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How to Install Grav CMS on FreeBSD 11

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

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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