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Drupal 8: a First Good Look at Deploying on AWS

Drupal 8 (beta version) on AWS

Drupal 8 hasn’t been officially released yet, however, there is a Beta version available. I thought I would try and get the jump on everyone and see if I could install it on an AWS Instance. Also, the description of the Official Drupal 8 Website sounds interesting:

Drupal 8 will set a new standard for ease of use, while offering countless new ways to tailor and deploy your content to the Web. Easily customize data structures, listings, and pages, and take advantage of new capabilities for displaying data on mobile devices, building APIs, and adapting to multilingual needs.

If you are keen to try the steps in this article for yourself, you’ll need

  1. …an EC2 Ubuntu version running on AWS or at least know how to get one up and running*
  2. …to be able to connect to this instance via AWS CLI

*This may work with other Linux/Unix installations besides Ubuntu, but I can only guarantee it on a recent Ubuntu installation
With that in mind let’s get started.

Step 1.  Install a LAMP stack

Assuming that you are now logged into your EC2 server, you need to install the LAMP stack.  I suggest you become the super user, run apt-get and install the LAMP package. (apt-get is a package/software manager.)
Become the super user.

sudo -s

Update apt-get so that it has the most recent information

apt-get update

Install the LAMP server software. Be sure to include the “^” (which identifies lamp-server as a meta-package).

apt-get install lamp-server^

Answer ‘yes’ when prompted about disk space

3 upgraded, 27 newly installed, 0 to remove and 58 not upgraded.
Need to get 43.4 MB of archives.
After this operation, 115 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y

****Enter a MySQL password when prompted**** (this password will be used again, so record it).
Create a new database for your site

mysql -u root -p -e "CREATE DATABASE drupaldb CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci;"

Log in and set the access database rights:

mysql -u root -p

****Enter your MySQL password from above**** (you did record it, right?)
At the MySQL prompt, set the permissions using the following command: (where “password” is your MySQL password)


If successful, MySQL will reply with:

 Query OK, 0 rows affected

Now exit the MySQL prompt by typing:


The server will answer by saying


So, if that all worked, you should now have a LAMP stack set up on your Ubuntu AWS instance.

Step 2.  Install Drupal 8

In this step, I will suggest you just use your normal login – which should probably be ubuntu – rather than the superuser. If you are still in superuser mode from the above step, just type “exit”.

Move to Apache’s web server directory.

cd /var/www/html

Get the current Drupal 8 version.

sudo wget

The following command will unpack Drupal 8 and put everything where it needs to go, including several additional hidden Drupal 8 files.

sudo tar --strip-components=1 -xzvf drupal-8.0.0-beta10.tar.gz

Delete the archive.

sudo rm drupal-8.0.0-beta10.tar.gz

Copy the following files as shown.

sudo cp sites/default/default.settings.php sites/default/settings.php
sudo cp sites/default/ sites/default/services.yml

Set the correct permissions.

sudo chmod 666 sites/default/settings.php
sudo chmod 666 sites/default/services.yml
sudo chmod a+w sites/default

Restart Apache.

sudo service apache2 restart

If all that went well, then you should be able to point your browser to your Public DNS and see the Drupal 8 setup up page:

Drupal 8 Set up page
Drupal 8 on AWS

Follow the installation steps, answering questions when prompted. If you’re unsure about any answers, see the Drupal installation guide starting at Step 4.

Step 3. Secure your site

After the installation is complete, you will want to restore the original (more secure) permissions on the following files.

sudo chmod 644 services.yml
sudo chmod 444 settings.php
sudo chmod 555 default/

Step 4.  Configure clean URLs

After my installation, I found that my pages were given strange URLs that included an “index.php”. I fixed the problem by running:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo service apache2 restart

…by adding the following in my /etc/apache2/apache2.conf file

RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !=
RewriteRule ^ index.php [L]

…and by restarting Apache one more time:

sudo service apache2 restart

Written by

Michael Sheehy

I have been UNIX/Linux System Administrator for the past 15 years and am slowly moving those skills into the AWS Cloud arena. I am passionate about AWS and Cloud Technologies and the exciting future that it promises to bring.

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