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How To Install an Apache, MySQL, and PHP (FAMP) Stack on FreeBSD 10.1

Tutorials Apache FreeBSD LAMP Stack MySQL PHP

Introduction #

A FAMP stack, which is similar to a LAMP stack on Linux, is a group of open source software that is typically installed together to enable a FreeBSD server to host dynamic websites and web apps. FAMP is an acronym that stands for FreeBSD (operating system), Apache (web server), MySQL (database server), and PHP (to process dynamic PHP content).
In this guide, we’ll get a FAMP stack installed on a FreeBSD 10.1 cloud server using pkg, the FreeBSD package manager.

Note: As of July 1, 2022, DigitalOcean no longer supports the creation of new FreeBSD Droplets through the Control Panel or API. However, you can still spin up FreeBSD Droplets using a custom image. Learn how to import a custom image to DigitalOcean by following our product documentation.


Prerequisites #

Before you begin this guide, you should have a FreeBSD 10.1 server. Also, you must connect to your FreeBSD server as a user with superuser privileges (i.e. is allowed to use sudo or change to the root user).

Step One — Install Apache>

Step One — Install Apache #

The Apache web server is currently the most popular web server in the world, which makes it a great choice for hosting a website.
We can install Apache easily using FreeBSD’s package manager, pkg. A package manager allows us to install most software pain-free from a repository maintained by FreeBSD. You can learn more about how to use pkg here.
To install Apache 2.4 using pkg, use this command:

sudo pkg install apache24

Enter y at the confirmation prompt.
This installs Apache and its dependencies.
To enable Apache as a service, add apache24_enable="YES" to the /etc/rc.conf file. We will use this sysrc command to do just that:

sudo sysrc apache24_enable=yes

Now start Apache:

sudo service apache24 start

You can do a spot check right away to verify that everything went as planned by visiting your server’s public IP address in your web browser (see the note under the next heading to find out what your public IP address is if you do not have this information already):


You will see the default FreeBSD Apache web page, which is there for testing purposes. It should say: “It Works!”, which indicates that your web server is correctly installed.

How To find Your Server’s Public IP Address>

How To find Your Server’s Public IP Address #

If you do not know what your server’s public IP address is, there are a number of ways that you can find it. Usually, this is the address you use to connect to your server through SSH.
A universal way to look up the IP address is to use the ifconfig command, on the server itself. The ifconfig command will print out information about your network interfaces. In order to narrow down the output to only the server’s public IP address, use this command (note that the highlighted part is the name of the network interface, and may vary):

ifconfig vtnet0 | grep "inet " | awk '{ print $2 }'

Now that you have the public IP address, you may use it in your web browser’s address bar to access your web server.

Step Two — Install MySQL>

Step Two — Install MySQL #

Now that we have our web server up and running, it is time to install MySQL, the relational database management system. The MySQL server will organize and provide access to databases where our server can store information.
Again, we can use pkg to acquire and install our software.
To install MySQL 5.6 using pkg, use this command:

sudo pkg install mysql56-server

Enter y at the confirmation prompt.
This installs the MySQL server and client packages.
To enable MySQL server as a service, add mysql_enable="YES" to the /etc/rc.conf file. This sysrc command will do just that:

sudo sysrc mysql_enable=yes

Now start the MySQL server:

sudo service mysql-server start

Now that your MySQL database is running, you will want to run a simple security script that will remove some dangerous defaults and slightly restrict access to your database system. Start the interactive script by running this command:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

The prompt will ask you for your current root password (the MySQL admin user, root). Since you just installed MySQL, you most likely won’t have one, so leave it blank by pressing RETURN. Then the prompt will ask you if you want to set a root password. Go ahead and enter Y, and follow the instructions:

Enter current password for root (enter for none): [RETURN]
OK, successfully used password, moving on...

Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MySQL
root user without the proper authorization.

Set root password? [Y/n] Y
New password: password
Re-enter new password: password
Password updated successfully!

For the rest of the questions, you should simply hit the RETURN key at each prompt to accept the default values. This will remove some sample users and databases, disable remote root logins, and load these new rules so that MySQL immediately respects the changes we have made.
At this point, your database system is now set up and we can move on.

