Couch CMS is a simple and flexible, free and open source Content Management System (CMS) that allows web designers to design beautiful web sites without any knowledge of PHP. With Couch CMS, web developers can take any of their static HTML and CSS only designs and transform them into a fully CMS managed web site with very little effort.
In this tutorial we are going to install Couch CMS 2.0 on a Debian 9 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.1, and a MariaDB database.
We will start by adding a new
First, log into your server as
sudo command isn't installed by default in the Vultr Debian 9 server instance, so we will first install
apt-get -y install sudo
Now add a new user called
user1 (or your preferred username):
When prompted, enter a secure and memorable password. You will also be prompted for your "Full Name" and some other details, but you can simply leave them blank by pressing "
Now check the
/etc/sudoers file to make sure that the
sudoers group is enabled:
Look for a section like this:
%sudo ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL
This line tells us that users who are members of the
sudo group can use the
sudo command to gain
root privileges. It should be uncommented by default so you can simply exit the file.
Next we need to add
user1 to the
usermod -aG sudo user1
We can verify the
user1 group membership and check that the
usermod command worked with the
Now use the
su command to switch to the new sudo user
su - user1
The command prompt will update to indicate that you are now logged into the
user1 account. You can verify this with the
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 systemctl restart sshd
root account (which will disconnect your
You can now
ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user
If you want to execute sudo without having to type a password every time, then open the
/etc/sudoers file again, using
Edit the section for the
sudo group so that it looks like this:
%sudo 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:
Before installing any packages on the Debian 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 apt-get update sudo apt-get -y upgrade
Install the Apache web server:
sudo apt-get -y install apache2
Then use the
systemctl command to start and enable Apache to execute automatically at boot time:
sudo systemctl enable apache2 sudo systemctl start apache2
Check your Apache default site configuration file to ensure that the
DocumentRoot directive points to the correct directory:
sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf
DocumentRoot configuration option should look like this:
Now save and exit the file, and enable the
mod_rewrite Apache module:
sudo a2enmod rewrite
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 systemctl restart apache2
We can now install PHP 7.0 along with all of the necessary PHP modules required by Couch CMS:
sudo apt-get -y install php php-gd php-mbstring php-common php-mysql libapache2-mod-php php-curl
Debian 9 defaults to using MariaDB database server, which is an enhanced, fully open source, community developed, drop-in replacement for MySQL server.
sudo apt-get -y install mariadb-server
Start and enable MariaDB server to execute automatically at boot time:
sudo systemctl enable mariadb sudo systemctl start mariadb
Secure your MariaDB server installation:
root password will probably be blank, so simply hit "
Enter" when prompted for the
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.
Log into the MariaDB shell as the MariaDB
root user by running the following command:
sudo mariadb -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 Couch CMS:
CREATE DATABASE couch_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci; CREATE USER 'couch_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword'; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON couch_db.* TO 'couch_user'@'localhost'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES; EXIT;
You can replace the database name
couch_db and username
couch_user with something more to your liking, if you prefer. Also, make sure that you replace "
UltraSecurePassword" with an actually secure password.
Change your current working directory to the default web directory:
If you get an error message saying something like
'No such file or directory' then try the following command:
cd /var/www/ ; sudo mkdir html ; cd html
Your current working directory should now be:
/var/www/html/. You can check this with the
pwd (print working directory) command:
wget to download the Couch CMS installation zip archive:
sudo wget https://www.couchcms.com/kachua/download.php?auth=agJmBvEk%2FIM8aSh4XkqV5fbIxR4ghkd6Gy%2F8eL4nFCUpzoFYvddT%7CbKoInr8INleUFM9lPDT05r0dEfTqzuhb%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C1%7Cbccc27bd8eade8876d3f486bac1f4ca9
Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the Couch CMS download page.
List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file:
Let's give the zip file a simpler name:
sudo mv download.php* couchcms.zip
Then install unzip so we can actually unzip the file:
sudo apt-get -y install unzip
Now uncompress the zip file:
sudo unzip couchcms.zip
Move all of the installation files to the web root directory:
sudo mv ./CouchCMS-2.0/* /var/www/html
Now change ownership of the web files to avoid any permissions problems:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data *
Let's restart Apache again:
sudo systemctl restart apache2
We're now ready to move on to the final step.
To complete the Couch CMS installation, we need to edit the Couch CMS config file, so first make sure you are in the webroot and then rename the config file:
sudo mv ./couch/config.example.php ./couch/config.php
Next, open the
sudo vi ./couch/config.php
Add the following values:
define( 'K_GMT_OFFSET', 0 ); define( 'K_DB_NAME', 'couch_db' ); define( 'K_DB_USER', 'couch_user' ); define( 'K_DB_PASSWORD', 'UltraSecurePassword' ); define( 'K_DB_HOST', 'localhost' ); define( 'K_PRETTY_URLS', 1 ); define( 'K_USE_CACHE', 1 ); define( 'K_EMAIL_TO', 'email@example.com' ); define( 'K_EMAIL_FROM', 'firstname.lastname@example.org' );
Once you have added the appropriate configuration values you can save and exit.
The final steps of the Couch CMS installation are really simple.
First visit the Couch CMS installation page 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:
Simply enter the following details on the installation page:
Super-Admin Username: admin (or your preferred username) Password: <your preferred password> Email: <your email address>
Then click the
If the installation was successful, you should see a confirmation page that says
Log in. Simply click "
Log in" to continue.
You can now login to your Couch CMS admin panel.
If you haven't already set up your Vultr DNS, that should probably be your next step.
You are now ready to start adding content and configuring the look of your site. Be sure to check out the excellent Couch CMS documentation for more information about how to configure Couch CMS.
Remember that Couch CMS allows you to take your old HTML and CSS web sites and easily change them into fully managed CMS sites that even non-technical users can update for themselves. Unlike most other CMSes, Couch CMS allows you to convert your HTML sites without any server-side programming.