27th December, 2016 | Tutorials |

How to Install Contao Content Management System On Ubuntu 14.04

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Contao CMS is a free content management system that is suitable for small to large websites. We can use contao as a CMS for enterprise sites, e-commerce, portals, and even microsites.

It's flexibility gives a lot of power to users the shape content as they want.

Some key features of Contao CMS:-

You can learn more about Contao CMS by visiting Contao website


In this tutorial we'll learn how-to Install Contao Content Managment System on Ubuntu 14.04. We will also install and configure its prerequisites.


We need to install these applications before we can install Contao CMS:


Update the Base System

Before we install Contao CMS and its prerequisites let's update the system to the latest version.

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

Install Apache 2

After applying latest update to our base system, let's start installing Apache2 and the 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 the Apache 2 service status using command below

sudo service apache2 status
 * apache2 is running

We can also check whether Apache 2 listen on which port using command below.

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

Contao .htaccess configuration uses mod_rewrite and mod_headers for its configuration, we need to enable the module first.

$ sudo a2enmod rewrite
$ sudo a2enmod headers

Now restart apache2 process so the new module enabled will be used by Apache.

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install MySQL 5.6

We will install and use MySQL 5.6 as database for Contao. 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.

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Verify root password.

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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 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 application have 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 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 Contao

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

Login to MySQL using the 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 contao using command below:

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

Create a User for Contao

Now the database for contao is ready, let's create username and password and grant privileges to contao database.

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

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

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

mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES; 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 Contao CMS is PHP 5. We will install PHP 5, several common PHP libraries and also php5-gd, php5-intl and php5-mcrypt that is required by Contao CMS

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

Install Contao CMS

Now all prerequisites are installed. We're ready to install Contao CMS.

Download Contao compressed file using wget.

$ wget -c -O contao-4.3.0.tar.gz

Extract the downloaded file.

$ tar xzf contao-4.3.0.tar.gz

Rename the extracted directory to contao.

$ mv contao-4.3.0 contao

Move the contao folder to the Apache directory.

$ sudo mv contao /var/www

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

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

The Contao CMS files are ready. Now let's create an Apache Virtual Host configuration to serve Contao.

Configure Apache Virtual Host for HTTP Only

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

<VirtualHost *:80>

DocumentRoot /var/www/contao/web

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

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


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

Enable the site using a2ensite command.

$ sudo a2ensite contao

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

$ sudo service apache2 reload

Contao Setup Wizard

Contao installation is ready, Let's point our browser to Contao installation address. In this tutorial the address is

The first page is Contao license. Contao License is GNU GPL Version 3. You can read the license and then click Accept License button

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Give Contao installer a password

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Configure database connection with the credentials that we created above. CLick Save Settings

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Next step is update database with Contao database schema. Click Update database

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We can also import a template from the installation wizard but we will skip this step.

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Now create admin user that will be used to login to Contao back end.

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Installation is complete. We can click Contao back end. Contao backend is located in /contao/. So in this tutorial the backend address is

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Let's Login using admin credential that we created before.

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Our Contao installation is ready.

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If we open Contao addres we will get No root page found message, this is expected since our Contao installation does not include any content. You can read Contao documentation to learn more about managing content using Contao CMS.

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Configure Contao to Use HTTPS Only

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/contao-ssl.conf with contents below. Don't forget to change:

<VirtualHost *:80>
   Redirect permanent /

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/contao/web

<Directory /var/www/contao> 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 contao http only virtual host and enable the new virtual host config.

$ sudo a2dissite contao
$ sudo a2ensite contao-ssl

The new virtual host configuration needs Apache mod_ssl module. We need to enable the 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


In this tutorial we learned how-to install Contao Content Management Systems on Ubuntu 14.04. We installed all the prerequisites, created a user and database on MySQL for Contao and also configured Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve Contao CMS.

Hopefully using Contao will enable you and your organization to manage content better for your sites whether it's internal website or external website. Have fun!

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