Installing Bolt CMS on FreeBSD 12

Updated on April 5, 2019
Installing Bolt CMS on FreeBSD 12 header image

Bolt is an open source CMS written in PHP. Bolt's source code is hosted on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Bolt CMS on a fresh FreeBSD 12 Vultr instance.


  • PHP version 5.5.9 or greater.
  • The following common PHP extensions: pdo, mysqlnd (to use MySQL as a database), pgsql (to use PostgreSQL as a database), openssl, curl, gd, intl (optional but recommended), json, mbstring (optional but recommended), opcache (optional but recommended), posix, xml, fileinfo, exif, and zip.
  • A minimum of 32MB of memory allocated to PHP.
  • SQLite, MySQL/MariaDB or PostgreSQL database. This tutorial will use MariaDB.
  • Nginx or Apache with mod_rewrite enabled. This tutorial will use Nginx.

Before you begin

Check the FreeBSD version.

uname -ro
# FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE

Ensure that your FreeBSD system is up to date.

freebsd-update fetch install
pkg update && pkg upgrade -y

Install sudo, vim, unzip, wget, bash, socat and git packages if they are not present on your system.

pkg install -y sudo vim unzip wget bash bash-completion socat git

Create a new user account with your preferred username (we will use johndoe).


# Username: johndoe
# Full name: John Doe
# Uid (Leave empty for default): <Enter>
# Login group [johndoe]: <Enter>
# Login group is johndoe. Invite johndoe into other groups? []: wheel
# Login class [default]: <Enter>
# Shell (sh csh tcsh nologin) [sh]: bash
# Home directory [/home/johndoe]: <Enter>
# Home directory permissions (Leave empty for default): <Enter>
# Use password-based authentication? [yes]: <Enter>
# Use an empty password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter>
# Use a random password? (yes/no) [no]: <Enter>
# Enter password: your_secure_password
# Enter password again: your_secure_password
# Lock out the account after creation? [no]: <Enter>
# OK? (yes/no): yes
# Add another user? (yes/no): no
# Goodbye!

Run the visudo command and uncomment the %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL line to allow members of the wheel group to execute any command.


# Uncomment by removing hash (#) sign
# %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Now, switch to your newly created user with su command.

su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo tzsetup

Install PHP

Download and install PHP, as well as the necessary PHP extensions.

sudo pkg install -y php72 php72-ctype php72-curl php72-dom php72-hash php72-iconv php72-gd php72-json php72-mbstring php72-openssl php72-session php72-simplexml php72-xml php72-zip php72-zlib php72-pdo php72-pdo_mysql php72-mysqli php72-pgsql php72-sqlite3 php72-filter php72-ftp php72-tokenizer php72-calendar php72-pecl-APCu php72-opcache php72-phar php72-fileinfo php72-sqlite3 php72-pdo_sqlite php72-intl php72-posix php72-exif

Check the version.

php --version

# PHP 7.2.13 (cli) (built: Dec 23 2018 01:12:48) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
#     with Zend OPcache v7.2.13, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Soft-link php.ini-production to php.ini.

sudo ln -s /usr/local/etc/php.ini-production /usr/local/etc/php.ini

Enable and start PHP-FPM.

sudo sysrc php_fpm_enable=yes
sudo service php-fpm start

Install MariaDB and create a database

Download and install MariaDB.

sudo pkg install -y mariadb102-client mariadb102-server

Check the version.

mysql --version
# mysql  Ver 15.1 Distrib 10.2.19-MariaDB, for FreeBSD12.0 (amd64) using readline 5.1

Enable and start MariaDB.

sudo sysrc mysql_enable="yes" 
sudo service mysql-server start

Run the mysql_secure_installation script to improve the security of your MariaDB installation.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Answer each of the questions.

Enter current password for root (enter for none): <enter>
Set root password? [Y/n] y
New password: ********************************
Re-enter new password: ********************************
Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] y
Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] y
Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] y
Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] y
. . .
All done!

Log in to MariaDB as the root user.

sudo mysql -u root -p
# Enter password:

Create a new MariaDB database and user, and remember the credentials.

GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Exit MariaDB.


Install and configure Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo pkg install -y nginx

Check the version.

nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.1

Enable and start Nginx.

sudo sysrc nginx_enable=yes
sudo service nginx start

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/bolt.conf and configure Nginx for Bolt.

server {

  listen [::]:80;
  listen 80;

  server_name; # Check this
  index index.php index.html; 

  root /usr/local/www/bolt/public; # Check this

  # Block access to "hidden" files
  location ~ /\. {
    deny all;

  # Block access to Apache .htaccess & .htpasswd files
  location ~ /\.(htaccess|htpasswd)$ {
    deny all;

  # Block access to Sqlite database files
  location ~ /\.(?:db)$ {
    deny all;
  # Block access to Markdown, Twig & YAML files directly
  location ~* /(.*)\.(?:markdown|md|twig|yaml|yml)$ {
    deny all;

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

  location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    try_files /index.php =404;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";
    fastcgi_param HTTPS $https if_not_empty;
    fastcgi_pass; # Check this
    include fastcgi_params;


Save the file and exit with Colon+W+Q.

Now we need to include bolt.conf file to the main nginx.conf file.

Run sudo vim /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf and add the following line to the http {} block.

include bolt.conf;

Test Nginx configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo service nginx reload

Download and install Bolt CMS

Create a document root directory.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/www/bolt

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/bolt directory to johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /usr/local/www/bolt

Navigate to the document root directory.

cd /usr/local/www/bolt

Download the latest stable release of Bolt CMS from the command line.


Unzip Bolt CMS, remove downloaded zip file and move Bolt CMS files and directories to /usr/local/www/bolt directory.

mv bolt-v3.6.3/* bolt-v3.6.3/.* . # Just press enter on warning
rmdir bolt-v3.6.3/

To finish the installation, you will need to rename the following files:

mv .bolt.yml.dist .bolt.yml
mv composer.json.dist composer.json
mv composer.lock.dist composer.lock
mv src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php.dist src/Site/CustomisationExtension.php 

Change ownership of the /usr/local/www/bolt directory to www.

sudo chown -R www:www /usr/local/www/bolt

Open your domain/IP in the web browser and follow the Bolt CMS installation wizard. Bolt uses SQLite (by default) as its database. If you want to use another supported database, you can configure it in the app/config/config.yml file. After that, you will have Bolt installed on your FreeBSD 12 server. To access Bolt's administrative interface, append /bolt to your domain/IP. If you want to learn more, see the Bolt documentation at