LAMP Server – Linux (CentOS) + Apache + MySQL + PHP Server setup

Okay, this one has been done a million times over, in fact at the time of writing if you were to type the search “LAMP guide” into Google you will get around 331,000,000 pages! So why would I bother writing about it again? Well everyone has their own flavor of doing a LAMP server, and mine is probably just like yours! However I will be referencing a LAMP as a base server in many other posts of mine so if someone (or you) were later to want to do one of them you could start off with the same base system as me in the tutorials!

Anyway let’s get to it shall we?

But wait! I’m lazy or I don’t care about how you setup LAMP I just want it!

Ahhh ok, if you have done this all before and just want a no hassle get it over with script, then just copy and paste the below into a bash session and you’re done, with the exception of Securing your MySQL installation:

yum install httpd php mysql-server mysql php-mysql -y
service httpd start
service mysqld start
echo "<?php phpinfo(); ?>" > /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

However if you aren’t interested in learning about a LAMP setup, then that’s ok! Not everyone wants to be intimate with Linux, however I don’t feel that you should be running your own server without this knowledge, so why not use a web hosting service and let them take care of it for you? 🙂

What is a LAMP server

A LAMP server essentially means a server (virtual or dedicated) with a Linux based Operating System and the following packages installed:

  • Apache – The HTTP service, it’s what listens for requests for HTTP data and replies in kind
  • MySQL – The database product and dare I say the most common database solution for Linux based systems (that are not mission critical, even though MySQL is still a great product for that!)
  • PHP – The intelligence behind a lot of websites, it’s what runs logic and code before Apache goes and throws the requested data to a client’s machine (this is a very high level explanation of PHP and it’s not meant to offend!).

So why would I want one?

A LAMP server represents the most common but ‘basic’ webserver setup that is used to build upon. It will parse PHP script, reply to HTTP requests and the website can utilize a database storage system.

Ok, let’s get installing!

Prerequisites and assumptions

So during this tutorial I will be using a fresh installation of CentOS 6.5 x86 edition, different versions of CentOS and other flavors of Linux each have their own quirks, so see if you can follow, if you really get stuck try Google (only because its quicker than….) or post a comment and I will help you out as soon as I can!

For each of these steps we will be doing as the Linux user ‘root’ which gives us no hassle complete unrestricted use of the system. If you are not using root you should prefix all the bash commands with the following:


Installing all the packages

Ok we are going to install all the packages we need with a short and quick command:

yum install httpd php mysql-server mysql php-mysql -y

So what does this do?

  • yum – This is the package manager application, a bit like the “Add and Remove Programs” feature in Windows’s Control Panel
  • install – This let’s yum know what we are going to be doing (install, update or remove are most common)
  • httpd – This is the primary Apache package
  • php – This is the primary PHP package
  • mysql-server – This is the primary MySQL server package.
  • mysql – this is the primary MySQL client package
  • php-mysql – This is an extension for PHP that gives it the ability to perform actions with MySQL.
  • -y – This means don’t prompt us about y/n decisions regarding dependencies and download / install usage, just do it!

You should see it finish by summarizing the installed packages and dependencies and that will be the main installation done!

Making sure that Apache and MySQL start

We will issue a restart command to these services by executing the below bash commands:

service httpd start
service mysqld start

And then you should see 2 green OK messages like the below:

You will notice I have a warning message after my Apache and MySQL OK messages.

Don’t worry about the Apache one, the hostname I gave to my server when I created it doesn’t actually exist in the DNS, so Apache is warning us to take a look at that. In a real world situation we should definitely take care of this but as this is a demo for you we can just ignore it!

As for the MySQL warning, it’s valid because when MySQL is installed the root login doesn’t have a password, and it contains a bunch of permissions for a demo database which needs to be removed if you don’t plan to use it, but we will talk about that a little later on in the tutorial.

Securing your MySQL

Okay so your LAMP setup is almost complete however you need to secure your MySQL installation by running the following command:


If you want to read more about this then check out another article I wrote all about securing MySQL post install here: Securing your new MySQL installation with /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation

Testing your installation

Everything is done, however we should probably test it right?

The simplest way of doing this is creating a php info file, this is a file that contains only a single line of code (PHP code) and will display in a web browser all the information PHP has about your hosting environment. So let’s create one now, type the following in your shell:

echo "<?php phpinfo(); ?>" > /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Now you can view the page by browsing to it in your web browser, changing the ip address in my demo below to your server’s IP or hostname.

And  you should see something similar to the following:

And that’s it you’re done!

Having trouble seeing the phpinfo.php page?

I did too! Try just navigating to the server’s IP address or hostname, you should see something like this:

if you do, then the problem is probably in that php file we just created, edit using nano and see if you can fix the error or comment below for help.

If you cannot even see this page and your page request seems to time out after a long while then the problem is most likely that port 80 isn’t open.

To fix then edit the iptables file using the command below (I use nano which may not yet be installed, you can install it or use vi or whatever editor you like)

nano /etc/sysconfig/iptables

And we need to add the following line to your iptables file

-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

The best place for it is just before the reject commands, so once you are finished it should look something like this:

# Firewall configuration written by system-config-firewall
# Manual customization of this file is not recommended.
-A INPUT -p icmp -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -m state --state NEW -m tcp -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited
-A FORWARD -j REJECT --reject-with icmp-host-prohibited

Now we just need to restart iptables for the changes to take effect, we do this by running this command:

/etc/init.d/iptables restart

You should see green across the board like the below:

However if you see something like this:

Just make sure that your iptables file has no blank lines or lines that begin with spaces and that you copied the rule correctly from here. Then try restarting iptables again.

Now hopefully you should be able to access your server on port 80, you may have to repeat this process with port 445 as well if you intend on using SSL.





Xavier is an AWS Certified Developer (Assoc), AWS Certified Systems Architect (Assoc), AWS Certified SysOps Administrator (Assoc), a MCSD Certified Professional and a general mad scientist without the sciency qualifications.

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