Install Automad CMS with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt SSL on CentOS 7

Install Automad CMS with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt SSL on CentOS 7

Install Automad CMS with Nginx and Let’s Encrypt SSL on CentOS 7

Automad is a file-based content management system (CMS) and a template engine written in PHP. All content is stored in human-readable text files instead of a database. An Automad site is therefore fully portable, easy to install, and can be version controlled by using Git or Mercurial. It nevertheless offers database features like searching and tagging. The built-in template engine allows even inexperienced developers and designers to create beautiful themes and templates. In this tutorial, we will go through the Automad CMS installation and setup on CentOS 7 system by using NGINX as a web server.


Requirements for installing and running Automad CMS are as follows:if(typeof __ez_fad_position != ‘undefined’){__ez_fad_position(‘div-gpt-ad-howtoforge_com-medrectangle-3-0’)};

  • PHP version 5.4 or higher.
  • Web server software like Nginx or Apache.


  • A CentOS 7 operating system.
  • 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 the CentOS operating system:

sudo yum install -y curl wget vim git unzip socat bash-completion epel-release

Step 1 – Install PHP and necessary PHP extensions

Setup the Webtatic YUM repo:

sudo rpm -Uvh

Install PHP, as well as the required PHP extensions:

sudo yum install -y php72w php72w-cli php72w-fpm php72w-common php72w-mbstring php72w-xmlrpc php72w-soap php72w-gd php72w-xml php72w-curl php72w-zip

To show PHP compiled in modules, you can run:

php -m

. . .
. . .

Check the PHP version:if(typeof __ez_fad_position != ‘undefined’){__ez_fad_position(‘div-gpt-ad-howtoforge_com-medrectangle-4-0’)};

php --version
# PHP 7.2.19 (cli) (built: Jan 12 2019 12:47:33) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.0.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
# with Zend OPcache v7.2.14, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Start and enable PHP-FPM service:

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

Step 2 – Install client and obtain Let’s Encrypt certificate ( optional )

Securing your forum with HTTPS is not necessary, but it is a good practice to secure your site traffic. To obtain a TLS certificate from Let’s Encrypt we will use client. is a simple UNIX shell software for obtaining TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt with zero dependencies.

Download and install

sudo su - root
git clone
./ --install --accountemail [email protected]
source ~/.bashrc
cd ~

Check version: --version
# v2.8.2

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

# RSA 2048 --issue --standalone -d --keylength 2048
# ECDSA --issue --standalone -d --keylength ec-256

If you want fake certificates for testing, you can add --staging flag to the above commands.

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

  • For RSA: /home/username/ directory.
  • For ECC/ECDSA: /home/username/example.com_ecc directory.

To list your issued certs you can run: --list

Create a directory to store your certs. We will use the /etc/letsencrypt directory.

mkdir -p /etc/letsecnrypt/
sudo mkdir -p /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc

Install/copy certificates to /etc/letsencrypt directory.

# RSA --install-cert -d --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/ --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"
# ECC/ECDSA --install-cert -d --ecc --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/cert.pem --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"

All the certificates will be automatically renewed every 60 days.

After obtaining certs exit from root user and return to regular sudo user:


Step 3 – Install and configure NGINX

Download and install NGINX from the CentOS repository:

sudo yum install -y nginx

Check the NGINX version:

sudo nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.12.2

Start and enable Nginx service:

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

Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/automad.conf and populate the file with the following configuration:

server {

  listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
listen 443 ssl http2;
listen [::]:80;
listen 80;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key;
server_name; root /var/www/automad; index index.php index.html; client_max_body_size 100M; location / { try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$args; } location ~ \.php$ { fastcgi_index index.php; fastcgi_pass; fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name; include fastcgi_params; } }

Check NGINX configuration for syntax errors:

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx:

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 4 – Install Automad CMS

Create a document root directory for Automad:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/automad

Navigate to the document root:

cd /var/www/automad

Using curl download the latest release of Automad CMS. Don’t forget to bump up the version numbers if there is a newer release:

sudo curl -O -J -L

Uncompress the zip archive:

sudo unzip

Move all Automad files to the document root and remove downloaded zip archive:

sudo mv automad-master/* . && sudo mv automad-master/.* .
sudo rm
sudo rmdir automad-master

Provide the appropriate ownership:

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

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

sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

And set user and group to nginx, like below:

user = nginx
group = nginx

And finally, restart PHP-FPM service for these changes to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm.service

Step 5 – Finish the Automad installation

As the last step, create a user account to use the browser-based user interface called the Dashboard. Therefore navigate to and follow the instructions.

Before you can use Automad dashboard, you will need to create an account:

Create user in Automad CMS

Create a user account using the form and download the generated file to your computer. After you will need to move the downloaded file to the “/config” directory within Automad installation directory.

After that you can log in to Automad dashboard:

Login to Automad

In the end, Automad admin interface will be displayed:

Automad CMS Dashboard

That’s it. Automad installation is finished.


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