How to Install a LAMP Stack on Ubuntu 20.04

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What is a LAMP Stack?

A LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack is a common, free, and open-source web stack used for hosting web content in a Linux environment. Many consider it the platform of choice on which to develop and deploy high-performance web apps.

This guide shows how to install and test a LAMP stack on Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS).


This guide is written for a non-root user. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you’re not familiar with the sudo command, visit our Users and Groups guide.

All configuration files should be edited with elevated privileges. Remember to include sudo before running your text editor.

Replace each instance of in this guide with your site’s domain name or IP.

Before You Begin

  1. If you have not already done so, create a Linode account and Compute Instance. See our Getting Started with Linode and Creating a Compute Instance guides.

  2. Follow our Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance guide to update your system. You may also wish to set the timezone, configure your hostname, create a limited user account, and harden SSH access.

If you have a registered domain name for your website, then add the domain to the Linode server on which you plan to install the LAMP stack. If you do not have a registered domain name, then replace with the IP address of the Linode server in the following instructions.


Install Using Tasksel

Instead of installing Apache, MySQL, and PHP separately, Tasksel offers a convenient way to get a LAMP stack running quickly.

  1. Install Tasksel if not already installed by default:

    sudo apt install tasksel
  2. Use Tasksel to install the LAMP stack:

    sudo tasksel install lamp-server

Install Packages Separately

If you prefer not to install the bundled packages via Tasksel, you can instead install them separately:

  1. Install Apache 2.4 from the Ubuntu repository:

    sudo apt install apache2
  2. Install the mysql-server package:

    sudo apt install mysql-server
  3. Install PHP, the PHP Extension and Application Repository, Apache support, and MySQL support:

    sudo apt install php libapache2-mod-php php-mysql

    Optionally, install additional cURL, JSON, and CGI support:

    sudo apt install php-curl php-json php-cgi



  1. The KeepAlive setting allows Apache to better utilize server-side memory, reducing latency for users on the hosted site. KeepAlive makes a website faster if the host has enough memory to support it. This is done by allowing Apache to reuse connections, instead of opening a new connection for every request.

    Open the apache2.conf Apache config file and adjust the KeepAlive setting:

    File: /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
    KeepAlive On
    MaxKeepAliveRequests 50
    KeepAliveTimeout 5
    The MaxKeepAliveRequests setting controls the maximum number of requests during a persistent connection. 50 is a conservative amount; you may need to set this number higher depending on your use-case. The KeepAliveTimeout setting controls how long the server waits (measured in seconds) for new requests from already connected clients. Setting this to 5 will avoid wasting RAM.
  2. The default multi-processing module (MPM) is the prefork module. mpm_prefork is the module that is compatible with most systems. Open the mpm_prefork.conf file located in /etc/apache2/mods-available and edit the configuration. Below are the suggested values for a 2GB Linode:

    File: /etc/apache2/mods-available/mpm_prefork.conf
    <IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
            StartServers            4
            MinSpareServers         3
            MaxSpareServers         40
            MaxRequestWorkers       200
            MaxConnectionsPerChild  10000
  3. Enable the firewall to allow web traffic. This guide lists the commands to enable web traffic if you configured UFW on your server.

    a. Check the ports that are enabled for Apache Full Profile:

    sudo ufw app info "Apache Full"

    Ports 80 and 443 should be listed as enabled for Apache Full profile.

    b. To allow incoming HTTP and HTTPS traffic for Apache Full profile:

    sudo ufw allow in "Apache Full"
  4. Disable the event module and enable prefork:

     sudo a2dismod mpm_event
     sudo a2enmod mpm_prefork
  5. Restart Apache:

    sudo systemctl restart apache2

Virtual Hosts

You can set up virtual hosts several ways, and the following steps outline the recommended method. For each of these steps, replace with your domain name.

  1. Create a copy of the default Apache configuration file for your site:

    sudo cp /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/
  2. Open the new configuration file in your text editor. Uncomment the ServerName option and update it with your domain. Enter the document root path and log directories as shown below, and add a Directory block before <VirtualHost>:

    File: /etc/apache2/sites-available/
    <Directory /var/www/html/>
            Require all granted
    <VirtualHost *:80>
            ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
            DocumentRoot /var/www/html/
            ErrorLog /var/www/html/
            CustomLog /var/www/html/ combined

    The file example above has all comment sections removed for brevity. Keep or remove the commented areas as you see fit.

    The ServerAlias directive allows you to include multiple domain names or subdomains for a single host. The example above allows visitors to use or to navigate to this virtual host.

