How To Install Polr URL Shortener on Ubuntu 20.04

Polr is a free and open-source URL shortener written in PHP. It provides a simple and user-friendly interface to create and manage links. You can host your own URL shortener, brand your URLs, and gain control over your data. It provides a ton of features including, robust API, URL forwarding, customize permissions, themes, and more.

In this post, we will show you how to install Polr with Apache and Let's Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu 20.04.

Prerequisites

  • A server running Ubuntu 20.04.
  • A valid domain name pointed with your server IP.
  • A root password is configured on the server.

Getting Started

First, update the system packages to the updated version by running the following command:

apt-get update -y

Once all the packages are updated, you can proceed to the next step.

Install Apache, MariaDB, and PHP

First, you will need to install the Apache server, MariaDB database, PHP, and other PHP extensions to your server. You can install all of them with the following command:

apt-get install apache2 mariadb-server php libapache2-mod-php libapache2-mod-wsgi php-gd php-curl php-xml php-xmlrpc php-curl php-imagick php-mbstring php-zip php-intl -y

Once all the packages are installed, you can proceed to the next step.

Create a Database for Polr

Polr uses MariaDB/MySQL as a database backend. So you will need to create a database and user for Polr.

First, log in to the MariaDB with the following command:

mysql

Once log in, create a database and user with the following command:

MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE polrdb;
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL ON polrdb.* TO 'polr' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Next, flush the privileges and exit from the MariaDB with the following command:

MariaDB [(none)]> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
MariaDB [(none)]> EXIT;

Once you are done, you can proceed to the next step.

Install Composer

Next, you will need to install Composer in your server to install the PHP dependencies required for Polr.

Run the following command to install the Composer:

curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php

You should get the following output:

All settings correct for using Composer
Downloading...

Composer (version 2.1.3) successfully installed to: /root/composer.phar
Use it: php composer.phar

Next, move the Composer binary to the system location using the following command:

mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Next, verify the Composer version using the following command:

composer -V

You should see the following output:

Do not run Composer as root/super user! See https://getcomposer.org/root for details
Continue as root/super user [yes]? yes
Composer version 2.1.3 2021-06-09 16:31:20

Install Polr

Next, you will need to download the latest version of Polr from the Git repository. You can download it with the following command:

git clone https://github.com/cydrobolt/polr.git --depth=1 /var/www/html/polr

Once the download is completed, change the directory to Polr and install all required dependencies with the following command:

cd /var/www/html/polr
composer install --no-dev -o

Next, copy the sample environment file with the following command:

cp .env.setup .env

Next, set proper permission to the Polr directory with the following command:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/polr
chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/polr

Once you are finished, you can proceed to the next step.

Configure Apache for Polr

Next, you will need to create an Apache virtual host configuration file for Polr. You can create it with the following command:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/polr.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/polr/public
ServerName polr.example.com
<Directory /var/www/html/polr/public/>
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all
</Directory>
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/polr-error_log
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/polr-access_log common
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file then enable the Apache virtual host file and rewrite module with the following command:

a2enmod rewrite
a2ensite polr.conf

Next, restart the Apache service to apply the changes:

systemctl restart apache2

You can now verify the status of the Apache service using the following command:

systemctl status apache2

You should get the following output:

? apache2.service - The Apache HTTP Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apache2.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Thu 2021-06-17 12:09:42 UTC; 16s ago
       Docs: https://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/
    Process: 27602 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/apachectl start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 27617 (apache2)
      Tasks: 6 (limit: 2353)
     Memory: 26.6M
     CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
             ??27617 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ??27618 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ??27619 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ??27620 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ??27621 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ??27622 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

Jun 17 12:09:42 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Starting The Apache HTTP Server...

Access Polr Web Interface

You can now access the Polr web interface using the URL http://polr.example.com.

Database configuration

Application settings

URL shortener settings

Captcha settings

Provide your database name, username, password, application settings, Polr URL, admin username, email, password and click on the Install button. Once the Polr has been installed, you should get the following screen:

Setup complete

Click on the home page. You should see Polr dashboard on the following screen:

Polr URL Shortener

Secure Polr with Let's Encrypt Free SSL

First, you will need to install the Certbot Let's Encrypt client to download and install the SSL certificate for your domain.

You can install it with the following command:

apt-get install python3-certbot-apache -y

Once installed, you can run the following command to install the Let's Encrypt Certificate for your domain polr.example.com.

certbot --apache -d polr.example.com

During the installation, you will be asked to provide your email address and accept the term of service as shown below:

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
Plugins selected: Authenticator apache, Installer apache
Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter 'c' to
cancel): [email protected]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about our work
encrypting the web, EFF news, campaigns, and ways to support digital freedom.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(Y)es/(N)o: Y
Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
http-01 challenge for polr.example.com
Enabled Apache rewrite module
Waiting for verification...
Cleaning up challenges
Created an SSL vhost at /etc/apache2/sites-available/polr-le-ssl.conf
Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/apache2/sites-available/polr-le-ssl.conf
Enabling available site: /etc/apache2/sites-available/polr-le-ssl.conf

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Next, type 2 and hit Enter to download and install a free SSL certificate for your domain. Once the installation has been completed successfully. You should get the following output:

Enabled Apache rewrite module
Redirecting vhost in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/polr.conf to ssl vhost in /etc/apache2/sites-available/
polr-le-ssl.conf

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://polr.example.com

You should test your configuration at:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=polr.example.com
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Your Polr website is now secured with Let's Encrypt free SSL. You can access it using the URL https://polr.example.com.

Conclusion

In the above guide, you learned how to install Polr with Apache and Let's Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu 20.04 server. You can now host your own link shortener using Polr. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.

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