Complete Tutorial to Install Directus 6.4 CMS on Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS

How to Install Directus 6.4 CMS on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS
How to Install Directus 6.4 CMS on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS
  Directus 6.4 CMS is a powerful, flexible, free, and open source Headless Content Management System (CMS) that provides developers with a simple and intuitive web interface for managing database content with completely custom architectures. Traditional CMS is built as closed platforms specifically for quickly deploying and managing websites; typically simple sites and blogs. However, today’s content is consumed by a much wider range of applications including complex web platforms, native apps, wearables, kiosks, IoT devices, and other data-driven projects. Directus 6.4 Headless CMS allows content to be managed independently from the place it will be used. By decoupling and authoring application-agnostic content, both developers and non-technical clients gain the freedom to manage and interact with content or even raw Native App data through intuitive and safe interfaces. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Directus 6.4 CMS on an Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP VPS using Apache web server, PHP 7.0, and a MariaDB database.


  • A clean DreamVPS Ubuntu 16.04 server instance with SSH access

Step 1: Add a Sudo User

Start by adding a new sudo user. First, log into your server as root.
ssh [email protected]_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS
  Add a new user called ‘user’ (or your preferred username).
adduser user1
  When prompted, enter a secure and memorable password. You will also be prompted for your ‘Full Name’ and some other details, however, you can simply leave them blank by pressing ‘Enter’. Now check the ‘/etc/sudoers’ file to make sure that the ‘sudoers’ group is enabled.
  Look for a section like the following.
%sudo        ALL=(ALL:ALL)       ALL
  This line tells you that users who are members of the ‘sudo’ group can use the ‘sudo’ command to gain root privileges. It will be uncommented by default so you can simply exit the file. Next you need to add user1 to the sudo group.
usermod -aG sudo user1
  You can verify the ‘user1’ group membership and check that the ‘usermod’ command worked with the groups command.
groups user1
  Now use the ‘su’ command to switch to the new sudo user user1 account.
su - user1
  The command prompt will update to indicate that you are now logged into the ‘user1’ account. You can verify this with the ‘whoami’ command.
  Now restart the ‘sshd’ service so that you can login via ssh with the new non-root sudo user account you have just created.
sudo systemctl restart sshd
  Exit the ‘user1’ account:
  Exit the root account (which will disconnect your ssh session).
  You can now ssh into the server instance from your local host using the new non-root sudo user user1 account.
ssh [email protected]_VULTR_IP_ADDRESS
  If you want to execute sudo without having to type a password every time, open the ‘/etc/sudoers’ file again using visudo.
sudo visudo
  Edit the section for the sudo group so that it looks like the below.
  Please note: Disabling the password requirement for the sudo user is not a recommended practice, however, it is included here as it can make server configuration much more convenient and less frustrating, especially during longer systems administration sessions. If you are concerned about the security implications, you can always revert the configuration change to the original after you finish your administration tasks. Whenever you want to log into the root user account from within the sudo user account, you can use one of the following commands.
sudo -i
sudo su -
  You can exit the root account and return back to your sudo user account any time by simply typing the below.

Step 2: Update Ubuntu 16.04 System

Before installing any packages on the Ubuntu server instance, first, update the system. Make sure you are logged in to the server using a non-root sudo user and run the following commands.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Step 3: Install Apache Web Server

Install the Apache web server.
sudo apt-get -y install apache2
  Then use the ‘systemctl’ command to start and enable Apache to execute automatically at boot time.
sudo systemctl enable apache2
sudo systemctl start apache2
  Check your Apache default site configuration file to ensure that the DocumentRoot directive points to the correct directory.
sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf
The DocumentRoot configuration option will look like this: DocumentRoot “/var/www/html”   We now need to enable the ‘mod_rewrite’ Apache module, so ensure that your Apache default site configuration file is still open and add the following Directory Apache directives before the closing: ‘</VirtualHost>’ tag. This means that the end of your configuration file looks something like this.
    <Directory /var/www/html/>

        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews

        AllowOverride All

        Order allow,deny

        allow from all


  The most important directive shown above is ‘AllowOverride All’. Now save and exit the file, and enable the ‘mod_rewrite’ Apache module.
sudo a2enmod rewrite
  You will restart Apache at the end of this tutorial, however restarting Apache regularly during installation and configuration is certainly a good habit, so let’s do it now. sudo systemctl restart apache2    

