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How to Install BigTreeCMS on Ubuntu 14.04

BigTreeCMS is an extremely extensible open source CMS built in PHP and MySQL. Created by designers, UX experts and content strategists to help people make and maintain better webites.

Several notable features of BigTreeCMS are:

  • Good technology design where we can use templates to develop website, the core classes provide an interface between template and data
  • Optimised for performance
  • Complete media management with options of image management, retina image support, image cropping and grayscale image conversion.
  • Lots of field types that you can choose from
  • Integration with multiple services for geocoding, analytics, storage to payment gateway.

You can see complete list of features from the BigTreeCMS features page.


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


We will install BigTreeCMS in fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04. We also need these application to be able to run BigTreeCMS:

  • Apache 2
  • MySQL 5
  • PHP > 5.3

BigTreeCMS also need mysql / mysqli and gd extension and also these php directives:

  • gpc_magic_quotes = Off
  • file_uploads = On
  • short_open_tag = On

Since we are using php 5.5, gpc_magic_quotes is not applicable since it's already removed in php 5.4.0.

file_uploads is already On by default so the only php directive that we have to set is short_open_tag.

We will also update upload_max_filesize to 5M since BigTreeCMS recommend minimum value for this parameter is 4M. BigTreeCMS will show warning but you can still leave this on default value.

Update the Base System

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

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

Install Apache 2

After applying 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 which port Apache 2 is listening on using 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 database for BigTreeCMS.

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 the 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 a 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 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 the 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 was 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 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 BigTreeCMS

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

Login to MySQL using your root credentials.

$ 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 bigtreecms using the command below:

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

Create a User for BigTreeCMS

The database for BigTreeCMS is ready, let's create a username and password and grant privileges to the bigtreecms database.

Don't forget to change the password bigtreecms123secret below with a better password.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `bigtreecms `.* TO 'bigtreecms'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'bigtreecms123secret';
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 MySQL console by typing \q:

mysql> \q

Install PHP 5

The last component that we have to install before we can install BigTreeCMS is PHP 5. We will install PHP 5 and several other 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-gd

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

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install BigTreeCMS

All prerequisites are already installed. So we're ready to install BigTreeCMS.

The latest stable version of BigTreeCMS is available from BigTreeCMS download page.

At the time of this writing the latest stable version of BigTreeCMS is version 4.2.15. Let's download the package using wget.

$ wget -c "" -O

Now we will extract:

Configure Apache Virtual Host for http Only

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

<VirtualHost *:80>

DocumentRoot /var/www/bigtreecms

<Directory /var/www/bigtreecms> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted <IfModule mod_php5.c> php_flag short_open_tag On php_value upload_max_filesize 5M </IfModule> </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 BigTreeCMS installation.

Enable the site using a2ensite command.

$ sudo a2ensite bigtreecms

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

$ sudo service apache2 reload

BigTreeCMS Installation Wizard

Now let's point our browser to BigTreeCMS installation wizard. In this installation the url is

Enter database name and credential that we created before.

Enter information for administrator account

Choose Advanced Routing and Allow Either

This step is optional you can choose to install sample site or not. In this tutorial I will install sample site so I check the checkbox. Click Install Now button.

BigTreeCMS installed. You can go to BigTreeCMS site or Administration Area.

When we go to site and we install sample site, the sample site is ready.

The administrative area is located at /admin. You can just type /admin on your site URL and you will be redirected to login page. Input administrator credential that we created on installation wizard.

After successful login we will go to administrative area dashboard.

Configure https only site for BigTreeCMS

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

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

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/bigtreecms

<Directory /var/www/bigtreecms> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted <IfModule mod_php5.c> php_flag short_open_tag On php_value upload_max_filesize 5M </IfModule> </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 bigtreecms http only virtual host and enable the new virtual host config.

$ sudo a2dissite bigtreecms
$ sudo a2ensite bigtreecms-ssl

The new virtual host configuration need Apache mod_ssl, we need to enable this module:

$ sudo a2enmod ssl

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

We need to change configuration and clear BigTreeCMS. Open /var/www/bigtreecms/custom/environment.php. Find these lines:

$bigtree["config"]["domain"] = "";
$bigtree["config"]["www_root"] = "";
$bigtree["config"]["static_root"] = "";
$bigtree["config"]["admin_root"] = "";

Replace the http:// above with https://.

You can also use sed command below to do the search replace

$ sudo sed -i 's/= \"http/= \"https/g' /var/www/bigtreecms/custom/environment.php

Now BigTreeCMS is served in full https.


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

We installed all the prerequisites, create users and database on MySQL for BigTreeCMS and also configure Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve BigTreeCMS.

We also configured and redirected all access to our site to https and not only the login page.

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