Installing Anchor CMS on CentOS 7

Updated on June 1, 2018
Installing Anchor CMS on CentOS 7 header image

Anchor is a lightweight open source blog CMS written in PHP. Anchor's source code is hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Anchor CMS on a fresh CentOS 7 LTS Vultr instance.


Make sure your server meets the following requirements.

  • MySQL 5.2+
  • PHP 5.6+
  • PHP extensions:
    • curl
    • mcrypt
    • gd
    • php-mbstring
    • pdo\_mysql or pdo\_sqlite

NOTE: If you don’t have the necessary requirements, you will not be able to install Anchor.

Before you begin

Check OS version.

cat /etc/centos-release
# CentOS Linux release 7.4.1708 (Core)

Create a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

useradd -c "John Doe" johndoe && passwd johndoe
usermod -aG wheel johndoe
su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

timedatectl list-timezones
sudo timedatectl set-timezone 'Region/City'

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo yum update -y

Install required and useful packages.

sudo yum install -y wget vim unzip bash-completion

Disable SELinux.

sudo setenforce 0

Step 1 - Install NGINX

Anchor CMS will work fine with Apache or NGINX. In this tutorial, we will use the latest NGINX software.

Become a root user for a moment,

sudo su - root

Create a new file, nginx_mainline.repo, in the /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory.

cat > /etc/yum.repos.d/nginx_mainline.repo

Then copy/paste the following lines to your terminal window and hit Ctrl + D.

name=nginx repo

Logout from the root user.


Download the NGINX repository PGP key.

sudo rpm --import nginx_signing.key
rm nginx_signing.key

Install NGINX.

sudo yum install -y nginx

Start and enable NGINX.

sudo systemctl enable nginx.service && sudo systemctl start nginx.service

Step 2 - Install MySQL or MariaDB

Anchor supports MySQL and SQLite databases. In this tutorial, however, we will be using the MariaDB database, which is a drop in replacement of MySQL.

Create a MariaDB YUM repository for CentOS.

sudo vim /etc/yum.repos.d/MariaDB.repo

Copy/paste the following into it.

# MariaDB 10.2 CentOS repository list - created 2017-12-11 23:19 UTC

After the file is in place, install MariaDB.

sudo yum install -y MariaDB-server MariaDB-client

Start and enable MariaDB.

sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service && sudo systemctl start mariadb.service

Run the mysql_secure_installation script to improve the security of your MariaDB installation and to set the root user password.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

The last step is to create a new database and user for Anchor CMS.

Login to MariaDB.

mysql -u root -p

Create the database and user.

GRANT ALL ON db_name.* TO 'user' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Exit from MariaDB.


Step 3 - Install PHP and required PHP extensions

CentOS does not provide the newer PHP versions in its default software repositories. We'll need to add a Webtatic YUM repo. Follow this Vultr guide for instructions on that.

Install PHP 7.2 and PHP required extensions.

sudo yum install -y php72w-cli php72w-fpm php72w-mbstring php72w-curl php72w-mysql php72w-sqlite3 php72w-mcrypt php72w-gd php72w-dom

Check the PHP version.

php --version
# PHP 7.2.2 (cli) (built: Feb  4 2018 10:14:07) ( NTS )

Enable and start php-fpm.service.

sudo systemctl enable php-fpm.service && sudo systemctl start php-fpm.service

Step 4 - Configure NGINX

Run sudo vi /etc/nginx/conf.d/anchor.conf and populate it with the following configuration.

server {
    listen 80;


    root /var/www/anchor;
    index index.php index.html;

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

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        include fastcgi_params;


Test the NGINX configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload NGINX.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 5 - Download and install Composer

To successfully install Anchor, we will need to install Composer.

php -r "copy('', 'composer-setup.php');"
php -r "if (hash_file('SHA384', 'composer-setup.php') === '544e09ee996cdf60ece3804abc52599c22b1f40f4323403c44d44fdfdd586475ca9813a858088ffbc1f233e9b180f061') { echo 'Installer verified'; } else { echo 'Installer corrupt'; unlink('composer-setup.php'); } echo PHP_EOL;"
php composer-setup.php
php -r "unlink('composer-setup.php');"
sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Check the Composer version.

composer --version
# Composer version 1.6.3 2018-01-31 16:28:17

Step 6 - Download and install Anchor CMS

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/anchor

Change ownership of the /var/www/anchor directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /var/www/anchor

Go to the document root directory.

cd /var/www/anchor

Download the latest release of Anchor CMS.

composer create-project anchorcms/anchor-cms .

Change ownership of the /var/www/anchor directory to nginx.

sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/www/anchor

Open /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf and set the user and group to nginx.

sudo vim /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

# user = nginx
# group = nginx

Restart php-fpm.service.

sudo systemctl restart php-fpm.service

Create /var/lib/php/session/ and change ownership to user nginx.

sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/php/session/ && sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/lib/php/session/

Using your preferred web browser, open your site and follow the Anchor CMS installer. After following the installer you will have Anchor up and running. To access the Anchor admin area just append /admin to your site URL. For security purposes, delete the /var/www/anchor/install directory when you are done with the installation.