How to Install Grav CMS on Ubuntu 18.04

Published on: Fri, Apr 5, 2019 at 10:59 am EST

Grav is an open source flat-file 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 Ubuntu 18.04 Vultr instance.


  • A web server, (Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed, Lightly or IIS). In this guide we will use Nginx
  • PHP 5.5.9 or higher

Before you begin

Check the Ubuntu version.

lsb_release -ds
# Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

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

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install unzip.

sudo apt install -y unzip

Install PHP and required PHP extensions

Install PHP and PHP extensions.

sudo apt install -y php7.2 php7.2-cli php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-curl php7.2-gd php7.2-json php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xml php7.2-zip php7.2-opcache php-apcu

Check the version.

php --version
# PHP 7.2.7-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 (cli) (built: Jul  4 2018 16:55:24) ( NTS )

Install and configure Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the version.

sudo nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.0 (Ubuntu)

Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/grav.conf and configure Nginx for Grav.

server {

  listen 80;

  root /var/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 unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    include fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root/$fastcgi_script_name;


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

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

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Grav

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/grav

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

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

Navigate to the document root folder.

cd /var/www/grav

Download the latest Grav zip package and extract it.

unzip 1.5.6
mv grav-admin/* . && mv grav-admin/.* .
rm -rf grav-admin 1.5.6

NOTE: Be sure to check the Grav website for the latest version.

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

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

Open in your web browser and follow the on-screen instructions. To access the admin dashboard, append /admin to your URL.