Learn How To Install Redmine on Ubuntu 16.04

December 30, 2019

Table of Contents

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

Redmine is a free and open source, web-based project management tool. It is written in Ruby on Rails and supports multiple database servers for storing the database. It is a feature-rich application supporting multiple projects, role based ACL and an issue-tracking system. It also has Gantt chart and calendar support, file management, per project wiki and forum, as well as many other features. It supports version control systems such as Git, SVN or CVS. It is also multilingual, supporting as many as 49 languages.


  • An ITWeb.Services Ubuntu 16.04 server instance.
  • A sudo user.
  • A domain name pointed towards the server.

For this tutorial, we will use as the public IP address and redmine.example.com as the domain name pointed towards the IT Web Services instance. Please make sure to replace all occurrences of the example domain name and IP address with the actual one.

https://www.itweb.services/tutorials/linux-guides/how-to-update-centos-7-ubuntu-16-04-and-debian-8″>How to Update Ubuntu 16.04. Once your system has been updated, proceed to install the dependencies.

Install Apache

Redmine is written in Ruby on Rails, thus we will require Phusion Passenger to integrate with the Apache web server to serve the application.

Install Apache.

sudo apt -y install apache2 apache2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev

To build the Ruby and Passenger, we will need some development tools as well. Install the required tools.

sudo apt -y install imagemagick libmagickwand-dev git build-essential automake libgmp-dev

Install PostgreSQL

Redmine supports multiple types of database servers such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MSSQL. In this tutorial, we will use PostgreSQL to host the Redmine database server.

PostgreSQL is an object-relational database system. The default Ubuntu repository contains an old version of PostgreSQL, so add the PostgreSQL repository to the system.

echo "deb http://apt.postgresql.org/pub/repos/apt/ xenial-pgdg main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list
wget --quiet -O - https://www.postgresql.org/media/keys/ACCC4CF8.asc | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update

Install the PostgreSQL database server.

sudo apt -y install postgresql

Start the PostgreSQL server and enable it to start automatically at boot time.

sudo systemctl start postgresql
sudo systemctl enable postgresql

Change the password for the default PostgreSQL user.

sudo passwd postgres

Log in as the PostgreSQL user.

sudo su - postgres

Create a new PostgreSQL user for Redmine.

createuser redmine

You are allowed to use any username instead of redmine. PostgreSQL provides the psql shell to run queries on the database. Switch to the PostgreSQL shell.


Set a password for the newly created user for the Redmine database.

ALTER USER redmine WITH ENCRYPTED password 'DBPassword';

Replace DBPassword with a secure password. Create a new database for the Redmine installation.


Exit from the psql shell.


Switch to the sudo user.


Install a few more required PostgreSQL dependencies.

sudo apt -y install libpqxx-dev protobuf-compiler

Install Ruby

We will install the latest version of Ruby using RVM. It is used to install and manage multiple versions of Ruby.

Add the RVM repository.

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:rael-gc/rvm
sudo apt update

Install RVM.

sudo apt -y install rvm

As we need to install Ruby system wide, we will switch to the root user temporarily.

sudo -i

Update the environment variables.

echo "source /etc/profile.d/rvm.sh" | tee -a /etc/profile
source /etc/profile.d/rvm.sh

Install the latest version of Ruby.

rvm install 2.5.1

Note: If you are using a different version of Ruby, make sure to update the Ruby path accordingly.

Use the installed version of Ruby.

rvm use 2.5.1 --default

You can verify its version.

ruby -v

You will see a similar output.

root@itweb.services:~# ruby -v
ruby 2.5.1p57 (2018-03-29 revision 63029) [x86_64-linux]

Install bundler, which is the dependency manager for the Ruby application.

gem install bundler

Ruby is now installed. Before we install Redmine, we will need to install Phusion Passenger.

Install Passenger

Run the following command to install Passenger.

gem install passenger

Install the Apache module for Passenger.


The installer script will ask you some questions. First, it will provide you information about the installation process. Then, it will ask you to select the language which you will be using. Since our application is written in Ruby on Rails, select Ruby from the menu and press ENTER to proceed further.

Which languages are you interested in?
Use <space> to select.
If the menu doesn't display correctly, press '!'
 ‣ ⬢  Ruby
   ⬢  Python
   ⬡  Node.js
   ⬡  Meteor

The installer will now check for requirements. The installer will not encounter any missing dependencies and will automatically proceed to compile and install the module.

Once the module is installed, it will prompt you to add the module to the Apache configuration file.

