How to Install Bolt CMS on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Bolt is a sophisticated, lightweight and simple CMS built with PHP. It is released under the open source MIT-license and source code is hosted as a public repository on Github. Bolt is a tool for Content Management, which strives to be as simple and straightforward as possible. It is quick to set up, easy to configure, uses elegant templates. Bolt is created using modern open source libraries and is best suited to build sites in HTML5 with modern markup. In this tutorial, we will go through the Bolt CMS installation on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system by using Nginx as a web server, MySQL as a database server, and optionally you can secure transport layer by using client and Let's Encrypt certificate authority to add SSL support.


The system requirements for Bolt are modest, and it should run on any fairly modern web server:

  • PHP version 5.5.9 or higher with the following common PHP extensions: pdo, mysqlnd, pgsql, openssl, curl, gd, intl, json, mbstring, opcache, posix, xml, fileinfo, exif, zip.
  • Access to SQLite (which comes bundled with PHP), or MySQL or PostgreSQL.
  • Apache with mod_rewrite enabled (.htaccess files) or Nginx (virtual host configuration covered below).
  • A minimum of 32MB of memory allocated to PHP.


  • An operating system running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Initial steps

Check your Ubuntu version:

lsb_release -ds
# Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS

Set up the timezone:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Update your operating system packages (software). This is an important first step because it ensures you have the latest updates and security fixes for your operating system's default software packages:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install some essential packages that are necessary for basic administration of Ubuntu operating system:

sudo apt install -y curl wget vim git unzip socat bash-completion

Step 1 - Install PHP and necessary PHP extensions

Install PHP, as well as the necessary PHP extensions:

sudo apt install -y php7.2 php7.2-cli php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-mbstring php7.2-zip php7.2-pgsql php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-curl php7.2-gd php7.2-mysql php7.2-intl php7.2-json php7.2-opcache php7.2-xml

To show PHP compiled in modules, you can run:

php -m

. . .
. . .

Check PHP version:

php --version

# PHP 7.2.10-0ubuntu0.18.04.1 (cli) (built: Sep 13 2018 13:45:02) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
# with Zend OPcache v7.2.10-0ubuntu0.18.04.1, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

PHP-FPM service is automatically started and enabled on reboot on Ubuntu 18.04 system, so there is no need to start and enable it manually. We can move on to the next step, which is the database installation and setup.

Step 2 - Install MySQL and create a database for Bolt CMS

Bolt CMS supports MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL databases. In this tutorial, we will use MySQL as a database server.

Install MySQL database server:

sudo apt install -y mysql-server

Check MySQL version:

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 14.14 Distrib 5.7.25, for Linux (x86_64) using  EditLine wrapper

Run mysql_secure installation script to improve MySQL security and set the password for MySQL root user:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Answer each of the questions:

Would you like to setup VALIDATE PASSWORD plugin? N
New password: your_secure_password
Re-enter new password: your_secure_password
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y

Connect to MySQL shell as the root user:

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password

Create an empty MySQL database and user for Bolt CMS and remember the credentials:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE dbname;
mysql> GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Exit from MySQL:

mysql> exit

Replace dbname, username and password with your own names.

Step 3 - Install client and obtain Let's Encrypt certificate (optional)

Securing your website with HTTPS is not necessary, but it is a good practice to secure your site traffic. In order to obtain TLS certificate from Let's Encrypt we will use client. is a pure unix shell software for obtaining TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt with zero dependencies. 

Download and install

sudo su - root
git clone
./ --install --accountemail [email protected]
source ~/.bashrc
cd ~

Check version: --version
# v2.8.1

Obtain RSA and ECC/ECDSA certificates for your domain/hostname:

# RSA 2048 --issue --standalone -d --keylength 2048
# ECDSA --issue --standalone -d --keylength ec-256

If you want fake certificates for testing you can add --staging flage to the above commands.

After running the above commands, your certificates and keys will be in:

  • For RSA: /home/username/ directory.
  • For ECC/ECDSA: /home/username/example.com_ecc directory.

To list your issued certs you can run: --list

Create a directories to store your certs. We will use /etc/letsencrypt directory.

mkdir -p /etc/letsecnrypt/
sudo mkdir -p /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc

Install/copy certificates to /etc/letsencrypt directory.

# RSA --install-cert -d --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"
# ECC/ECDSA --install-cert -d --ecc --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/cert.pem --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"

All the certificates will be automatically renewed every 60 days.

After obtaining certs exit form root user and return back to normal sudo user:


Step 4 - Install NGINX and configure NGINX for Bolt CMS

Bolt CMS can work fine with many popular web server software. In this tutorial, we selected Nginx. If you prefer Apache web server over Nginx, check out to learn more.

Download and install Nginx from the Ubuntu repository:

sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the Nginx version:

sudo nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu)

Configure Nginx for Bolt CMS by running:

sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/bolt.conf

And populate the file with the following configuration:

server {

listen 80;
listen 443 ssl http2;
root /var/www/bolt/public;
index index.php;

ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key;

location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;

location = /bolt {
try_files $uri /index.php?$query_string;

location ^~ /bolt/ {
try_files $uri /index.php?$query_string;

location ~ /index.php/(.*) {
rewrite ^/index.php/(.*) /$1 permanent;

location ~ /\. { deny all; }
location ~ /\.(htaccess|htpasswd)$ { deny all; }
location ~ /\.(?:db)$ { deny all; }
location ~* /(.*)\.(?:markdown|md|twig|yaml|yml)$ { deny all; }

location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
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/php7.2-fpm.sock;


NOTE: For complete and production ready Nginx config for Bolt CMS check out

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

Check Nginx configuration for syntax errors:

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx service:

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 5 - Install Bolt CMS

Create /var/www directory:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/

Navigate to /var/www directory:

cd /var/www/

Download the latest release Bolt CMS via wget and unzip it:

sudo wget && sudo unzip

Remove downloaded file:

sudo rm

Rename the bolt-v3.6.4 directory to just bolt:

sudo mv bolt-v3.6.4 bolt

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

sudo mv .bolt.yml.dist .bolt.yml
sudo mv composer.json.dist composer.json
sudo mv composer.lock.dist composer.lock
sudo mv src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php.dist src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php

Change ownership of the /var/www/bolt directory to www-data user:

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

Navigate to the folder where you uploaded Bolt in your web browser and follow the instructions on the screen.

Step 6 - Complete the Bolt CMS Installation and Setup

After opening your site in a web browser, you should be redirected to the following page:

Bolt CMS setup wizard

Fill in the required information to create a user and click the "Create the first user" button to continue. After that Bolt CMS admin interface should show up:

Bolt CMS dashboard

Bolt CMS installation is now finished. To access Bolt CMS admin append /bolt to your site IP or domain.

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By: Superken4169

I've done the set up as shown and get a 404 error when I try to bring it up in the web browser.   Any ideas?


By: Sabhapathy Myakal

Thank you very much, the content is really very  useful, clear and set-by-step to setup Bolt CMS on Ubuntu.