Apache Installation

How to install OpenDataBio

These instructions are for an apache-based installation, but can be easily tuned to work with nginx.

Server requirements

  1. The minimum supported PHP version is 8.0
  2. The web server may be apache or nginx. For nginx, check configuration in the docker files to tune these instructions, which are for apache.
  3. It requires a SQL database, MySQL and MariaDB have been tested, but may also work with Postgres. Tested with MYSQL.v8 and MariaDB.v15.1.
  4. PHP extensions required ‘openssl’, ‘pdo’, ‘pdo_mysql’, ‘mbstring’, ‘tokenizer’, ‘xlm’, ‘dom’, ‘gd’, ‘exif’, ‘bcmath’, ‘zip’
  5. Pandoc is used to translate LaTeX code used in the bibliographic references. It is not necessary for the installation, but it is suggested for a better user experience.
  6. Requires Supervisor, which is needed background jobs

Create Dedicated User

The recommended way to install OpenDataBio for production is using a dedicated system user. In this instructions this user is odbserver.

Download OpenDataBio

Login as your Dedicated User and download or clone this software to where you want to install it. Here we assume this is /home/odbserver/opendatabio so that the installation files will reside in this directory. If this is not your path, change below whenever it applies.

Download OpenDataBio

Prep the Server

First, install the prerequisite software: Apache, MySQL, PHP, Pandoc and Supervisor. On a Debian system, you need to install some PHP extensions as well and enable them:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php ppa:ondrej/apache2
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/apache2

sudo apt-get install mysql-server php8.0 libapache2-mod-php8.0 php8.0-intl \
 php8.0-mysql php8.0-sqlite3 php8.0-gd php8.0-mysql php8.0-cli pandoc \
 php8.0-mbstring php8.0-xml php8.0-gd php8.0-bcmath php8.0-zip php8.0-curl \

sudo a2enmod php8.0
sudo phpenmod mbstring
sudo phpenmod xml
sudo phpenmod dom
sudo phpenmod gd
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2ensite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

#To check if they are installed:
php -m | grep -E 'mbstring|cli|xml|gd|mysql|pandoc|supervisord|bcmath|pcntl|zip'

Add the following to your Apache configuration.

  • Change /home/odbserver/opendatabio to your path (the files must be accessible by apache)
  • You may create a new file in the sites-available folder: /etc/apache2/sites-available/opendatabio.conf and place the following code in it.
touch /etc/apache2/sites-available/opendatabio.conf
echo '<IfModule alias_module>
        Alias /opendatabio      /home/odbserver/opendatabio/public/
        Alias /fonts /home/odbserver/opendatabio/public/fonts
        Alias /images /home/odbserver/opendatabio/public/images
        <Directory "/home/odbserver/opendatabio/public">
                Require all granted
                AllowOverride All
</IfModule>' > /etc/apache2/sites-available/opendatabio.conf

This will cause Apache to redirect all requests for / to the correct folder, and also allow the provided .htaccess file to handle the rewrite rules, so that the URLs will be pretty. If you would like to access the file when pointing the browser to the server root, add the following directive as well:

RedirectMatch ^/$ /

Configure your php.ini file. The installer may complain about missing PHP extensions, so remember to activate them in both the cli (/etc/php/8.0/cli/php.ini) and the web ini (/etc/php/8.0/fpm/php.ini) files for PHP!

Update the values for the following variables:

Find files:
php -i | grep 'Configuration File'

Change in them:
	memory_limit should be at least 512M
	post_max_size should be at least 30M
	upload_max_filesize should be at least 30M

Something like:

memory_limit = 512M

post_max_size = 100M
upload_max_filesize = 100M

Enable the Apache modules ‘mod_rewrite’ and ‘mod_alias’ and restart your Server:

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2ensite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Mysql Charset and Collation

  1. You should add the following to your configuration file (mariadb.cnf or my.cnf), i.e. the Charset and Collation you choose for your installation must match that in the ‘config/database.php’
character-set-client-handshake = FALSE  #without this, there is no effect of the init_connect
collation-server      = utf8mb4_unicode_ci
init-connect          = "SET NAMES utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci"
character-set-server  = utf8mb4
log-bin-trust-function-creators = 1
sort_buffer_size = 4294967295  #this is needed for geometry (bug in mysql:8)

[mariadb] or [mysql]
innodb_log_file_size=300M  #no use for mysql

  1. If using MariaDB and you still have problems of type #1267 Illegal mix of collations, then check here on how to fix that,

