Running Joomla 1.7 On Nginx (LEMP) On Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 11.10

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Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Tue, 2011-12-13 17:22. :: Debian | Ubuntu | Web Server | nginx

Running Joomla 1.7 On Nginx (LEMP) On Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 11.10

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
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Last edited 12/09/2011

This tutorial shows how you can install and run a Joomla 1.7 web site on a Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu 11.10 system that has nginx installed instead of Apache (LEMP = Linux + nginx (pronounced "engine x") + MySQL + PHP). nginx is a HTTP server that uses much less resources than Apache and delivers pages a lot of faster, especially static files.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I want to install Joomla in a vhost called here with the document root /var/www/

You should have a working LEMP installation, as shown in these tutorials:

A note for Ubuntu users:

Because we must run all the steps from this tutorial with root privileges, we can either prepend all commands in this tutorial with the string sudo, or we become root right now by typing

sudo su


2 Installing APC

APC is a free and open PHP opcode cacher for caching and optimizing PHP intermediate code. It's similar to other PHP opcode cachers, such as eAccelerator and XCache. It is strongly recommended to have one of these installed to speed up your PHP page.

APC can be installed as follows:

apt-get install php-apc

If you use PHP-FPM as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.10), restart it as follows:

/etc/init.d/php5-fpm restart

If you use lighttpd's spawn-fcgi program as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Debian Squeeze), we must kill the current spawn-fcgi process (running on port 9000) and create a new one. Run

netstat -tap

to find out the PID of the current spawn-fcgi process:

root@server1:~# netstat -tap
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0 *:sunrpc                *:*                     LISTEN      734/portmap
tcp        0      0 *:www                   *:*                     LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp        0      0 *:ssh                   *:*                     LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp        0      0 *:57174                 *:*                     LISTEN      748/rpc.statd
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:smtp *:*                     LISTEN      1507/exim4
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:9000 *:*                     LISTEN      1542/php5-cgi
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdo:mysql *:*                     LISTEN      1168/mysqld
tcp        0     52      ESTABLISHED 1557/0
tcp6       0      0 [::]:www                [::]:*                  LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp6       0      0 [::]:ssh                [::]:*                  LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp6       0      0 ip6-localhost:smtp      [::]:*                  LISTEN      1507/exim4

In the above output, the PID is 1542, so we can kill the current process as follows:

kill -9 1542

Afterwards we create a new spawn-fcgi process:

/usr/bin/spawn-fcgi -a -p 9000 -u www-data -g www-data -f /usr/bin/php5-cgi -P /var/run/


3 Installing Joomla

The document root of my web site is /var/www/ - if it doesn't exist, create it as follows:

mkdir -p /var/www/

Because Joomla comes as a .zip file, we need to install unzip:

apt-get install unzip

Next we download Joomla from and place it in our document root:

cd /tmp
mkdir joomla
cd joomla
rm -f
mv * /var/www/

It is recommended to make the document root and the Joomla files in it writable by the nginx daemon which is running as user www-data and group www-data:

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

If you haven't already created a MySQL database for Joomla (including a MySQL Joomla user), you can do that as follows (I name the database joomla in this example, and the user is called joomla_admin, and his password is joomla_admin_password):

mysqladmin -u root -p create joomla

mysql -u root -p

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON joomla.* TO 'joomla_admin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'joomla_admin_password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON joomla.* TO 'joomla_admin'@'localhost.localdomain' IDENTIFIED BY 'joomla_admin_password';



Next we create an nginx vhost configuration for our vhost in the /etc/nginx/sites-available/ directory as follows:

vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/

server {
       listen 80;
       root /var/www/;
       if ($http_host != "") {
                 rewrite ^$request_uri permanent;
       index index.php index.html index.htm default.html default.htm;
       location = /favicon.ico {
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
       location = /robots.txt {
                allow all;
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
       # deny running scripts inside writable directories
       location ~* /(images|cache|media|logs|tmp)/.*\.(php|pl|py|jsp|asp|sh|cgi)$ {
                return 403;
                error_page 403 /403_error.html;
       # Deny all attempts to access hidden files such as .htaccess, .htpasswd, .DS_Store (Mac).
       location ~ /\. {
                deny all;
                access_log off;
                log_not_found off;
       location / {
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;
       # caching of files
       location ~* \.(ico|pdf|flv)$ {
                expires 1y;
       location ~* \.(js|css|png|jpg|jpeg|gif|swf|xml|txt)$ {
                expires 14d;
       location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

To enable that vhost, we create a symlink to it from the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ directory:

cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/

Reload nginx for the changes to take effect:

/etc/init.d/nginx reload

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