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How to Install ATutor on Ubuntu 14.04

ATutor is an open source web based learning management systems (LMS). It's used in various context, including online course management continuing professional development for teachers, career development and academic research.

ATutor is the first LMS to comply completely with the accessibility specifications of W3C WCAG 1.0 at the AA+ level.

First released in late 2002, ATutor came in response to two studies conducted by the developer in the years prior that looked at the accessibility of online learning systems to people with disabilities.

You can learn about ATutor from the ATutor features page.


In this tutorial we'll learn how to install ATutor on Ubuntu 14.04. We will also install and configure its prerequisites


We will install ATutor on a fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04. We also need these applications to be able to run ATutor:

  • Apache 2
  • MySQL > 4.1.10
  • PHP > 5.0.2
  • ATutor also require the following php libraries
    • php5-curl
    • php5-mbstring

Update the Base System

Before we install ATutor, let's update the system to the latest update.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Install Apache 2

After applying the latest update to our base system, Lets's start installing Apache 2 and required libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install apache2 apache2-bin apache2-data apache2-mpm-prefork libaio1 libapache2-mod-php5 libapr1 libaprutil1 libdbd-mysql-perl libdbi-perl libhtml-template-perl libmysqlclient18 libterm-readkey-perl libwrap0 ssl-cert tcpd

We can check Apache 2 service status using command below:

sudo service apache2 status
 * apache2 is running

We can also check the port Apache 2 is listening on using the command below.

 sudo netstat -naptu | grep apache
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      14873/apache2

Install MySQL 5.6

We will install and use MySQL 5.6 as a database for ATutor.

We will use MySQL Server 5.6 since MySQL 5.6 is the most up to date version of MySQL shipped with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr.

$ sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server-5.6

We need to setup MySQL root password. Please input password for MySQL root user.

Verify root password.

Securing MySQL Installation.

We will secure the MySQL installation by running mysql_secure_installation.

Enter the root password that we set on installation:

$ mysql_secure_installation 

In order to log into MySQL to secure it, we'll need the current password for the root user. If you've just installed MySQL, and you haven't set the root password yet, the password will be blank, so you should just press enter here.

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

Since we already have the root password set, answer this part with n

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

You already have a root password set, so you can safely answer 'n'.

Change the root password? [Y/n] n ... skipping.

Remove the anonymous user to improve security. This will make sure people or the application have the correct username and password to login to MySQL. Answer with Y.

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

We also want remove root login from remote machine. Answer with Y

Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'.  This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

Previously the test database created automatically by MySQL installation, but MySQL 5.6 does not create test database. We can still choose Y, it will throw error but that's fine.

By default, MySQL comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access.  This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y - Dropping test database... ERROR 1008 (HY000) at line 1: Can't drop database 'test'; database doesn't exist ... Failed! Not critical, keep moving... - Removing privileges on test database... ... Success!

The last step is to reload the MySQL privilege table.

Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

All done! If you've completed all of the above steps, your MySQL installation should now be secure.

Thanks for using MySQL!

Cleaning up...

Create a Database for Atutor

Now we have a secure MySQL installation, it's time to create a database and user for Atutor itself.

Login to MySQL using the root credential.

$ mysql -u root -p
Enter password: 
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 58
Server version: 5.6.30-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 (Ubuntu)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2016, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


Create a new database named atutor using command below:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE atutor;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

Alter the atutor default charset to utf8

mysql> ALTER DATABASE `atutor` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci

Create aUser forAatutor

The database for atutor is ready, let's create username and password and grant privileges to atutor database.

Don't forget to change the password atutor123secret below with better password.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `atutor`.* TO 'atutor'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'atutor123secret';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

We need to run the FLUSH PRIVILEGES command so that the privileges table will be reloaded by MySQL and we can use new credentials.

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

Exit from the MySQL console by typing \q.

mysql> \q

Install PHP 5

The last component that we have to install before we can install Atutor is PHP 5. We will install PHP 5 and several common PHP libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-cli php5-common php5-json php5-mysql php5-readline

Install additional PHP libraries:

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-curl

Restart the Apache 2 process so the changes will be applied:

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install ATutor

Now all prerequisites are already installed. We're ready to install ATutor.

The latest stable version of atutor is available ATutor download page on GitHub.

At the time of this writing, the latest stable version is version 2.2.2, let's download atutor compressed file using wget.

