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LAMP Server on Arch Linux

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Arch Linux is a contemporary minimalist Linux distribution. It was started in 2002 in an effort to provide a clean, lightweight distribution of the Linux operating system. Arch uses a rolling release system, which means that Arch eschews specific distribution versions in favor of the ability to bring any system up to date with a simple pacman -Syu command.

As a result, Arch Linux is a great distribution for users who want or need to run the most up-to-date versions of their software packages and libraries. Arch's package management tool, pacman, is clean and coherent.

Because of its minimalist underpinnings and focus on simplicity, many users find it easy to gain a deep understanding of how Arch systems work. It's great for people who want to learn more about the inner workings of a Linux system, or even go on to develop environments and applications on top of Arch Linux.

This guide contains step-by-step instructions for installing a full-featured LAMP stack on an Arch Linux system, which includes Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This stack sets you up with a solid web server. If you feel that you don't need MySQL or PHP, please don't feel obligated to install them.

Arch Linux doesn't come in specific versions. This guide is current as of 2013-10-04.


Throughout this guide we will offer several suggested values for specific configuration settings. Some of these values will be set by default. These settings are shown in the guide as a reference, in the event that you change these settings to suit your needs and then need to change them back.


Set the Hostname

Before you begin installing and configuring the components described in this guide, please make sure you've followed our instructions for setting your hostname. Issue the following commands to make sure it is set properly:

hostname -f

The first command should show your short hostname, and the second should show your fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

Install and Configure the Apache Web Server

The Apache Web Server is a very popular choice for serving web pages. While many alternatives have appeared in the last few years, Apache remains a powerful option that we recommend for most uses.

If this is a brand new deployment of Arch Linux, before you can use the package manager you need to run the following commands:

pacman-key --init
pacman-key --populate archlinux

Make sure your system is up to date by issuing the following command:

pacman -Syyu

To install the current version of the Apache web server (2.2 as of the writing of this article) use the following command:

pacman -Sy apache

Configurations directives for Apache are contained in the httpd.conf file, which is located at /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. We advise you to make a backup of this file into your home directory, like so:

cp /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf ~/httpd.conf.backup

There are additional Apache configuration files, which are included near the end of the httpd.conf file, and referenced in the /etc/httpd/conf/extra/ directory. You may also choose to include additional files in your Apache configuration using a similar syntax. Regardless of how you choose to organize your configuration files, making regular backups of known working states is highly recommended.

Edit the httpd-mpm.conf Apache configuration file in /etc/httpd/conf/extras/ to adjust the resource use settings. The settings shown below are a good starting point for a Linode 1GB.


    <IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
    StartServers 2
    MinSpareServers 6
    MaxSpareServers 12
    MaxClients 80
    MaxRequestsPerChild 3000

Also edit the httpd-default.conf file to turn KeepAlives off.


    KeepAlive Off

Enable Starting Apache at Boot

Unless configured to do so, Arch will not instruct Apache to start when the system boots or reboots. To ensure that this happens, we'll need to add httpd to the list of daemons started by systemd at boot:

systemctl enable httpd.service

Prepare Apache for Virtual Hosting

Now we'll configure virtual hosting so that we can host multiple domains (or subdomains) with the server. These websites can be controlled by different users, or by a single user, as you prefer.

Begin by defining the default site. Edit the line that reads "DocumentRoot /srv/http" so that it reads:

File excerpt:/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

DocumentRoot "/srv/http/default"

Edit the line that reads "<Directory "/srv/httpd">" so that it reads:

File excerpt:/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

<Directory "/srv/httpd/default">

Now, uncomment (remove the leading # character) line that reads "Include conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf" near the end of the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file, like so:

File excerpt:/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Include conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

All of the configuration for the specific virtual hosting setups will be combined in a single file called httpd-vhosts, located in the /etc/httpd/conf/extra/ directory. Open this file in your favorite text editor, and we'll begin by setting up virtual hosts.

Configure Name-based Virtual Hosts

There are different ways to set up Virtual Hosts, however we recommend the method below. By default, Apache listens on all IP addresses available to it.

Now we will create virtual host entries for each site that we need to host with this server; we'll want to replace the existing VirtualHost blocks with ones that resemble the following. We'll use "" and "" as example sites.

