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Install WordPress on Ubuntu 20.04



In order to follow this guide, you should have a server with Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS)  installed with 1GB minimal memory and 10GB minimal hard drive and access to sudo privileges.


Step 1: Update Ubuntu Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS)

Before we install any software, it’s always a good idea to update repository and software packages. SSH into your Ubuntu 20.04 (LTS) server and enter the below commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade


Step 2: Install Nginx Web Server

Nginx is a high performance web server. It also can be used as a reverse proxy. Enter this command to install Nginx Web server.

sudo apt install nginx

After it’s installed, we can enable Nginx to auto-start when Ubuntu is booted by running the following command.

sudo systemctl enable nginx

Then start Nginx with this command:

sudo systemctl start nginx

Now check out its status.

systemctl status nginx


Step 3: Install MariaDB

MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL. It is developed by former members of MySQL team who concerned that Oracle might turn MySQL into a closed-source product. Many Linux distributions (Arch Linux, Fedora etc), companies and organizations (Google, Wikipedia) have migrated to MariaDB. So we’re going to install MariaDB instead of MySQL.

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

To enable MariaDB to automatically start when Ubuntu is rebooted:

sudo systemctl disable mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service

After it’s enabled, use systemctl to check its status.

sudo systemctl status mysql.service

If it’s not running, start it with this command:

sudo systemctl start mysql.service

Now run the post-installation security script.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When it asks you to enter MariaDB root password, press enter because you have not set the root password yet. Then enter y to set the root password for MariaDB server.  Next you can just press Enter to answer all the remaining questions. This will remove anonymous user, disable remote root login and remove test database. This step is a basic requirement for MariaDB database security.


Step 4: Create database for WordPress website

Change database name and user and remember to change the password to a secure one 🙂

mysql -u root -p

CREATE DATABASE nunosarmento DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci;

GRANT ALL ON nunosarmento.* TO 'nunosarmentouser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'ypourpassword';




Step 5: Install and Setup PHP 7.4

Enter the following command to install repo, PHP 7.4 and PHP7 extensions.

PHP 7.4 instalation

sudo apt install software-properties-common

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

sudo apt update

sudo apt install php7.4-fpm php7.4-common php7.4-mysql php7.4-xml php7.4-xmlrpc php7.4-curl php7.4-gd php7.4-imagick php7.4-cli php7.4-dev php7.4-imap php7.4-mbstring php7.4-opcache php7.4-soap php7.4-zip php7.4-intl unzip -y

After the installation has completed, confirm that PHP 7.4 has installed correctly with this command

php-fpm7.4 -v

Now that PHP 7.4.* has installed and you need to configure the user and group that the service will run under.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/pool.d/www.conf

user = www-data
group = www-data
listen.owner = www-data
listen.group = www-data

Configure PHP for WordPress by changing some values in php.ini.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
upload_max_filesize = 100M 
post_max_size = 100M 
memory_limit = 256M 
max_execution_time = 360 
max_input_vars = 3000 
max_input_time = 1000

Reload php7.4-fpm.

sudo systemctl reload php7.4-fpm

Check status:

systemctl status php7.4-fpm

To test the CLI version of PHP, we just need to enter this command:

php --version

Sample output:



Step 6: Create Nginx Virtual Host

Create Nginx conf file (change the domain name to your domain name)

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/nuno-sarmento.com

Paste the following text into the file. Replace “server_name” with your actual domain name.


        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80;
        server_name nuno-sarmento.com www.nuno-sarmento.com;

        root /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com;
        index index.php;
        # log files
        access_log /var/log/nginx/nuno-sarmento.com.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/nuno-sarmento.com.error.log;

        location / {
           try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

        location ~ \.php$ {
                include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;


Save and close the file. Then create syslink to nginx sites-enable conf directory.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/nuno-sarmento.com /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Create your virtual host website directory

sudo mkdir /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/

Set permissions to the virtual host directory

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/

Check if your Nginx changes don’t have errors

sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl reload nginx


Step 7: Install WordPress

cd /tmp/

curl -LO https://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz

tar xzvf latest.tar.gz

cp /tmp/wordpress/wp-config-sample.php /tmp/wordpress/wp-config.php

sudo cp -a /tmp/wordpress/. /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/*

cd /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/

find -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;
find -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

chown -R www-data:www-data *

Edit the WordPress wp-config.php with the details from step 4 “Create database for WordPress website”

nano /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com/wp-config.php

NOTE – you will need also to create the WordPress Salt Keys https://api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt/ and added manually to your wp-config.php


Step 8: Harden Nginx/WordPress

In order to secure/harden your WordPress you will need to add some nginx rules. The URL below has a mix of security, cache and others that will make your Nginx/WordPress setup more secure and doable. Copy the nginx rules from the gist below and add it to your wordpress.conf.

Gist: https://gist.github.com/57db5abba08b315b67f174cd178bea88

cd /etc/nginx/
mkdir common
cd common
nano wordpress.conf

Open you your virtual host conf file.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/nuno-sarmento.com

Add the below include to your VH conf file just below the log files setup.

    include common/wordpress.conf;


        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80;
        server_name nuno-sarmento.com www.nuno-sarmento.com;

        root /var/www/nuno-sarmento.com;
        index index.php;
        # log files
        access_log /var/log/nginx/nuno-sarmento.com.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/nuno-sarmento.com.error.log;
        # Nginx/WordPress security and other rules 
        include common/wordpress.conf;

        location / {
           try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

        location ~ \.php$ {
                include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;


HTTP security headers

“HTTP security headers are a fundamental part of website security. Upon implementation, they protect you against the types of attacks that your site is most likely to come across. These headers protect against XSS, code injection, clickjacking, etc”

On this tutorial I won’t get into how HTTP security headers works or what is the best setup. The headers below are in use on my website and is suitable for most the WordPress setups.

