Revised script for LEMP install with PHP7.4 and PHP8.0

Currently successfully needs more testing on a Debian OS 11.5.0 installation. (I now remember why I didn’t want to touch this stuff any more. But oh well, I may as well completely overhaul this script again. The current one does work, but not well enough for me)

Step-by-step is functioning, will now wipe the server to start from scratch again. Also, the previous article will now be deleted.

If you are using this on a fresh Debian install, SUDO might not have been installed, nor has the user (so not the root) been add to SUDO. This is how you do that if you are logged in as user:

su -
apt update
apt install sudo
usermod -aG sudo <username>

You need to exit twice so you log out as root and as user. After that, you need to log back in as user so you can start using sudo from now on.

Let’s begin! You can name the script something like

# Update system
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

# Install necessary packages
sudo apt install gnupg nginx mariadb-server php7.4-fpm php7.4-mysql php7.4-curl php7.4-gd php7.4-mbstring php7.4-xml php7.4-zip ssh ufw nano fail2ban curl wget sudo openssl net-tools unzip -y

# Add repository key for PHP 8.0
sudo apt install software-properties-common -y
sudo wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/php.gpg

# Add repository for PHP 8.0
echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list
sudo apt update

# Install PHP 8.0 and extensions
sudo apt install php8.0-fpm php8.0-mysql php8.0-curl php8.0-gd php8.0-mbstring php8.0-xml php8.0-zip -y

# Configure UFW to allow web traffic and SSH
sudo ufw allow OpenSSH
sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'
sudo ufw allow 3306/tcp

# Enable UFW
sudo ufw enable

# Configure automatic security updates
echo 'APT::Periodic::Update-Package-Lists "1";' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic
echo 'APT::Periodic::Download-Upgradeable-Packages "1";' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic
echo 'APT::Periodic::AutocleanInterval "7";' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/10periodic
echo 'APT::Periodic::Unattended-Upgrade "1";' | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/20auto-upgrades

# Disable root login via SSH
sudo sed -i 's/#PermitRootLogin prohibit-password/PermitRootLogin no/' /etc/ssh/sshd_config
sudo systemctl restart sshd

# Generate SSH key pairs
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

# Configure Nginx
sudo systemctl start nginx
sudo systemctl enable nginx

# Configure PHP 7.4
sudo systemctl start php7.4-fpm
sudo systemctl enable php7.4-fpm

# Configure PHP 8.0
sudo systemctl start php8.0-fpm
sudo systemctl enable php8.0-fpm

# Configure MariaDB
sudo mysql_secure_installation

# Allow Nginx to use PHP
sudo sed -i 's/;cgi.fix_pathinfo=1/cgi.fix_pathinfo=0/' /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini
sudo sed -i 's/;cgi.fix_pathinfo=1/cgi.fix_pathinfo=0/' /etc/php/8.0/fpm/php.ini

# Restart Nginx and PHP services
sudo systemctl restart nginx
sudo systemctl restart php7.4-fpm
sudo systemctl restart php8.0-fpm

# Create a temporary file to store server and PHP info

# Get server info
uname -a > "$tmpfile"

# Get PHP version
php -v >> "$tmpfile"

# Append server and PHP info to index.html
cat "$tmpfile" | sudo tee /var/www/html/index.html >/dev/null

# Remove temporary file
rm "$tmpfile"

# Install adminer 
sudo apt install adminer -y
sudo ln -s /usr/share/adminer/adminer.php /var/www/html/adminer.php
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /usr/share/adminer /var/www/html/adminer.php

# Set the permissions correct for www
sudo chmod g+w /var/www
sudo chown -R :www-data www
sudo chmod g+s www

change_ownership() {
    sudo chown -R "$1":www-data /var/www
    echo "Ownership of the www folder has been set to $1:www-data."

# Loop until a valid username is provided
while true; do
    # Prompt the user to enter the desired username
    read -p "Enter the username for permissions: " username

    # Check if the username provided exists
    if id "$username" &>/dev/null; then
        change_ownership "$username"
        break  # Exit the loop if a valid username is provided
        echo "Error: User $username does not exist."
echo "LEMP setup completed successfully."
echo "Check if Adminer is working by opening a browser, and entering http://IP_address/adminer.php in the address bar"

To make the script executable:

sudo chmod +x

and run it with

sudo ./

When things like PHP fail to work (becuase y’know… PHP)
These are the files that have to look this way to make PHP happen.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default
# You should look at the following URL's in order to grasp a solid understanding
# of Nginx configuration files in order to fully unleash the power of Nginx.
# In most cases, administrators will remove this file from sites-enabled/ and
# leave it as reference inside of sites-available where it will continue to be
# updated by the nginx packaging team.
# This file will automatically load configuration files provided by other
# applications, such as Drupal or WordPress. These applications will be made
# available underneath a path with that package name, such as /drupal8.
# Please see /usr/share/doc/nginx-doc/examples/ for more detailed examples.

