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How to Install Grav CMS on FreeBSD 11

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 26, 2019
BSD CMS Server Apps Web Servers
Archived content

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

Grav is an open source flat-file, (no database needed), CMS written in PHP. Grav source code is publicly hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Grav CMS on a fresh FreeBSD 11 x64 Vultr instance by using PHP 7.2 and Nginx.


  • Web Server (Nginx, Apache, LiteSpeed, or IIS). In this guide we will use Nginx.

  • PHP version 5.5.9 or greater.

Before you begin

Check the FreeBSD version.

uname -ro

# FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE

Ensure that your FreeBSD system is up to date.

freebsd-update fetch install

pkg update && pkg upgrade -y

Install sudo, vim, unzip, wget and bash packages if they are not present on your system.

pkg install -y sudo vim unzip wget bash

Create a new user account with your preferred username (we will use johndoe).


# Username: johndoe

# Full name: John Doe

# Uid (Leave empty for default): <Enter>

# Login group [johndoe]: <Enter>

# Login group is johndoe. Invite johndoe into other groups? []: wheel

# Login class [default]: <Enter>

# Shell (sh csh tcsh nologin) [sh]: bash

# Home directory [/home/johndoe]: <Enter>

# Home directory permissions (Leave empty for default): <Enter>

# Use password-based authentication? [yes]: <Enter>

# Use an empty password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter>

# Use a random password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter>

# Enter password: your_secure_password

# Enter password again: your_secure_password

# Lock out the account after creation? [no]: <Enter>

# OK? (yes/no): yes

# Add another user? (yes/no): no

# Goodbye!

Run the visudo command and uncomment the %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL line, to allow members of the wheel group to execute any command.

# Uncomment by removing the hash (#) sign

%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Now, switch to your newly created user with su command.

su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo tzsetup

Install PHP and required PHP extensions

Install PHP and necessary extensions.

sudo pkg install -y php72 php72-curl php72-gd php72-json php72-mbstring php72-xml php72-zip php72-opcache php72-pecl-APCu php72-ctype php72-dom php72-simplexml php72-openssl php72-session php72-hash php72-filter

Check the version.

php --version

# PHP 7.2.10 (cli) (built: Oct  2 2018 01:30:18) ( NTS )

# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group

# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

#     with Zend OPcache v7.2.10, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Soft-link php.ini-production to php.ini.

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

Enable and start PHP-FPM.

sudo sysrc php_fpm_enable=yes

sudo service php-fpm start

Install and configure Nginx

Install the Nginx package.

sudo pkg install -y nginx

Check the version.

nginx -v

# nginx version: nginx/1.14.0

Enable and start Nginx.

sudo sysrc nginx_enable=yes

sudo service nginx start

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/grav.conf and configure Nginx for Grav.

server {

  listen 80;


  root /usr/local/www/grav;

  index index.html index.php;

  location / {

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


  location ~* /(\.git|cache|bin|logs|backup|tests)/.*$ { return 403; }

  location ~* /(system|vendor)/.*\.(txt|xml|md|html|yaml|yml|php|pl|py|cgi|twig|sh|bat)$ { return 403; }

  location ~* /user/.*\.(txt|md|yaml|yml|php|pl|py|cgi|twig|sh|bat)$ { return 403; }

  location ~ /(LICENSE\.txt|composer\.lock|composer\.json|nginx\.conf|web\.config|htaccess\.txt|\.htaccess) { return 403; }

  location ~ \.php$ {

    fastcgi_pass; # Run sockstat -4 -6 | grep php-fpm

    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;

    fastcgi_index index.php;

    include fastcgi_params;

    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root/$fastcgi_script_name;



Save the file and exit.

Now we need to include grav.conf with the main nginx.conf file.

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf and add the following line to the http {} block.

include grav.conf;

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo service nginx reload

Install Grav

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/www/grav

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/grav directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /usr/local/www/grav

Navigate to the document root directory.

cd /usr/local/www/grav

Using wget, download Grav. Don't forget to bump up the version numbers if there is a newer release.


Uncompress the zip archive.

unzip 1.5.3

Move all of the installation files to the document root directory.

mv grav-admin/* . && mv grav-admin/.* .

Remove unnecessary files from the document root directory.

rm -rf grav-admin 1.5.3

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/grav directory to www.

sudo chown -R www:www /usr/local/www/grav

Open or http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS in your web browser and follow the on-screen instructions.

To access Grav admin, append /admin to your URL.

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