PHP + Nginx + PostgreSQL

  Last modified on Friday 19 May 2017

PROJECT: Home Server #7 .: As a requirement to host web applications like Tiny Tiny RSS on my home server I install PHP, the lightweight proxy server Nginx, and the PostgreSQL database.

Let's go!

Setup: Netbook with IP ADDRESS running the latest stable release of Debian.

0. PHP

Install ...

# apt install php php-fpm php-apcu php-curl php-cli php-pgsql php-gd php-mcrypt php-mbstring php-fdomdocument

Improve security by editing /etc/php/7.0/fpm/php.ini and modifying pathinfo to 0 ...


Restart PHP ...

# systemctl restart php7.0-fpm

1. Nginx

Install ...

# apt install nginx-common
# apt install nginx
# systemctl start nginx

Verify web server is running by opening a browser and navigating to If you see Welcome to nginx! the server is installed correctly.

2. Host multiple domains

Nginx is capable of serving up multiple web domains or server blocks (virtual hosts):

  • I create /home/USERNAME/www to hold block content in subfolders
  • Create block configs in /etc/nginx/sites-available
  • A block is made active by setting a symbolic link in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled to its block config

When combined with a free DDNS service multiple custom domains can be hosted on a home server.

2.1 Document Root

Example: Setup a myfoo server block to host using DDNS.

Create a new root directory to hold the contents of myfoo ...

$ mkdir -p /home/USERNAME/www/myfoo

2.2 Index.html

Create a sample myfoo/index.html ...

<title>My Foo Home</title>
<body bgcolor="red" text="white">
<center><h1>Welcome to More Foo!</h1></center>

2.3 Server Block

Create a new server block configuration /etc/nginx/sites-available/myfoo ...

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    root /home/USERNAME/www/myfoo;
    index index.html;

    access_log /var/log/nginx/myfoo_access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/myfoo_error.log info;

    server_name myfoo.*;

    location / {
        index           index.html;

Activate the new server block ...

# cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled
# ln -s ../sites-available/myfoo
# systemctl restart nginx


Create a new CNAME record at the domain registrar to redirect to

2.5 Port Forwarding

Configure port forwarding on the home router to redirect traffic on port 80 to the internal IP address of the nginx server. Repeat the above steps to add more domains. The real limiting factor is the upload bandwidth provided by the home ISP (typically a fraction of the download speed).

3. PostgreSQL

Install ...

# apt install postgresql

Launch the PostgreSQL interactive console front-end psql as postgres user and set a new password ...

# su -c psql postgres
postgres=# \password postgres
Enter new password: [newpasswd]
Enter it again: [newpasswd]
postgres=# \quit

Example: Create new user:www-data and database:mydb ... [1]

# su -c psql postgres
postgres=# CREATE USER "www-data" WITH PASSWORD 'newpasswd';
postgres=# CREATE DATABASE mydb WITH OWNER "www-data";
postgres=# GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE mydb to "www-data";
postgres=# \quit

Reload server ...

# systemctl restart postgresql.service

4. Helpful resources

Happy hacking!


[1]PostgreSQL maintains its own users and passwords, which are separate from the Linux user accounts. It is not required that your PostgreSQL usernames match the Linux usernames. See Practical PostgreSQL database.

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