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Setting Up LAMP on Compute Engine

Author(s): @jimtravis ,   Published: 2017-02-15

Contributed by Google employees.

This page shows you how to set up a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack on a Compute Engine virtual machine instance. The instructions in this tutorial are for Debian 10 or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, but much of the information is also applicable to other Linux distributions.

Alternatively, you can use options from the Cloud Marketplace to deploy a LAMP stack automatically.

Objectives

  • Create a virtual machine instance.
  • Connect to your instance using SSH.
  • Deploy the LAMP stack on your instance.
  • Transfer files.
  • Set up DNS mapping.

Prerequisites

  1. Select or create a Google Cloud project.

  2. Enable billing for your project.

Costs

This tutorial uses billable components of Google Cloud, including Compute Engine.

Use the pricing calculator to generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage.

Creating a virtual machine instance

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the VM Instances page.
  2. Click Create.
  3. In the Name field, enter lamp-tutorial.
  4. Set Machine type to e2-micro.
  5. Set Boot disk to Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster).
  6. In the Firewall section, select Allow HTTP traffic and Allow HTTPS traffic.
  7. Click Create.

If you want to use a different operating system, click the Change button for the Boot disk, and select the operating system and version that you want. This tutorial assumes that you're using Debian 10 or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Instructions for other Linux distributions may be different.

Give the instance a few seconds to start up.

Deploying the LAMP stack on Compute Engine

In this section, you configure the LAMP stack.

Connect to your instance

You can connect directly to your instance using SSH from Cloud Console or using the gcloud compute ssh command, which is part of the Cloud SDK. This tutorial demonstrates the steps in the Cloud Console.

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the VM instances page.

  2. In the list of virtual machine instances, click the SSH button in the row of the instance to which you want to connect.

  3. Make a note of the IP address of your VM instance.

    You can see this address in the External IP column.

Install Apache and PHP on your instance

By creating an instance, you already have the Linux part of LAMP. In this section, you install Apache and PHP.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apache2 php libapache2-mod-php

Test Apache and PHP

  1. Get the external IP address of your instance from the VM instances page in the Cloud Console.

  2. In a browser, enter your external IP address to verify that Apache is running:

    http://[YOUR_EXTERNAL_IP_ADDRESS]
    

    You should see the Apache test page. Make sure that you don't use the https protocol specifier, because HTTPS is not configured.

  3. Create a test file in the default web server root at /var/www/html/.

    You can follow the instructions in the PHP documentation. Example number 2 is the simplest example.

    You can write the code to the file from the command line by using a statement like the following:

    sudo sh -c 'echo "[YOUR_PHP_CODE]" > /var/www/html/phpinfo.php'
    

    Replace [YOUR_PHP_CODE] with the code that you want to write out.

    For example:

    sudo sh -c 'echo "<?php phpinfo(); ?>" > /var/www/html/phpinfo.php'
    
  4. Browse to the test file to verify that Apache and PHP are working together:

    http://[YOUR_EXTERNAL_IP_ADDRESS]/phpinfo.php
    

    You should see the standard PHP page that provides information about your current Apache environment.

    If the page failed to load (HTTP 404), verify the following:

    • In the Cloud Console, HTTP traffic is allowed for your instance.
    • The URL uses http with the correct IP address and filename.

Install MariaDB on your instance

Install MariaDB and related PHP components:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mariadb-server php php-mysql

Check MariaDB server statuses

Run the following command to check whether the MariaDB database server is running:

sudo systemctl status mariadb

If the mariadb service is not running, then start the service with the following command:

sudo systemctl start mariadb

You can also use the mysql client connect to the database server:

sudo mysql

Configure MariaDB

Run the mysql_secure_installation command to improve the security of your installation. This performs steps such as setting the root user password if it is not yet set, removing the anonymous user, restricting root user access to the local machine, and removing the test database.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Optional: Use phpMyAdmin for database administration

You can use phpMyAdmin to administer your database through a UI.

sudo apt-get install php-bz2 php-gd php-curl

# this command is only needed for Debian 10
sudo apt-get install -t buster-backports php-twig

sudo apt-get install phpmyadmin

During the installation, configure phpMyAdmin as follows:

  • Use the spacebar to select apache2 and the tab key to move the cursor.
  • Select Yes to use dbconfig-common for database setup.
  • Enter a password for the phpMyAdmin application, and make a note of the password.

Test phpMyAdmin

  1. Browse to phpMyAdmin:

    http://[YOUR_EXTERNAL_IP_ADDRESS]/phpmyadmin
    

    You should see the phpMyAdmin login page.

