Konrad Podgórski - Web Developer

Personal blog about developing web applications with Symfony, Node JS and Angular JS

Step by step guide how to configure server for PHP / Symfony project

I decided to publish notes that I have been gathering lately about configuring servers. This is a complete guide how to configure server for production usage with Symfony or any PHP project. Instruction might seem to you very long and I totally agree with you. It took me few months to finish.

These steps are about preparing your server for PHP / Symfony application and do not cover code deployment itself.

If you found this useful leave a comment or share link to your friends, it's always good to know that someone (besides Googlebot) actually read this :)

All steps should be done in order of reading. Configuration should not take you more than two hours. It was tested by me on ~10 machines, however if you find something not working don't hesitate to let me know. I try to help you and correct/expand guide to cover your problem.

Post index for quick navigation

Requirements:

  • OS: Debian 6.0 or 7.0

You will get server with:

  • Nginx (latest stable), using sockets to communicate with PHP rather than TCP/IP
  • PHP 5.4 or 5.5 (latest stable)
  • MySQL 5.5 (production settings)
  • NodeJS (latest stable), including: Less, Uglify-JS
  • Twig C extension
  • GIT
  • Optional: Zend OPCache, APCu

Security:

  • Disabled direct root access
  • Installed sudo
  • Installed fail2ban (deny access after 3 incorrect login attempts)
  • Non privileged user for deployments
  • Authorization using ssh keys

Other

  • Correct timezone
  • Fixed common locale warnings
  • Color prompt
  • Removed Apache2

Step by step guide how to configure server for PHP / Symfony project

Mass replace

You can copy guide to your favorite editor and use mass replace function, this way later you can just copy paste all commands.

Use mass replace function to change following unique strings

  • SERVERIPADDRESS to your actual IPv4 ip address
  • NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME to unix username you want to use, e.g. konrad
  • APPDOMAINNAME to domain name without http:// and trailing slash e.g. konradpodgorski.com

Securing server

First log in

ssh root@SERVERIPADDRESS

On server create new user

useradd NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME -m -s /bin/bash

Update apt-get

apt-get update

Install nano

apt-get install nano

Install sudo

apt-get install sudo

nano /etc/sudoers

Before

#
# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
#
# Please consider adding local content in /etc/sudoers.d/ instead of
# directly modifying this file.
#
# See the man page for details on how to write a sudoers file.
#
Defaults        env_reset
Defaults        secure_path="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"

# Host alias specification

# User alias specification

# Cmnd alias specification

# User privilege specification
root    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

# Members of the admin group may gain root privileges
%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL

# Allow members of group sudo to execute any command
%sudo   ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

# See sudoers(5) for more information on "#include" directives:

After (added: NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL)

#
# This file MUST be edited with the 'visudo' command as root.
#
# Please consider adding local content in /etc/sudoers.d/ instead of
# directly modifying this file.
#
# See the man page for details on how to write a sudoers file.
#
Defaults        env_reset
Defaults        secure_path="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"

# Host alias specification

# User alias specification

# Cmnd alias specification

# User privilege specification
root    ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME    ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL


# Members of the admin group may gain root privileges
%admin ALL=(ALL) ALL

# Allow members of group sudo to execute any command
%sudo   ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL

# See sudoers(5) for more information on "#include" directives:

Switch user you just created

su NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME

Add your public key to an authorized keys

cd ~
mkdir .ssh
nano .ssh/authorized_keys

Paste your public key and save, set proper chmod

chmod 700 .ssh -R

logout and check if you can log in as NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME directly without password

ssh NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME@SERVERIPADDRESS

Disable log in with password (you will use public key anyway)

sudo passwd -l NONPRIVILAGEUNIXUSERNAME

This command locks the password

Color prompt (optional)

nano ~/.bashrc

Uncomment following line (remove #)

#force_color_prompt=yes

fail2ban - solution for brute force attacks

sudo apt-get install fail2ban

Disable direct log in on root account

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Find and change from yes to no (Ctrl + W in nano)

