How to Install MODX Revolution on a FreeBSD 11 FAMP VPS
MODX Revolution is a fast, flexible, scalable, open source, enterprise-grade Content Management System (CMS) written in PHP. It is particularly well-suited to building high-end sites since it features advanced multi-lingual capabilites, and is built from the ground up using secure design principles.
- A clean Vultr FreeBSD 11 server instance with SSH access.
Step 1: Add a Sudo User
We will start by adding a new
First, log into your server as
sudo command is not installed by default in the Vultr FreeBSD 11 server instance, so we will first install
pkg install sudo
Now add a new user called
user1 (or your preferred username).
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
Now check the
/etc/sudoers file to make sure that the
sudoers group is enabled.
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
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
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 /etc/rc.d/sshd restart
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
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 at any time.
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 in to 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
Install the Apache 2.4 web server.
sudo pkg install apache24
y" when prompted.
Now use the
sysrc command to enable the Apache service to execute automatically at boot time.
sudo sysrc apache24_enable=yes
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.
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.
You should see the default FreeBSD Apache page displaying the text.
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
DocumentRoot configuration option should look like this.
We now need to enable the
mod_rewrite Apache module. We can do this by searching the default Apache configuration file for the term
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 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 PHP 7.1
We can now install the latest version of PHP along with all of the necessary PHP modules required by MODX Revolution CMS.
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
We need to configure Apache to actually use PHP, so let's create a new file called
php.conf in the Apache "
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 the file.
Now, let's restart Apache again.
sudo service apache24 restart
Step 5: Install MariaDB (MySQL)
FreeBSD 11 defaults to using MariaDB, which is an enhanced, fully open source, community developed, drop-in replacement for MySQL server.
Install the latest version of MariaDB.
sudo pkg install mariadb102-server mariadb102-client
Start and enable MariaDB to execute automatically at boot time.
sudo sysrc mysql_enable="yes" sudo service mysql-server start
Secure your MariaDB server 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 a Database for MODX Revolution
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 MySQL
root password when prompted.
Run the following queries to create a MySQL database and database user for MODX Revolution.
CREATE DATABASE modx_data CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci; CREATE USER 'modx_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword'; GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON modx_data.* TO 'modx_user'@'localhost'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES; EXIT;
You can replace the database name
modx_data and username
modx_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 MODX Revolution Files
Change your current working directory to the default web directory.
Your current working directory should now be:
/usr/local/www/apache24/data. You can check this with the
pwd (print working directory) command.
wget to download the MODX Revolution installation zip package.
sudo wget https://modx.com/download/direct?id=modx-2.6.0-pl.zip
Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the MODX Revolution download page.
List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file.
Let's give the package a simpler name.
sudo mv direct\?id\=modx-2.6.0-pl.zip modx.zip
Now uncompress the zip package.
sudo unzip modx.zip
Move all of the installation files to the web root directory.
sudo mv modx-2.6.0-pl/* /usr/local/www/apache24/data
Change ownership of the web files to avoid any permissions problems.
sudo chown -R www:www *
Restart Apache again.
sudo service apache24 restart
Now we're ready to move on to the final step.
Step 8: Complete MODX Revolution Installation
It's time to visit the IP address of your FreeBSD 11 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 MODX revolution installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address, followed by
/setup into your browser address bar.
Most of the installation options are self explanatory, but here are a few pointers to help you along.
Select your language.
Next button to continue the installation.
New Installation and leave the folder permissions at their default values. Click
Next when you are ready to move on to the next step.
Set the following database options.
Database type: mysql Database host: localhost Database login name: modx_user (or your previously selected name) Database password: UltraSecurePassword (or your previously chosen password) Database name: modx_data (or your previously selected name) Table prefix: modx_
Once you have entered the above database options, click on the link below to
Test database server connection and view collations. You will see a message that says:
Connecting to database server: Success!. If you get any errors, go back and ensure that all database options are correct.
You can leave the character set and collation options at their default values. They should look like this.
Connection character set: utf8 Collation: utf8_general_ci
When you are satisfied with your selected installation options, you can click on the link below to
Create or test selection of your database.
You will be prompted to enter your admin details, which will be used to login to the CMS. Fill them in as shown below and click
Administrator name: <your_prefered_admin_name> Administrator email: <your_admin_email> Administrator password: <a_secure_password Confirm password: <the_same_secure_password>
You will see an Installation Summary. As long as everything looks okay, you can simply click
Install to Install MODX Revolution to your server instance.
You will see a confirmation page that says
Core installation was successful. Simply click
Next to continue.
You can now login to your MODX Revolution admin panel using the login details you entered earlier during installation.
Please note: During installation and login, you may see some warning messages about directories and files. Simply follow the instructions shown on the warning pages and the warning messages will disappear.
If you haven't already set up your Vultr DNS, then that should probably be your next step.
Now you can start adding your content and start configuring the look of your site. Be sure to check out the excellent MODX Revolution docs for more guidance on how to build and configure your site.