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How to Install BookStack on Debian 9

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 28, 2018
Debian Linux Guides Server Apps
Archived content

This article is outdated and may not work correctly for current operating systems or software.

BookStack is a simple, self-hosted, easy-to-use platform for organizing and storing information. BookStack is fully free and open, as well as MIT licensed. The source is available on GitHub. In this tutorial we will install BookStack on a fresh Debian 9 Vultr instance.


  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater; or MariaDB

  • Git (Not strictly required, but helps manage updates)

  • Composer

  • PHP version 7.0.0 or greater

  • PHP Extensions:

    • OpenSSL

    • PDO

    • MBstring

    • Tokenizer

    • GD

    • MySQLND

    • Tidy

    • SimpleXML

    • DOM

Before you begin

Check the Debian version.

lsb_release -ds

# Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 (stretch)

Ensure that your system is up to date.

apt update && apt upgrade -y

Install the necessary packages.

apt install -y sudo unzip curl git

Create a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

adduser johndoe --gecos "John Doe"

usermod -aG sudo johndoe

su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Install PHP

Install PHP and necessary PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.0 php7.0-cli php7.0-fpm php7.0-tidy php7.0-curl php7.0-ldap php7.0-mcrypt php7.0-gd php7.0-xml php7.0-zip php7.0-mysql php7.0-mbstring php7.0-common

Check the version.

php -v

Install MariaDB

Install MariaDB.

sudo apt install -y mariadb-server

Check the version.

mysql --version

Run the mysql_secure installation script to improve MariaDB security.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Connect to the MariaDB shell as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p

# Enter password:

Set up a new MariaDB database and user, and remember the credentials.


GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';


Exit MariaDB.


Install Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the version.

sudo nginx -v

Configure Nginx for BookStack. Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/bookstack.conf and populate the file with the following.

server {

  listen 80;

  listen [::]:80;


  root /var/www/bookstack/public;

  index index.php index.html;

  location / {

    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;


  location ~ \.php$ {

    fastcgi_index index.php;

    try_files $uri =404;

    include fastcgi_params;

    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

    fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;



Activate the new bookstack.conf configuration by linking the file to the sites-enabled directory.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/bookstack.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Composer

Install Composer.

php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"

php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === '544e09ee996cdf60ece3804abc52599c22b1f40f4323403c44d44fdfdd586475ca9813a858088ffbc1f233e9b180f061') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"

php composer-setup.php

php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"

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

Check the version.

composer --version

Install BookStack

Create a document root folder.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/bookstack

Change ownership of the /var/www/bookstack directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /var/www/bookstack

Clone the release branch of the BookStack GitHub repository into the document root folder.

cd /var/www/bookstack

git clone --branch release --single-branch .

Run the composer install command from the /var/www/bookstack directory.

composer install

Copy the .env.example file to .env and populate it with your own database and mail details.

cp .env.example .env

Ensure that the storage, bootstrap/cache and public/uploads folders are writable by the web server.

In the application root, run the following command.

php artisan key:generate

This will generate a unique application key.

Run php artisan migrate to update the database.

Change ownership of the /var/www/bookstack directory to www-data.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/bookstack

You can now login using the default admin details with a password of password. It is recommended to change these details directly after your first login.

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