Build Procedures for Linux Server with LAMP, CakePHP and Solr

Most of my development and technical experience has been in the Microsoft world. Last year I decided to develop a web application using an open source stack. I wrote the app using CakePHP. As I added Solr/Lucene search and started work on deploying to a production environment, server configuration turned out to be as big a job as development.

These are my build and deploy procedures, which include instructions for:

  • Installing a Linux server OS and LAMP environment
  • Installing and configuring the necessary services
  • Installing Tomcat and Solr
  • Setting up a CakePHP website
  • Installing and configuring Solr/Lucene in Tomcat

I am indebted to the hundreds of blog posts, forum posts, articles, and help docs that got me through every single setup step. In a few cases there are references to sources but practically all of these instructions are based on the work of others. It did take (me) a lot of time to find and collate all the information and I hope that sharing these procedures will help save you considerable time and effort.

Windows is my regular client OS but occasionally I use Mac or Linux (desktop) also. The client OS makes no difference to the Linux server configuration. But the build process can be easier with the use of OS specific tools like WinSCP.

These instructions apply equally to building a Linux web server on bare metal or a virtual machine. I used them for my production server which is dedicated hardware hosted by 1&1 and also for setting up test and development environments hosted on VirtualBox running in Windows or OSX.

A few conventions:

When the instructions say “edit” they mean: use your preferred Linux text editor. I use nano, so to create and/or edit a file called solr.xml located outside my home directory, I would enter: sudo nano solr.xml

My home network uses a typical NetGear router on a 192.168.1.x network. I reference this IP range throughout the instructions but this address should be replaced with the appropriate IP address for your environment.

The procedures are specifically for my site so when it comes to naming things like the server, be sure to substitute a name appropriate to your requirements.


If using VirtualBox to host the Linux server, install VirtualBox and reboot the host machine. In VirtualBox, create a Linux, Ubuntu, 64-bit virtual machine. Before starting the virtual machine, change network setting to bridged adapter.

Download the Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS server amd-64 iso file to the host machine and mount or reference it so that VirtualBox uses it to install the OS.

The terminal provided by VirtualBox is lacking. On a Windows or Linux host I use Putty; on Mac I use the included Terminal app. To transfer files between a Windows host and the Linux target environment, WinSCP is very convenient.


Install Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS server amd-64. Depending on the hosting environment, download and mount the iso, burn it to a CD and pop it in the drawer, or install from an image provided by the hosting company.

  • Hostname: mysite
  • Partitioning method: “Guided–use entire disk” and default guidance.
  • Choose not to encrypt home directory files
  • No proxy
  • Automatic security updates
  • Manual package selection
  • Choose Grub boot loader to master record
  • Create root user password

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

The command ifconfig will show the IP address of the Linux server for connecting with an SSH terminal and WinSCP or for adding to your hosts file.


sudo apt-get install apache2

sudo apt-get install php5

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

  • Choose auto-configure Apache2 web server

sudo apt-get install php5-mysql

sudo apt-get install tomcat6

sudo apt-get install zip

Install the Java JDK

Downloading the Java JDK requires clicking “yes” in a web form to agree to T&C. So download the file to a Windows client and then push to Linux using WinSCP.

  1. Download from:
  2. Windows may strip the “.tar” from the filename, so restore to [FILENAME].tar.gz prior to pushing to linux.
  3. On Linux server, to unpack xxx.tar.gz file: tar –xzf xxx.tar.gz
  4. cd jdk1.7.0_10/
  5. sudo rm -f
  6. cd ..
  7. sudo cp -rf jdk1.7.0_10/ /opt/jdk
  8. edit /etc/environment and add: JAVA_HOME=/opt/jdk
  9. sudo mv /usr/bin/java /usr/bin/java1
  10. sudo ln -s /opt/jdk/bin/java /usr/bin/java
  11. Either refresh the environment file or restart the machine
  12. The command java -version should return the version of Java just installed.

sudo apt-get install phpmyadmin

Login to phpmyadmin:

  1. In a browser navigate to http://192.168.1.x/phpmyadmin
  2. Login using root credentials

Default webroot directory is /var/www




mv cakephp-cakephp-850a33d cakeroot

mkdir /usr/share/cakephp

mv cakeroot /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot

Change owner of the cakephp files so that the web server process can modify

  1. cd /usr/share/cakephp
  2. ls –l command shows current owner and permissions. Note owner of cakeroot.
  3. sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot
  4. ls –l to check change of ownership of cakeroot directory.


Create the website under apache.

  1. cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
  2. sudo nano mysite
  3. Paste the following lines into the file and save.