# Default server configuration
server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;

    # SSL configuration
    # listen 443 ssl default_server;
    # listen [::]:443 ssl default_server;
    # Note: You should disable gzip for SSL traffic.
    # See:
    # Read up on ssl_ciphers to ensure a secure configuration.
    # See:
    # Self signed certs generated by the ssl-cert package
    # Don't use them in a production server!
    # include snippets/snakeoil.conf;

    root /var/www/html;

    # Add index.php to the list if you are using PHP
    index index.php index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;

    server_name _;

    location / {
        # First attempt to serve request as file, then
        # as directory, then fall back to displaying a 404.
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

    # pass PHP scripts to FastCGI server
    location ~ \.php$ {
        include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
    #	# With php-fpm (or other unix sockets):
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php8.0-fpm.sock;
#non-standard addition
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
include fastcgi_params;
    #	# With php-cgi (or other tcp sockets):
    #	fastcgi_pass;

    # deny access to .htaccess files, if Apache's document root
    # concurs with nginx's one
    #location ~ /\.ht {
    #	deny all;

# Virtual Host configuration for
# You can move that to a different file under sites-available/ and symlink that
# to sites-enabled/ to enable it.
#server {
#	listen 80;
#	listen [::]:80;
#	server_name;
#	root /var/www/;
#	index index.html;
#	location / {
#		try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
#	}
sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
user www-data;
worker_processes auto;
pid /run/;
include /etc/nginx/modules-enabled/*.conf;

events {
    worker_connections 768;
    # multi_accept on;

http {

    # Basic Settings

    sendfile on;
    tcp_nopush on;
    types_hash_max_size 2048;
    # server_tokens off;

    # server_names_hash_bucket_size 64;
    # server_name_in_redirect off;

    include /etc/nginx/mime.types;
    default_type application/octet-stream;

    # SSL Settings

    ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3; # Dropping SSLv3, ref: POODLE
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

    # Logging Settings

    access_log /var/log/nginx/access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/error.log;

    # Gzip Settings

    gzip on;

    # gzip_vary on;
    # gzip_proxied any;
    # gzip_comp_level 6;
    # gzip_buffers 16 8k;
    # gzip_http_version 1.1;
    # gzip_types text/plain text/css application/json application/javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript;

    # Virtual Host Configs

    include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;
    include /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;

    # PHP Config

    # PHP-FPM upstream
    upstream php {
        server unix:/var/run/php/php8.0-fpm.sock; # Adjust the PHP version if necessary

#mail {
#	# See sample authentication script at:
#	#
#	# auth_http localhost/auth.php;
#	# pop3_capabilities "TOP" "USER";
#	# imap_capabilities "IMAP4rev1" "UIDPLUS";
#	server {
#		listen     localhost:110;
#		protocol   pop3;
#		proxy      on;
#	}
#	server {
#		listen     localhost:143;
#		protocol   imap;
#		proxy      on;
#	}

And when you enter the following commands, you restart NGINX and PHP FPM and there should be no error message.

sudo systemctl restart nginx

# Adjust the PHP version if necessary. In my case, I want PHP 8.0

sudo systemctl restart php8.0-fpm

Good luck 🙂


More tweaks for the .htaccess file!

Here’s a list of stuff that I have in my .htaccess files on various websites.

I want to work on my website, but any other visitor should be booted to another website so I can work in peace. Sidenote: It's forever since I last used this, so it might work. Or not.


