Install a LEMP Stack on CentOS 7

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Install a LEMP Stack on CentOS

What is a LEMP Stack?

The LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MariaDB, and PHP) is a popular server configuration for developing and hosting web applications. The four components of the stack are not tightly coupled, making it possible to substitute your preferred technologies. The LEMP stack is a common variant in which the Apache web server is replaced by NGINX.

Before You Begin

  1. You will need root access to the system, or a user account with sudo privilege.
  2. Set your system’s hostname.
  3. Update your system.

Installation

NGINX

These instructions install NGINX Mainline on CentOS 7 from NGINX Inc’s official repository. For other distributions, see the NGINX admin guide. For information on configuring NGINX for production environments, see our Getting Started with NGINX series.

  1. Create the file /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx.repo in a text editor and add the following:

    /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx.repo
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    [nginx]
    name=nginx repo
    baseurl=http://nginx.org/packages/mainline/centos/7/$basearch/
    gpgcheck=0
    enabled=1
    Note

    If you’re using a CentOS version other than 7, replace 7 in the baseurl in nginx.repo file with the correct CentOS version:

    baseurl=http://nginx.org/packages/mainline/<OS>/<OSRELEASE>/$basearch/

  2. Update yum and install NGINX:

    sudo yum update
    sudo yum install nginx
    
  3. Ensure NGINX is running and and enabled to start automatically on reboot:

    sudo systemctl start nginx
    sudo systemctl enable nginx
    

MariaDB

  1. Install the MariaDB server and MySQL/MariaDB-PHP support. You may be prompted to set a root password during installation.

    sudo yum install mariadb-server php-mysql
    
  2. Ensure NGINX is running and and enabled to start automatically on reboot:

    sudo systemctl start mariadb
    sudo systemctl enable mariadb
    
  3. Run the mysql_secure_installation script:

    sudo mysql_secure_installation
    

    If you were not prompted to create a MySQL root user password when installing MariaDB, press enter when prompted for the root password:

    Enter current password for root (enter for none):
    

    Set a password when prompted:

    Set root password? [Y/n]
    

    Answer Y at the following prompts:

    • Remove anonymous users?
    • Disallow root login remotely?
    • Remove test database and access to it?
    • Reload privilege tables now?
  4. Log in to MariaDB’s SQL shell. Enter the root user’s password when prompted.

    mysql -u root -p
    
  5. Create a test database and user with access permission. Replace testdb and testuser with appropriate names for your setup. Replace password with a strong password.

    CREATE DATABASE testdb;
    CREATE USER 'testuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON testdb.* TO 'testuser';
    quit

PHP

  1. Install the PHP FastCGI Processing Manager, which will bring in the core PHP dependencies:

    sudo yum install php-fpm
    
  2. Ensure PHP-FPM is running and and enabled to start automatically on reboots:

    sudo systemctl start php-fpm
    sudo systemctl enable php-fpm
    
  3. Tell PHP to only accept URIs for files that actually exist on the server. This mitigates a security vulnerability where the PHP interpreter can be tricked into allowing arbitrary code execution if the requested .php file is not present in the filesystem. See this tutorial for more information about this vulnerability.

    sudo sed -i 's/;cgi.fix_pathinfo=1/cgi.fix_pathinfo=0/g' /etc/php.ini
    
  4. PHP is set to run under the apache user by default, but this user needs to match the user and group used by NGINX. If you installed NGINX from the NGINX repository as described above, NGINX will use the nginx user and group. Change the user and group variables in www.conf to match:

    sudo sed -i 's/user = apache/user = nginx/g' /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf
    sudo sed -i 's/group = apache/group = nginx/g' /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf
    

Set an NGINX Site Configuration File

  1. Create a root directory for your site. Replace example.com with your site’s domain:

    sudo mkdir -p /var/www/example.com/
    
  2. Disable the default site configuration provided with the package as an example:

    sudo mv /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf.disabled
    
  3. Website configuration files should be kept in /etc/nginx/conf.d/. Create a configuration file for your site. Again replace example.com with your site’s domain.

    /etc/nginx/conf.d/example.com.conf
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    server {
        listen         80 default_server;
        listen         [::]:80 default_server;
        server_name    example.com www.example.com;
        root           /var/www/example.com;
        index          index.html;
    
        location / {
          try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
        }
    
        location ~* \.php$ {
          fastcgi_pass 127.0.0.1:9000;
          include         fastcgi_params;
          fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME    $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
          fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_NAME        $fastcgi_script_name;
        }
    }

    The server block above specifies the following configuration options:

    • NGINX is listening on port 80 for incoming connections to example.com or www.example.com.

    • The site is served out of /var/www/example.com/ and its index page (index.html) is an .html file. If your index page will use PHP, substitute index.php for index.html.

    • try_files tells NGINX to verify that a requested file or directory actually exist in the site’s root filesystem before further processing the request. If it does not, a 404 is returned.

    • location ~* \.php$ tells NGINX to apply this configuration to all .php files (file names are not case sensitive) in your site’s root directory, including any subdirectories containing PHP files.

    • The * in the ~* \.php$ location directive indicates that PHP file names are not case sensitive. This can be removed if you prefer to enforce letter case.

    • fastcgi_pass specifics the IP address and port where PHP listens for incoming connections from other local processes.

    • include fastcgi_params tells NGINX to process a list of fastcgi_param variables at /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params.

    • The fastcgi_param directives contain the location (relative to the site’s root directory) and file naming convention of PHP scripts to be served when called by NGINX.

Test the LEMP Stack

  1. Restart PHP and reload the NGINX configuration:

    sudo systemctl restart php-fpm
    sudo nginx -s reload
    
  2. Create a test page to verify NGINX can render PHP and connect to the MySQL database. Replace testuser and password with the MySQL credentials you created above.

    /var/www/example.com/test.php
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    <html>
    <head>
        <h2>LEMP Stack Test</h2>
    </head>
        <body>
        <?php echo '<p>Hello,</p>';
    
        // Define PHP variables for the MySQL connection.
        $servername = "localhost";
        $username = "testuser";
        $password = "password";
    
        // Create a MySQL connection.
        $conn = mysqli_connect($servername, $username, $password);
    
        // Report if the connection fails or is successful.
        if (!$conn) {
            exit('<p>Your connection has failed.<p>' .  mysqli_connect_error());
        }
        echo '<p>You have connected successfully.</p>';
        ?>
    </body>
    </html>
    
  3. Go to http://example.com/test.php in a web browser. It should report that You have connected successfully. If you see an error message or if the page does not load, re-check your configuration.

  4. Remove the test file once you have confirmed that the stack is working correctly:

    sudo rm /var/www/example.com/test.php
    

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