Learn How To Installing Bolt CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

July 18, 2019

Table of Contents

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

Bolt is an open source CMS written in PHP. Bolt source code is hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Bolt CMS on a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 LTS IT Web Services instance.


Make sure your server meets the following requirements.

  • PHP 5.5.9 or higher
  • The following common PHP extensions:
    • pdo
    • mysqlnd (to use MySQL as a database)
    • pgsql (to use PostgreSQL as a database)
    • openssl
    • curl
    • gd
    • intl (optional but recommended)
    • json
    • mbstring (optional but recommended)
    • opcache (optional but recommended)
    • posix
    • xml
    • fileinfo
    • exif
    • zip
  • SQLite, MySQL or PostgreSQL database
  • Apache with mod_rewrite enabled or NGINX

Before you begin

Check the Ubuntu version.

lsb_release -ds
# Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS

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 PHP and required PHP extensions, MySQL and NGINX

Download and install PHP 7.0 and required PHP extensions. We will also install 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 PHP version.

php --version
# PHP 7.0.25-0ubuntu0.16.04.1 (cli) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
#     with Zend OPcache v7.0.25-0ubuntu0.16.04.1, Copyright (c) 1999-2017, by Zend Technologies

Because there are many existing IT Web Services Docs detailing the installation of MySQL and NGINX, this article will only cover the configuration of NGINX.

Configure NGINX

Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/bolt.conf and copy/paste the following.

server {
  listen [::]:80;
  listen 80;
  server_name example.com;
  index index.php index.html;
  root /var/www/bolt/public;
  location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
  location ~ [^/].php(/|$) {
    try_files /index.php =404;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?.php)(/.*)$;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";
    fastcgi_param HTTPS $https if_not_empty;
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    include fastcgi_params;

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 NGINX configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload NGINX and restart PHP7.0-FPM.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service
sudo systemctl restart php7.0-fpm.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.

wget https://bolt.cm/distribution/bolt-latest.zip

Install unzip package.

sudo apt install unzip

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

unzip bolt-latest.zip
rm bolt-latest.zip
mv bolt-v3.4.8/* bolt-v3.4.8/.* . # Just press enter on warning
rmdir bolt-v3.4.8/

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

mv .bolt.yml.dist .bolt.yml
mv composer.json.dist composer.json
mv composer.lock.dist composer.lock
mv 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 Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server. To access Bolt’s administrative interface append /bolt to your IP/domain.

Need help?

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