Learn How To Install Monica on Debian 9

December 8, 2019

Table of Contents

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

Monica is an open source personal relationship management system. Think of it as a CRM (a popular tool used by sales teams in the corporate world) for your friends or family. Its source code is publicly hosted on GitHub. In this guide, we will go over the installation process of a Monica application.


  • Debian 9.x (Stretch)
  • Git
  • NPM (Node Package Manager)
  • PHP 7.1+ or newer
  • MySQL
  • Nginx
  • Composer

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 johndoe
su - 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 the build-essential, curl, git, apt-transport-https, libpng-dev packages.

sudo apt install -y build-essential curl git apt-transport-https libpng-dev

Install PHP

Add the repository for newer versions of PHP.

sudo wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/php.gpg https://packages.sury.org/php/apt.gpg
echo "deb https://packages.sury.org/php/ $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list
sudo apt update

Install PHP 7.2 and required PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.2 php7.2-cli php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xml php7.2-mysql php7.2-curl php7.2-zip php7.2-intl php7.2-bcmath php7.2-gd

Check the version.

php --version
# PHP 7.2.5-1+0~20180505045740.21+stretch~1.gbpca2fa6 (cli) (built: May  5 2018 04:57:44) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
#     with Zend OPcache v7.2.5-1+0~20180505045740.21+stretch~1.gbpca2fa6, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Install MySQL and setup database

Install MySQL.

cd /tmp
wget https://dev.mysql.com/get/mysql-apt-config_0.8.10-1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i mysql-apt-config_0.8.10-1_all.deb
rm mysql-apt-config_0.8.10-1_all.deb
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y mysql-server

Check the version.

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 8.0.11 for Linux on x86_64 (MySQL Community Server - GPL)

Run the mysql_secure installation script to improve MySQL security and set the password for the MySQL root user.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Connect to the MySQL shell as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password

Create an empty MySQL database and user for Monica, and remember the credentials.

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

Install and configure 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/monica.conf and configure Nginx for Monica.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    server_name example.com;
    root /var/www/monica/public;
    index index.php;
    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
    location ~ .php$ {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;

Save the file and exit.

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

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

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Node.js and NPM

Install Node.js.

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt install -y nodejs

Check the Node.js and NPM versions.

node -v && npm -v
# v10.2.1
# 5.6.0

Install Composer

Install Composer.

php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === '544e09ee996cdf60ece3804abc52599c22b1f40f4323403c44d44fdfdd586475ca9813a858088ffbc1f233e9b180f061') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Check the version.

composer --version
# Composer version 1.6.5 2018-05-04 11:44:59

Install and configure Monica

Create an empty document root folder where Monica should be installed.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/monica

Navigate to the document root folder.

cd /var/www/monica

Change ownership of the /var/www/monica folder to user johndoe.

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

Clone the Monica repository to it.

git clone https://github.com/monicahq/monica.git .
git checkout tags/v2.1.1

NOTE: Find the latest official version on the releases page on GitHub and update the above version number to the latest release.

Create your own file containing the environment variables required by Monica.

cp .env.example .env

Update the .env file to your specific needs. Don’t forget to set DB_USERNAME and DB_PASSWORD with the settings used previously.

Install all packages.

composer install --no-interaction --no-suggest --no-dev --ignore-platform-reqs

Install all the front-end dependencies and tools needed to compile assets.

npm install

Compile the JS and CSS assets.

npm run production

Generate an application key. This will set APP_KEY to the correct value automatically.

php artisan key:generate

Run the migrations and seed the database and symlink folders.

php artisan setup:production

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

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

The installation is complete. Open your domain in your web browser and follow the instructions shown on screen.

Need help?

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