Running Simple Groupware On Nginx (LEMP) On Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 11.10

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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This tutorial shows how you can install and run Simple Groupware on a Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu 11.10 system that has nginx installed instead of Apache (LEMP = Linux + nginx (pronounced "engine x") + MySQL + PHP). Simple Groupware is an open source enterprise groupware that offers email, calendaring, contacts, tasks, document management, project management, synchronization with Outlook and cell phones, full-text search, extensions and many more. 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 Simple Groupware 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 Configuring PHP

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

We also need to install the following prerequisites for Simple Groupware to work:

apt-get install catdoc ppthtml imagemagick unzip poppler-utils mp3info exiv2 graphviz php5-gd

Now we must configure PHP to allow big uploads - the default value is 2MB which is not much. I want to raise this limit to 512MB. Open your php.ini - if you use PHP-FPM, it is /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini...

vi /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

... and if you use spawn-fcgi, it is /etc/php5/cli/php.ini:

vi /etc/php5/cli/php.ini
memory_limit = 512M
post_max_size = 512M
upload_max_filesize = 512M

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 Simple Groupware

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

mkdir -p /var/www/

Next we download the Simple Groupware installer script from and place it in our document root:

cd /var/www/
gunzip sgs_installer.php.gz

It is recommended to make the document root and the Simple Groupware installer 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 Simple Groupware (including a MySQL Simple Groupware user), you can do that as follows (I name the database sgware in this example, and the user is called sgware_admin, and his password is sgware_admin_password):

mysqladmin -u root -p create sgware
mysql -u root -p
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON sgware.* TO 'sgware_admin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'sgware_admin_password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON sgware.* TO 'sgware_admin'@'localhost.localdomain' IDENTIFIED BY 'sgware_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;

       location = /favicon.ico {
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
                expires max;

       location = /robots.txt {
                allow all;
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;

       # Deny all attempts to access hidden files such as .htaccess, .htpasswd, .DS_Store (Mac).
       location ~ /\. {
                deny all;
                access_log off;
                log_not_found off;

       client_max_body_size 1000M;
       dav_methods PUT DELETE MKCOL COPY MOVE;
       create_full_put_path on;
       dav_access user:rw group:rw all:r;

       # WebDAV server
       location ~ ^/sgdav {
                rewrite . /bin/webdav.php;
       # CMS real URLs
       location ~ ^/cms/ {
                rewrite ^/cms/ext/(.*)$ /bin/ext/cms/$1 last;
                rewrite ^/cms/thumbs/(.*)$ /bin/preview.php?filename=$1 last;
                rewrite ^/cms/(.*?)/file/(.*)$ /bin/cms.php?page=$1&file=$2 last;
                rewrite ^/cms/(.*)$ /bin/cms.php?page=$1 last;
       # Root
       location = / {
                if ($request_method = "OPTIONS") {
                   rewrite . /bin/webdav.php last;
                try_files /bin/index.php /src/index.php /sgs_installer.php =404;

                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
                fastcgi_pass; # use spawn-fcgi (!!)
       # Root PHP /*.php
       location ~ ^/([^/]+\.php)$ {
                try_files /bin/$1 /src/$1 $uri =404;
                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
                fastcgi_pass; # use spawn-fcgi (!!)
       # sgs src/*.php bin/*.php
       location ~ ^/(src|bin)/([^/]+\.php|ext/.+\.php)$ {
                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
                fastcgi_pass; # use spawn-fcgi (!!)
       # Redirect static files
       location ~ ^/(src/|bin/)?(ext/.*|docs/.*)$ {
                try_files /custom/$2 /ext/$2 /bin/$2 /src/$2 $uri =404;
       # Drop all other stuff
       location / {
                if (!-f $request_filename) { return 404; }
                #return 403;

To enable the 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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