Learn How To Install Open Web Analytics on Debian 9

March 29, 2019

Table of Contents

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

Open Web Analytics (OWA) is an open-source web analytics program that can be used to track and analyze how people use your websites and applications. OWA analytics can easily be added to pages with simple Javascript, PHP, or REST based APIs. Open Web Analytics source code is hosted on Github. This guide will show you how to install OWA on a fresh Debian 9 IT Web Services instance.


  • Nginx
  • MariaDB
  • PHP version 5.3 or greater with the following extensions:
    • PCNTL
    • mysql

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.

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 johndoe
su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Install PHP

Install PHP and required PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.0 php7.0-cli php7.0-fpm php7.0-common php7.0-mysql

Check the version.

php --version
# PHP 7.0.30-0+deb9u1 (cli) (built: Jun 14 2018 13:50:25) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
#     with Zend OPcache v7.0.30-0+deb9u1, Copyright (c) 1999-2017, by Zend Technologies

Install MariaDB and setup a database

Install MariaDB.

sudo apt install -y mariadb-server

Check the version.

mysql --version && sudo mysqld --version
# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.1.26-MariaDB, for debian-linux-gnu (x86_64) using readline 5.2
# mysqld  Ver 10.1.26-MariaDB-0+deb9u1 for debian-linux-gnu on x86_64 (Debian 9.1)

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

sudo mysql_secure_installation
Would you like to setup VALIDATE PASSWORD plugin? N
Please set the password for root here.
New password: **********************
Re-enter new password: **********************
Remove anonymous users? Y
Disallow root login remotely? Y
Remove test database and access to it? Y
Reload privilege tables now? Y
All done!

Connect to MariaDB as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password

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

GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

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/owa.conf and configure Nginx for OWA.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    server_name example.com; # Check this
    root /var/www/owa; # Check this
    index index.php index.html;
    location / {
      try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;
    location ~ .php$ {
      try_files $uri =404;
      fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+.php)(/.+)$;
      fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock; # Check this
      fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
      fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;
      fastcgi_index index.php;
      include fastcgi_params;

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

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

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Open Web Analytics (OWA)

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/owa

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

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

Download the latest release OWA release.

cd /var/www/owa
wget https://github.com/padams/Open-Web-Analytics/archive/1.6.2.zip
unzip 1.6.2.zip
rm 1.6.2.zip
mv Open-Web-Analytics-1.6.2/* . && mv Open-Web-Analytics-1.6.2/.* .
rmdir Open-Web-Analytics-1.6.2

NOTE: Please check The Open Web Analytics site for the latest version.

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

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

Navigate to the OWA installation page in your web browser. Replace example.com with your domain name. The OWA web installer page will appear.

Follow the installer. Once you’ve gone through each of the steps, your OWA installation will be complete.

Need help?

Do you need help setting up this on your own service?
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