$ wget -c

Extract the downloaded file:

$ tar xzf ATutor-2.2.2.tar.gz

Move ATutor directory to atutor:

$ sudo mv ATutor atutor

Move atutor directory to /var/www directory

$ sudo mv atutor /var/www

Change ownership of atutor directory to www-data user and group.

$ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/atutor

The ATutor files are ready, now let's create an Apache Virtual Host configuration to serve atutor.

Configure Apache Virtual Host for http Only

Create new apache configuration file on /etc/apache2/sites-available/atutor.conf with contents below.

<VirtualHost *:80>

DocumentRoot /var/www/atutor

<Directory /var/www/atutor> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ combined


Don't forget to change above with the domain name that you use for your atutor installation.

Enable the site using a2ensite command:

$ sudo a2ensite atutor

Reload the apache2 process so it reads the new virtualhost configuration:

$ sudo service apache2 reload

ATutor Setup Wizard

Open the ATutor url. In this tutorial the url is We will be redirected to the ATutor setup wizard. Click Continue to Step 1 of the setup process.

This page checks all ATutor installation prerequisites. We should get all green on the status since we already satisfy all requirements. Click Install

This page show Terms of use. Click I Agree:

The next step is database credential setup:

ATutor 2.2.2 have known bug that will prevent us to continue the database setup. We will need to manually patch the code to be able to use the setup wizard. This bug will be fixed in ATutor 2.2.3.

Open /var/www/atutor/include/install/

Go to line 462. Replace :

$row = queryDButf8($sql, array($db_name), true, true, $db);


$row = queryDButf8($sql, $db_name, true, true, $db);

Now input the database username, password and database name that we already created. Click Next

In this step, ATutor setup wizard will initialise the database using database credentials that we input on previous step. Click Next

Step 3 is Accounts and Preferences:

Input Administrator username, email and password.

Input Site Name and Contact Email. Choose Social and LMS. We can leave home URL field empty.

Now let's create account for ourselves, this is different to the Super Administrator account we created above. Click Next.

Step 4. We configure content directory for ATutor. We can use /var/www/atutor/content/. Click Next.

Step 5. It's time to save the configuration. Click Next.

Step 6. This step is to send anonymous data collection to ATutor. You can uncheck Optional URL if you don't want ATutor to know your installation URL.

Step 7. Installation is complete. You can click log in to go to login page.

On the login page we can input our username and password. We can use both our personal account and Super Administrator account that we created on setup.

After a successful login we will get the ATutor dashboard. We can start exploring ATutor features here as administrator, creating additional administrator and accounts for teachers and students.

You can learn more about ATutor from ATutor Handbook.

ATutor Post Setup Wizard

To increase security of our ATutor installation we need to remove the install directory.

$ sudo rm -rf /var/www/atutor/install

Configure https Only Site for ATutor

A secure connection is now a requirement for web applications. The last step that we will do in this tutorial is changing the connection to only use https. We assume that you already have SSL certificate and private key.

Let's create new apache virtual host configuration on /etc/apache2/sites-available/atutor-ssl.conf with contents below. Don't forget to change:

  • ServerName
  • SSLCertificateFile
  • SSLCertificateChainFile
  • SSLCertificateKeyFile
<VirtualHost *:80>
   Redirect permanent /

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/atutor

<Directory /var/www/atutor> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ combined

SSLEngine on SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/ SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/apache2/ssl/ SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/

# Uncomment the following directive when using client certificate authentication #SSLCACertificateFile /path/to/ca_certs_for_client_authentication

# HSTS (mod_headers is required) (15768000 seconds = 6 months) Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15768000"



We will also disable atutor http only virtual host and enable the new virtual host config.

$ sudo a2dissite atutor
$ sudo a2ensite atutor-ssl

The new virtual host configuration need Apache mod_ssl and mod_headers modules. We need to enable those modules.

$ sudo a2enmod ssl
$ sudo a2enmod headers

Now, restart Apache 2 service so it will reload its configuration. We need to restart instead of reload since we enable new module.

$ sudo service apache2 restart


In this tutorial we learned how to install Atutor on Ubuntu 14.04.

We installed all the prerequisites, created a user and database on MySQL for ATutor and also configured Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve atutor.

We also configured our installation to use https only connection to secure access to our ATutor installation.

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