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
  ServerAlias *

  DocumentRoot /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot
  <Directory />
    Options FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride All
  <Directory /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot/>
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    allow from all

  ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
  <Directory "/usr/lib/cgi-bin">
    AllowOverride None
    Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

  ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/mysite_error.log

  # Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
  # alert, emerg.
  LogLevel warn

  CustomLog /var/log/apache2/mysite_access.log combined

  Alias /doc/ "/usr/share/doc/"
  <Directory "/usr/share/doc/">
    Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride None
    Order deny,allow
    Deny from all
    Allow from ::1/128

  # Deny access to phpmyadmin
#  <Directory /usr/share/phpmyadmin>
#  Order Deny,Allow
#  Deny from all
#  </Directory>


  • Enable or disable phpmyadmin access within this file by commenting or uncommenting lines at the bottom of the file.

sudo a2dissite default

sudo a2ensite mysite

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Edit the apache config file to add a custom environmental value (

  • sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
  • at bottom of file add: SetEnv CAKE_ENV production

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart


For testing non-production machine, modify the hosts file on your local Windows client:

  1. Open notepad as administrator and edit: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts (on Linux client machine the file is: /etc/hosts).
  2. Add:
    1. 192.168.1.x
    2. 192.168.1.x
    3. Or, for local testing, use

Service addresses:

  • CakePHP website: 192.168.1.x OR
  • Tomcat: 192.168.1.x:8080/
  • phpmyadmin: 192.168.1.x/phpmyadmin
  • Solr admin: 192.168.1.x:8080/solr/admin (not installed yet)


In phpmyadmin, create the database for your custom CakePHP application and import a backup (.sql file) from your development environment. The backup should include permissions for the web app user. But in case you need to re-create the user:

  • username: [your application username]
  • password: [corresponding password]
  • host=%
  • Use default permissions, which grant permission to all standard db objects, but not grant privileges

For non-production, you may want to modify your production data, for example to prevent sending unintended emails: update users set email = ‘’

rm the cakeroot /app folder and replace it with your application’s app folder. Use WinSCP to push the CakePHP app directory from your Windows environment to your home directory. Then cp or mv the directory to /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot/app.

sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /usr/share/cakephp/cakeroot

Website should work fully except search functions.



  1. Download and unpack apache-solr-3.6.2.tgz.
    1. wget
    2. tar –zxf apache-solr-3.6.2.tgz
  2. Create /opt/solr directory. This will be $SOLR_HOME.
  3. Copy the example/solr directory from the source to $SOLR_HOME. Copy the .war file dist/apache-solr-*.war into $SOLR_HOME as solr.war.
  4. cp /opt/solr/conf/lang/stopwords_en.txt /opt/solr/conf/stopwords_en.txt
  5. Create $SOLR_HOME/data. chown -R tomcat6.tomcat6 data
  6. The configuration file $SOLR_HOME/conf/solrconfig.xml in the example sets dataDir for the index to be ./solr/data relative to the current directory – which is true for running the Jetty server provided with the example, but incorrect for Tomcat running as a service. Modify the dataDir to specify the full path to $SOLR_HOME/data:
    1. <dataDir>${}</dataDir>
  7. Create a Tomcat Context fragment named solr.xml to point docBase to the $SOLR_HOME/solr.war file and solr/home to $SOLR_HOME. Symlink or place the file in $CATALINA_HOME/conf/(/etc/tomcat6/)Catalina/localhost/solr.xml where Tomcat will automatically pick it up. Tomcat deletes the file on undeploy (which happens automatically if the configuration is invalid).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Context docBase="/opt/solr/solr.war" debug="0" crossContext="true">
    <Environment name="solr/home" type="java.lang.String" value="/opt/solr" override="true"/>

7. To set up Solr logging in its own file (use /var/log/solr), follow these instructions: (

8. Modify /etc/tomcat6/

9. Add the following to the end of the existing comma-delimited list handlers:

10. Below that, add: = FINE = /var/log/solr = solr.


11. sudo mkdir /var/log/solr

12. sudo chown -R tomcat6.tomcat6 /var/log/solr

13. Overwrite the schema.xml file /$SOLR_HOME/conf with your application’s solr schema file.

14. Delete everything inside the /opt/solr/data/ directory.

15. Restart tomcat service

Test search feature of application. Should get no results and no errors.

Create Solr index. In my CakePHP app I added an admin URL that URL that triggers indexing or re-indexing everything in the database.

Search should now return accurate results.



  • /var/lib/tomcat6
  • /var/log/tomcat6
  • /etc/tomcat6


  • /opt/solr
  • /var/lib/tomcat6/webapps/solr
  • /var/log/solr
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