File excerpt:/etc/httpd/conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /srv/http/
     ErrorLog /srv/http/
     CustomLog /srv/http/ combined
            <Directory />
               Order deny,allow
               Allow from all

<VirtualHost *:80>
     DocumentRoot /srv/http/
     ErrorLog /srv/http/
     CustomLog /srv/http/ combined
            <Directory />
               Order deny,allow
               Allow from all

Notes regarding this example configuration:

  • All of the files for the sites that you host will be located in directories that exist underneath /srv/http. You can symbolically link these directories into other locations if you need them to exist in other places.
  • ErrorLog and CustomLog entries are suggested for more fine-grained logging, but are not required. If they are defined (as shown above), the logs directories must be created before you restart Apache.

Before you can use the above configuration, you'll need to create the specified directories. You can do this with the following commands:

mkdir /srv/http/default

mkdir -p /srv/http/
mkdir -p /srv/http/

mkdir -p /srv/http/
mkdir -p /srv/http/

After you've set up your virtual hosts, issue the following command to run Apache for the first time:

systemctl start httpd.service

Assuming that you have configured DNS for your domain to point to your Linode's IP address, Virtual hosting for your domain should now work. Remember that you can create as many virtual hosts with Apache as you need.

Anytime you change an option in your httpd-vhosts.conf file, or any other Apache configuration directive, remember to reload the configuration with the following command:

systemctl reload httpd.service

Install and Configure MySQL Database Server

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS), and is a popular component in contemporary web development tool chains. Many popular applications, including WordPress and Drupal, use MySQL as their primary database. Arch Linux has chosen MariaDB as the default MySQL implementation, pushing Oracle MySQL to the AUR. For the purposes of this guide, we will be using MariaDB.

Install MariaDB

The first step is to install the mariadb, mariadb-clients and libmariadbclient packages, which is accomplished by the following command:

pacman -Sy mariadb mariadb-clients libmariadbclient

Enable Starting MySQL at Boot

Issue the following command to start mysql at boot:

systemctl enable mysqld.service

Configure MySQL and Set Up MySQL databases

We need to edit the MySQL configuration file located at /etc/mysql/my.cnf so that MySQL only listens to connections on the loopback interface (localhost). Add the line "bind-address=" to the [mysqld] block.

File excerpt:/etc/mysql/my.cnf


Remove or comment out the line that reads skip-networking so that MySQL can listen for connections over TCP only on the local interface.

After installing MySQL, run mysql_secure_installation, a program that helps secure MySQL. mysql_secure_installation gives you the option to set your root password, disable root logins from outside localhost, remove anonymous user accounts, remove the test database and then reload the privilege tables. You will need to start MySQL before running the program:

systemctl start mysqld.service

Run the following command to execute the program:


Next, we'll create a database and grant your users permission to use it. First, log in to MySQL:

mysql -u root -p

-u <user> specifies the user, and -p will prompt you for the password. Enter MySQL's root password, and you'll be presented with a prompt where you can issue SQL statements to interact with the database.

To create a database and grant your users permissions on it, issue the following command. Note that the semi-colons (;) at the end of the lines are crucial for ending the commands. Your command should look like this:

GRANT ALL ON lollipop.* TO 'foreman' IDENTIFIED BY '5t1ck';

In this example lollipop is the name of the database, foreman is the username, and 5t1ck is the user's password. Note that database usernames and passwords do not correlate to system user accounts.

With that completed, you've successfully configured MySQL and you may now pass these database credentials on to your users. To exit the MySQL database administration utility, issue the following command:


With Apache and MySQL installed, you are now ready to move on to installing PHP to provide scripting support for your web application.

Installing and Configuring PHP

PHP makes it possible to produce dynamic and interactive pages using your own scripts and popular web development frameworks. Furthermore, many popular web applications like WordPress are written in PHP. If you want to be able to develop your websites using PHP, you must first install it.

Install PHP using pacman:

pacman -Sy php php-apache

Once PHP is installed we'll need to tune the configuration file located in /etc/php/php.ini for better error messages and logs, and better performance. These modifications provide a good starting point if you're unfamiliar with PHP configuration.

Make sure that the following values are set and relevant lines are uncommented (comments are lines beginning with a semi-colon (;)):

File excerpt:/etc/php/php.ini

display_errors = Off
log_errors = On
error_log = /var/log/php/error.log
max_execution_time = 30
memory_limit = 128M
register_globals = Off
max_input_time = 30

You will need to create the log directory for PHP and give the Apache user ownership:

mkdir /var/log/php
chown http /var/log/php

We'll need to enable the PHP module in the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file by adding the following lines in the appropriate sections:

File excerpt:/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

LoadModule php5_module modules/
Include conf/extra/php5_module.conf

AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
AddType application/x-httpd-php-source .phps

With this completed, restart the httpd service:

systemctl restart httpd.service

At this point, PHP should be fully functional.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Last edited by Alex Fornuto on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 (r4213).