How To Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) Stack on CentOS 8 [Quickstart]

Introduction

In this tutorial, you’ll install a LEMP stack on a CentOS 8 server. Although MySQL is available from the default repositories in CentOS 8, this guide will walk through the process of setting up a LEMP stack with MariaDB as the database management system.

For a more detailed version of this tutorial, with more explanations of each step, please refer to How To Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) Stack on CentOS 8.

Prerequisites

To follow this guide, you’ll need access to a CentOS 8 server as a sudo user.

Step 1 — Install Nginx

Install the nginx package with:

  • sudo dnf install nginx

After the installation is finished, run the following command to enable and start the server:

  • sudo systemctl start nginx

If firewalld is active, you’ll need to run the following command to allow external access on port 80 (HTTP):

  • sudo firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=http

Reload the firewall configuration so the changes take effect:

  • sudo firewall-cmd --reload

With the new firewall rule added, you can test if the server is up and running by accessing your server’s public IP address or domain name from your web browser. You’ll see a page like this:

Default Nginx Page CentOS 8

Step 2 — Install MariaDB

We’ll now install MariaDB, a community-developed fork of the original MySQL server by Oracle. To install this software, run:

  • sudo dnf install mariadb-server

When the installation is finished, enable and start the MariaDB server with:

  • sudo systemctl start mariadb

To improve the security of your database server, it’s recommended that you run a security script that comes pre-installed with MariaDB. Start the interactive script with:

  • sudo mysql_secure_installation

The first prompt will ask you to enter the current database root password. Because you just installed MariaDB and haven’t made any configuration changes yet, this password will be blank, so just press ENTER at the prompt.

The next prompt asks you whether you’d like to set up a database root password. Because MariaDB uses a special authentication method for the root user that is typically safer than using a password, you don’t need to set this now. Type N and then press ENTER.

From there, you can press Y and then ENTER to accept the defaults for all the subsequent questions.

When you’re finished, log in to the MariaDB console by typing:

  • sudo mysql

This will connect to the MariaDB server as the administrative database user root, which is inferred by the use of sudo when running this command. You should see output like this:

OutputWelcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or g. Your MariaDB connection id is 9 Server version: 10.3.17-MariaDB MariaDB Server  Copyright (c) 2000, 2018, Oracle, MariaDB Corporation Ab and others.  Type 'help;' or 'h' for help. Type 'c' to clear the current input statement.  MariaDB [(none)]>  

To create a new database, run the following command from your MariaDB console:

  • CREATE DATABASE example_database;

Now you can create a new user and grant them full privileges on the custom database you’ve just created:

  • GRANT ALL ON example_database.* TO 'example_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Flush the privileges to ensure that they are saved and available in the current session:

  • FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

Following this, exit the MariaDB shell:

  • exit

Step 3 — Install PHP-FPM

To install the php-fpm and php-mysql packages, run:

  • sudo dnf install php-fpm php-mysqlnd

When the installation is finished, you’ll need to edit the /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf file in order to adjust a couple settings. We’ll install nano to facilitate editing these files:

  • sudo dnf install nano

Now open the /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf configuration file using nano or your editor of choice:

  • sudo nano /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

Look for the user and group directives. If you are using nano, you can hit CTRL+W to search for these terms inside the open file. Make sure to change both values from apache to nginx:

/etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

… ; RPM: apache user chosen to provide access to the same directories as httpd user = nginx ; RPM: Keep a group allowed to write in log dir. group = nginx … 

Save and close the file when you’re done editing.

To enable and start the php-fpm service, run:

  • sudo systemctl start php-fpm

Finally, restart the Nginx web server so that it loads the configuration files created by the php-fpm installation:

  • sudo systemctl restart nginx

Step 4 — Test PHP with Nginx

On CentOS 8, the default php-fpm installation automatically creates configuration files that will allow your Nginx web server to handle .php files in the default document root located at /usr/share/nginx/html. You won’t need to make any changes to Nginx’s configuration in order for PHP to work correctly within your web server.

We’ll only need to modify the default owner and group on Nginx’s document root, so that you can create and modify files in that location using your regular non-root system user:

  • sudo chown -R sammy.sammy /usr/share/nginx/html/

Create a new PHP file called info.php at the /usr/share/nginx/html directory:

  • nano /usr/share/nginx/html/info.php

The following PHP code will display information about the current PHP environment running on the server:

/usr/share/nginx/html/info.php

<?php  phpinfo(); 

Copy this content to your info.php file, and don’t forget to save it when you’re done.

Now we can test whether our web server can correctly display content generated by a PHP script. Go to your browser and access your server hostname or IP address, followed by /info.php:

http://server_host_or_IP/info.php 

You’ll see a page similar to this:

CentOS 8 default PHP info

Related Tutorials

Here are links to more detailed guides related to this tutorial:

  • Initial Server Setup on CentOS 8
  • How To Install Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP (LEMP) Stack on CentOS 8
  • Managing DNS records on DigitalOcean