Learn How To Install CMS Made Simple 2.2 on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS

March 24, 2019

Table of Contents

If you are using a different system, please check our other tutorials.

CMS Made Simple 2.2 is a flexible and extensible, free and open source Content Management System (CMS) intelligently designed to be versatile and adaptable to the needs of developers, designers and end-users. CMS Made Simple 2.2 features an intuitive user interface and simple to use WYSIWYG page editor, elegantly simple content management capabilities, flexible layout and templating possibilities using Smarty tags, a rich modular API, and the ability to fully integrate with third-party PHP applications.

In this tutorial we are going to install CMS Made Simple 2.2 on a Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.0, and a MariaDB database.


  • A clean IT Web Services Ubuntu 16.04 server instance with SSH access

Step 1: Add a Sudo User

We will start by adding a new sudo user.

First, log into your server as root:


Add a new user called user1 (or your preferred username):

adduser user1

When prompted, enter a secure and memorable password. You will also be prompted for your “Full Name” and some other details, but you can simply leave them blank by pressing Enter.

Now check the /etc/sudoers file to make sure that the sudoers group is enabled:


Look for a section like this:

%sudo        ALL=(ALL:ALL)       ALL

This line tells us that users who are members of the sudo group can use the sudo command to gain root privileges. It should be uncommented by default so you can simply exit the file.

Next we need to add user1 to the sudo group:

usermod -aG sudo user1

We can verify the user1 group membership and check that the usermod command worked with the groups command:

groups user1

Now use the su command to switch to the new sudo user user1 account:

su - user1

The command prompt will update to indicate that you are now logged into the user1 account. You can verify this with the whoami command:


Now restart the sshd service so that you can login via ssh with the new non-root sudo user account you have just created:

sudo systemctl restart sshd

Exit the user1 account:


Exit the root account (which will disconnect your ssh session):


You can now ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user user1 account:


If you want to execute sudo without having to type a password every time, then open the /etc/sudoers file again, using visudo:

sudo visudo

Edit the section for the sudo group so that it looks like this:


Please note: Disabling the password requirement for the sudo user is not a recommended practice, but it is included here as it can make server configuration much more convenient and less frustrating, especially during longer systems administration sessions. If you are concerned about the security implications, you can always revert the configuration change to the original after you finish your administration tasks.

Whenever you want to log into the root user account from within the sudo user account, you can use one of the following commands:

sudo -i
sudo su -

You can exit the root account and return back to your sudo user account any time by simply typing exit.

Step 2: Update Ubuntu 16.04 System

Before installing any packages on the Ubuntu server instance, we will first update the system.

Make sure you are logged in to the server using a non-root sudo user and run the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Step 3: Install Apache Web Server

Install the Apache web server:

sudo apt-get -y install apache2 

Then, use the systemctl command to start and enable Apache to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo systemctl enable apache2
sudo systemctl start apache2

Check your Apache default site configuration file to ensure that the DocumentRoot directive points to the correct directory:

sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf 

The DocumentRoot configuration option should look like this:

DocumentRoot "/var/www/html"

We now need to enable the mod_rewrite Apache module, so ensure that your Apache deafult site configuration file is still open, and add the following Directory Apache directives just before the closing </VirtualHost> tag, so that the end of your configuration file looks like this:

    <Directory /var/www/html/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all

The most important directive shown above is AllowOverride All.

Now save and exit the file, and enable the mod_rewrite Apache module:

sudo a2enmod rewrite

We will restart Apache at the end of this tutorial, but restarting Apache regularly during installation and configuration is certainly a good habit, so let’s do it now:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Step 4: Install PHP 7.0

We can now install PHP 7.0 along with all of the necessary PHP modules required by CMS Made Simple:

sudo apt-get -y install php php-gd php-mbstring php-common php-mysql php-imagick php-xml libapache2-mod-php php-curl php-tidy php-zip

Step 5: Install MySQL Server

Install MySQL database server:

sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server

During the MySQL server installation, make sure you enter a secure password for the MySQL root user. This root user is different to the root user in Ubuntu as it is only used for connecting to your database server with full privileges.