PermitRootLogin no

We will need these to compile Node JS from sources later

To do that install

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y gcc g++ make

Server timezone

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Locale stuff

Get rid of annoying errors when not using EN_US locale

Fixing the locale problem in Debian

Change hostname to something better e.g. symfony-app-server (you cannot use dots)

This step is optional

sudo nano /etc/hostname

Put same host in /etc/hosts

sudo nano /etc/hosts

restart server

sudo reboot

Dotdeb

DotDeb is a reliable and up to date repository for most of packages required in web server

Instruction was copied from official DotDeb site http://www.dotdeb.org/instructions/

First add the dotdeb repo to your sources.list file:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

add this to the bottom of the file:

Debian 7.0 Wheezy

deb http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy all

or Debian 6.0 Squeeze

deb http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all

If you want to install :

  • PHP 5.5 on Debian 7.0 “Wheezy”, add these two lines too :
deb http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy-php55 all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy-php55 all
  • PHP 5.4 on Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, add these two lines too :
deb http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze-php54 all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze-php54 all

Next, add the GnuPG key to your distribution:

wget http://www.dotdeb.org/dotdeb.gpg
cat dotdeb.gpg | sudo apt-key add -

Update APT:

sudo apt-get update

NGINX

You probably won't need most of it features (like proxy, mail) so nginx-light should be enough. Latest stable release from dotdeb.org

sudo apt-get install nginx-light

NGINX - General Configuration

Note: set worker_processes 2; to the number of cpu cores your server has

#/etc/nginx/nginx.conf
user www-data;
worker_processes 2;
pid /var/run/nginx.pid;

events {
    worker_connections 768;
}

http {
    sendfile on;
    tcp_nopush on;
    tcp_nodelay on;
    keepalive_timeout 65;
    types_hash_max_size 2048;
    server_tokens off;

    include /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type application/octet-stream;

    access_log /var/log/nginx/access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/error.log;

    gzip on;
    gzip_disable "msie6";

    include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;
    include /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;
}

NGINX - configuration specific for application

create configuration file

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/APPDOMAINNAME

edit #/etc/nginx/sites-available/APPDOMAINNAME

# /etc/nginx/sites-available/APPDOMAINNAME
upstream php5-fpm {
    server unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
}

# redirect from www to non-www
server {
  listen 80;

  server_name www.APPDOMAINNAME;
  return 301 $scheme://APPDOMAINNAME$request_uri;
}

server {
  listen 80;

  server_name APPDOMAINNAME;
  root /var/www/APPDOMAINNAME/current/web;

  client_max_body_size 256M;

  # strip app.php/ prefix if it is present
  rewrite ^/app\.php/?(.*)$ /$1 permanent;

  location / {
    index app.php app_dev.php;
    try_files $uri @rewriteapp;
  }

  location @rewriteapp {
    rewrite ^(.*)$ /app.php/$1 last;
  }

  # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on 127.0.0.1:9000
  location ~ ^/(app|app_dev)\.php(/|$) {
    fastcgi_pass   php5-fpm;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.*)$;
    include fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME    $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    fastcgi_param  HTTPS              off;
  }
}

Enable site

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/APPDOMAINNAME /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/APPDOMAINNAME

Remove default

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

PHP5-FPM

Installing required packages

sudo apt-get install -y php5 php5-fpm php-pear php5-common php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-gd php5-intl php5-curl php5-dev

pool.d/www.conf

Update (June 2014): since the time I created this guide php5-fpm team changed /etc/php5/fpm/pool.d/www.conf default settings to described below. You don't have to change anything from this section. I'm leaving it as a reference in case someone use old config.

