CMS Made Simple 2.2 is a flexible and extensible, free and open source Content Management System (CMS) intelligently designed to be versatile and adaptable to the needs of developers, designers and end-users. CMS Made Simple 2.2 features an intuitive user interface and simple to use WYSIWYG page editor, elegantly simple content management capabilities, flexible layout and templating possibilities using Smarty tags, a rich modular API, and the ability to fully integrate with third-party PHP applications.

In this tutorial we are going to install CMS Made Simple 2.2 on a FreeBSD 11 FAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.1, and a MariaDB database.

Prerequisites

  • A clean Vultr FreeBSD 11 server instance with SSH access

Step 1: Add a Sudo User

We will start by adding a new sudo user.

First, log into your server as root:

ssh root@YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS

The sudo command isn't installed by default in the Vultr FreeBSD 11 server instance, so we will first install sudo:

pkg install sudo

Now add a new user called user1 (or your preferred username):

adduser user1

The adduser command will prompt you for several details for the user account, so simply select the defaults for most of them when it makes sense to do so. When you are asked whether to Invite user1 into any other groups?, you should enter wheel to add user1 to the wheel group.

Now check the /etc/sudoers file to make sure that the sudoers group is enabled:

visudo

Look for a section like this:

# %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       ALL

This line tells us that users who are members of the wheel group can use the sudo command to gain root privileges. It will be commented out by default so you will need to uncomment it and then save and exit the file.

We can verify the user1 group membership with the groups command:

groups user1

If user1 is not a member of the wheel group, you can use this command to update the user1 group membership:

pw group mod wheel -m user1 

Now use the su command to switch to the new sudo user user1 account:

su - user1

The command prompt will update to indicate that you are now logged into the user1 account. You can verify this with the whoami command:

whoami

Now restart the sshd service so that you can login via ssh with the new non-root sudo user account you have just created:

sudo /etc/rc.d/sshd restart

Exit the user1 account:

exit

Exit the root account (which will disconnect your ssh session):

exit

You can now ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user user1 account:

ssh user1@YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS

If you want to execute sudo without having to type a password every time, then open the /etc/sudoers file again, using visudo:

sudo visudo

Edit the section for the wheel group so that it looks like this:

%wheel        ALL=(ALL)       NOPASSWD: ALL

Please note: Disabling the password requirement for the sudo user is not a recommended practice, but it is included here as it can make server configuration much more convenient and less frustrating, especially during longer systems administration sessions. If you are concerned about the security implications, you can always revert the configuration change to the original after you finish your administration tasks.

Whenever you want to log into the root user account from within the sudo user account, you can use one of the following commands:

sudo -i
sudo su -

You can exit the root account and return back to your sudo user account any time by simply typing exit.

Step 2: Update FreeBSD 11 System

Before installing any packages on the FreeBSD server instance, we will first update the system.

Make sure you are logged in to the server using a non-root sudo user and run the following commands:

sudo freebsd-update fetch
sudo freebsd-update install
sudo pkg update
sudo pkg upgrade

Step 3: Install Apache Web Server

Install the Apache web server:

sudo pkg install apache24

Enter y when prompted.

Now use the sysrc command to enable the Apache service to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo sysrc apache24_enable=yes

The sysrc command updates the /etc/rc.conf configuration file, so if you want to verify the configuration update manually you can simply open the /etc/rc.conf file with your favourite terminal editor:

vi /etc/rc.conf

Now start the Apache service:

sudo service apache24 start

You can quickly check that Apache is running by visiting the IP address or domain of the server instance in your browser:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/

You should see the default FreeBSD Apache page displaying the text:

It works!

Check your Apache default configuration file to ensure that the DocumentRoot directive points to the correct directory:

sudo vi /usr/local/etc/apache24/httpd.conf

The DocumentRoot configuration option should look like this:

DocumentRoot "/usr/local/www/apache24/data"

We now need to enable the mod_rewrite Apache module. We can do this by searching the default Apache configuration file for the term mod_rewrite.

By default, the mod_rewrite Apache module will be commented out (which means it is disabled). The configuration line on a clean Vultr FreeBSD 11 instance will look like this:

#LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache24/mod_rewrite.so

Simply remove the hash symbol to uncomment the line and load the module. This, of course, applies to any other required Apache modules too.

LoadModule rewrite_module libexec/apache24/mod_rewrite.so

We now need to edit The Directory Apache directive in the same configuration file so that mod_rewrite will work correctly with CMS Made Simple.

Find the section of the configuration file that starts with <Directory "/usr/local/www/apache24/data"> and change AllowOverride none to AllowOverride All. The end result (with all comments removed) will look something like this:

<Directory "/var/www/html">
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride All
    Require all granted
</Directory>

Now save and exit the Apache configuration file.

