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Deploying WordPress with LEMP on Ubuntu Focal Fossa

Reviewed on 18 April 2023Published on 03 December 2021
  • WordPress
  • instance
  • compute
  • blog
  • cms
  • php
  • LEMP
  • nginx
  • mysql
  • mariadb

WordPress with LEMP - Overview

WordPress is a popular, free open-source blogging tool and content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. WordPress has seen incredible adoption rates, and is a great choice for getting a website up and running quickly. After setup, almost all the administration can be done through the web frontend.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to install WordPress on a freshly created Ubuntu Focal Fossa (20.04 LTS) Instance with LEMP (Linux + Nginx - pronounced “engine x” + MySQL + PHP). Nginx is an HTTP server that, compared to Apache, uses less resources and delivers pages much faster, especially static files.

Security & Identity (IAM):

You may need certain IAM permissions to carry out some actions described on this page. This means:

  • you are the Owner of the Scaleway Organization in which the actions will be carried out, or
  • you are an IAM user of the Organization, with a policy granting you the necessary permission sets

Installing the stack

As a tutorial on LEMP is already available, you can follow the procedure at Installing LEMP on Ubuntu Focal.

WordPress serves dynamic content and handles user authentication and authorization. TLS/SSL is the technology that allows you to encrypt the traffic from your site so that your connection is secure. To secure your connection, ensure that you complete the last stage of the tutorial linked above: Configuring SSL with Let’s Encrypt.

Configuring Nginx to serve WordPress

You will now need to configure Nginx to deliver traffic to the future WordPress installation. In the LEMP tutorial we created a server block for example.com, serving the default Nginx page from our domain example.com. Here, we will create a server block wordpress which will serve a WordPress site from our subdomain blog.example.com.

  1. Create a new server block for Nginx:

    nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/wordpress
  2. Paste the following configuration. Make sure to replace the configuration at the server_name line with your domain.

    server {
    listen 80;
    root /var/www/wordpress;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name blog.example.com;
    #error_page 404 /404.html;
    #error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
    location = /50x.html {
    root /usr/share/nginx/html;
    location / {
    # try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
    try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;
    location ~ \.php$ {
    try_files $uri =404;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
    #fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php7.4-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php7.4-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    include fastcgi_params;
    location = /favicon.ico {
    access_log off;
    log_not_found off;
    expires max;
    location = /robots.txt {
    access_log off;
    log_not_found off;
    # Cache Static Files For As Long As Possible
    location ~*
    \.(ogg|ogv|svg|svgz|eot|otf|woff|mp4|ttf|css|rss|atom|js|jpg|jpeg|gif|png|ico|zip|tgz|gz|rar|bz2|doc|xls|exe|ppt|tar|mid|midi|wav|bmp|rtf)$ {
    access_log off;
    log_not_found off;
    expires max;
    # Security Settings For Better Privacy Deny Hidden Files
    location ~ /\. {
    deny all;
    access_log off;
    log_not_found off;
    # Return 403 Forbidden For readme.(txt|html) or license.(txt|html)
    if ($request_uri ~* "^.+(readme|license)\.(txt|html)$") {
    return 403;
    # Disallow PHP In Upload Folder
    location /wp-content/uploads/ {
    location ~ \.php$ {
    deny all;
  3. Test the configuration to ensure that it will function correctly:

    nginx -t

    which returns

    nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
    nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful
  4. Enable the server block by symlinking:

    ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/wordpress /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/wordpress
  5. Delete the Nginx default server block:

    rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Steps 6 and 7 optimize your Nginx configuration for WordPress: 6. Open the Nginx configuration file:

nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
  1. Edit the following to optimize:


    Ensure the number of worker processes equals to the number of cores in your Instance

    user www-data;
    worker_processes 1;
    pid /run/nginx.pid;
    • Add use epoll to the events block
    events {
    worker_connections 4096;
    multi_accept on;
    use epoll;
    • Add client_max_body_size and server_tokens off directive. Set keepalive_timeout to 30 seconds.
    # Basic Settings
    sendfile on;
    tcp_nopush on;
    tcp_nodelay on;
    keepalive_timeout 30;
    types_hash_max_size 2048;
    server_tokens off;
    client_max_body_size 100m;
    # server_names_hash_bucket_size 64;
    # server_name_in_redirect off;
    include /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type application/octet-stream;
    • Make sure that the whole Gzip settings block is similar to
    # Gzip Settings
    gzip on;
    gzip_disable "msie6";
    gzip_vary on;
    gzip_proxied any;
    gzip_comp_level 6;
    gzip_buffers 16 8k;
    gzip_http_version 1.1;
    gzip_types text/plain text/css application/json application/x-javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript;
  2. Restart the server:

    service nginx restart

Configuring PHP

If you want to upload files weighing more than 2 MB to your WordPress site, you have to increase PHP upload size variables in php.ini.

  1. Open the php.ini file:
    nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini
  2. Press Ctrl+W and search for upload_max_filesize and set it to 100M.1. Open the php.ini file:
    nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini
  3. Press Ctrl+W and search for upload_max_filesize and set it to 100M.
  4. Restart PHP.
    sudo service php7.4-fpm restart

Setting up the MySQL database

In this section, we will create the database user and tables.

  1. Log into the MySQL shell using your MySQL root password

    mysql -u root -p
  2. Create a WordPress database, along with a user in the database. First, let’s make the database (feel free to give it whatever name you like):

    MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE wordpress;

    The output displays:

    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
  3. Create a new user. Replace the database, name, and password with whatever you prefer:

    CREATE USER wordpressuser@localhost;

    The output displays:

    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  4. Set a password for the new user:

    SET PASSWORD FOR wordpressuser@localhost= PASSWORD("password");

    The output displays:

    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  5. Grant all privileges to the new user. Without this command, the WordPress installer will not be able to start up:

    GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO wordpressuser@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

    The output displays:

    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  6. Refresh MySQL:


    The output displays:

    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
  7. Exit the MySQL shell:


Installing the WordPress Files

  1. Navigate to the site root directory:
    cd /var/www/
  2. Download the latest version of WordPress:
    wget http://wordpress.org/latest.tar.gz
  3. Extract it from the archive:
    tar -xzvf latest.tar.gz
  4. Give the permissions of /var/www/wordpress to www-data user. It will allow future automatic updating of WordPress plugins and file editing with SFTP.
    chown -R www-data:www-data wordpress/
    usermod -a -G www-data www-data

Completing the installation through the web interface

Now that the server configuration is complete, we can finish up the installation through the web interface.

In your web browser, navigate to your server’s domain name or public IP address:


  1. Select your language.

    You are asked to enter your database information. Before doing so, you need to go back to the terminal to complete the next steps.

  2. Open the WordPress configuration file from your terminal:

    nano /var/www/wordpress/wp-config-sample.php
  3. Edit the information for your database under MySQL settings, to replace the default values with those you configured while setting it up. In our case, it looks like this:

    // ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
    /** The name of the database for WordPress */
    define( 'DB_NAME', 'wordpress' );
    /** MySQL database username */
    define( 'DB_USER', 'wordpressuser' );
    /** MySQL database password */
    define( 'DB_PASSWORD', 'password' );
    /** MySQL hostname */
    define( 'DB_HOST', 'localhost' );
    /** Database charset to use in creating database tables. */
    define( 'DB_CHARSET', 'utf8' );
    /** The database collate type. Do not change this if in doubt. */
    define( 'DB_COLLATE', '' );
  4. Save and exit the file, then return to your web browser.

  5. Enter the database information for WordPress:

  6. Complete the five-minute WordPress installation process.

  7. Log in. Your dashboard displays.