Edit

# /etc/php5/fpm/pool.d/www.conf

Find and edit if needed user and group

; Unix user/group of processes
; Note: The user is mandatory. If the group is not set, the default user's group
;       will be used.
user = www-data
group = www-data

Find and replace

listen = 127.0.0.1:9000

with

listen = /var/run/php5-fpm.sock

php.ini configuration

FPM (used by web server - Nginx)

# /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

date.timezone = Europe/Warsaw

short_open_tag = Off

expose_php = off

max_execution_time = 60

memory_limit = 256M

post_max_size = 128M
upload_max_filesize = 128M

CLI (used in console)

# /etc/php5/cli/php.ini

date.timezone = Europe/Warsaw

short_open_tag = Off

Twig extension

sudo pear channel-discover pear.twig-project.org
sudo pear install twig/CTwig

sudo nano /etc/php5/mods-available/twig.ini

Paste inside

extension=twig.so

Zend OPCache

sudo pecl install zendopcache-7.0.2

sudo nano /etc/php5/mods-available/opcache.ini

# /etc/php5/mods-available/opcache.ini

zend_extension=/usr/lib/php5/20100525/opcache.so
opcache.memory_consumption=128
opcache.interned_strings_buffer=8
opcache.max_accelerated_files=4000
opcache.revalidate_freq=60
opcache.fast_shutdown=1
opcache.enable_cli=1

cd /etc/php5/conf.d
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/opcache.ini 05-opcache.ini

APCu

git clone https://github.com/krakjoe/apcu
cd apcu
phpize
./configure
make
sudo make install

sudo nano /etc/php5/mods-available/apcu.ini

# /etc/php5/mods-available/apcu.ini

extension=apcu.so
apc.enabled=1
apc.shm_size=32M
apc.ttl=7200
apc.gc_ttl=3600
apc.enable_cli=0

cd /etc/php5/conf.d
sudo ln -s ../mods-available/apcu.ini 20-apcu.ini

Restart PHP5-FPM

For all changes to take an effect you need to restart php

sudo service php5-fpm restart

MySQL

sudo apt-get install -y mysql-server

In a window that popped up enter root password, use program like KeePassX to generate secure password

Tweak configuration

sudo nano /etc/mysql/my.cnf

Add innodb_file_per_table right after [mysqld]

[mysqld]

innodb_file_per_table

Restart mysql for changes to take effect

sudo service mysql restart

Next run and follow instructions

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Install MySQL Workbench for secure managing your database over a SSH tunnel. http://www.mysql.com/products/workbench/

DO NOT expose your mysql to outside world nor install web management tools like PhpMyAdmin, they were great few years ago. Now we have a better solutions.

Node JS

I wrote a separate post about installing Node JS on Debian/Ubuntu

You can find the post here: How to install Node JS

optional - I use it for compiling less files and minimizing javascripts with Uglify-JS

It's better to concat and minify assets before deployment. If you are working with multiple instances it will speed up deployment process by few seconds for each instance.

This is a common fact that NodeJS in Debian/Ubuntu is seriously outdated. Installing from source is nice and easy.

Install make and required compilers

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y gcc g++ make

Get source and install

Sadly there are no permalink for latest stable version so you are on your own with that. Go to http://nodejs.org/dist/latest/ and search for file matching the following pattern node-v0.10.*.tar.gz

wget http://nodejs.org/dist/latest/node-v0.10.29.tar.gz
tar -zxvf node-v0.10.29.tar.gz
cd node-v0.10.29
./configure
make
sudo make install

Installing LESS compiler

sudo npm install -g less

Installing uglify-js

sudo npm install -g uglify-js

GIT

sudo apt-get install -y git

Remove Apache2, important!

sudo service apache2 stop

We don't need apache2 so remove it

sudo apt-get remove apache2

Otherwise it will take 80 port after next reboot and nginx will not work

User for deploying

We will use www-data user to deploy code.

Add your public key

sudo mkdir /var/www/.ssh -p
sudo nano /var/www/.ssh/authorized_keys

It's super important that owner and group of whole .ssh should be root. This way with read permission user www-data will be able to read public key but won't be able to add new one or edit existing.

With this we won't give www-data any more permissions than it already has.

Directory for application

sudo mkdir /var/www/APPDOMAINNAME -p
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/APPDOMAINNAME

Deploying with Capifony

This is super important step. Github allows only for 60 requests per hour for non authenticated connections. Using composer cache will prevent getting banned

sudo mkdir /var/www/.composer
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/.composer

Also a Curl is required if you are using Capifony for deployment

sudo apt-get install curl

Test everything by restarting server

sudo reboot

That's it!

Thank you for taking time to read this guide.


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