Configure supervisord

Configure Supervisor, which is required for jobs. Create a file name opendatabio-worker.conf in the Supervisor configuration folder /etc/supervisor/conf.d/opendatabio-worker.conf with the following content:

touch /etc/supervisor/conf.d/opendatabio-worker.conf
echo ";--------------
command=php /home/odbserver/opendatabio/artisan queue:work --sleep=3 --tries=1 --timeout=0 --memory=512
;--------------" > /etc/supervisor/conf.d/opendatabio-worker.conf

Folder permissions

  • Folders storage and bootstrap/cache must be writable by the Server user (usually www-data). Set 0775 permission to these directories.
  • This link has different ways to set up permissions for files and folders of a Laravel application. Below the preferred method:
cd /home/odbserver

#give write permissions to odbserver user and the apache user
sudo chown -R odbserver:www-data opendatabio
sudo find ./opendatabio -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;
sudo find ./opendatabio -type d -exec chmod 775 {} \;  

#in these folders the server stores data and files.
#Make sure their permission is correct
cd /home/odbserver/opendatabio
sudo chgrp -R www-data storage bootstrap/cache
sudo chmod -R ug+rwx storage bootstrap/cache

Install OpenDataBio

  1. Many Linux distributions (most notably Ubuntu and Debian) have different php.ini files for the command line interface and the Apache plugin. It is recommended to use the configuration file for Apache when running the install script, so it will be able to correctly point out missing extensions or configurations. To do so, find the correct path to the .ini file, and export it before using the php install command.

For example,

export PHPRC=/etc/php/7.4/apache2/php.ini
  1. The installation script will download the Composer dependency manager and all required PHP libraries listed in the composer.json file. However, if your server is behind a proxy, you should install and configure Composer independently. We have implemented PROXY configuration, but we are not using it anymore and have not tested properly (if you require adjustments, place an issue on GitLab).

  2. The script will prompt you configurations options, which are stored in the environment .env file in the application root folder.

You may, optionally, configure this file before running the installer:

  • Create a .env file with the contents of the provided cp .env.example .env
  • Read the comments in this file and adjust accordingly.
  1. Run the installer:
cd /home/odbserver/opendatabio
php install
  1. Seed data - the script above will ask if you want to install seed data for Locations and Taxons - seed data is version specific. Check the seed data repository version notes.

Installation issues

There are countless possible ways to install the application, but they may involve more steps and configurations.

  • if you browser return 500|SERVER ERROR you should look to the last error in storage/logs/laravel.log. If you have ERROR: No application encryption key has been specified run:
php artisan key:generate
php artisan config:cache
  • If you receive the error “failed to open stream: Connection timed out” while running the installer, this indicates a misconfiguration of your IPv6 routing. The easiest fix is to disable IPv6 routing on the server.
  • If you receive errors during the random seeding of the database, you may attempt to remove the database entirely and rebuild it. Of course, do not run this on a production installation.
php artisan migrate:fresh
  • You may also replace the Locations and Taxons tables with seed data after a fresh migration using:
php seedodb

Post-install configs

  • If your import/export jobs are not being processed, make sure Supervisor is running systemctl start supervisord && systemctl enable supervisord, and check the log files at storage/logs/supervisor.log.
  • You can change several configuration variables for the application. The most important of those are probably set by the installer, and include database configuration and proxy settings, but many more exist in the .env and config/app.php files. In particular, you may want to change the language, timezone and e-mail settings. Run php artisan config:cache after updating the config files.
  • In order to stop search engine crawlers from indexing your database, add the following to your “robots.txt” in your server root folder (in Debian, /var/www/html):
User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Storage & Backups

You may change storage configurations in config/filesystem.php, where you may define cloud based storage, which may be needed if have many users submitting media files, requiring lots of drive space.

  1. Data downloads are queue as jobs and a file is written in a temporary folder, and the file is deleted when the job is deleted by the user. This folder is defined as the download disk in filesystem.php config file, which point to storage/app/public/downloads. UserJobs web interface difficult navigation will force users to delete old jobs, but a cron cleaning job may be advisable to implement in your installation;
  2. Media files are by default stored in the media disk, which place files in folder storage/app/public/media;
  3. For regular configuration create both directories storage/app/public/downloads and storage/app/public/media with writable permissions by the Server user, see below topic;
  4. Remember to include media folder in a backup plan;