How to Install Elgg on Alibaba Cloud ECS

By Arslan Ud Din Shafiq, Alibaba Cloud Tech Share Author. Tech Share is Alibaba Cloud’s incentive program to encourage the sharing of technical knowledge and best practices within the cloud community.

Elgg is a powerful open source social networking engine, which provides you with a robust framework to build web applications for organizations of all sizes. In this tutorial, I will be installing and setting up Elgg using Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) with Ubuntu 16.04.


  • You must have Alibaba Cloud Elastic Compute Service (ECS) activated and verified your valid payment method. If you are a new user, you can get $300 — $1200 worth in Alibaba Cloud credits for your new account. If you don’t k about how to setup your ECS instance, you can refer to this tutorial or quick-start guide. Your ECS instance must have at least 1GB RAM and 1 Core processor.
  • A domain name registered from Alibaba Cloud. If you have already registered a domain from Alibaba Cloud or any other host, you can update its domain nameserver records.
  • Domain name must be pointed to your Alibaba Cloud ECS’s IP address
  • Access to VNC console in your Alibaba Cloud or SSH client installed in your PC
  • Set up your server’s hostname and create user with root privileges.

Setting Up Your Server

Before proceeding with installation of any kind of package, use the following command to update your Ubuntu system. To execute this command, remember to login from non-root user with sudo privileges.

Install unzip with the command.

Install PHP:

Elgg requires installation of PHP 5.6 or newer version of PHP. In this tutorial, you will install PHP 7.2. To install PHP 7.2, execute the following steps.

You will need to install python software properties and software properties common.

You will also need to add repository for newer versions of PHP.

Update the system to refresh the available repositories.

Install PHP 7.2 with the following command.

Elgg requires the following PHP extensions:

  1. libapache2-mod-php7.2
  2. php7.2-common
  3. php7.2-sqlite3
  4. php7.2-curl
  5. php7.2-intl
  6. php7.2-mbstring
  7. php7.2-xmlrpc
  8. php7.2-mysql
  9. php7.2-gd
  10. php7.2-xml
  11. php7.2-cli
  12. php7.2-zip
  13. php7.2-json

To install the above extensions of PHP, execute the following command.

When you have done installation of the above extensions, apache2 will be installed automatically. Hence, you don’t need to install apache explicitly. You can confirm it by accessing your domain name or Alibaba Cloud ECS IP address.

To check your PHP installation, you can execute the following command.

Install MariaDB

In this tutorial, you will use MariaDB server for MySQL. By default, Ubuntu repository has older version of MariaDB server. To use new version of MariaDB, you will need to add MariaDB repository to your Ubuntu system. To do so, follow the steps below.

Verify the keys by executing command.

Add the repository using the command.

Update the system by using command.

Install MariaDB using the following command.

Start and enable the MariaDB server so that after reboot, the server can start automatically.

Run the following command to enhance security of MariaDB server and set password for the root user.

Connect to the MySQL shell as root user using the command below and enter your password.

Execute the following MySQL queries in your MariaDB server.

Install Elgg:

To install Elgg, you will need to follow the steps.

Navigate to /var/www using the command.

Download Elgg from its official website using the command below.

Unzip the downloaded directory.

Remove the downloaded zipped directory.

Rename the extracted directory to elgg from

Navigate to /elgg using the command.

Create directory for storing data of Elgg by executing command below.

Change rights for the directory created in the step above.

Configure Apache Server:

Create virtual host configuration file for Elgg. Execute the following command, a file will be opened in nano text editor.

Copy and paste the following code and save the file.

Execute the command below to disable default site.

You will need to enable the newly created virtual host. To do so, execute the command below.

You will need to enable rewrite mod. You can do so by editing configuration file in apache2 directory or you can simply execute the command below.

You will need to enable SSL engine. You can do so by editing configuration file in apache2 directory or you can simply execute the command below.

You will have to restart apache server to apply the changes and load the settings by executing command below.

You can access Elgg via your domain name or ECS IP address. You will see the following screen.

You will see the following screen when you click Next.

Configure Database:

When you click Next, you will be redirected to the following screen.

Add the database details and hit the Submit button. You will be redirected to following page. If you want to setup SSL then go to next section to install SSL and continue from here. Otherwise, fill in the details asked and hit the Submit button to continue.

After hitting Next, you will see the following screen to setup administrator account.

After hitting Next, you will be redirected to the following screen.

Install SSL Certificate:

We will install SSL certificate using Let’s Encrypt with Certbot. To do so, execute the following steps.

Update the package.

Install software-properties-common.

Add the certbot repository by using command below.

Update the package to load the added certbot repository.

Stop apache before issuance of SSL certificate.

Install python-certbot-apache using the command below.

Execute the following command to get Let’s Encrypt SSL issued.

Select the option 2 to redirect the link to https and update virtual host settings for SSL. Restart apache server.

You can access your website at https://your_domain_name.tld

Set Up Firewalls and Ports

If you have activated firewalls, you will have to define a rule in Alibaba Cloud security group for your cloud server to add exception for port 80/tcp and 443/tcp. You can enable these ports while creating ECS instance, but in case if you have forgotten to unblock these ports, you can follow the procedure in this guide:

Congratulations! You can now use Elgg social network engine on your server.

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