Step 4: Install PHP 7.0

You can now install PHP 7.0 along with all of the necessary PHP modules needed by Directus CMS.
sudo apt-get -y install php php-gd php-mbstring php-common php-mysql php-imagick php-xml libapache2-mod-php php-curl php-tidy php-zip

Step 5: Install MySQL Server

Install the MySQL database server.
sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server
  During the MySQL server installation, make sure you enter a secure password for the MySQL root user. This root user is different to the root user in Ubuntu as it is only used for connecting to your database server with full privileges. Start and enable the MySQL server to execute automatically at boot time.
sudo systemctl enable mysql
sudo systemctl start mysql
  Secure your MySQL server installation.
sudo mysql_secure_installation
  When prompted, enter the password you created for the MYSQL root user during installation. Simply answer ‘Y’ to all of the other yes/no questions as the default suggestions are the most secure options. Don’t miss;

Step 6: Create Database for Directus CMS

Log into the MySQL shell as the MySQL root user by running the following command.
sudo mysql -u root -p
  To access the MySQL command prompt, simply enter the MySQL root password when prompted. Run the following queries to create a MySQL database and database user for Directus CMS.
CREATE DATABASE directus_db CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;
CREATE USER 'directus_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'UltraSecurePassword';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON directus_db.* TO 'directus_user'@'localhost';
  If you prefer, you can replace the database name ‘directus_db’ and username ‘directus_user’ with something more to your liking. Also, make sure that you replace ‘UltraSecurePassword’ with an actually secure password.

Step 7: Install Directus CMS Files

Change your current working directory to the default web directory.
cd /var/www/html/
  If you get an error message saying something like ‘No such file or directory’ then try the following command.
cd /var/www/ ; sudo mkdir html ; cd html
  Your current working directory will now be: ‘/var/www/html/‘. You can check this with the ‘pwd’ (print working directory) command.
  Now use ‘wget’ to download the Directus CMS installation package.
sudo wget
  Please note: You should definitely check for the most recent version by visiting the Directus CMS download page. List the current directory to check that you have successfully downloaded the file.
ls -la
  Remove ‘index.html’.
sudo rm index.html
  Install unzip so you can unzip the file.
sudo apt-get -y install unzip
  Now uncompress the zip archive.
sudo unzip
  Change ownership of the web files to avoid any permissions problems.
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data * ./
  Restart Apache again.
sudo systemctl restart apache2
  Now you are ready to move on to the final step.  

Step 8: Complete Directus CMS Installation

It’s time to visit the IP address of your server instance in your browser, or if you’ve already configured your Vultr DNS settings (and given it enough time to propagate) you can simply visit your domain instead. To access the Directus CMS installation page, enter your Vultr instance IP address into your browser address bar, followed by ‘/installation/index.php’. http://YOUR_DREAMVPS_IP_ADDRESS/installation/index.php Most of the installation options are self-explanatory, however, here are a few pointers to help you along:
  1. Select your language and click on the Next button to continue.
  2. Enter an appropriate Project Name and Admin login details as shown below:
  3. PROJECT NAME: <project name>
  4. ADMIN EMAIL: <admin email>
  5. ADMIN PASSWORD: <admin password>
  Click Next to continue.  
  1. Now enter the following database values:
  3. HOST: localhost
  4. PORT: 3306
  5. USER: directus_user
  6. PASSWORD: UltraSecurePassword
  7. DATABASE NAME: directus_db
  8. INITIAL SCHEMA: None Clean Database
  Click Next to continue. You will be presented with a pre-installation check page showing the options you selected and any problems the installer may have found. If you see an error with the ‘mod_rewrite’ module showing as uninstalled or disabled, when you have actually installed and enabled it, you can simply ignore the warning as everything will work just fine. Once you have fixed any important issues and have verified that everything is working okay, simply click on ‘Install’ to finalize your installation. Once the installation is complete, you will be redirected to the Admin login page. If you aren’t redirected, you can enter the Admin login address manually. http://YOUR_DREAMVPS_IP_ADDRESS/login.php For security reasons, make sure you delete the ‘/installation/‘ directory from the ‘webroot’ directory.
sudo rm -rf ./installation/
  You are now ready to start adding your content and configuring your Headless CMS to work with your various apps. Make sure you check out the excellent Directus CMS documentation for more information about how to configure Directus CMS and link it to your different apps and frameworks. Here are a few hand-picked guides for you to read next: Do let us know if you want to add any specific Windows or Linux topics into this tutorial series.
Updated on 13 Oct 2018
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