How to Install Paste 2.1 on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS

Published on: Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 11:13 am EST
Linux Guides Server Apps Ubuntu

Paste 2.1 is a simple and flexible, free and open source pastebin application for storing code, text and more. It was initially forked from the freely available original source code used by pastebin.com before the domain was sold in 2010. Since that time, the Paste developers have added lots of improvements and features such as a featureful Admin Dashboard with site statstics and settings, IP and user bans, the ability to selectively delete pastes, user accounts with social integration, profile pages, and all of the usual extras such as syntax highlighting for the majority of languages, configurable paste limits and much more.

In this tutorial we are going to install Paste 2.1 on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.0, and a MariaDB database.

Prerequisites

  • A clean Vultr Ubuntu 16.04 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

Add a new user called user1 (or your preferred username):

adduser user1

When prompted, enter a secure and memorable password. You will also be prompted for your "Full Name" and some other details, but you can simply leave them blank by pressing Enter.

Now check the /etc/sudoers file to make sure that the sudoers group is enabled:

visudo

Look for a section like this:

%sudo        ALL=(ALL:ALL)       ALL

This line tells us that users who are members of the sudo group can use the sudo command to gain root privileges. It will be uncommented by default so you can simply exit the file.

Next we need to add user1 to the sudo group:

usermod -aG sudo user1

We can verify the user1 group membership and check that the usermod command worked with the groups command:

groups 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 systemctl restart sshd

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 sudo group so that it looks like this:

%sudo   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:

exit

Step 2: Update Ubuntu 16.04 System

Before installing any packages on the Ubuntu 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 apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Step 3: Install Apache Web Server

Install the Apache web server:

sudo apt-get -y install apache2 

Then use the systemctl command to start and enable Apache to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo systemctl enable apache2
sudo systemctl start apache2

Check your Apache default site configuration file to ensure that the DocumentRoot directive points to the correct directory:

sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf 

The DocumentRoot configuration option will look like this:

DocumentRoot "/var/www/html"

We now need to enable the mod_rewrite Apache module, so ensure that your Apache deafult site configuration file is still open, and add the following Directory Apache directives just before the closing </VirtualHost> tag, so that the end of your configuration file looks like this:

    <Directory /var/www/html/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all
    </Directory>
</VirtualHost>

The most important directive shown above is AllowOverride All.

Now save and exit the file, and enable the mod_rewrite Apache module:

sudo a2enmod rewrite

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 systemctl restart apache2

Step 4: Install PHP 7.0

We can now install PHP 7.0 along with all of the necessary PHP modules required by the Paste app:

sudo apt-get -y install php php-gd php-mbstring php-common php-mysql php-imagick php-xml libapache2-mod-php php-curl php-tidy php-zip

Step 5: Install MySQL Server

Install MySQL database server:

sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server

During the MySQL server installation, make sure you enter a secure password for the MySQL root user. This root user is different to the root user in Ubuntu as it is only used for connecting to your database server with full privileges.

Start and enable MySQL server to execute automatically at boot time:

sudo systemctl enable mysql
sudo systemctl start mysql    

Secure your MySQL server installation:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, enter the password you created for the MYSQL root user during installation. 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 Paste

Log into the MySQL shell as the MySQL root user by running the following command:

sudo mysql -u root -p

To access the MySQL command prompt, simply enter the MySQL root password when prompted.

Run the following queries to create a MySQL database and database user for Paste:

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

You can replace the database name paste_db and username paste_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 Paste Files

Change your current working directory to the default web directory:

cd /var/www/html/

If you get an error message saying something like 'No such file or directory' then try the following command:

cd /var/www/ ; sudo mkdir html ; cd html

Your current working directory will now be: /var/www/html/. You can check this with the pwd (print working directory) command:

pwd

Now use wget to download the Paste installation package:

sudo wget --content-disposition https://sourceforge.net/projects/phpaste/files/latest/download?source=files

Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the Paste download page.

List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file:

ls -la

Remove index.html:

sudo rm index.html

Let's quickly install unzip so we can unzip the file:

sudo apt-get -y install unzip

Now uncompress the zip archive:

sudo unzip paste-2.1.zip

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

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data * ./

Restart Apache again:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

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

Step 8: Complete Paste Installation

It's 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 Paste installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by /install/:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/install/

Most of the installation options are self explanatory, but here are a few pointers to help you along:

  1. Ensure that the Pre-installation checks are all green. Specifically, the following 3 files must be writable:

    config.php
    tmp/temp.tdata
    sitemap.xml
    
  2. Enter the following DATABASE INFORMATION:

    Hostname:               localhost
    Database Name:          paste_db
    Username:               paste_user
    Password:               UltraSecurePassword
    

    Make a note of the key value and store it in a safe place, then click Install to continue.

  3. Enter the following Administrator details:

    Username:               admin
    Password:               <secure admin password>
    

    Click Submit to finalize the installation.

To access the admin section simply click on the dashboard button and enter your username and password. If you aren't redirected to the admin login page, you can enter the admin address manually:

http://YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS/admin/

For security reasons, make sure you delete the /install/ directory from the webroot directory:

sudo rm -rf ./install

If you get an error message when trying to delete the /install/ directory, simply change the permissions of the webroot and try again:

sudo chmod 755 .
sudo rm -rf ./install

You are now ready to start administering your own personal pastebin site.

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