How to Install TextPattern CMS 4.6.2 on a Debian 9 LAMP VPS

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 13, 2018
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This article is outdated and may not work correctly for current operating systems or software.

TextPattern CMS 4.6.2 is a simple, flexible, free and open source Content Management System (CMS) that allows web designers to design beautiful web sites without programming in PHP. TextPattern CMS features an easy to learn XML-like tag-based templating language which allows web designers to quickly structure and build fast, lean, responsive,and secure CMS-based web sites and blogs.

In this tutorial we are going to install TextPattern CMS 4.6.2 on a Debian 9 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.1, and a MariaDB database.


  • A clean Vultr Debian 9 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:


The sudo command isn't installed by default in the Vultr Debian 9 server instance, so we will first install sudo:

apt-get -y install sudo

Now 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:


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 should 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:


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 the root account (which will disconnect your ssh session).


You can now ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user user1 account:


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:


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:


Step 2: Update Debian 9 System

Before installing any packages on the Debian 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 apt-get update

sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Step 3: Install Apache Web Server

Install the Apache web server with:

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 should look like this:

DocumentRoot "/var/www/html"

We now need to enable the mod_rewrite Apache module, so ensure that your Apache default 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



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 TextPattern CMS.

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

Step 5: Install MariaDB (MySQL) Server

Debian 9 defaults to using MariaDB database server, which is an enhanced, fully open source, drop-in replacement for MySQL server.

Install MariaDB database server with:

sudo apt-get -y install mariadb-server

Start and enable MariaDB server to execute automatically at boot time.

sudo systemctl enable mariadb

sudo systemctl start mariadb

Secure your MariaDB server installation:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

The root password will probably be blank, so simply press "enter" when prompted for the root password.

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 TextPattern CMS

Log into the MariaDB shell as the MariaDB root user by running the following command.

sudo mariadb -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 TextPattern CMS.

CREATE DATABASE textpattern_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;

CREATE USER 'textpattern_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword';

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON textpattern_db.* TO 'textpattern_user'@'localhost';



You can replace the database name textpattern_db and username textpattern_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 TextPattern CMS 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 should now be: /var/www/html/. You can check this with the pwd (print working directory) command:


Now use wget to download the TextPattern CMS installation package.

sudo wget

Please note: The above TextPattern CMS package URL was correct at the time of writing, but you should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the TextPattern CMS download page.

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

ls -la

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

sudo apt-get -y install unzip

Now uncompress the zip archive.

sudo unzip

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

sudo mv textpattern-4.6.2/* /var/www/html

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 TextPattern CMS 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 TextPattern CMS installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by /textpattern/setup/:


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

  1. Select your language and click on the Submit button.

  2. Enter the database details we've created earlier:

    MySQL user name:    textpattern_user
    MySQL password:     UltraSecurePassword
    MySQL server:       localhost
    MySQL database:     textpattern_db
  3. Enter your site domain if it is configured, otherwise simply enter your IP address instead and click the Next button.

    Site URL:           YOUR_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS
  4. You will see a page confirming that your database connection is connected. If you see an error message instead, go back to step 2 and check your database settings.

  5. Now go back to your server instance terminal and create a config.php file in the /textpattern/ directory.

    sudo vi textpattern/config.php

    Copy the text on the installation page into the config.php file and then save and exit the file. The contents of the configuration file will look something like this:

    $txpcfg['db'] = 'textpattern_db';
    $txpcfg['user'] = 'textpattern_user';
    $txpcfg['pass'] = 'UltraSecurePassword';
    $txpcfg['host'] = 'localhost';
    $txpcfg['table_prefix'] = '';
    $txpcfg['txpath'] = '/var/www/html/textpattern';
    $txpcfg['dbcharset'] = 'utf8mb4';

    Next, return to the installation page in your browser and click the I did it! button.

  6. Now enter your login details as follows:

    Your full name: <your full name>
    Your email address: <your email address>
    Choose a login name: <a memorable login name>
    Choose a password: <a secure password>

    Then select an Admin site theme or simply leave the default theme selected.

  7. Click the Next button to finalize the installation.

If everything went smoothly, you will see a confirmation page that says That went well!.

For security purposes, you should return to the terminal and delete the /setup/ directory from the /textpattern/ directory:

sudo rm -rf ./textpattern/setup/

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


You are now ready to start adding your content and configuring the look and feel of your site! Make sure you check out the excellent TextPattern CMS documentation for more information about how to build and configure your site.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and best of luck building your new TextPattern CMS based web site!

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