Start and enable MySQL server to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo systemctl enable mysql
sudo systemctl start mysql    

Secure your MySQL server installation:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, enter the password you created for the MYSQL root user during installation. Simply answer “Y” to all of the other yes/no questions as the default suggestions are the most secure options.

Step 6: Create Database for CMS Made Simple

Log into the MySQL shell as the MySQL root user by running the following command:

sudo mysql -u root -p

To access the MySQL command prompt, simply enter the MySQL root password when prompted.

Run the following queries to create a MySQL database and database user for CMS Made Simple:

CREATE DATABASE cms_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
CREATE USER 'cms_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON cms_db.* TO 'cms_user'@'localhost';

You can replace the database name cms_db and username cms_user with something more to your liking, if you prefer. Also, make sure that you replace “UltraSecurePassword” with an actually secure password.

Step 7: Install CMS Made Simple Files

Change your current working directory to the default web directory:

cd /var/www/html/

If you get an error message saying something like 'No such file or directory' then try the following command:

cd /var/www/ ; sudo mkdir html ; cd html

Your current working directory will now be: /var/www/html/. You can check this with the pwd (print working directory) command:


Now use wget to download the CMS Made Simple installation package:

sudo wget http://s3.amazonaws.com/cmsms/downloads/14054/cmsms-2.2.4-install.zip

Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the CMS Made Simple download page.

List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file:

ls -la

Remove index.html:

sudo rm index.html

Let’s quickly install unzip so we can unzip the file:

sudo apt-get -y install unzip

Now uncompress the zip archive:

sudo unzip cmsms-2.2.4-install.zip

Change ownership of the web files to avoid any permissions problems:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data * ./

Restart Apache again:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Now we’re ready to move on to the final step.

Step 8: Complete CMS Made Simple Installation

It’s now time to visit the IP address of your server instance in your browser, or if you’ve already configured your IT Web Services DNS settings (and given it enough time to propagate) you can simply visit your domain instead.

To access the CMS Made Simple installation page, enter your IT Web Services instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by /cmsms-2.2.4-install.php:


The CMS Made Simple installer contains quite a lot of options, so here are a few pointers to help you along:

  1. On the Welcome page, select your language and leave the Enable advanced mode option set to No. When you are ready, click the Next button to continue.

  2. You will see a warning message informing you that you have files in the webroot directory. This is perfectly fine, so just click on the Install button to continue to step 3.

  3. You will see a message confirming that you have passed all Compatibility Tests. You can simply click Next to continue to Step 4.

  4. Fill in your database details as follows:

    Database Hostname:      localhost
    Database Name:          cms_db
    User name:              cms_user
    Password:               UltraSecurePassword

    The Server Timezone settings will get detected automatically, so you can click Next to continue.

  5. Enter your admin details as follows:

    User name:              admin
    Email Address:          <your admin email>
    Password:               <your password>
    Repeat password:        <the same password>

    Click Next to continue.

  6. Enter a Web Site Name and select any Additional Languages you want to install, and click Next to continue.

  7. You will now be prompted to Install Application Files so simply click Next to continue.

  8. You will be shown a list of database tasks the installer will perform so, again, simply click Next to continue.

  9. You will see a confirmation page with a message saying We are done!

You can access the admin section by simply clicking on the CMSMS admin panel link and then entering your username and password on the resulting login page.

If you are not redirected to the admin login page, you can enter the admin address manually:


For security reasons, you should remove the installer files from your webroot before continuing:

sudo rm cmsms-2.2.4-install.*

You are now ready to start adding your content and configuring the look and feel of your site. Make sure you check out the excellent CMS Made Simple documentation for more information about how CMS Made Simple works.

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