Installing Simple Invoices On Debian Etch

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial describes how to install Simple Invoices on a Debian Etch server. Simple Invoices is a web-based, basic invoicing system that lets you create and manage your invoices, export them as PDF or Excel files, email them to your customers, etc. It is intended for small businesses/organizations and home users.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

In this tutorial I use the hostname with the IP address These settings might differ for you, so you have to replace them where appropriate.

Simple Invoices requires an Apache-MySQL-PHP system. PHP should support GD2 (for creating PDF invoices) and XSL (for reports). In this tutorial I will install Apache, PHP, and MySQL on a fresh Debian system, and I will install Simple Invoices in the default Apache vhost in /var/www. If you have already installed Apache, PHP, and MySQL and have also configured additional Apache vhosts, you will have to adjust the settings in this tutorial to your needs.


2 Installing MySQL 5.0

First we install MySQL 5.0 like this:

apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client

Create a password for the MySQL user root (replace yourrootsqlpassword with the password you want to use):

mysqladmin -u root password yourrootsqlpassword

Then check with

netstat -tap | grep mysql

on which addresses MySQL is listening. If the output looks like this:

tcp        0      0 localhost.localdo:mysql *:*                     LISTEN     2713/mysqld

which means MySQL is listening on localhost.localdomain only, then you're safe with the password you set before. But if the output looks like this:

tcp        0      0 *:mysql *:*                     LISTEN     2713/mysqld

you should set a MySQL password for your hostname, too, because otherwise anybody can access your database and modify data:

mysqladmin -h -u root password yourrootsqlpassword


3 Installing Apache/PHP5/phpMyAdmin

Next we install Apache2 together with PHP5 (including GD2 and XSL support) and phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin is not required, but it's always good to have it in case you want a GUI for accessing your MySQL database:

apt-get install apache2 apache2-mpm-prefork libapache2-mod-php5 php5 php5-gd php5-mysql php5-xsl phpmyadmin

Afterwards, direct your browser to to check if phpMyAdmin is working. If you see something like this, everything's fine:


4 Configuring PHP

For Simple Invoices being able to create PDF invoices, you should allocate at least 24MB of RAM to PHP. Therefore we open /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini and set memory_limit to 24M:

vi /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

; Resource Limits ;

max_execution_time = 30     ; Maximum execution time of each script, in seconds
max_input_time = 60 ; Maximum amount of time each script may spend parsing request data
memory_limit = 24M      ; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume (16MB)

Restart Apache afterwards (restart it even if you didn't have to change php.ini - we must restart it once so that the GD2 and XSL modules installed in the previous chapter get enabled):

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Unless you have already created virtual hosts in your Apache installation, the document root of the default web site is /var/www. We will now create a small PHP file (info.php) in that directory (if you have created virtual hosts, place it in any of the virtual hosts that has PHP enabled) and call it in a browser. The file will display lots of useful details about our PHP installation, such as the installed PHP version.

vi /var/www/info.php


Now we call that file in a browser (e.g.

If you scroll down, you should now find the gd and xsl modules (if not, something went wrong):

Falko Timme

About Falko Timme

Falko Timme is an experienced Linux administrator and founder of Timme Hosting, a leading nginx business hosting company in Germany. He is one of the most active authors on HowtoForge since 2005 and one of the core developers of ISPConfig since 2000. He has also contributed to the O'Reilly book "Linux System Administration".

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Has been changed by authour of simpleinvoices to:

the pdf stuff now lives in ./include/pdf

chmod the ./include/pdf directory

By: Stephen Reese

Thanks for the great quick and easy howto!