Setting up a LAMP Server on Ubuntu 12.04

This guide provides step by step instructions for installing a full featured LAMP stack on an Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) system. The 12.04 release is the most current LTS (long term support) version of the Ubuntu operating system, and will be supported with security updates until April of 2017.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to set up Apache, MySQL, and PHP. If you don’t need MySQL or PHP, please don’t feel obligated to install them.


Throughout this guide we will offer several suggested values for specific configuration settings. Some of these values will be set by default. These settings are shown in the guide as a reference, in the event that you change these settings to suit your needs and then need to change them back.


  • Install and Configure the Apache Web Server
    • Configure Name-based Virtual Hosts
  • Install and Configure the MySQL Database Server
    • Install MySQL
    • Configure MySQL and Set Up Databases
  • Install and Configure PHP
  • More Information
The Apache web server is a popular choice for serving web pages. While many alternatives have appeared in the last few years, Apache remains a powerful option that we recommend for most uses. Make sure your package repositories and installed programs are up to date by issuing the following commands:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

To install the current version of the Apache web server (in the 2.x series) on an Ubuntu system use the following command:

apt-get install apache2

Edit the main Apache configuration file to adjust the resource use settings. The settings shown below are a good starting point for a VPS-Pro.


    KeepAlive Off


    <IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
    StartServers 2
    MinSpareServers 6
    MaxSpareServers 12
    MaxClients 80
    MaxRequestsPerChild 3000

Now we’ll configure virtual hosting so that we can host multiple domains (or subdomains) with the server. These websites can be controlled by different users, or by a single user, as you prefer.

Configure Name-based Virtual Hosts

There are different ways to set up virtual hosts, however we recommend the method below. By default, Apache listens on all IP addresses available to it. First, create a file in the /etc/apache2/sites-available/ directory for each virtual host that you want to set up. Name each file with the domain for which you want to provide virtual hosting, followed by .conf. See the following example configurations for the hypothetical “” and “” domains.


<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /srv/www/
     ErrorLog /srv/www/
     CustomLog /srv/www/ combined


<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /srv/www/
     ErrorLog /srv/www/
     CustomLog /srv/www/ combined

Notes regarding this example configuration:

  • All of the files for the sites that you host will be located in directories that exist underneath /srv/www You can symbolically link these directories into other locations if you need them to exist in other places.
  • ErrorLog and CustomLog entries are suggested for more fine-grained logging, but are not required. If they are defined (as shown above), the logs directories must be created before you restart Apache.

Before you can use the above configuration you’ll need to create the specified directories. For the above configuration, you can do this with the following commands:

mkdir -p /srv/www/
mkdir /srv/www/

mkdir -p /srv/www/
mkdir /srv/www/

After you’ve set up your virtual hosts, issue the following commands:


This command symbolically links your virtual host file from sites-available to the sites-enabled directory. Finally, before you can access your sites you must reload Apache with the following command:

service apache2 reload

Assuming that you have configured the DNS for your domain to point to your Linode’s IP address, virtual hosting for your domain should now work. If you wanted to disable the site, for example issue the following command:


The a2dissite command is the inverse of a2ensite. After enabling, disabling, or modifying any part of your Apache configuration you will need to reload the Apache configuration again with the /etc/init.d/apache2 reload command. You can create as many virtual hosting files as you need to support the domains that you want to host with your Linode.

Install and Configure the MySQL Database Server

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) and is a popular component in contemporary web development. It is used to store data for many popular applications, including WordPress and Drupal.

Install MySQL

The first step is to install the mysql-server package, which is accomplished by the following command:

apt-get install mysql-server

During the installation you will be prompted for a password. Choose something secure (use letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters) and record it for future reference. At this point MySQL should be ready to configure and run. While you shouldn’t need to change the configuration file, note that it is located at /etc/mysql/my.cnf for future reference. The default values should be fine for a VPS-Pro, but if you decide to adjust them you should first make a backup copy:

cp /etc/mysql/my.cnf ~/my.cnf.backup

Configure MySQL and Set Up Databases

After installing MySQL, it’s recommended that you run mysql_secure_installation, a program that helps secure MySQL. While runningmysql_secure_installation, you will be presented with the opportunity to change the MySQL root password, remove anonymous user accounts, disable root logins outside of localhost, and remove test databases. It is recommended that you answer yes to these options. If you are prompted to reload the privilege tables, select yes. Run the following command to execute the program:


Next, we’ll create a database and grant your users permissions to use databases. First, log in to MySQL:

mysql -u root -p

Enter MySQL’s root password, and you’ll be presented with a MySQL prompt where you can issue SQL statements to interact with the database. To create a database and grant your users permissions on it, issue the following command. Note, the semi-colons (;) at the end of the lines are crucial for ending the commands. Your command should look like this:

create database lollipop;
grant all on lollipop.* to 'foreman' identified by '5t1ck';
flush privileges;

In the example above, lollipop is the name of the database, foreman is the username, and 5t1ck password. Note that database user names and passwords are only used by scripts connecting to the database, and that database user account names need not (and perhaps should not) represent actual user accounts on the system. With that completed you’ve successfully configured MySQL and you may now pass these database credentials on to your users. To exit the MySQL database administration utility issue the following command:


With Apache and MySQL installed you are now ready to move on to installing PHP to provide scripting support for your web pages.

Install and Configure PHP

PHP makes it possible to produce dynamic and interactive pages using your own scripts and popular web development frameworks. Furthermore, many popular web applications like WordPress are written in PHP. If you want to be able to develop your websites using PHP, you must first install it. Ubuntu includes packages for installing PHP from the terminal. Issue the following command:

apt-get install php5 php-pear

Once PHP5 is installed we’ll need to tune the configuration file located in /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini to enable more descriptive errors, logging, and better performance. These modifications provide a good starting point if you’re unfamiliar with PHP configuration. Make sure that the following values are set, and relevant lines are uncommented (comments are lines beginning with a semi-colon (;)):

File excerpt:/etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

max_execution_time = 30
memory_limit = 128M
display_errors = Off
log_errors = On
error_log = /var/log/php/error.log
register_globals = Off
max_input_time = 30

You will need to create the log directory for PHP and give the Apache user ownership:

mkdir /var/log/php
chown www-data /var/log/php

After making changes to the PHP configuration file, restart Apache by issuing the following command:

service apache2 reload

If you need support for MySQL in PHP, then you must install the php5-mysql package with the following command:

apt-get install php5-mysql

To install the php5-suhosin package, which provides additional security for PHP 5 applications (recommended), issue the following command:

apt-get install php5-suhosin

Restart Apache to make sure everything is loaded correctly:

service apache2 reload

Congratulations! You have now set up and configured a LAMP system.