Flarum is a free and open-source next-generation forum software that makes online discussion fun. It's simple, fast, and free. Flarum source code is hosted on Github. It is designed to be fast, simple, responsive and extensible.

This guide will show you how to install Flarum forum on CentOS 8 server using PHP, MariaDB as a database, and Nginx as a web server.

Requirements

Before you install Flarum, it's important to check that your server meets the requirements. To run Flarum, you will need:

  • 2 GB of RAM or swap configured
  • Apache (with mod_rewrite enabled) or Nginx. This tutorial will use Nginx.
  • PHP version 7.1 or greater with the following PHP extensions: dom, gd, json, mbstring, openssl, pdo_mysql, tokenizer.
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater or MariaDB version 10.0.5 or greater. This tutorial will use MariaDB.

Before you begin

Check the CentOS version.

cat /etc/centos-release
# CentOS Linux release 8.1.1911 (Core)

Add a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

useradd -c "John Doe" johndoe && passwd johndoe
usermod -aG wheel johndoe
su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username and make sure you are using a strong password to comply with the CentOS password policy.

Set up the system’s timezone.

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

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo dnf update

Install the needed packages.

sudo dnf install -y socat git wget unzip

For simplicity, disable SELinux and Firewall.

sudo setenforce 0 ; sudo systemctl stop firewalld ; sudo systemctl disable firewalld

Install PHP

Install PHP, as well as the necessary PHP extensions.

sudo dnf install -y php-cli php-fpm php-common php-mbstring php-gd php-xml php-mysqlnd php-curl php-json

Check the version.

php --version

# PHP 7.2.11 (cli) (built: Oct  9 2018 15:09:36) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies

Start and enable PHP-FPM.

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

Install MariaDB

Install MariaDB.

sudo dnf install -y mariadb-server

Check the version.

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.3.17-MariaDB, for Linux (x86_64) using readline 5.1

Start and enable MariaDB.

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

Run the mysql_secure_installation script to improve the security of your MariaDB installation by answering the below questions.

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

Log into MariaDB as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password:

Create a new MariaDB database and database user, and remember the credentials.

MariaDB> CREATE DATABASE dbname;
MariaDB> GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
MariaDB> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
MariaDB> quit

NOTE: Replace dbname and username with appropriate names for your setup. Replace password with a strong password.

Install Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo dnf install -y nginx

Check the version.

nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.1

Start and enable Nginx.

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

Configure Nginx for Flarum. Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/flarum.conf and populate the file with the following configuration.

server {

  listen [::]:80;
  listen 80;
  
  server_name example.com;
  root /var/www/flarum/public;
  
  index index.php;
  
  location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
  }
  
  location ~* \.php$ {
    fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php-fpm/www.sock;
    include fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
  }

}

Save the file and exit.

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Composer

Download and install Composer, the dependency manager for PHP.

php -r "copy('https://getcomposer.org/installer', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('sha384', 'composer-setup.php') === 'e0012edf3e80b6978849f5eff0d4b4e4c79ff1609dd1e613307e16318854d24ae64f26d17af3ef0bf7cfb710ca74755a') { 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

NOTE: Composer install code will change with every version of the installer. Please see the official download page for up to date installation commands.

Check the version.

composer --version
# Composer version 1.9.3 2020-02-04 12:58:49

Install Flarum

NOTE: Flarum is currently in the beta stage. It is not recommended to run it in production just yet unless you know what you are doing. You should wait for stable release for production usage.

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/flarum

Change ownership of the /var/www/flarum directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /var/www/flarum

Navigate to the document root folder.

cd /var/www/flarum

Download the latest release of Flarum via composer.

composer create-project flarum/flarum . --stability=beta

NOTE: You may run out of memory when installing Flarum via Composer. If that happens, then you'll need to setup Swap.

Change ownership of the /var/www/flarum directory to nginx.

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

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

Set user and grup to nginx.

user = nginx
group = nginx

Restart the PHP-FPM service.

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm.service

Open your site in a web browser and follow the instructions on the screen to finish the installation.