How to Setup a VPS for a LAMP Environment

After purchasing a Cloud VPS hosting plan, the first step is to set up your new server with whatever software you prefer.  

One option is to use a combination of web server software known as a LAMP stack – which is Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This software stack will form the core of your web server, handling everything from internet traffic to data storage. LAMP stacks are popular due to the fact that all of the main software components are free to use, customizable, and compatible with platforms such as WordPress.

If you’re new to setting up a LAMP stack, we have you covered. In this article we will provide a four-step overview of the LAMP stack installation process and help you create a VPS server with this powerful combination of technologies.  

Topics Include:

1. Install Linux

The first step of setting up VPS hosting is the installation of an operating system (OS). Two of the most common operating systems are Linux and Windows. For the purpose of this article, we will discuss the installation of Linux as the operating system of choice.

Since Linux actually represents a host of different operating systems known as distros, it is important to first determine which distro you’d like to install. Common options include Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS, but it’s important to note that available options will ultimately depend on what your hosting provider supports. 

It’s also possible that your hosting provider already set you up with a default Linux environment. If that’s the case, check your provider’s specifications to see which distro you have installed. If it’s already set up, you can skip ahead to the next section.

If you sign up for InMotion Hosting Cloud VPS hosting, you can choose from a variety of operating systems during the initial setup via an easy-to-use browser-based interface. InMotion Hosting Cloud servers support the following operating systems:

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • CentOS

After making your selection, the server will be automatically set up with a brand new installation of the chosen operating system and you can move forward with setting up the rest of your server. Depending which OS you chose, the installation of the rest of the LAMP stack differs slightly.

For detailed instructions regarding how to set up a VPS for web hosting by installing a LAMP stack, we recommend reviewing our guides for LAMP stack installation on Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS.

2. Install Apache

The next step is the installation of web server software. This software will be responsible for your server’s ability to host websites and related applications. One of the most popular Linux-compatible web server software options is Apache. 

A primary feature of Apache is that it allows users to connect to websites via the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as well as HTTPS, an encrypted version of the same protocol. In the context of a user visiting a web page via their browser, these protocols facilitate the transfer of data between a personal computer and a web server.

In addition to HTTP, Apache provides a number of other features relevant for web hosting:

  • Gzip compression
  • User and Session Tracking
  • IP-Based Geolocation
  • Bandwidth-Throttling
  • High Degree of Scalability

Installing Apache can be done via an SSH connection using the command-line interface on any of the aforementioned operating systems. For detailed instructions on installing Apache, please refer to our guides for Installing Apache on Ubuntu and Installing Apache on CentOS.

3. Install MySQL

After installing your web server software, you can then install your database management system, which in this case is MySQL. This software is responsible for the creation, management, and maintenance of data storage structures known as MySQL databases.

MySQL is used heavily in many common Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Magento. Since these systems allow for the input of large amounts of data, MySQL functions as a long-term data storage and management tool. Common examples of the type of data stored in MySQL databases are:

  • Usernames and Passwords
  • Email Addresses
  • Product Information
  • User Comments
  • Text-Based Content

Similar to Apache, MySQL can be installed via an SSH connection in a command-line interface. For detailed instructions outlining how to install MySQL, please see our guide for installing MySQL on Debian and Ubuntu. For CentOS, please refer to our Installing a LAMP Stack on CentOS guide. 

4. Install PHP

The last step in the LAMP stack setup process is installing PHP– which is a general-purpose scripting language that is used in web development. On the server-level, PHP code is interpreted by handlers that parse the code for use in websites and related applications. 

Installing PHP can be done in the same way as Apache and MySQL, via SSH in a command-line interface. When installing PHP, make sure to note the version you are using, since other pieces of software may only function on certain versions. For example, you may want to use a WordPress theme that only works with PHP 7.4. If that’s the case, you will want to make sure you download and install PHP 7.4 specifically. 

For detailed instructions outlining how to install PHP, please see our guide on Installing PHP on Linux. The guide contains instructions for Debian, CentOS, and Ubuntu. 

LAMP Stack Setup: Next Steps

Now that you have your LAMP stack installed and configured, you can start building out the rest of your web server environment. Want a control panel that you can access from the browser? If you’re using CentOS, you can install Control Web Panel or WHM/cPanel since both are compatible with LAMP stack servers.

With the combination of Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP forming the backbone of your web server, you can start building websites and online applications in a reliable, feature-rich hosting environment.

For developers or sysadmins experienced with the command line, get high availability and root access for your application, service, and websites with Cloud VPS Hosting.
InMotion Hosting Contributor
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2 thoughts on “How to Setup a VPS for a LAMP Environment

  1. You have no idea how much of a help this article is. It explains the most critical but hidden piece of the pie that should be in the forefront of website management. I wish I would have know this info many, many years ago. It would have answered many of my questions in the past.

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