  3. Create the directories referenced above:

    sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/{public_html,logs}
    Make sure that you do not put a space after the comma between public_html and logs because it will create a folder named {public_html, and will cause an error when you will reload Apache.
  4. Assign ownership of public_html directory to the user www-data:

    sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/
  5. Set the permissions for the public_html directory:

     sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/
  6. Link your virtual host file from the sites-available directory to the sites-enabled directory:

    sudo a2ensite
    To disable your website, run a2dissite
  7. Disable the default virtual host to minimize security risks:

    sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf
  8. Reload Apache:

    sudo systemctl reload apache2

Virtual hosting should now be enabled. To allow the virtual host to use your domain name, be sure that you have configured DNS services for your domain to point to your Linode’s IP address.

If there are additional websites you wish to host on your Linode, repeat the above steps to add a folder and configuration file for each.


  1. Log in to MySQL’s SQL shell:

    sudo mysql -u root

    By default, MySQL is configured to use the auth_socket authorization plugin. This authorization scheme allows you to log in to the database’s root user as long as you are connecting from the Linux root user on localhost, or as a user with sudo privileges (i.e. with sudo mysql -u root). In this scheme, no password is assigned to MySQL’s root user:

    mysql> SELECT user,host,authentication_string,plugin FROM mysql.user WHERE user='root';
    | user | host      | authentication_string | plugin      |
    | root | localhost |                       | auth_socket |
    1 row in set (0.02 sec)

    You can keep using the auth_socket plugin, and this is considered a secure option for production systems. If you’d rather switch to password authentication and assign a password, enter the following commands. Replace password with a new root password:

    mysql> ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH 'mysql_native_password' BY 'password';

    After making this change, you should pass the -p option when invoking the MySQL shell:

    mysql -u root -p
  2. Create a database and a user with permissions for it. In this example, the database is called webdata, the user webuser, and password password. Be sure to enter your own password. This should be different from the root password for MySQL:

    CREATE DATABASE webdata;
    CREATE USER 'webuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    GRANT ALL ON webdata.* TO 'webuser';
  3. Exit the SQL shell:

  4. Use the mysql_secure_installation tool to configure additional security options. You will be given the choice to change the MariaDB 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. You can read more about the script in the MariaDB Knowledge Base.

    sudo mysql_secure_installation


  1. Edit the configuration file located in /etc/php/7.4/apache2/php.ini to enable more descriptive errors, logging, and better performance. The following modifications provide a good starting point:

    File: /etc/php/7.4/apache2/php.ini
    max_input_time = 30
    error_log = /var/log/php/error.log
    The beginning of the php.ini file contains examples commented out with a semicolon (;), which disables these directives. Ensure that the lines you modify in this step follow the examples section and are uncommented.
  2. Create the log directory for PHP and give ownership to the Apache system user:

    sudo mkdir /var/log/php
    sudo chown www-data /var/log/php
  3. Restart Apache:

    sudo systemctl restart apache2
    If you plan on using your LAMP stack to host a WordPress server, install additional PHP modules: sudo apt install php-curl php-gd php-mbstring php-xml php-xmlrpc

Optional: Test and Troubleshoot the LAMP Stack

In this section, you’ll create a test page that shows whether Apache can render PHP and connect to the MySQL database. This can be helpful in locating the source of an error if one of the elements of your LAMP stack is not communicating with the others.

  1. Paste the following code into a new file, phptest.php, in the public_html directory. Modify webuser and password to match the information entered in the Create a MySQL Database section above:

    File: /var/www/html/
        <title>PHP Test</title>
        <?php echo '<p>Hello World</p>';
        // In the variables section below, replace user and password with your own MySQL credentials as created on your server
        $servername = "localhost";
        $username = "webuser";
        $password = "password";
        // Create MySQL connection
        $conn = mysqli_connect($servername, $username, $password);
        // Check connection - if it fails, output will include the error message
        if (!$conn) {
            die('<p>Connection failed: </p>' . mysqli_connect_error());
        echo '<p>Connected successfully</p>';
  2. Navigate to from your local machine. If the components of your LAMP stack are working correctly, the browser will display a “Connected successfully” message. If not, the output will be an error message.

  3. Remove the test file:

    sudo rm /var/www/html/


  • If the site does not load at all, check if Apache is running, and restart it if required:

    sudo systemctl status apache2
    sudo systemctl restart apache2
  • If the site loads, but the page returned is the default “Congratulations” page, return to the Configure Virtual Hosts section above and check that the DocumentRoot matches your folder.

  • If the page returned says “Index of /” or has a similar folder tree structure, create a test index.html file or a test file as shown above.

Congratulations! You have now set up and configured a LAMP stack on Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS).

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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