Step Three — Install PHP>

Step Three — Install PHP #

PHP is the component of our setup that will process code to display dynamic content. It can run scripts, connect to MySQL databases to get information, and hand the processed content over to the web server to display.
We can once again leverage the pkg system to install our components. We’re going to include the mod_php, php-mysql, and php-mysqli package as well.
To install PHP 5.6 with pkg, run this command:

sudo pkg install mod_php56 php56-mysql php56-mysqli

Enter y at the confirmation prompt. This installs the php56, mod_php56, php56-mysql, and php56-mysqli packages.
Now copy the sample PHP configuration file into place with this command:

sudo cp /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production /usr/local/etc/php.ini

Now run the rehash command to regenerate the system’s cached information about your installed executable files:


Before using PHP, you must configure it to work with Apache.

Install PHP Modules (Optional)>

Install PHP Modules (Optional) #

To enhance the functionality of PHP, we can optionally install some additional modules.
To see the available options for PHP 5.6 modules and libraries, you can type this into your system:

pkg search php56

The results will be mostly PHP 5.6 modules that you can install. :


To get more information about each module does, you can either search the internet, or you can look at the long description of the package by typing:

pkg search -f package_name

There will be a lot of output, with one field called Comment which will have an explanation of the functionality that the module provides.
For example, to find out what the php56-calendar package does, we could type this:

pkg search -f php56-calendar

Along with a large amount of other information, you’ll find something that looks like this:

Name           : php56-calendar
Version        : 5.6.3
Comment        : The calendar shared extension for php

If, after researching, you decide that you would like to install a package, you can do so by using the pkg install command like we have been doing for the other software.
For example, if we decide that php56-calendar is something that we need, we could type:

sudo pkg install php56-calendar

If you want to install more than one module at a time, you can do that by listing each one, separated by a space, following the pkg install command, like this:

sudo pkg install package1 package2 ...
Step Four — Configure Apache to Use PHP Module>

Step Four — Configure Apache to Use PHP Module #

Before Apache will process PHP pages, we must configure it to use mod_php.
Open the Apache configuration file:

sudo vi /usr/local/etc/apache24/Includes/php.conf

First, we will configure Apache to load index.php files by default by adding the following lines:

<IfModule dir_module>
    DirectoryIndex index.php index.html

Next, we will configure Apache to process requested PHP files with the PHP processor. Add these lines to the end of the file:

    <FilesMatch ".php$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php
    <FilesMatch ".phps$">
        SetHandler application/x-httpd-php-source

Save and exit.
Now restart Apache to put the changes into effect:

sudo service apache24 restart

At this point, your FAMP stack is installed and configured. Let’s test your PHP setup now.

Step Five — Test PHP Processing>

Step Five — Test PHP Processing #

In order to test that our system is configured properly for PHP, we can create a very basic PHP script.
We will call this script info.php. In order for Apache to find the file and serve it correctly, it must be saved under a very specific directory–DocumentRoot–which is where Apache will look for files when a user accesses the web server. The location of DocumentRoot is specified in the Apache configuration file that we modified earlier (/usr/local/etc/apache24/httpd.conf).
By default, the DocumentRoot is set to /usr/local/www/apache24/data. We can create the info.php file under that location by typing:

sudo vi /usr/local/www/apache24/data/info.php

This will open a blank file. Insert this PHP code into the file:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Save and exit.
Now we can test whether our web server can correctly display content generated by a PHP script. To try this out, we just have to visit this page in our web browser. You’ll need your server’s public IP address again.
The address you want to visit will be:


The page that you see should look something like this:

This page basically gives you information about your server from the perspective of PHP. It is useful for debugging and to ensure that your settings are being applied correctly.
If this was successful, then your PHP is working as expected.
You probably want to remove this file after this test because it could actually give information about your server to unauthorized users. To do this, you can type this:

sudo rm /usr/local/www/apache24/data/info.php

You can always recreate this page if you need to access the information again later.


Conclusion #

Now that you have a FAMP stack installed, you have many choices for what to do next. Basically, you’ve installed a platform that will allow you to install most kinds of websites and web software on your server.
If you are interested in setting up WordPress on your new FAMP stack, check out this tutorial: How To Install WordPress with Apache on FreeBSD 10.1.