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How to Install GetSimple CMS on Ubuntu 14.04

GetSimple is an open source XML based, stand-alone, fully independent and lite Content Management system. It targets small-site market's so it only includes features that really needs to maintain a website and remove unneccesary features.

Released under GNU GPL v3, GetSimple have several main features:

  • XML-Based
  • You can undo almost everyting
  • Easy to Learn UI
  • Simple Installation
  • Simple Theme Customization
  • Designed for Small-Site Market

You can learn more about GetSimple from GetSimple website.


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


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

  • Apache 2
  • PHP 5.x

Update Base System

Before we install GetSimple CMS, 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 libapr1 libaprutil1 libdbi-perl libhtml-template-perl libterm-readkey-perl libwrap0 ssl-cert tcpd

We can check Apache 2 service status using the command below:

sudo service apache2 status
 * apache2 is running

We can also check whether Apache 2 is listening and on which port using command below.

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

Install PHP 5

Last component that we have to install before we can install getsimple 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-readline libapache2-mod-php5

Restart Apache 2 process so the changes will be applied:

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install Getsimple

All prerequisites is already installed. We're ready to install getsimple. The latest stable version of getsimple is available GetSimple CMS download page.

At the time of this writing, the latest stable version is version 3.3.13, let's download getsimple compressed file using wget.

$ wget -c

Extract the downloaded file using unzip. If your system don't have unzip yet, you can install unzip using command below:

$ sudo apt-get -y install unzip

Extract getsimple using unzip:

$ unzip -d getsimple

Move getsimple directory to Apache directory:

$ sudo mv getsimple /var/www

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

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

The Getsimple files are ready, now let's create Apache Virtual Host configuration to serve getsimple.

Configure Apache Virtual Host for http Only

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

<VirtualHost *:80>

DocumentRoot /var/www/getsimple

<Directory /var/www/getsimple> 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 getsimple installation.

Enable the site using a2ensite command.

$ sudo a2ensite getsimple

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

$ sudo service apache2 reload

GetSimple Setup Wizard

Open the GetSimple URL. The first step is requirement check, we should already pass all requirements now. CLick Continue with Setup >>

Input your website name, username for adminstrator and email address.

If the email sent successfully it will send password for admin user via email, in my case it cannot send the email so it will show the password.

Our GetSimple site is ready.

Configure https only site for getsimple

Secure connection is now a requirement for web application. 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/getsimple-ssl.conf with contents below. Don't forget to change:

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

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/getsimple

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

$ sudo a2dissite getsimple
$ sudo a2ensite getsimple-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

Change get-simple Configuration

We need to change GetSimple configuration to make it working well with https. Open data/other/website.xml

Replace http:// with https://, you can use command below to do search replace using sed

$ sudo sed -i 's/http/https/g' /var/www/getsimple/data/other/website.xml


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

We installed all the prerequisites and also configure Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve getsimple.

We also configure https settings for getsimple so we run GetSimple CMS securely.

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