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Running Roundcube 0.7.1 On Nginx (LEMP) On Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 11.10

This tutorial shows how you can install and run Roundcube webmail (version 0.7.1) web site on a Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu 11.10 system that has nginx installed instead of Apache (LEMP = Linux + nginx (pronounced “engine x”) + MySQL + PHP). Roundcube webmail is a browser-based multilingual IMAP client with an application-like user interface. nginx is a HTTP server that uses much less resources than Apache and delivers pages a lot of faster, especially static files.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I want to install Roundcube in a vhost called here with the document root /var/www/

You should have a working LEMP installation, as shown in these tutorials:

  • Installing Nginx With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Debian Squeeze
  • Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.10

A note for Ubuntu users:

Because we must run all the steps from this tutorial with root privileges, we can either prepend all commands in this tutorial with the string sudo, or we become root right now by typing

sudo su


2 Installing APC

APC is a free and open PHP opcode cacher for caching and optimizing PHP intermediate code. It’s similar to other PHP opcode cachers, such as eAccelerator and XCache. It is strongly recommended to have one of these installed to speed up your PHP page.

APC can be installed as follows:

apt-get install php-apc

Now we must configure the default timezone in PHP. Open your php.ini – if you use PHP-FPM, it is /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

vi /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

… and if you use spawn-fcgi, it is /etc/php5/cli/php.ini:

vi /etc/php5/cli/php.ini

; Defines the default timezone used by the date functions
;date.timezone =
date.timezone = "Europe/Berlin"

You can find out the correct timezone by taking a look at /etc/timezone:

cat /etc/timezone

root@server1:~# cat /etc/timezone

If you use PHP-FPM as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.10), restart it as follows:

/etc/init.d/php5-fpm restart

If you use lighttpd’s spawn-fcgi program as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Debian Squeeze), we must kill the current spawn-fcgi process (running on port 9000) and create a new one. Run

netstat -tap

to find out the PID of the current spawn-fcgi process:

root@server1:~# netstat -tap
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0 *:sunrpc                *:*                     LISTEN      734/portmap
tcp        0      0 *:www                   *:*                     LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp        0      0 *:ssh                   *:*                     LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp        0      0 *:57174                 *:*                     LISTEN      748/rpc.statd
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:smtp *:*                     LISTEN      1507/exim4
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:9000 *:*                     LISTEN      1542/php5-cgi
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdo:mysql *:*                     LISTEN      1168/mysqld
tcp        0     52      ESTABLISHED 1557/0
tcp6       0      0 [::]:www                [::]:*                  LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp6       0      0 [::]:ssh                [::]:*                  LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp6       0      0 ip6-localhost:smtp      [::]:*                  LISTEN      1507/exim4

In the above output, the PID is 1542, so we can kill the current process as follows:

kill -9 1542

Afterwards we create a new spawn-fcgi process:

/usr/bin/spawn-fcgi -a -p 9000 -u www-data -g www-data -f /usr/bin/php5-cgi -P /var/run/


3 Installing Roundcube

The document root of my web site is /var/www/ – if it doesn’t exist, create it as follows:

mkdir -p /var/www/

Next we download Roundcube as a .tar.gz file from and place it in our document root:

cd /tmp
tar xvfz roundcubemail-0.7.1.tar.gz
cd roundcubemail-0.7.1/
mv * /var/www/
mv .htaccess /var/www/

It is recommended to make the document root and the Roundcube files in it writable by the nginx daemon which is running as user www-data and group www-data:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

If you haven’t already created a MySQL database for Roundcube (including a MySQL Roundcube user), you can do that as follows (I name the database roundcube in this example, and the user is called roundcube_admin, and his password is roundcube_admin_password):

mysqladmin -u root -p create roundcube

mysql -u root -p

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON roundcube.* TO ’roundcube_admin’@’localhost’ IDENTIFIED BY ’roundcube_admin_password’;
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON roundcube.* TO ’roundcube_admin’@’localhost.localdomain’ IDENTIFIED BY ’roundcube_admin_password’;



Next we create an nginx vhost configuration for our vhost in the /etc/nginx/sites-available/ directory as follows:

vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/

server {
       listen 80;
       root /var/www/;

       if ($http_host != "") {
                 rewrite ^$request_uri permanent;

       index index.php index.html;

       location ~ ^/favicon.ico$ {
                root /var/www/;
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
                expires max;

       location = /robots.txt {
                allow all;
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;

                deny all;
       location ~ ^/(bin|SQL)/ {
                deny all;

       # Deny all attempts to access hidden files such as .htaccess, .htpasswd, .DS_Store (Mac).
       location ~ /\. {
                deny all;
                access_log off;
                log_not_found off;

       location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
                fastcgi_index index.php;

To enable the vhost, we create a symlink to it from the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ directory:

cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/

Reload nginx for the changes to take effect:

/etc/init.d/nginx reload

Now we can launch the web-based Roundcube installer by going to


Scroll down and click on START INSTALLATION:


On the next page the installer checks if your environment fulfills all prerequisites. If everyting is ok,…


… scroll down and click on NEXT:


On the next page you can configure. Most default settings should be ok. Scroll down to the Database setup section and fill in the details for the Roundcube MySQL database that we’ve previously created:


Then go to the IMAP Settings section and fill in the details of your IMAP server. If it is located on the same server, fill in localhost in the default_host field. If you want to use IMAPS (port 993), prepend the hostname with ssl:// and change the default_port field to 993:


Under SMTP Settings fill in your SMTP server (localhost if it’s on the same host). If the SMTP server uses the same login details as your IMAP server, please check Use the current IMAP username and password for SMTP authentication:


If all other settings are ok (as I mentioned before, the default settings in all other sections should be fine), click on the CREATE CONFIG button:


On the next page you will see two configuration files ( and Copy the contents and create both files in the config directory (/var/www/ in this case):

vi /var/www/

vi /var/www/


After you have created both files, click on CONTINUE:


On the next page, click on the Initialize database button to make the installer create the Roundcube MySQL database:


Finally (this is optional) you have the possibility to test your SMTP and IMAP login:


After the installation has finished, you should delete the Roundcube installer directory:

rm -fr /var/www/

Now you can go to and use Roundcube to log into your email account:


This is how Roundcube looks:


  • Roundcube:
  • nginx:
  • nginx Wiki:
  • Debian:
  • Ubuntu: