Craft is an open source CMS written in PHP. Craft allows you to easily create and manage great-looking content, and to design and build exactly what you need. It's secure and scalable CMS with big plugin ecosystem and the Craft source code is hosted on GitHub. This tutorial will walk you through the Craft CMS installation procedure on a fresh CentOS system using Nginx as the web server and we will secure the website with a Let's encrypt SSL certificate.


Craft requires the following:

  • PHP version 7.0 or greater with the following PHP extensions: (ctype, cURL, GD or ImageMagick, iconv, JSON, Multibyte String, OpenSSL, PCRE, PDO MySQL Driver or PDO PostgreSQL Driver, PDO, Reflection, SPL, Zip, Intl, DOM)
  • MySQL 5.5+ with InnoDB, MariaDB 5.5+, or PostgreSQL 9.5+
  • At least 256MB of memory allocated to PHP
  • At least 200MB of free disk space


  • An operating system running CentOS 7.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Initial steps

Check your CentOS version:

cat /etc/centos-release
# CentOS Linux release 7.6.1810 (Core)

Set up the timezone:

timedatectl list-timezones
sudo timedatectl set-timezone 'Region/City'

Update your operating system packages (software). This is an important first step because it ensures you have the latest updates and security fixes for your operating system's default software packages:

sudo yum update -y

Install some essential packages that are necessary for basic administration of CentOS operating system:

sudo yum install -y curl wget vim git unzip socat

Step 1 - Install PHP and required PHP extensions

Setup the Webtatic YUM repo:

sudo rpm -Uvh

Install PHP, as well as the necessary PHP extensions:

sudo yum install -y php72w php72w-cli php72w-fpm php72w-common php72w-curl php72w-gd php72w-pecl-imagick php72w-json php72w-mbstring php72w-mysql php72w-pgsql php72w-zip php72w-intl php72w-xml php72w-pdo

Check PHP version:

php --version

# PHP 7.2.13 (cli) (built: Dec 6 2018 23:18:37) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

Start and enable PHP-FPM service:

sudo systemctl start php-fpm.service
sudo systemctl enable php-fpm.service

Run sudo vim /etc/php.ini and set memory_limit to at least 256MB:

memory_limit = 256M

We can move on to the next step, which is the database installation and setup.

Step 2- Install MariaDB and create a database

Craft CMS supports MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL databases. In this tutorial, we will use MariaDB as database server.

Install MariaDB database server:

sudo yum install -y mariadb-server

Check MariaDB version:

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 5.5.60-MariaDB, for Linux (x86_64) using  readline 5.1

Start and enable MariaDB service:

sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

Run mysql_secure installation script to improve MariaDB security and set the password for MariaDB root user:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Answer each of the questions:

New password: your_secure_password
Re-enter new password: your_secure_password
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y

Connect to MariaDB shell as the root user:

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password

Create an empty MariaDB database and user for Craft CMS and remember the credentials:

mariadb> CREATE DATABASE dbname;
mariadb> GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Exit from MariaDB:

mariadb> exit

Replace dbnameusername and password with your own names.

Step 3 - Install client and obtain Let's Encrypt certificate (optional)

Securing your website with HTTPS is not necessary, but it is a good practice to secure your site traffic. In order to obtain TLS certificate from Let's Encrypt we will use client. is a pure unix shell software for obtaining TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt with zero dependencies. 

Download and install

sudo mkdir /etc/letsencrypt
git clone
sudo ./ --install --home /etc/letsencrypt --accountemail
cd ~

Check version:

/etc/letsencrypt/ --version
# v2.8.0

Obtain RSA and ECC/ECDSA certificates for your domain/hostname:

# RSA 2048
sudo /etc/letsencrypt/ --issue --standalone --home /etc/letsencrypt -d --keylength 2048
sudo /etc/letsencrypt/ --issue --standalone --home /etc/letsencrypt -d --keylength ec-256

After running the above commands, your certificates and keys will be in:

  • For RSA/etc/letsencrypt/ directory.
  • For ECC/ECDSA/etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc directory.

Step 4 - Install and Configure Nginx

Craft CMS can work fine with many popular web server softwares. In this tutorial, we selected Nginx. 

Download and install latest mainline release of Nginx from the official Nginx repository.

In order to check a signature it is necessary to download Nginx signing key and import it to the rpm program’s keyring:

sudo rpm --import nginx_signing.key

To set up the yum repository for CentOS, create the file named /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx_mainline.repo with the following contents:

name=nginx repo

Install the latest mainline Nginx packages:

sudo yum install -y nginx nginx-module-geoip nginx-module-image-filter nginx-module-njs nginx-module-perl nginx-module-xslt

Start and enable Nginx service:

sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

Check the Nginx version:

nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.15.8

Configure Nginx for Craft CMS by running:

sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/craft.conf

And populate the file with the following configuration:

server {

  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  listen 443 ssl;
  listen [::]:443 ssl;


  root /var/www/craft/web;

  index index.php;

  ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/;
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/;
  ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.cer;
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/;

  location / {
    try_files $uri/index.html $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;

  location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    include fastcgi_params;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";


Replace with your own domain name in the above file.

NOTEFor complete and production ready Nginx config for Craft visit The config is intentionally simplified to keep config dense and simple.

Test Nginx configuration:

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx:

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 5 - Install Composer

Install Composer, the PHP dependency manager globally:

php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"

php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === '93b54496392c062774670ac18b134c3b3a95e5a5e5c8f1a9f115f203b75bf9a129d5daa8ba6a13e2cc8a1da0806388a8') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"

php composer-setup.php

php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"

sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Check the Composer version:

composer --version
# Composer version 1.8.0 2018-12-03 10:31:16

NOTE: Composer installation commands will change in the future, so check for the most up to date commands if the above commands doesn't work.

Step 6 - Install Craft CMS

Craft CMS can be downloaded with Composer or by manually downloading a .zip or tar.gz archive. In this tutorial we will use Composer to download Craft CMS.

Create a document root directory where Craft CMS should reside in:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/craft

Navigate to the document root directory:

cd /var/www/craft

Change ownership of the /var/www/craft directory to {your_username}.

sudo chown -R {your_username}:{your_username} /var/www/craft

To create a new Craft project, run this command:

composer create-project craftcms/craft .

Change ownership of the /var/www/craft directory to nginx:

sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/www/craft

Run sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf and set the user and group to nginx. Initially, they will be set to apache:

sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf
# user = nginx
# group = nginx

Create /var/lib/php/session/ directory and change ownership to nginx.

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/php/session && sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/lib/php/session

In your web browser, go to http://<Hostname>/index.php?p=admin/install (substituting <Hostname> with your web server’s host name). If you’ve done everything right so far, you should be greeted by Craft’s Setup Wizard.

Step 7 - Complete the Craft CMS setup

After opening your installation URL the page like below should appear. Click "Install Craft" button. Accept the license by clicking on the "Got it" button. 

Fill in database details and click on the "Next" button. Create Craft account and click on the "Next" button. Now, Setup your site and click on the "Finish up" button. After this you should be redirected to the Craft admin page.


Was this answer helpful? 0 Users Found This Useful (0 Votes)