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.


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.

# sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Install unzip with the command.

# sudo apt-get install unzip

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.

# sudo apt-get install software-properties-common python-software-properties

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

# sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Update the system to refresh the available repositories.

# sudo apt update

Install PHP 7.2 with the following command.

# sudo apt install -y php7.2

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.

# sudo apt install -y php7.2-json php7.2-zip php7.2-cli php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-intl php7.2-curl php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-common libapache2-mod-php7.2

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.

# php --version

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.

# sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver hkp:// 0xF1656F24C74CD1D8

Add the repository using the command.

# sudo add-apt-repository 'deb [arch=amd64,i386,ppc64el] xenial main'

Update the system by using command.

# sudo apt update

Install MariaDB using the following command.

# sudo apt install -y mariadb-server

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

# sudo systemctl start mariadb
# sudo systemctl enable mariadb

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

# sudo mysql_secure_installation

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

# sudo mysql -u root -p

Execute the following MySQL queries in your MariaDB server.

CREATE USER 'aareez'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '654321Ab';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON elggdb.* TO 'aareez'@'localhost';

Install Elgg:

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

Navigate to /var/www using the command.

# cd /var/www

Download Elgg from its official website using the command below.

# sudo wget

Unzip the downloaded directory.

# sudo unzip

Remove the downloaded zipped directory.

# sudo rm -r

Rename the extracted directory to elgg from

# sudo mv elgg-2.3.7 elgg

Navigate to /elgg using the command.

# cd elgg

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

# sudo mkdir -p /var/www/elgg/data

Change rights for the directory created in the step above.

# sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/elgg
# sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/elgg

Configure Apache Server:

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

# sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/elgg.conf

Copy and paste the following code and save the file.

<VirtualHost *:80> 
DocumentRoot /var/www/elgg
DirectoryIndex index.php index.htm index.html
<Directory /var/www/elgg>
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Require all granted
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/Elgg_error.log
LogLevel warn
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/Elgg_access.log combined

Execute the command below to disable default site.

# sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

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

# sudo a2ensite elgg

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.

# sudo a2enmod rewrite

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.

# sudo a2enmod ssl

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

# sudo service apache2 restart

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.

# sudo apt-get update

Install software-properties-common.

# sudo apt-get install software-properties-common

Add the certbot repository by using command below.

# sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot

Update the package to load the added certbot repository.

# sudo apt-get update

Stop apache before issuance of SSL certificate.

# sudo systemctl stop apache2

Install python-certbot-apache using the command below.

# sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache

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

# sudo certbot --apache -d

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

# sudo systemctl start apache2

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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