Install Pico CMS on an Ubuntu VPS

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In this blog post we will show you how to install Pico CMS on an Ubuntu VPS with Nginx. Pico is a flat-file CMS released under the MIT license, with no database and administration backend and is an effective solution for small websites. The main advantages of a flat-file CMS systems are simplicity, portability, security, speed and version control. Without a database Pico CMS stores content in files and folders. To create a new page in Pico CMS you need to simply create a new .md (markdown) file in the “content” folder.  In case you never heard of markdown, it is a simple text-based markup language that can be converted to HTML. This guide should work on other Linux Cloud VPS systems as well but was tested and written for Ubuntu 14.04 Cloud VPS.

Update the system and install necessary packages.

[email protected]:~# apt-get update && apt-get -y upgrade
[email protected]:~# apt-get install git

Install PHP and Nginx

The latest version of Nginx 1.6.2 is not available via the default Ubuntu repositories, so we will add the “nginx/stable” PPA, update the system and install the nginx package.

[email protected]:~# add-apt-repository ppa:nginx/stable
[email protected]:~# apt-get update
[email protected]:~# apt-get install nginx php5-fpm php-cli

Install Composer

Composer is a dependency manager for PHP with which you can install packages. Composer will pull all the required libraries you need for your project.

[email protected]:~# curl -sS | php
[email protected]:~# mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

Clone the git repository

Create a root directory for your web site and clone the git repository from github

[email protected]:~# mkdir -p /var/www/{public_html,logs}
[email protected]:~# git clone /var/www/
[email protected]:~# cd /var/www/
[email protected]:~# composer install

Nginx configuration

Create a new Nginx server block with the following content

[email protected]:~# cat <<'EOF' > /etc/nginx/conf.d/
server {
    listen 80;
    root /var/www/;
    access_log /var/www/;
    error_log /var/www/;
    index index.php;
    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
    location ~* \.(?:ico|css|js|gif|jpe?g|png|ttf|woff)$ {
        access_log off;
        expires 30d;
        add_header Pragma public;
        add_header Cache-Control "public, mustrevalidate, proxy-revalidate";
    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(.*)$;
        fastcgi_keep_conn on;
        include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;

Test the Nginx configuration  and restart the server

[email protected]:~# nginx -t
[email protected]:~# /etc/init.d/nginx restart

Set the correct permissions

[email protected]:~# chown -R www-data: /var/www/

That’s it. Now open your browser and type the address of your website.

For more information about how create content, themes, plugins , please refer to the Pico website.

Of course you don’t have to do any of this if you use one of our Linux VPS Hosting services, in which case you can simply ask our expert Linux admins to setup this for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

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