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Setting up web analytics with Matomo on Ubuntu Bionic

Reviewed on 24 January 2022 • Published on 24 July 2019
  • Matomo
  • Ubuntu-Focal-Fossa
  • LEMP-Stack
  • web-analytics
  • website

Matomo (former: Piwik) is an open-source web-analytics platform designed to evaluate the visitor’s behaviour for one or multiple websites.

The tool is written in PHP and stores its data in a MySQL/MariaDB database.


Installing the LEMP-Stack

Matomo is a web application written in PHP and uses MySQL/MariaDB database to store its data. To serve the web contents, it relies on a web server, for example Nginx. Therefore a working LEMP-Stack is required on the Matomo instance.

  1. Update the apt packet cache and upgrade the packets already installed on the instance:

    apt update && apt -y upgrade
  2. Install the required software via apt:

    apt install -y ufw nginx mariadb-server php-fpm php-mysql php-curl php-gd php-cli php-xml php-mbstring software-properties-common
  3. Secure the MariaDB server by executing the following command:


    When asked for the current MySQL root password, press Enter as no password is set by default.

  4. Install Certbot to manage the TLS/SSL certificate:

    apt install -y python3-certbot-nginx

Downloading Matomo

  1. Enter the directory /var/www/html

    cd /var/www/html
  2. Download the latest release of Matomo:

    wget https://builds.matomo.org/matomo-latest.tar.gz
  3. Unpack Matomo:

    tar xfz matomo-latest.tar.gz
  4. Set the ownership of the Matomo files to the www-data user:

    chown -R www-data:www-data matomo

Configuring the Nginx Web Server


When doing the following steps, replace matomo.example.com with the domain name your Matomo will run on.

  1. Create a Nginx Configuration file and open it in a text editor:

    nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/matomo.example.com
  2. Copy the following content into the configuration file:

    server {
    listen 80;
    root /var/www/html/matomo;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name matomo.example.com;

    location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

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

    location ~ /\.ht {
    deny all;
  3. Enable the newly created site by creating a symlink:

    ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/matomo.example.com /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
  4. Check the Nginx configuration file for possible errors:

    nginx -t
  5. Reload Nginx to activate the new configuration:

    service nginx reload
  6. Run Certbot with the --nginx flag to request a Let’s Encrypt TLS/SSL certificate for the newly created server block:

    certbot --nginx

Creating a MySQL Database for Matomo

  1. Log into the MySQL shell with the root user.

    mysql -u root -p

    The password of the MySQL root user is the one configured during the secure installation of MySQL.

  2. Run the following commands from the MySQL shell to create the database for Matomo:

    CREATE DATABASE matomodb;

Running the Matomo Web Installer

  1. To finalize the installation of Matomo, open a web browser and go to https://matomo.example.com/. The web installer displays. Click Next to go to the second step:

  2. Matomo launches some automatic checks if all pre-requirements are fulfilled. If all prerequisites are met, click Next to continue with the installation.

  3. Proceed with the database configuration.

    Enter the following information for your database:

    • Database Server:
    • Login: The Matomo database user (matomo)
    • Password: The Matomo database password (SECURE-DATABASE-PASSWORD)
    • Database Name: The Matomo database name (matomodb)
    • Table Prefix: A prefix for the Matomo tables, you can keep the default values (matomo_)
    • Adapter: Leave the default value (PDO\MYSQL)

    Click Next to proceed with the installation.

  4. Matomo verifies the MySQL/MariaDB credentials. If everything is working well, the database structure is created automatically and a success message displays. Click Next to continue with the installation:

  5. Configure a super-user (or admin user) for Matomo. This user will be the main user who is able to configure all settings of the tool and can add additional users and sites:

    Enter the following credentials for your user:

    • Super user login: Choose an identifier for the user
    • Password: Choose a secure password for the user
    • Password (repeat): Repeat the secure password for the user
    • Email: Link an email address to the super-user account
    • Tick the first box to receive notifications about Matomo updates by email (optional)
    • Tick the second box if you want to receive commercial information from Matomo by email (optional)

    Click Next to create the super user account and to proceed with the installation.

  6. Setup a first website that shall be tracked and analysed by Matomo:

    Enter the following information for your website:

    • Website name: Enter a name of the website
    • Website URL: Enter the website URL
    • Website time zone: Set the time zone for the website. This is important so Maotomo can track the visitors with the correct time of their visit
    • Ecommerce: Enable specific tracking methods if the website is an ecommerce site

    Click Next to validate the form and to continue with the installation.


    Additional websites can be configured once the initial setup has been completed.

  7. A tracking shows up. Make sure this code is on every page of your website so it can be tracked correctly. It is recommended to put it in the header-section of the website, immediately before the closing </head> tag.

    Copy the displayed tracking code and put it into your website header. The tracking code looks like the following example:

    <!-- Matomo -->
    <script type="text/javascript">
    var _paq = window._paq || [];
    /* tracker methods like "setCustomDimension" should be called before "trackPageView" */
    (function() {
    var u="//matomo.scw-site.ml/";
    _paq.push(['setTrackerUrl', u+'matomo.php']);
    _paq.push(['setSiteId', '1']);
    var d=document, g=d.createElement('script'), s=d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
    g.type='text/javascript'; g.async=true; g.defer=true; g.src=u+'matomo.js'; s.parentNode.insertBefore(g,s);
    <!-- End Matomo Code -->

    Click Next once you have copied the code to continue with the installation.

  8. The installation is completing. It is possible to anonymize the data tracked by Matomo. This is recommended to comply with data protection regulations.

Logging in to Matomo

  1. Once the installation is completed, the login screen displays:

    Enter the super-user login and the password set in a previous step.

  2. The Matomo Dashboard displays. If the tracking code was added to the website, the application begins to track users and generates usage statistics over the time:

Matomo is now installed, counting visitors and analyzing their behaviour. For more information about the integration of Matomo on different Content Management Systems (CMS) and advanced configuration of the tool, refer to the official documentation.