How to Set Up a LAMP Server on Debian 10 Buster

Debian is one of the best Linux server distributions, and LAMP is one of the most common ways to host a website. Together, they make a perfect match. It’s very simple to get LAMP up and running on Debian 10 using packages right out of the default repositories.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to Set Up MariaDB
  • How to Install PHP
  • How to Install Apache
  • How to Test Your Server

PHPinfo on LAMP on Debian 10

PHPinfo on LAMP on Debian 10.

Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Debian 10 Buster
Software Apache, MariaDB, and PHP
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Set Up MariaDB

MariaDB is a fork of MySQL, and it can serve as a drop-in replacement for it. Debian and other Linux distributions have opted to use MariaDB as the default MySQL option in recent years because MariaDB is an independent project, while MySQL is controlled by Oracle.

The first thing you’ll need on your LAMP server is that MariaDB database because the other components of the server rely on it. Thankfully, the database requires only minimal setup to get running.

Install MariaDB

Begin by installing MariaDB from the Debian repositories. It’s broken into server and client components. For this, you’ll need both.

$ sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

Set Up The Database

Now that you have the MariaDB packages, you’ll need to set up a basic database for your web application to use. A database like this will work for a WordPress install.

MariaDB Secure Setup on Debian 10

MariaDB Secure Setup on Debian 10.

MariaDB comes with a convenient utility to secure your database automatically. Run that before you do anything else.

$ sudo mysql_secure_installation

Run through the script. Start by creating a new root password prompted. From there, just answer “yes” to each question. They remove extra junk and set up secure defaults for your server.

MariaDB Setup on Debian 10

MariaDB Setup on Debian 10.

Start by logging in to MariaDB via the mysql command as root.

# mysql -u root -p

After you’re signed in, create a new database to work with. You can name it whatever you like.


Then, create a new user to access the database. Using root for anything but administrative tasks is a security risk and a terrible idea.

CREATE USER 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'userpassword';

For that user to be able to work with the database, you need to grant it privileges on the DB. Since this user is going to be your general purpose user, grant it all privileges.

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON newdb.* TO 'username'@'localhost';

You’re all set up. Flush the privileges and exit the database.


Install PHP

PHP is the next part of the LAMP server you’ll need. This one doesn’t take much setup. You only need to install it. Apache will handle actually running it when you start the server up.

$ sudo apt install php php-mysql

Install Apache

Finally, you’re ready to set up Apache, the actual web server. For a basic LAMP server, this is as simple as installing Apache itself and the Apache PHP module. Debian systems automatically start up any service they install, so Apache will be running right after the install completes.

$ sudo apt install apache2 libapache2-mod-php
Apache on Debian 10

Apache on Debian 10.

You can see that your server is, in fact, running by opening your browser and entering localhost in the address bar. You should be greeted by Debian’s default Apache page.

Test Your Server

Apache looks for an index file in /var/www/html to serve first. That can be either index.html or index.php, but it’ll go with the HTML one first, if they’re both there. Delete the existing index.html, and create either a new index.php file.

Open the file, and place the following line of PHP inside.

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Refresh the localhost tab. This time, you should see a big table loaded with information about PHP on your server. This page proves that your server can run and serve PHP code.

You’re done. Your server is ready to start serving PHP. You can actually install WordPress on it right now. However, if you wan a simple way to manage your database, you can install PHPMyAdmin to provide you with a graphical web-based way to access and manage MariaDB.

Note: There currently isn’t a phpmyadmin package in Buster yet, but there is one in both Stretch and Sid. You can either wait or use Apt pinning to get it from either other release.

# sudo apt install phpmyadmin

Now, you can navigate to localhost/phpmyadmin, and you’ll arrive at a login screen that you can use to sign in to the database user account that you set up before, and start working on your database.


Your server is now serving PHP. You can easily manage it, and you’ll receive regular security updated and bugfixes from the Debian repos. You may want to implement additional security, like a firewall, if you plan on hosting with the server online, but everything else is in place.