How to Install DokuWiki with Nginx and Let’s encrypt SSL on Debian 10

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How to Install DokuWiki with Nginx and Let’s encrypt SSL on Debian 10

DokuWiki is a simple to use and highly versatile Open Source wiki software that doesn’t require a database. It is loved by users for its clean and readable syntax. The ease of maintenance, backup, and integration makes it an administrator’s favorite. Built-in access controls and authentication connectors make DokuWiki especially useful in the enterprise context and a large number of plugins contributed by its vibrant community allow for a broad range of use cases beyond a traditional wiki. This tutorial will show you how to install DokuWiki on a fresh Debian 10 (buster) server.


Make sure your server meets the following requirements.

  • Web server software supporting PHP (Apache, NGINX, IIS, Lighttpd, LiteSpeed)
  • PHP version 5.6 or later, newer versions are highly recommended.


  • A Debian 10 (buster) operating system.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Initial Steps

Check your Debian version:

lsb_release -ds
# Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)

Set up the timezone:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Update your operating system packages (software). That is an essential first step because it ensures you have the latest updates and security fixes for your operating system’s default software packages:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install some essential packages that are necessary for basic administration of the Debian operating system:
sudo apt install -y curl wget vim git unzip socat bash-completion apt-transport-https

Step 1 – Install PHP and PHP extensions

Install PHP and required PHP extensions:
sudo apt install -y php7.3 php7.3-cli php7.3-fpm php7.3-gd php7.3-xml php7.3-zip

To show PHP compiled in modules, you can run:
php -m

. . .
. . .

Check the PHP version:
php --version

# PHP 7.3.9-1 (cli) (built: Apr 13 2019 19:05:48) ( NTS )
# Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
# Zend Engine v3.3.4, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
# with Zend OPcache v7.3.4-2, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

PHP-FPM service is automatically started and enabled on reboot on the Debian 10 system, so there is no need to start and enable it manually. We can move on to the next step where we will install acme.sh client and obtain SSL certs.

Step 2 – Install acme.sh client and obtain Let’s Encrypt certificate ( optional )

Securing your site with HTTPS is not necessary, but it is a good practice to secure your site traffic. To obtain a TLS certificate from Let’s Encrypt we will use acme.sh client. Acme.sh is a simple UNIX shell software for obtaining TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt with zero dependencies.

Download and install acme.sh:
sudo su - root
git clone https://github.com/Neilpang/acme.sh.git
cd acme.sh
./acme.sh --install --accountemail [email protected]
source ~/.bashrc
cd ~

Check acme.sh version:
acme.sh --version
# v2.8.2

Obtain RSA and ECC/ECDSA certificates for your domain/hostname:

# RSA 2048
acme.sh --issue --standalone -d example.com --keylength 2048
acme.sh --issue --standalone -d example.com --keylength ec-256

If you want fake certificates for testing, you can add --staging flag to the above commands.

After running the above commands, your certificates and keys will be in:

  • For RSA: /home/username/example.com directory.
  • For ECC/ECDSA: /home/username/example.com_ecc directory.

To list your issued certs you can run:
acme.sh --list

Create a directory to store your certs. We will use the /etc/letsencrypt directory.
mkdir -p /etc/letsecnrypt/example.com
sudo mkdir -p /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc

Install/copy certificates to /etc/letsencrypt directory.
acme.sh --install-cert -d example.com --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com/cert.pem --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com/private.key --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com/fullchain.pem --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"
acme.sh --install-cert -d example.com --ecc --cert-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/cert.pem --key-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key --fullchain-file /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem --reloadcmd "sudo systemctl reload nginx.service"

All the certificates will be automatically renewed every 60 days.

After obtaining certs exit from root user and return to regular sudo user:

Step 3 – Install and configure Nginx

DokuWiki will run on any web server that supports PHP. In this tutorial, we will use Nginx. If you prefer Apache or another web server, you can use that instead of Nginx.

Download and install NGINX from the Debian repository:
sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the Nginx version:
sudo nginx -v
# nginx version: nginx/1.14.2

Configure Nginx:
sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/dokuwiki.conf

Copy/paste the following Nginx configuration and save it:
server {

listen [::]:443 ssl;
listen 443 ssl;
listen [::]:80;
listen 80;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/example.com/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/example.com/private.key;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/example.com_ecc/private.key;
server_name wiki.example.com;
root /var/www/dokuwiki;
index index.html index.htm index.php doku.php;

client_max_body_size 15M;
client_body_buffer_size 128K;

location / {
try_files $uri $uri/ @dokuwiki;

location ^~ /conf/ { return 403; }
location ^~ /data/ { return 403; }
location ~ /.ht { deny all; }

location @dokuwiki {
rewrite ^/_media/(.*) /lib/exe/fetch.php?media=$1 last;
rewrite ^/_detail/(.*) /lib/exe/detail.php?media=$1 last;
rewrite ^/_export/([^/]+)/(.*) /doku.php?do=export_$1&id=$2 last;
rewrite ^/(.*) /doku.php?id=$1 last;
location ~ .php$ {
try_files $uri =404;
fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
fastcgi_index index.php;
include fastcgi_params;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

Activate the new dokuwiki.conf configuration by linking the file to the sites-enabled directory:
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/dokuwiki.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Check the Nginx configuration:
sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx:
sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Step 4 – Install DokuWiki

Create a document root directory:
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/dokuwiki

Navigate to the document root:
cd /var/www/dokuwiki

Download the newest stable release of DokuWiki from the DokuWiki download page:
sudo wget https://download.dokuwiki.org/src/dokuwiki/dokuwiki-stable.tgz

Unpack DokuWiki tarball:
sudo tar xvf dokuwiki-stable.tgz
sudo rm dokuwiki-stable.tgz
sudo mv dokuwiki-2018-04-22b/* . && mv dokuwiki-2018-04-22b/.* .
sudo rmdir dokuwiki-2018-04-22b/

Change ownership of the /var/www/dokuwiki directory to www-data:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/dokuwiki

Restart php7.3-fpm.service:
sudo systemctl restart php7.3-fpm.service

Open the DokuWiki setup script, install.php, in your browser and setup DokuWiki. The setup script checks for the availability of required PHP functions and checks for needed file permissions. It also creates an initial administrator account and an initial ACL policy. To run the installer, open http://wiki.example.com/install.php in the browser and follow the instructions.

Step 5 – Access DokuWiki Web Interface

Open your web browser and type the URL http://example.com/install.php. You will be redirected to the following page:

DikuWiki installer

Provide all the required information like superuser name, email, password. Then, click on the Save button. Once the installation has been completed successfully, you should see the following page:

Set username and password

Now, click on your new DokuWiki. You should see the following page:

DokuWiki successfully installed

Now, click on the login button. You will be redirected to the following page:


Now, provide your Admin username and password. Then, click on the Log In button. You should see the DokuWiki dashboard in the following page:

Welcome to DokuWiki

After a successful configuration, delete the install.php file from the DokuWiki root directory:
sudo rm /var/www/dokuwiki/install.php

Congratulations! You have successfully installed and configured DokuWiki on Debian 10 server. You can now create your own wiki site easily using DokuWiki.

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