How to Install Lychee 3.1 Photo Album on a FreeBSD 11 FAMP VPS

Published on: Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:13 am EST
BSD Server Apps

Lychee 3.1 Photo Album is a simple and flexible, free and open source photo-management tool which runs on a VPS server. It installs in a matter of seconds, enabling you to upload, manage, and share photos quickly and securely. Lychee 3.1 features Dropbox import, (with a valid drop-ins app key). It can be expanded with new features via plug-ins which can, for instance, allow you to sync with any directory containing photos, upload photos via SSH, create RSS feeds out of your photos, add watermarks to your photos, plus many other advanced and useful features.

In this tutorial, we are going to install Lychee 3.1 Photo Album 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 lots of 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 the following:

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 into 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 will 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 will 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 Lychee.

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 and Configure PHP 7.1

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

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 Lychee 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.

Since we may need to use Lychee to upload and process large files, we will need to change some of the default PHP settings.

Open the php.ini configuration file:

sudo vi /usr/local/etc/php.ini

Change the following PHP options to these values:

max_execution_time = 300
post_max_size = 100M
upload_max_size = 100M
upload_max_filesize = 50M
memory_limit = 256M

When you have finished, save and exit the file.

If you ever run into problems with not being able to upload or process large files with Lychee then simply try increasing the above values further, as that can solve your problems.

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 Lychee

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 Lychee:

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

You can replace the database name lychee_db and username lychee_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 Lychee 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 Lychee installation package:

sudo wget --content-disposition https://github.com/electerious/Lychee/archive/v3.1.6.zip

Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the Lychee 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 Lychee-3.1.6.zip

Move all of the installation files to the web root directory:

sudo mv -v Lychee-3.1.6/* Lychee-3.1.6/.* /usr/local/www/apache24/data 2>/dev/null

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

sudo chown -R www:www * ./

Set world readable permissions on the upload and data directories:

sudo chmod -R 777 data/ upload/

Restart Apache again:

sudo service apache24 restart

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

Step 8: Complete Lychee 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 Lychee installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/
  1. On the Database Connection Details page, enter the following database values:

    Database Host:                  localhost
    Database Username:              lychee_user
    Password:                       UltraSecurePassword
    Database Name:                  lychee_db
    

    Click Connect to continue.

  2. Enter a Username and Password for your installation:

    Username:               <your username>
    Password:               <a secure password>
    

    Click Create Login to continue.

You will be automatically redirected to your album upload page and logged into the admin section. If you want to change the settings you can click on the gear icon in the top left corner of the page.

To change the more advanced settings, you will need to return to the terminal and edit the Lychee configuration file:

sudo vi data/config.php

If you haven't yet configured your Vultr DNS settings, you can do so using the Vultr DNS control panel.

It's also advisable to configure your site to use SSL as most modern browsers will give warnings when sites do not have SSL enabled and SSL certificates are now available for free.

In any case, you are now ready to start uploading and sharing your photos. Make sure you check out the Lychee docs for more information about how to configure and use your photo manager.

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