# YOUR IP address goes here:
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^000\.000\.000\.000$
# And provides you access to:
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^https://DOMAIN.TLD$ [NC]
# Fine, go have all the media as well
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !\.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|svg|swf|css|ico|js)$ [NC]
# Any other visitor can go visit the following website:
RewriteRule .* https://DOMAIN.TLD/ [R=302,L]

# Hey, no viewing access to this file
<FilesMatch "^.ht">
Order deny,allow
Deny from all

# Disable Server Signature
ServerSignature Off

# SSL all the things!
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^/?(.*) https://%{SERVER_NAME}/$1 [R,L]

# No WWW
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.DOMAIN\.TLD$
RewriteRule ^/?$ "https\:\/\/DOMAIN\.TLD\/" [R=301,L]

# Do we like Symlinks? Yeah we do.
Options +FollowSymlinks

# No open directories or directory listings. What is this... 1998?
Options All -Indexes
IndexIgnore *

# Rewrite rules to block out some common exploits.
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} base64_encode[^(]*\([^)]*\) [OR]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} (<|%3C)([^s]*s)+cript.*(>|%3E) [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} GLOBALS(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2}) [OR]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} _REQUEST(=|\[|\%[0-9A-Z]{0,2})
RewriteRule .* index.php [F]

# PHP doohickies
php_flag register_globals off 
php_flag safe_mode off 
php_flag allow_url_fopen off 
php_flag display_errors off 
php_value session.save_path '/tmp' 
php_value disable_functions "exec,passthru,shell_exec,system,curl_multi_exec,show_source,eval"

# File Injection Protection, or a code-condom. What.
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} [a-zA-Z0-9_]=http:// [OR]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} [a-zA-Z0-9_]=(\.\.//?)+ [OR]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} [a-zA-Z0-9_]=/([a-z0-9_.]//?)+ [NC]
RewriteRule .* - [F]

# /proc/self/environ? Go away!
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} proc/self/environ [NC,OR]

# Disallow Access To Sensitive Files. Enter your own file names.
RewriteRule ^(htaccess.txt|configuration.php(-dist)?|joomla.xml|README.txt|web.config.txt||phpunit.xml.dist|plugin_googlemap2_proxy.php)$ - [F]

# Don't allow any pages to be framed - Defends against CSRF
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
Header set X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN

# Disallow Php Easter Eggs
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} \=PHP[0-9a-f]{8}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{4}-[0-9a-f]{12} [NC]
RewriteRule .* index.php [F]

# Libwww-perl Access Block
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} libwww-perl.* 
RewriteRule .* ? [F,L]

# Uh. I forgot.
<IfModule mod_autoindex.c>
IndexIgnore *

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
Header always set X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff"

# Turn on IE8-IE9 XSS prevention tools
#Header set X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block"

# Only allow JavaScript from the same domain to be run.
# Don't allow inline JavaScript to run.
#Header set X-Content-Security-Policy "allow 'self';"

# Example if you don't like Russia and Turkey (Optional A1 is to block anonymous proxies)
RewriteRule .* https://DOMAIN.TLD/directorywithindexdothtml/ [R=302,L]

# Caching stuff
<FilesMatch "\.(ico|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css|swf)$">
Header set Cache-Control "public, max-age=3600"

# Compress text, html, javascript, css, xml!
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/xml text/css text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml application/xhtml+xml application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rdf+xml application/rss+xml application/atom+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript application/javascript application/x-javascript application/json
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/truetype font/opentype

# Joomla! core SEF Section.
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:%{HTTP:Authorization}]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/index\.php
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule .* index.php [L]

php_value upload_max_filesize 200M
php_value post_max_size 200M
php_value max_input_vars 2000
php_value max_execution_time 120
php_value memory_limit 1024M

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/cache-manifest "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType text/xml "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType application/xml "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType application/json "access plus 0 seconds"
ExpiresByType application/rss+xml "access plus 1 hour"
ExpiresByType application/atom+xml "access plus 1 hour"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access plus 1 week"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/ogg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType audio/ogg "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/mp4 "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType video/webm "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-component "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-font-ttf "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType font/opentype "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-font-woff "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/svg+xml "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/ "access plus 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 1 year"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 1 year"
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
Header append Cache-Control "public"


Crude solution to ban bots by their user-agent

Okay, this is a very crude way to block bots, spiders and crawlers by their user-agent, but so far, this has been very, very efficient.

Even when one chooses ” yes “, the question will be repeated. This is not a problem, because no one in their right mind is going to add “bot”, “spider” or “crawler” as their user-agent.

So here’s the PHP script that I rammed into a certain website to prevent it from being DDOSsed by (malicious) bots.


// CC-BY-NC (2023)
// Author: FoxSan -
// This is a functional but dirty hack to block bots, spiders and indexers by looking at the HTTP USER AGENT.
// The form is, iirc, not even working, but that's fine if you only want human visitors.
// It can also throw a 403, but the effect is the same.