If your nginx web server are running more than one website I recommend that you add the headers below on the nginx.conf right below the ssl_protocols

nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN" always;
add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block" always;
add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always;
add_header Referrer-Policy "no-referrer-when-downgrade" always;
add_header Content-Security-Policy "default-src 'self' https: data: 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval';" always;
add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload" always;

You can check your websites headers security on the link below – please do it when you finish the tutorial:


Step 9: Install Letsencrypt

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot

if you are on Ubuntu 18:
sudo apt install python-certbot-nginx

if you are on Ubuntu 20:
sudo apt install python3-certbot-nginx

sudo certbot --nginx -d nuno-sarmento.com -d www.nuno-sarmento.com

LetsEncrypt setps:

1 – Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter ‘c’ to
cancel): hello@nuno-sarmento.com
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

2 – Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
3- Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let’s Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We’d like to send you email about our work
encrypting the web, EFF news, campaigns, and ways to support digital freedom.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
(Y)es/(N)o: Y

4 – Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
1: No redirect – Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect – Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you’re confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server’s configuration.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press ‘c’ to cancel): 2
Redirecting all traffic on port 80 to ssl in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/nuno-sarmento.com
Redirecting all traffic on port 80 to ssl in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/nuno-sarmento.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Congratulations! You have successfully enabled (https://nuno-sarmento.com) and

You should test your configuration at:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Test your SSL configuration using the link below:

You probably won’t get “A+ Overall Rating”. By default nginx still has TLS 1.1 available and letsencrypt also includes this on their ssl configuration.

In order to get a A+ you should change your nginx SSL configuration accordingly. Mozilla has very cool tool that does that for you.  https://ssl-config.mozilla.org/



sudo certbot renew


Step 10: Send WordPress (wp admin, woocommerce, forms, etc) emails

I use a light SMPT client MSMTP (https://marlam.de/msmtp/) that transmits all e-mails to an SMTP server which takes care of further delivery.


  • gmail acccount
  • enable gmail “Less secure app access” under gmail/account/security.

You can run this script https://gist.github.com/nfsarmento/4bb5e0ff3090f150c6696793cf8e8488 that I have created to this tutorial and it will install and setup MSMTP for you.

Test the configuration with the below code

echo -e "Subject: Test Mail\r\n\r\nThis is a test mail" | msmtp --debug --from=default -t nuno@nuno-sarmento.com --file=/etc/msmtprc

Congratulations you have successfully installed Nginx, MariaDB and PHP-7.4 on Ubuntu 20. You may also want to instal PHPMyAdmin on the server for managing MariaDB databases.

Reported issues

Error Nginx: 413 – Request Entity Too Large Error and Solution.

The error “413 – Request Entity Too Large” indicates that web server configured to restrict large file size. Nginx can be set to allow the maximum size of the client request body using client_max_body_size directive. If the size of a request exceeds the configured value, the 413 (Request Entity Too Large) error returned to the client. You will see an error as follows:

Nginx configuration
To fix this issue edit your nginx.conf. Open the Terminal or login to the remote server using ssh client. Type the following command to edit your nginx.conf.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Add the following line to http or server or location context to increase the size limit in nginx.conf, enter:

# set client body size to 10M #

client_max_body_size 10M;

Reload the nginx webserver, enter:

sudo nginx reload


Check the tutorial below for how to install phpMyAdmin with Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

How to Install phpMyAdmin with Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS




Hi, I'm a Freelance Web Developer and WordPress Expert based in London with a wealth of website development and support experience. I am great at problem solving and developing quick solutions.

13 thoughts on “Install WordPress on Ubuntu 20.04

  1. Pete says:

    Then, are you using TCP protocol for the MySQL connection? Or using unix socket? Look at this mess, and tell me what is going on for Mysql 8.0 nightmare!! Why is the root password broken for noninteractive setup

    1. Hi Pete. If you look properly in my tutorial I am not using “Mysql 8.0”

  2. Nuno! you’re a master, awesome guide! Your guide help a lot to unify the things to think about in a blank wp installation.

    I followed your instructions and I’m having an error when I restart nginx if I enable the line to include the common/wordpress.conf file that you say. In the logs only I can see: “nginx.service: Failed with result ‘exit-code'”.

    Hope you can help us! Thanks in advance!

    1. Thank you for using my tutorial, I’m glad you like it.
      Edit your wordpress.conf and remove the below. Let me know if that works. 

      # Limit access to avoid brute force attack
      # if you getting error please add this (limit_req_zone $binary_remote_addr zone=one:10m rate=1r/s;) to your /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
      location = /wp-login.php {
         limit_req zone=one burst=1 nodelay;
         include fastcgi_params;
  3. Shantanu Chakraborty says:

    very clear and best guide

    1. Thank you Shantanu, I’m glad you like it.

  4. Shantanu Chakraborty says:

    Sir, can u provide the best guide like above for WordPress with Nginx Reverse Proxy to Apache.
    Thank u

    1. Hi Shantanu,

      Thank you for visiting my website. You should be able to find one if you google it. Try Digital Ocean tutorials.

      1. Shantanu Chakraborty says:

        Thanks for the reply, Digital Ocean tutorials is very simple and clear, but I need a secure Installation like ur guide, do u tell me is it really worked Nginx Reverse Proxy to Apache for performance on AWS free tier or equivalent server.

        1. My website is running on AWS free tier with this tutorial.

  5. Shantanu Chakraborty says:

    oh! thanks I’ll copy ur setting

    Thanks, Master

  6. James says:

    Very good article

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