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Deploy Laravel on Ubuntu Apache server

Video Notes

In this guide, we’ll learn how to deploy a Laravel application to an Ubuntu server running Apache.


  • A Laravel application that exists in a repository on Github.com
  • A web server running Apache with SSH access
  • A domain or subdomain configured to point to that server
  • Your web server needs to have SSH keys set up with Github (Ref: SSH Keys and Github)

Server Requirements

Before beginning the deployment, we need to check that our server meets all the requirements necessary to run Laravel, referencing the Laravel Server Requirement docs.

You can confirm your PHP version meets the minimum version requirement by creating and running a page on your server that invokes the phpinfo() function.

If your PHP is out of date, follow this guide: Upgrading PHP.

Next, you need you make sure you have the required PHP extensions. Run php -m to output a list of the PHP extensions currently installed on your server. Example output:

> php -m
[PHP Modules]
Zend OPcache

[Zend Modules]
Zend OPcache

If I cross check the above output from my server with the list of extensions listed on Laravel’s server requirements docs (ref), I can see I’m missing the cURL, DOM, Mbstring, and XML extensions:

Laravel PHP extension requirements:

  • ✅ Ctype PHP Extension
  • ❌ cURL PHP Extension
  • ❌ DOM PHP Extension
  • ✅ Fileinfo PHP Extension
  • ✅ Filter PHP Extension
  • ✅ Hash PHP Extension
  • ❌ Mbstring PHP Extension
  • ✅ OpenSSL PHP Extension
  • ✅ PCRE PHP Extension
  • ✅ PDO PHP Extension
  • ✅ Session PHP Extension
  • ✅ Tokenizer PHP Extension
  • ❌ XML PHP Extension

Additionally, I want to add the zip and unzip extensions Composer will use when downloading my dependencies, and the MySQL PHP extension since that’s the database type I’m using in my application.

I can accomplish this using apt, a command line utility for managing packages on Linux systems.

First - I’ll specify a new repository apt can download software packages from. The repository we’re adding is ppa:ondrej/php, the primary source for PHP-related packages.

> sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Next, invoke apt to get the latest package lists from your apt repositories:

> sudo apt update

Finally, we can get the necessary extensions. In my case, the command to do that looks like the following.

> sudo apt install php8.2-curl php8.2-dom php8.2-mbstring php8.2-xml php8.2-mysql zip unzip 

Note that PHP-specific extensions are prefixed with php and the appropriate PHP version number. E.g. the XML PHP Extension is listed as php8.2-xml. The extensions zip and unzip are not PHP-specific extensions, so no prefix is used.

Enable URL rewriting

Next we need to enable Apache’s rewrite module in order for Laravel’s routing system to work. To do this, run the following command:

> sudo a2enmod rewrite

And restart Apache to make the change take effect:

> sudo service apache2 restart

Get Composer

We need Composer in order to manage the dependencies in our Laravel project. If you invoke the command composer on your server and it tells you the command is not found, you’ll need to install Composer via the following instructions.

Move into your /usr/bin directory, a common location to put command line executable programs Linux servers:

> cd /usr/bin

Within this directory, run the following command to download the Composer installer and run it using php:

> curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | sudo php

The resulting program (composer.phar) has a .phar (PHP Archive) extension. We can shorten this by renaming it to just composer:

> sudo mv composer.phar composer

Now we have a simple, terse command to invoke Composer. Test it out:

> composer
  / ____/___  ____ ___  ____  ____  ________  _____
 / /   / __ \/ __ `__ \/ __ \/ __ \/ ___/ _ \/ ___/
/ /___/ /_/ / / / / / / /_/ / /_/ (__  )  __/ /
\____/\____/_/ /_/ /_/ .___/\____/____/\___/_/

  command [options] [arguments]

  -h, --help                     Display this help message
  -q, --quiet                    Do not output any message

Get the code base

Now that our server is prepped to run Laravel, we can get a copy of our application on the server by cloning it from Github. In my example, I will clone it to my web directory at /var/www/

> cd /var/www/
> git clone git@github.com:susanBuck/demo.git

Once this is done, I can move into the resulting directory:

> cd demo

Get dependencies

Next, we need to pull in the application’s Composer dependencies (i.e. our vendor/ directory).

If working on a production server, use the following command so any development-specific dependencies are excluded and the version number of your dependencies match whatever was used in development and written to composer.lock:

> composer install --optimize-autoloader --no-dev

If working on a development server, use the following command so all dependencies are included and you get the latest versions within your version constraints listed in your composer.json file:

> composer update

With the above step complete, your project should now have a vendor/ directory within your project.

Build .env file

Every Laravel application needs a .env file with environment-specific configurations. Because the contents of this file are going to differ from environment to environment, it is not tracked as part of your version control repository (it’s ignored via the .gitignore config file) and therefor you have to manually create it whenever setting up the application in a new environment.

To do this, you can copy the provided .env.example file and update to as appropriate:

> cp .env.example .env

Run the following command to generate the APP_KEY value within your .env file:

> php artisan key:generate

Set permissions

There are two directories within a Laravel application that need to be writable by the server: storage and bootstrap/cache. Within these directories, the server will write application-specific files such as cache info, session data, error logs, etc.

To allow this to happen, you need to update the permissions of storage and bootstrap/cache so they are owned by the system user your web server is running as.

Run the following command to see which user your Apache web server runs as:

> ps aux | grep "apache" | awk '{print $1}' | grep -v root | head -n 1

On my server, the above command outputs the user www-data so I will update storage and bootstrap/cache to be owned by www-data with the following two commands:

> chown -R www-data storage
> chown -R www-data bootstrap/cache

Configure site

At this point, everything is set up within our application, we just need to configure our server to run it.

To do this create a new site config file in /etc/apache2/sites-available/ with the following content. You can call the file whatever you want; I’ll name mine demo.conf after the name of the app.

Within the content update the following:

  • ServerName should swap out demo.com with the domain (or subdomain) you’re using for this application
  • DocumentRoot and <Directory> should point to the path of your Laravel application’s public directory
  • ErrorLog and CustomLog should swap out demo with the name of your application
<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName demo.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/demo/public

    <Directory /var/www/demo/public>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/demo-error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/demo-access.log combined

In order to activate the above site config, run the following command (replace demo.conf with the name of the config file you created):

> sudo a2ensite demo.conf

Next, run the following command to check your configs making sure there are no syntax errors. From the output, you can ignore the first warning about ServerName; the important part is the last line that says Syntax OK.

> apache2ctl -t

Example output:

AH00558: apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using 
Set the 'ServerName' directive globally to suppress this message
Syntax OK

Assuming everything checks out, restart Apache to make the changes take effect:

> systemctl restart apache2

Test it

Load your application in the browser using the domain (or subdomain) you configured to make sure everything is working as expected. If your application fails to load, check out my guide Common Laravel Installation Issues.

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