your web browser and follow the on-screen instructions. To access Grav admin append /admin to your URL.

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