Almost there!
Please edit your Apache configuration file, and add these lines:
   LoadModule passenger_module /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3/buildout/apache2/mod_passenger.so
   <IfModule mod_passenger.c>
     PassengerRoot /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3
     PassengerDefaultRuby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
After you restart Apache, you are ready to deploy any number of web
applications on Apache, with a minimum amount of configuration!
Press ENTER when you are done editing.

We will skip this for now and will complete it later in the tutorial. Press ENTER to skip this step.

Finally, the installer script will validate the installation and you will see a warning saying the Passenger module is not specified in Apache configuration.

Validating installation...
 * Checking whether this Passenger install is in PATH... ✓
 * Checking whether there are no other Passenger installations... ✓
 * Checking whether Apache is installed... ✓
 * Checking whether the Passenger module is correctly configured in Apache... (!)
   You did not specify 'LoadModule passenger_module' in any of your Apache
   configuration files. Please paste the configuration snippet that this
   installer printed earlier, into one of your Apache configuration files, such
   as /etc/apache2/apache2.conf.
Detected 0 error(s), 1 warning(s).
Press ENTER to continue.

Now that we have installed the Passenger module for Apache, proceed to download and install Redmine. Switch to the sudo user again since we do not need to run any more commands using root user.


Install Redmine

It is recommended to use an unprivileged user to run the application to keep it isolated from rest of the system. Create a new user for Redmine and switch to the newly created user.

sudo adduser --disabled-password --gecos "Redmine User" redmine
sudo su - redmine

Download the latest version of Redmine from the official Redmine download page.

cd ~
wget http://www.redmine.org/releases/redmine-3.4.4.tar.gz

Extract the archive and rename the directory for the sake of convenience.

tar -xf redmine-*.tar.gz
mv redmine-*/ redmine/

Copy the example configuration files to its production location.

cd redmine
cp config/configuration.yml.example config/configuration.yml
cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml

Open the database configuration file we just copied to enter the database details.

nano config/database.yml

By default, the database file is configured for MySQL. Find the configurations for production and development, and test which uses the MySQL adapter. Comment out all of these lines.

#  adapter: mysql2
#  database: redmine
#  host: localhost
#  username: root
#  password: ""
#  encoding: utf8
#  adapter: mysql2
#  database: redmine_development
#  host: localhost
#  username: root
#  password: ""
#  encoding: utf8
#  adapter: mysql2
#  database: redmine_test
#  host: localhost
#  username: root
#  password: ""
#  encoding: utf8

Furthur, find the lines which are commented, having production configuration for the postgresql adapter. Uncomment those lines and update the database name and user credentials. Make sure to use the correct indentation, which is two spaces.

  adapter: postgresql
  database: redmine
  host: localhost
  username: redmine
  password: "DBPassword"

Configure the application to use the PostgreSQL configuration.

bundle config build.pg --with-pg-config=/usr/bin/pg_config

Install the dependencies required by the application.

bundle install --path vendor/bundle --without development test

You will see the following message at the end of the installation.

Installing roadie-rails 1.1.1
Bundle complete! 31 Gemfile dependencies, 55 gems now installed.
Gems in the groups development and test were not installed.
Bundled gems are installed into `./vendor/bundle`

The following command generates secret tokens that are used to encode the session data.

bundle exec rake generate_secret_token

Write the PostgreSQL database.

RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake db:migrate

Run the following command, which writes the default data into PostgreSQL database.

RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake redmine:load_default_data

The above command will ask you to choose the default language to be used with the application. The default choice is English; choose according to your preference.

[redmine@itweb.services redmine]$ RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake redmine:load_default_data
Select language: ar, az, bg, bs, ca, cs, da, de, el, en, en-GB, es, es-PA, et, eu, fa, fi, fr, gl, he, hr, hu, id, it, ja, ko, lt, lv, mk, mn, nl, no, pl, pt, pt-BR, ro, ru, sk, sl, sq, sr, sr-YU, sv, th, tr, uk, vi, zh, zh-TW [en]
Default configuration data loaded.

Installation of the Redmine application is now finished. Change ownership and permissions of the directories and files.

mkdir -p tmp tmp/pdf public/plugin_assets
chown -R redmine:redmine files log tmp public/plugin_assets
chmod -R 755 files log tmp public/plugin_assets

We have configured everything we need from the non-privileged user. Switch back to the sudo user by running su - <username>.

