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Anchor CMS is a super-simple and extremely lightweight, free and open source Content Management System (CMS) Blog Engine that supports editing content in Markdown or HTML, and is fully i18n compatible out of the box. Creating and modifying themes is as easy as writing some very simple PHP and HTML/CSS, so there are no new templating languages to learn. Anchor CMS weighs in at only 250KB (compressed) so it is the perfect solution for web developers and bloggers who are tired of bloatware and just want a simple and minimalist blogging engine that gets the job done without any extra complications.
In this tutorial we are going to install Anchor CMS on a Debian 9 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.1, and a MariaDB database.
- A clean Vultr Debian 9 server instance with SSH access
Step 1: Add a Sudo User
We will start by adding a new
First, log into your server as
ssh [email protected]_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS
sudo command isn’t installed by default in the Vultr Debain 9 server instance, so we will first install
apt-get -y install sudo
Now add a new user called
user1 (or your preferred username):
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
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 will be uncommented by default so you can simply exit the file.
Next we need to add
user1 to the
usermod -aG sudo user1
We can verify the
user1 group membership and check that the
usermod command worked with the
Now use the
su command to switch to the new sudo user
su - user1
The command prompt will update to indicate that you are now logged into the
user1 account. You can verify this with the
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
root account (which will disconnect your
You can now
ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user
ssh [email protected]_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS
If you want to execute sudo without having to type a password every time, then open the
/etc/sudoers file again, using
Edit the section for the
sudo group so that it looks like this:
%sudo ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL
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 the following:
Step 2: Update Debian 9 System
Before installing any packages on the Debian 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
DocumentRoot configuration option will look like this:
We now need to enable the
mod_rewrite Apache module, so ensure that your Apache default 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 </Directory> </VirtualHost>
The most important directive shown above is
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 Anchor CMS:
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 MariaDB (MySQL) Server
Debian 9 defaults to using MariaDB database server, which is an enhanced, fully open source, community developed, drop-in replacement for MySQL server.
Install MariaDB database server:
sudo apt-get -y install mariadb-server
Start and enable MariaDB server to execute automatically at boot time:
sudo systemctl enable mariadb sudo systemctl start mariadb
Secure your MariaDB server installation:
root password will be blank, so simply hit enter when prompted for the
When prompted to create a MariaDB/MySQL
root user, select “Y” (for yes) and then enter a secure
root password. 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 Anchor CMS
Log into the MariaDB shell as the MariaDB
root user by running the following command:
sudo mariadb -u root -p
To access the MariaDB command prompt, simply enter the MariaDB
root password when prompted.
Run the following queries to create a MariaDB database and database user for Anchor CMS:
CREATE DATABASE anchor_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci; CREATE USER 'anchor_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword'; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON anchor_db.* TO 'anchor_user'@'localhost'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES; EXIT;
You can replace the database name
anchor_db and username
anchor_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 Anchor CMS Files
Change your current working directory to the default web directory:
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 should now be:
/var/www/html/. You can check this with the
pwd (print working directory) command:
wget to download the Anchor CMS installation package:
sudo wget https://github.com/anchorcms/anchor-cms/archive/0.12.3a.zip
Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the Anchor CMS download page.
List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file:
sudo rm index.html
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
Step 8: Install and Run Composer
Anchor CMS requires us to use
composer to download some plugins so we first need to install
sudo apt-get -y install composer
Now make sure you are in the webroot directory:
Run composer using the
sudo -u www-data composer install -d /var/www/html/
You should see some warning messages from
composer about not being able to write to the cache, but don’t worry too much about that as everything should still install just fine.
We’re now ready to move on to the final step.
Step 9: Complete Anchor CMS Installation
It’s time to visit the IP address of your server instance in your browser, or if you’ve already configured your Vultr DNS settings (and given it enough time to propagate) you can simply visit your domain instead.
To access the Anchor CMS installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by
Most of the installation options are self explanatory, but here are a few pointers to help you along:
On the Anchor CMS landing page, simply click on the
Run the installerbutton to start the installation process.
Timezoneand click on the
Database Detailspage, enter the following database values:
Database Host: localhost Port: 3306 Username: anchor_user Password: UltraSecurePassword Database Name: anchor_db Table Prefix: anchor_ Collation: utf8_unicode_ci
Next Stepto continue.
Site metadatapage, enter the following details:
Site Name: <your site name> Site Description: <a site description> Site Path: /
Next Stepto continue.
Next enter appropriate admin login details:
Username: admin Email Address: <admin email address> Password: <admin password>
Click on the
Completebutton to finalize the installation.
You will see a bright green page with the message
To access the admin section simply click on the
Visit your admin panel button and enter your username and password. If you aren’t redirected to the admin login page, you can enter the admin address manually:
For security reasons, make sure you delete the
/install/ directory from the webroot directory:
sudo rm -rf ./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 Anchor CMS documentation for more information about how to build and configure your site.
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