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How do I host a website on my VPS?

Hosting a website on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) provides you with greater control, flexibility and performance compared to shared hosting. This guide will walk you through the process of setting up a VPS to host a website using Nginx, serve PHP files, and set up a MariaDB database.


Before you begin, ensure you have:

A VPS running a Linux distribution (Ubuntu 24.04 is used in this guide).
SSH & sFTP access to your VPS.
A domain name pointing to your VPS's IP address.

Step 1: Update Your Server

First, log into your VPS via SSH and update your package list:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Install Nginx

To install Nginx, use the following commands:

sudo apt install nginx -y

Once installed, start and enable Nginx:

sudo systemctl start nginx
sudo systemctl enable nginx

Step 3: Install PHP

Install PHP and common modules:

apt -y install php8.1 php8.1-{common,cli,gd,mysql,mbstring,bcmath,xml,fpm,curl,zip}

To use a different PHP version, replace 8.1 with the desired PHP version.

Step 4: Configure Nginx to Serve PHP Files

Create a new Nginx server block configuration file for your website:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain

Add the following configuration to the file:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name your_domain;
    return 301 https://$server_name$request_uri;

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    server_name your_domain;

    root /var/www/your_domain;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

    # SSL Configuration - Replace the example your_domain with your domain
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/your_domain/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/your_domain/privkey.pem;
    ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;
    ssl_protocols TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php8.1-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param PHP_VALUE "upload_max_filesize = 100M \n post_max_size=100M";
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";
        fastcgi_intercept_errors off;
        fastcgi_buffer_size 16k;
        fastcgi_buffers 4 16k;
        fastcgi_connect_timeout 300;
        fastcgi_send_timeout 300;
        fastcgi_read_timeout 300;
        include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;

    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;

Replace your_domain (5) with your actual domain name, if you installed a different php version you also need to change the PHP version here.

Create the root directory for your website:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/your_domain

Transfer the website files inside this directory using sFTP.

All files inside this directory will be served on the internet, ensure no sensitive files are included.

Set the proper permissions:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/your_domain/*

Enable the new website config:

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Step 5: Install SSL

One of the easiest ways to install an SSL is by using certbot.

Install certbot:

sudo apt install -y certbot

Stop nginx:

sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl start nginx

Generate SSL:

certbot certonly --standalone -d your_domain

Replace your_domain with your actual domain name.

Start nginx:

sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl start nginx

Step 6: Install MariaDB

Install MariaDB:

sudo apt install mariadb-server -y

Secure the installation:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Follow the prompts to set the root password and secure your database server.

Step 7: Create a MariaDB Database and User

Log in to MariaDB:

sudo mariadb -u root -p

Create a new database and user:

CREATE DATABASE your_database;
CREATE USER 'your_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON your_database.* TO 'your_user'@'localhost';

Replace your_database, your_user, and your_password with your preferred database name, username, and password.


You've successfully set up your VPS to host a website, serve PHP files, and manage a MariaDB database. You can now deploy your website and manage your server. Remember to keep your server and software updated for security and performance.

Updated on: 08/07/2024

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