Piwik on CentOS 5
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Piwik is a “downloadable, open source (GPL licensed) web analytics software program.” An alternative to services like Google Analytics, Piwik allows you to host your statistics services on your own server and have full ownership and control of the data collected from your visitors.
For the purpose of this guide, we assume that you have a running and functional server, and have followed the Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance. If you are new to Linux server administration, you may be interested in our introduction to Linux concepts guide, beginner’s guide and administration basics guide.
Beyond the basics, Piwik requires a functioning LAMP stack, which you can configure by following the CentOS 5 LAMP guide. Make sure you follow the steps for installing PHP and PHP-MySQL support. You will also want to be logged in over SSH as root.
Make sure your system is up to date by issuing the following command:
Piwik requires a few additional dependencies beyond LAMP fundamentals. Most importantly, Piwik requires the
php-gd package to draw the “sparklines”. These are the small graphs displayed in the control panel. We’ll also need
unzip to access the files in the Piwik package. Install
unzip by running the following command:
yum install php-xml php-gd php-mbstring unzip wget
If you followed our recommendations in the CentOS LAMP guide, your PHP
memory_limit value is set to 64 megabytes. For medium to high traffic sites, Piwik’s creators recommend setting this value to 128 megabytes. Edit the
php.ini file so the
memory_limit setting reflects these changes
- File: /etc/php.ini
memory_limit = 128M
You’ll need to restart Apache after installing php-gd and modifying the PHP settings. You can do this by issuing the following command:
This phase of the installation process is optional, but recommended. Here we configure a subdomain and virtual host configuration in Apache specifically for Piwik. This makes it easy to separate the statistics package from the website or websites that Piwik monitors.
To create a virtual host we need to add an “A Record” for the subdomain that Piwik will use; in our example this is
stats.example.com. If your DNS is hosted with Linode’s DNS servers, you can configure the A record in the DNS manager. Additionally, we’ll need to create a new virtual hosting file for this sub domain.
We’ll append the following virtual host to our
vhost.conf file, located at
- File: /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost.conf
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
<VirtualHost *:80> ServerAdmin email@example.com ServerName stats.example.net DocumentRoot /srv/www/stats.example.net/public_html/ ErrorLog /srv/www/stats.example.net/logs/error.log CustomLog /srv/www/stats.example.net/logs/access.log combined </VirtualHost>
We’ll need to create the
public_html directories by issuing the following commands:
mkdir -p /srv/www/stats.example.net/public_html mkdir /srv/www/stats.example.net/logs
Enable the virtual host and restart the web server with the following command:
Remember that the configuration of a special virtual host for Piwik is optional. If you use a web server other than Apache, you will need to pursue different steps to configure the virtual host.
First we’ll download the latest distribution of the Piwik package. Issue the following two commands:
cd /srv/www/stats.example.net/ wget http://builds.piwik.org/latest.zip
Uncompress the archive and move the contents of the archive to the directory where you want to install Piwik. Use these two commands:
unzip latest.zip mv piwik/* public_html rmdir piwik chown -R apache:apache public_html
Before running Piwik’s installation script, we need to change the permissions of several directories. Piwik requires these permissions to remain set to function properly. Issue the following commands:
chmod a+w /srv/www/stats.example.net/public_html/tmp chmod a+w /srv/www/stats.example.net/public_html/config
Visit your new Piwik instance in your browser. In our example, this is located at
http://stats.example.com. Follow the instructions provided by the Piwik installation process. You will be prompted for the name of your MySQL database as well as access credentials for this database. This information was created when you installed the LAMP stack. After this step, you may see the following message:
"Client connection to the database server is not set to UTF8 by default. This is not critical issue: Piwik should work correctly. However for consistency, it is recommended that you do one of the following: * in your piwik config/config.ini.php, add charset = utf8 under the [database] section of your Piwik configuration file config/config.ini.php" * recompile libmysql --with-charset=utf8""
After installation, follow the first recommendation by adding
charset = utf8 to your
config.ini.php file under the
Congratulations! You now have a fully functional statistics and web traffic analytics package running on your own server.
When running software compiled or installed directly from sources provided by upstream developers, you are responsible for monitoring updates, bug fixes, and security issues. After becoming aware of releases and potential issues, update your software to resolve flaws and prevent possible system compromise. Monitoring releases and maintaining up to date versions of all software is crucial for the security and integrity of a system.
Please monitor the Piwik security announcement posts, and development mailing lists to ensure that you are aware of all updates to the software and can upgrade appropriately or apply patches and recompile as needed:
When upstream sources offer new releases, repeat the instructions for installing the Piwik software as needed. These practices are crucial for the ongoing security and functioning of your system.
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