How to Install Vanilla Forum on Fedora 29

Published on: Fri, May 17, 2019 at 11:12 am EST
Fedora Linux Guides PHP Server Apps Social

Introduction

Vanilla is a simple discussion forum written in PHP. Vanilla source code is publicly hosted on Github. This guide will walk you through the Vanilla installation process on a fresh Fedora 29 Vultr server instance using PHP, MariaDB as a database, and Nginx as a web server.

Requirements

Vanilla Forum recommended software stack:

  • PHP version 7.2 or greater, with the following extensions:
    • mbstring
    • curl
    • gd
    • PDO
    • mysqli
    • openssl.
  • MySQL version 5.7 or greater; alternatively the equivalent Percona or MariaDB. This guide will use MariaDB.
  • Web server software such as Nginx or Apache. This guide will use Nginx.
  • SSL encryption.

Before you begin

Check the Fedora version.

cat /etc/fedora-release
# Fedora release 29 (Twenty Nine)

Create a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

useradd -c "John Doe" johndoe && passwd johndoe
usermod -aG wheel johndoe
su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

timedatectl list-timezones
sudo timedatectl set-timezone 'Region/City'

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo dnf check-update; sudo dnf update -y

Install some basic system administration packages if they are not installed.

sudo dnf install -y vim curl wget git unzip bash-completion

For simplicity, disable SELinux and Firewall.

sudo setenforce 0;sudo systemctl stop firewalld;sudo systemctl disable firewalld

Install PHP

Install PHP 7.2 and PHP extensions.

sudo dnf install -y php-cli php-fpm php-common php-mbstring php-curl php-gd php-pdo php-mysqlnd php-json

Check the version.

php --version
# PHP 7.2.14 (cli) (built: Jan  8 2019 09:59:17) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

Check installed PHP extensions.

php -m
# mbstring
# curl
# gd
# PDO
# mysqli
# openssl
# . . .

Start and enable PHP-FPM.

sudo systemctl start php-fpm.service
sudo systemctl enable php-fpm.service

Install MariaDB

Install MariaDB.

sudo dnf install -y mariadb-server

Check the version.

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.3.11-MariaDB, for Linux (x86_64) using readline 5.1

Start and enable MariaDB.

sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

Run the mysql_secure_installation script to improve the security of your MariaDB installation.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Log into MariaDB as the root user.

mysql -u root -p
# Enter password:

Create a new database and user. Remember the credentials for this new user.

CREATE DATABASE dbname;
GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
exit;

Install Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo dnf install -y nginx

Check the version.

nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.1

Start and enable Nginx.

sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

Configure Nginx for Vanilla forum.

sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/vanilla.conf

Populate the file with the following configuration.

server {

  listen 80;
  server_name forum.example.com;
  root /var/www/vanilla;
  index index.php;

  location ~* /\.git { deny all; return 403; }
  location /build/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /cache/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /cgi-bin/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /uploads/import/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /conf/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /tests/ { deny all; return 403; }
  location /vendor/ { deny all; return 403; }

  location ~* ^/index\.php(/|$) {
    include default.d/php.conf;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME /index.php;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $realpath_root/index.php;
    fastcgi_param X_REWRITE 1;
    fastcgi_pass 127.0.0.1:9000;
  }

  location ~* \.php(/|$) {
    rewrite ^ /index.php$uri last;
  }

  location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ @vanilla;
  }

  location @vanilla {
    rewrite ^ /index.php$uri last;
  }

}

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Vanilla forum

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/vanilla

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

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

Navigate to the document root directory.

cd /var/www/vanilla

Download the latest Vanilla forum.

wget https://open.vanillaforums.com/get/vanilla-core-2.6.4.zip

Unzip it and remove the zip archive.

unzip vanilla-core-2.6.4.zip
rm vanilla-core-2.6.4.zip

Provide the appropriate ownership.

sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/www/vanilla

Run sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf and set the user and group to nginx. Initially, it will be set to apache.

sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf
# user = nginx
# group = nginx

Restart PHP-FPM.

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm.service

Navigate to the folder where you uploaded Vanilla in your web browser and follow the instructions on the screen to complete the setup.

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