Installing Bolt CMS on Debian 9 (Stretch)

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Bolt is an open source CMS written in PHP. Bolt’s source code is hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Bolt CMS on a fresh Debian 9 (Stretch) Vultr instance.


  • PHP 5.5.9 or higher
  • The following common PHP extensions:
    • pdo
    • mysqlnd
    • openssl
    • curl
    • gd
    • intl (optional but recommended)
    • json
    • mbstring (optional but recommended)
    • opcache (optional but recommended)
    • posix
    • xml
    • fileinfo
    • exif
    • zip
  • MariaDB
  • Nginx

Check the Debian version.

lsb_release -ds# Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 (stretch)

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

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install PHP and required PHP extensions, MySQL/MariaDB and Nginx

Download and install PHP 7.0 and the necessary PHP extensions. We will also install some optional PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.0 php7.0-cli php7.0-fpm php7.0-mbstring php7.0-zip php7.0-mysql php7.0-pgsql php7.0-sqlite3 php7.0-curl php7.0-simplexml php7.0-common php7.0-gd php7.0-intl php7.0-json php7.0-opcache php7.0-xml php7.0-zip php7.0-common

Check the PHP version.

php --version# PHP 7.0.27-0+deb9u1 (cli) (built: Jan  5 2018 13:51:52) ( NTS )# Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group# Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies#     with Zend OPcache v7.0.27-0+deb9u1, Copyright (c) 1999-2017, by Zend Technologies

Install MariaDB.

sudo apt install -y mysql-server

Check the version.

mysql --version# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.1.26-MariaDB, for debian-linux-gnu (x86_64) using readline 5.2

Run the mysql_secure installation script to improve MariaDB’s security and set the password for the MariaDB root user.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Connect to the MariaDB shell as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p# Enter password

Create an empty MariaDB database and user for Bolt, and remember the credentials.

CREATE DATABASE dbname;CREATE USER 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON dbname.* TO username@localhost;FLUSH PRIVILEGES;EXIT;

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/bolt.conf and configure Nginx for Bolt CMS.

server {    listen 80;    listen [::]:80;    server_name;    root /var/www/bolt/public;    index index.php;    location / {        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;    }    location ~ [^/]/.php(/|$) {        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?/.php)(/.*)$;        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;        fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";        fastcgi_param HTTPS $https if_not_empty;        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;    }}

Save the file and exit.

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

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

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Download and install Bolt CMS

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/bolt

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

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

Navigate to the document root.

cd /var/www/bolt

Download the latest stable release of Bolt CMS from the command line.


Install unzip.

sudo apt install unzip

Unzip Bolt CMS, remove the downloaded zip file and move the Bolt CMS files and directories to the /var/www/bolt directory.

unzip bolt-latest.ziprm bolt-latest.zipmv bolt-v3.5.3/* bolt-v3.5.3/.* . # Just press enter on warningrmdir bolt-v3.5.3/

NOTE: Update Bolt version numbers, if a newer version has been released.

To finish the installation, you will need to rename the following files.

mv .bolt.yml.dist .bolt.ymlmv composer.json.dist composer.jsonmv composer.lock.dist composer.lockmv src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php.dist src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php 

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

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

Open your domain/IP in the web browser and follow the Bolt CMS installation wizard. Bolt uses the SQLite database by default. If you want to use another supported database, you can configure it in the app/config/config.yml file. After that you will have Bolt installed on your Debian 9 (Stretch) server. To access Bolt’s administrative interface append /bolt to your IP/domain.

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