// Emergency bypass
// goto end;

// Function to check if the user agent appears to be a bot or spider.
// Enter the bots you would like to block in a list as shown below.
function isBot()
    $user_agent = $_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"];
    $bot_keywords = ['bytespider', 

    foreach ($bot_keywords as $keyword) {
        if (stripos($user_agent, $keyword) !== false) {
            return true;

    return false;

// Check if the visitor is a bot or spider
if (isBot()) {
    // This visitor appears to be a bot or spider, so display a choice.
    // Check if the choice form is submitted
    if (isset($_POST["submit"])) {
        // Check the choice made by the visitor
        $choice = isset($_POST["choice"]) ? $_POST["choice"] : "";

        if ($choice === "yes") {
            // User selected "Yes," block access
            echo "Access denied. If you believe this is an error, please contact us by writing the word [MAILBOX] before the at sign, followed by [DOMAIN.TLD]";
        } elseif ($choice === "no") {
            // User selected "No," proceed to end
            goto end;
    } else {
        // Output the message to the user and make the choice mandatory
        echo "Your user agent suggests you might be a bot, spider, or crawler. Are you one of these three?";

        // Output the radio button choices within a form
        echo '</p>
<form method="post" action="">';
        echo ' <label><input type="radio" name="choice" value="yes" required>Yes</label>';
        echo ' <label><input type="radio" name="choice" value="no">No</label>';
        echo ' <button type="submit" name="submit">Proceed</button>';
        echo "</form>

    // Exit to prevent further processing
// Original website code starts from here.


A working Apache2 server with PHP7.4

I was in need of a server solution that could be quickly deployed as a VM.

      1. Install Debian 11 as a VM with web- and SSH server
      2. Create a USER next to your root account during the installation
      3. Find the IP address of the new installation. The easiest is if you have NoVNC running. Log in as USER and type
        ip a
      4. Time to so the sudo thing

        log in as root

        apt-get update && apt-get install -y sudo
        usermod -aG sudo USER

        log back in as USER

      5. Okay, let’s install some more stuff but first we do an update
        sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

        Now we want some essentials

        sudo apt-get install -y dirmngr gnupg2 nano wget gpg curl fail2ban ufw software-properties-common

        Preparing the PHP install

        wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
        echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo apt-get install -y php7.4 libapache2-mod-php7.4 php7.4-mysql php7.4-curl php7.4-gd php7.4-mbstring php7.4-xml php7.4-xmlrpc php7.4-zip

        And restart the Apache2 Webserver

        sudo systemctl restart apache2
      6. Alright, that’s done. Next step is to test things.
        sudo nano /var/www/html/test.php

        Enter this into the php file and press Control X and type Y to save and exit.

        // Show all PHP information
      7. Go to the IP address of the server you just created and type
        HTTP://IP ADDRESS/test.php

        If you see a PHP page with all sorts of data, you’re good. If not, go fix. Don’t ask me, I’m not there yet!


Upgrade to PHP7.2

  1. apt-get install apt-transport-https lsb-release ca-certificates
  2. wget -O /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/php.gpg
  3. sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/php.list'
  4. apt-get update
  5. apt-get install php7.2-common libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-cgi php7.2-cli php7.2-phpdbg php7.2-fpm libphp7.2-embed php7.2-dev php7.2-curl php7.2-gd php7.2-imap php7.2-interbase php7.2-intl php7.2-ldap php7.2-readline php7.2-odbc php7.2-pgsql php7.2-pspell php7.2-recode php7.2-tidy php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2 php7.2-json php-all-dev php7.2-sybase php7.2-sqlite3 php7.2-mysql php7.2-opcache php7.2-bz2 libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-mbstring php7.2-pdo php7.2-dom php7.2-enchant php7.2-gmp php7.2-soap php7.2-zip

In case you need mcrypt:

  1. apt-get -y install gcc make autoconf libc-dev pkg-config
  2. apt-get -y install libmcrypt-dev
  3. apt-get install php7.2-dev
  4. pecl install mcrypt-1.0.1

    When you see the prompt “libmcrypt prefix? [autodetect] :” -> Press [Enter] to autodetect

  5. php -i | grep "mcrypt"

  1. a2dismod php7.0

    *or whatever version you are upgrading from)

  2. a2enmod php7.2