Configure Apache

Add the Passenger module for Apache into the Apache configuration file. This will automatically load the Passenger module.

echo "LoadModule passenger_module /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3/buildout/apache2/mod_passenger.so" | sudo tee -a /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Note: The path to the Passenger module may change when there is a new release of Passenger. To find the path to the module, use the sudo find / -name mod_passenger.so command.

Create a new virtual host file for your Redmine application.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/redmine.conf

Populate the file with the following content.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName redmine.example.com
    DocumentRoot /home/redmine/redmine/public
    PassengerRoot /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3
    PassengerDefaultRuby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
    PassengerUser redmine
    <Directory /home/redmine/redmine/public>
      Allow from all
      Options -MultiViews
      Require all granted

Make sure to replace redmine.example.com with your actual domain name. Also, make sure that the path to the PassengerRoot and PassengerDefaultRuby are correct. The path to the binaries may change when there is a new release of Ruby or Passenger. To find these paths, run the following command.

passenger-config about ruby-command

You will get following output.

user@itweb.services:~$ passenger-config about ruby-command
passenger-config was invoked through the following Ruby interpreter:
  Command: /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
  Version: ruby 2.5.1p57 (2018-03-29 revision 63029) [x86_64-linux]
  To use in Apache: PassengerRuby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
  To use in Nginx : passenger_ruby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
  To use with Standalone: /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3/bin/passenger start
## Notes for RVM users
Do you want to know which command to use for a different Ruby interpreter? 'rvm use' that Ruby interpreter, then re-run 'passenger-config about ruby-command'.

Once the Virtual host file is created. Activate the configuration.

sudo a2ensite redmine

Restart the Apache web server.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

You can now access your Redmine interface on http://redmine.example.com. Login with the username admin, and the password admin. On your first login, Redmine will prompt you to update the password.

Securing Apache with Let’s Encrypt SSL

Since our Redmine installation is on a public facing server, it is recommended to use SSL to secure the exchange of the data from the server.

Add the Certbot repository.

sudo add-apt-repository --yes ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update

Install Certbot, which is the client application for Let’s Encrypt CA.

sudo apt -y install certbot

Note: To obtain certificates from Let’s Encrypt CA, the domain for which the certificates are to be generated must be pointed towards the server. If not, make the necessary changes to the DNS records of the domain and wait for the DNS to propagate before making the certificate request again. Certbot checks the domain authority before providing the certificates.

Generate the SSL certificates.

sudo certbot certonly --webroot -w /home/redmine/redmine/public -d redmine.example.com

The generated certificates are likely to be stored in /etc/letsencrypt/live/redmine.example.com/. The SSL certificate will be stored as cert.pem and private key will be stored as privkey.pem.

Let’s Encrypt certificates expire in 90 days, hence it is recommended to set up auto-renewal of the certificates using Cron jobs.

Open the Cron job file for the root user.

sudo crontab -e

Add the following line at the end of the file.

30 5 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew --quiet

The above Cron job will run every day at 5:30 AM. If the certificate is due for expiration, it will automatically be renewed.

Enable the SSL module for Apache.

sudo a2enmod ssl

Edit the virtual host file we created earlier for Redmine.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/redmine.conf

Modify the Virtual host file to be similar to the following.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName redmine.example.com
    Redirect permanent / https://redmine.example.com/
<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerAdmin admin@example.com
    ServerName redmine.example.com
    DocumentRoot "/home/redmine/redmine/public"
    <Directory "/home/redmine/redmine/public">
        Options None
        Require all granted
    PassengerAppEnv production
    PassengerRoot /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/gems/passenger-5.2.3
    PassengerDefaultRuby /usr/share/rvm/gems/ruby-2.5.1/wrappers/ruby
    PassengerUser redmine
    PassengerHighPerformance on
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile      /etc/letsencrypt/live/redmine.example.com/cert.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile   /etc/letsencrypt/live/redmine.example.com/privkey.pem
    SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/redmine.example.com/chain.pem
    SSLProtocol             all -SSLv2 -SSLv3
    SSLHonorCipherOrder     on
    <IfModule headers_module>
        Header always edit Set-Cookie ^(.*)$ $1;HttpOnly;Secure
        Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15768000; includeSubDomains"

Save the file and exit from the editor.

Restart Apache so that the changes can take effect.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

You can now access Redmine over HTTPS at https://redmine.example.com.

Congratulations, you have successfully installed Redmine on your Ubuntu 16.04 instance. Start developing your project either by creating or importing your project.

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