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Barebones CMS Instant Start

Quickly install all components of Barebones CMS in just a couple of minutes. Instant Start is useful for setting up a more permanent installation for anyone just wanting to get started right away, set up a demo/test site without a time limit, and/or play with new plugins/extensions away from a production environment.

Creating a new server is highly recommended. Any Debian-based Linux distribution will probably work fine. Failure to use Instant Start on a newly created system may result in damage to existing configuration files and/or data loss.

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  • A simple set of scripts that automatically install and configure several software products.
  • Barebones CMS is ready to use in just a couple of minutes.
  • Nearly zero configuration required (see below).
  • Has a liberal open source license. MIT or LGPL, your choice.
  • Designed for rapid deployment.
  • Sits on GitHub for all of that pull request and issue tracker goodness to easily submit changes and ideas respectively.

Getting Started

Open the following link in a new tab to start creating a Droplet on DigitalOcean:

New DigitalOcean Droplet

Under "Select additional options" check the checkbox that says "User data". Copy and paste the following script into the box that appears:


export DEBIAN_FRONTEND=noninteractive;

apt-get update;
apt-get -y dist-upgrade;
apt-get -y install openssl git curl php-cli;

export PUBLIC_IPV4=$(curl -s;

# A list of timezones can be found here:
# Or automatic:
export TZ=;

cd /root/;
git clone;
cd barebones-cms-instant-start;

php install.php;

Update the export TZ= line with your current timezone. This will be used to set the timezone of the Droplet and associated software (e.g. PHP) so that dates and times are stored and displayed as expected. The timezone also affects any cron jobs that are set up. Leave it blank for UTC +0000.

Even after the Droplet becomes available, it can be a few minutes before Barebones CMS is fully installed. To watch the installation progress in a SSH terminal, run the following command:

tail -f /var/log/cloud-init-output.log

When Barebones CMS is completely installed, a file called /root/README-BarebonesCMS will be created which contains URLs to the admin interface and the frontend. SSH or SFTP is required to read the file.

Key Locations

  • /var/www - The web root.
  • /var/protected_www - Protected files and the content cache are here.
  • /var/scripts - Various automation scripts (e.g. cronjobs) and Cloud Storage Server.

Installed Software

  • PHP CLI.
  • fail2ban.
  • iptables-persistent.
  • Fully automated system update script.
  • Nginx.
  • PHP FPM.
  • PHP extensions (JSON, PDO sqlite, GD).
  • Cloud Storage Server with the Cloud Storage Server /feeds extension.
  • Barebones CMS API.
  • Barebones CMS administrative interface.
  • Barebones CMS frontends.

What Is DigitalOcean?

DigitalOcean is primarily for quickly setting up an Internet-facing server. Web hosting service providers abound but most of those are shared hosts with little control. A Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is what DigitalOcean provides, is something between shared hosting and cloud/dedicated hosting. Droplets are intended to be cheap, short-lived VPS instances that are created and destroyed as needed. Droplets weren't really ever intended for normal web hosting, but quite a few people use them that way.

Running a VPS (or similar) comes with responsbilities. The biggest one is making sure the system is secure, which means that the system remains fully patched because it won't be done automatically. However, the ability to do anything on the system as the root user usually far outweighs the extra responsibilities that come with it.

If the intent is to run Barebones CMS long-term, I highly recommend using a OVH VPS instead of DigitalOcean. They offer a lot more hardware for less cost but slightly less comprehensive technical support. Barebones CMS has no problem running on a OVH VPS SSD 1 instance. The script under the Getting Started section can be manually modified to set PUBLIC_IPV4 and then run as root.

More Information

The PHP installation script aims to be idempotent. That is, if it is run again intentionally or by accident, it will result in the same output.

A system group called sftp-users is created during the installation process and all files are made part of this group. The setgid attribute is set on various key locations so that any user assigned to the group can easily create new files in a team setting.

A number of the scripts are designed to be reusable for other purposes (e.g. 'scripts/setup_nginx.php'). That is, they can be reused for creating similar installers for other software products.


Quickly, easily, and automatically install all components of Barebones CMS in just a couple of minutes.






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