Install Automad CMS on Debian 10/Ubuntu 18.04


In this guide, we are going to learn how to install Automad CMS on Debian 10 /Ubuntu 18.04. Automad is a file-based content management system and template engine written in PHP. It stores all content in human readable text files instead of the database and thus a site created with Automad is fully portable, easy to install and can be version controlled by using Git or Mercurial.

Install Automad CMS on Debian 10/Ubuntu 18.04


Automad is written in PHP and thus it requires a web server with PHP and PHP extensions installed in order to run. Here is a list of the minimum system requirements;

  • Apache or Nginx web server
  • PHP 5.4+
  • On Apache servers, the mod_rewrite module should be enabled

Run System Update

Run the commands below to update and upgrade your system packages.

apt update
apt upgrade

Install Required Packages

Once the system update is done, proceed to install the required packages. The command below installs PHP and the required extensions as well the Apache web server.

apt install php php-zip php-curl php-mbstring php-gd php-xml php-xmlrpc php-soap

Once the installation is done, the Apache web server is set to run and enabled to run on system boot.

systemctl status apache2
● apache2.service - The Apache HTTP Server
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apache2.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Wed 2019-08-21 13:08:36 EDT; 1min 26s ago
 Main PID: 16413 (apache2)
    Tasks: 6 (limit: 1150)
   Memory: 17.3M
   CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
           ├─16413 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─16429 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─16430 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─16432 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─16433 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           └─16434 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
systemctl is-enabled apache2

On Ubuntu 18.04, PHP 7.2 is installed by default while PHP 7.3 is installed on Debian 10 by default. You can verify this by running;

Ubuntu 18.04

php -v
PHP 7.2.19-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 (cli) (built: Aug 12 2019 19:34:28) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v7.2.19-0ubuntu0.18.04.2, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Debian 10 Buster

php -v
PHP 7.3.4-2 (cli) (built: Apr 13 2019 19:05:48) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.3.4, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v7.3.4-2, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Configure Apache For Automad CMS

Create Apache configuration file for Automad CMS with the following content;

vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/automadcms.conf
     ServerAdmin [email protected]
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/automadcms

     <Directory /var/www/html/automadcms>
          Options FollowSymlinks
          AllowOverride All
          Require all granted

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/automadcms_error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/automadcms_access.log combined


Save the configuration file and quit and check configuration syntax.

apachectl configtest

If all is well, you should get Syntax OK.

Next, enable Automd CMS site and the rewrite module.

a2ensite automadcms.conf
a2enmod rewrite

Download Automad CMS Installation Files

Run the command below to download the Automad CMS installation files to the web root directory you defined in the Automad CMS Apache configuration file above.


Install Automad CMS on Debian 10/Ubuntu 18.04

Installing Automad CMS is as simple as unzipping the download files and copying them to Automad CMS web root directory.

Extract Automad CMS Files

apt install zip

Move the contents to web root directory.

mv marcantondahmen-automad-6fff2a0456dc /var/www/html/automadcms

Set the user and group ownership of the Automad CMS files to web server www-data.

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/automadcms
chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/automadcms

Restart Apache2

systemctl restart apache2

Accessing Automad CMS

You can now access your Automad CMS site via

Install Automad CMS on Debian 10/Ubuntu 18.04

Create Automad CMS User Account

To create Automad CMS user account, enter the Automad CMS dashboard,

Automad CMS User Account registration

Fill in the username and password and download the user registration form and copy it under the /config directory within your Automad CMS project directory.

For example, in my case the accounts.php file is downloaded to ~/downloads directory. To preserver the permissions, copy the file as www-data.

sudo -u www-data cp /home/amos/accounts.php /var/www/html/automadcms/config/

Login to Automad CMS Site

Once you have the accounts form in place, login to Automad CMS via

Automad CMS login interface

And there you go. You get to Automad CMS admin dashboard.

Automad CMS admin dashboard

You have successfully installed Automad CMS on Debian 10/Ubuntu 18.04. You can now explore it. Enjoy.

Read more about Automad CMS on;

Automad CMS User Guide

Related Tutorials;

Install WonderCMS with Nginx on Debian 10

Install WonderCMS on Debian 10 Buster

Install GoAccess on Ubuntu 18.04/Debian 10 Buster


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