  2. Log in by using the phpmyadmin username and the password that you created when you installed phpMyAdmin.

Secure phpMyAdmin

To prevent unauthorized access to your instance, take steps to secure your phpMyAdmin installation, such as by serving phpMyAdmin only over HTTPS or using an authentication proxy.

Transferring files

There are several ways to transfer files to your VM instance that runs your web server, including FTP and the gcloud command. For full details, see Transferring files to Linux instances. This tutorial uses the gcloud command, which is part of the Cloud SDK.

The following example copies a file from your workstation to the home directory on the instance:

gcloud compute scp [LOCAL_FILE_PATH] root@lamp-tutorial:/var/www/html

Replace [LOCAL_FILE_PATH] with the path to the file on your workstation.

You can also copy files from an instance to your local workstation by reversing the source and destination variables. The following example copies a file from your instance to your workstation:

gcloud compute scp lamp-tutorial:/var/www/html [LOCAL_FILE_PATH]

Replace [LOCAL_FILE_PATH] with the path where you want to put the file on your workstation.

Setting up DNS

After you have set up your software stack and transferred your files, you might want to map your own domain name to your site. If you want complete control of your own DNS system, you can use Google Cloud DNS to serve as your domain name service (DNS) provider. If you need instructions that are specific to Cloud DNS, see the quickstart.

This tutorial walks you through the scenario of setting up DNS through a third-party provider, such as your domain registrar.

If you have an existing DNS provider that you want to use, you need to create a couple of records with that provider. This tutorial assumes that you are mapping example.com and www.example.com to point to your website hosted on Compute Engine.

For the example.com domain name, create an A record with your DNS provider. For the www.example.com subdomain, create a CNAME record for www to point it to the example.com domain. The A record maps a hostname to an IP address. The CNAME record creates an alias for the A record. This lesson assumes you want example.com and www.example.com to map to the same IP address.

  1. Get your external IP address for your instance. You can look up the IP address on the VM instances page in the Cloud Console.
  2. Sign in to your provider's DNS management interface and find the domain that you want to manage. Refer to your DNS provider's documentation for specific steps.
  3. Create an A record and set the value to your external IP address. The name or host field can be set to @, which represents the naked domain. For more information on completing various DNS tasks, see the Google Apps support page.
  4. Create a CNAME record, set the name to www, and set the value to @ or to your hostname followed by a period:

    example.com.

    For help creating the A record with various providers, read the Google Apps support page.

  5. If appropriate for your provider, increment the serial number in your SOA record to reflect that changes have been made so that your records will propagate.

Verify your DNS changes

If your domain name registrar, such as Google Domains, is also your DNS provider, you're probably all set. If you use separate providers for registration and DNS, make sure that your domain name registrar has the correct name servers associated with your domain.

After making your DNS changes, the record updates will take some time to propagate depending on your time-to-live (TTL) values in your zone. If this is a new hostname, the changes should go into effect quickly because the DNS resolvers will not have cached previous values and will contact the DNS provider to get the necessary information to route requests.

Cleaning up

After you've finished this tutorial, you can clean up the resources that you created on Google Cloud so that you won't be billed for them in the future. The following sections describe how to delete or turn off these resources.

Deleting the project

The easiest way to eliminate billing is to delete the project you created for the tutorial. If you don't want to delete the project, delete the individual instances, as described in the next section.

Warning: Deleting a project has the following consequences:

  • If you used an existing project, you'll also delete any other work you've done in the project.
  • You can't reuse the project ID of a deleted project. If you created a custom project ID that you plan to use in the future, you should delete the resources inside the project instead. This ensures that URLs that use the project ID, such as an appspot.com URL, remain available.

If you are exploring multiple tutorials and quickstarts, reusing projects instead of deleting them prevents you from exceeding project quota limits.

To delete the project:

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Projects page.
  2. In the project list, select the project you want to delete and click Delete.
  3. In the dialog, type the project ID, and then click Shut down to delete the project.

Deleting instances

To delete a Compute Engine instance:

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the VM Instances page.
  2. Click the checkbox next to your lamp-tutorial instance.
  3. Click the Delete button at the top of the page to delete the instance.

What's next

  • By default, the web server document root is owned by the root user. You might want to configure your document root for another user or change the directory location in the Apache configuration file. For Debian and Ubuntu, the web server document root is at /var/www/html, and the Apache configuration file is at /etc/apache2/sites-available/default.
  • Learn more about serving websites on Google Cloud.
  • Try out other Google Cloud features for yourself. Have a look at those tutorials.

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