We will restart Apache at the end of this tutorial, but restarting Apache regularly during installation and configuration is certainly a good habit, so let's do it now:

sudo service apache24 restart

Step 4: Install PHP 7.1

We can now install PHP 7.1 along with all of the necessary PHP modules required by CMS Made Simple:

sudo pkg install php71 mod_php71 php71-gd php71-mbstring php71-mysqli php71-xml php71-curl php71-ctype php71-tokenizer php71-simplexml php71-dom php71-session php71-iconv php71-hash php71-json php71-fileinfo php71-pdo php71-pdo_mysql php71-zlib php71-openssl php71-zip php71-phar

FreeBSD 11 gives us the option to use a development php.ini or a production php.ini. Since we are going to install CMS Made Simple on a public web server, we'll use the production version. First, back up php.ini-production:

sudo cp /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production.backup

Then, soft-link php.ini-production to php.ini:

sudo ln -s /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production /usr/local/etc/php.ini

We need to configure Apache to actually use PHP, so let's create a new file called php.conf in the Apache Includes directory:

sudo vi /usr/local/etc/apache24/Includes/php.conf

Enter the following text into the newly created file:

<IfModule dir_module>
    DirectoryIndex index.php index.html
    <FilesMatch "\.php$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php
    </FilesMatch>
    <FilesMatch "\.phps$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php-source
    </FilesMatch>
</IfModule>

Save and exit the file.

Now let's restart Apache so that it can reload the configuration changes:

sudo service apache24 restart

Step 5: Install MariaDB (MySQL) Server

FreeBSD 11 defaults to using MariaDB database server, which is an enhanced, fully open source, community developed, drop-in replacement for MySQL server.

Install the latest version of MariaDB database server:

sudo pkg install mariadb102-server mariadb102-client

Start and enable MariaDB server to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo sysrc mysql_enable="yes"
sudo service mysql-server start

Secure your MariaDB server installation:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted to create a MariaDB/MySQL root user, select "Y" (for yes) and then enter a secure root password. Simply answer "Y" to all of the other yes/no questions as the default suggestions are the most secure options.

Step 6: Create Database for CMS Made Simple

Log into the MariaDB shell as the MariaDB root user by running the following command:

sudo mysql -u root -p

To access the MariaDB command prompt, simply enter the MariaDB root password when prompted.

Run the following queries to create a MariaDB database and database user for CMS Made Simple:

CREATE DATABASE cms_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
CREATE USER 'cms_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON cms_db.* TO 'cms_user'@'localhost';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

You can replace the database name cms_db and username cms_user with something more to your liking, if you prefer. Also, make sure that you replace "UltraSecurePassword" with an actually secure password.

Step 7: Install CMS Made Simple Files

Change your current working directory to the default web directory:

cd /usr/local/www/apache24/data

Your current working directory will now be: /usr/local/www/apache24/data. You can check this with the pwd (print working directory) command:

pwd

Now use wget to download the CMS Made Simple installation package:

sudo wget http://s3.amazonaws.com/cmsms/downloads/14054/cmsms-2.2.4-install.zip

Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the CMS Made Simple download page.

List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file:

ls -la

Remove index.html:

sudo rm index.html

Now uncompress the zip archive:

sudo unzip cmsms-2.2.4-install.zip

Change ownership of the web files to avoid any permissions problems:

sudo chown -R www:www * ./

Restart Apache again:

sudo service apache24 restart

Now we're ready to move on to the final step.

Step 8: Complete CMS Made Simple Installation

It's now time to visit the IP address of your server instance in your browser, or if you've already configured your Vultr DNS settings (and given it enough time to propagate) you can simply visit your domain instead.

To access the CMS Made Simple installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by /cmsms-2.2.4-install.php:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/cmsms-2.2.4-install.php

The CMS Made Simple installer contains quite a lot of options, so here are a few pointers to help you along:

  1. On the Welcome page, select your language and leave the Enable advanced mode option set to No. When you are ready, click the Next button to continue.

  2. You will see a warning message informing you that you have files in the webroot directory. This is perfectly fine, so just click on the Install button to continue to step 3.

  3. You will see a message confirming that you have passed all Compatibility Tests. You can simply click Next to continue to Step 4.

  4. Fill in your database details as follows:

    Database Hostname:      localhost
    Database Name:          cms_db
    User name:              cms_user
    Password:               UltraSecurePassword
    

    The Server Timezone settings will get detected automatically, so you can click Next to continue.

  5. Enter your admin details as follows:

    User name:              admin
    Email Address:          <your admin email>
    Password:               <your password>
    Repeat password:        <the same password>
    

    Click Next to continue.

  6. Enter a Web Site Name and select any Additional Languages you want to install, and click Next to continue.

  7. You will now be prompted to Install Application Files so simply click Next to continue.

  8. You will be shown a list of database tasks the installer will perform so, again, simply click Next to continue.

  9. You will see a confirmation page with a message saying We are done!

You can access the admin section by simply clicking on the CMSMS admin panel link and then entering your username and password on the resulting login page.

If you are not redirected to the admin login page, you can enter the admin address manually:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/admin/login.php

For security reasons, you should remove the installer files from your webroot before continuing:

sudo rm cmsms-2.2.4-install.*

You are now ready to start adding your content and configuring the look and feel of your site. Make sure you check out the excellent CMS Made Simple documentation for more information about how CMS Made Simple works.