Host Multiple Wordpress Site in EC2


In this project, I was assigned to leverage NGINX server block to host multiple wordpress site on the same EC2 instance And one of the site must be served with HTTPS. Like the previuos project, this is also a team project (ft. Fikri and Rafi).

Table of contents

1. EMP Installation

So what’s EMP or LEMP? It’s an abbrevation of Linux, NGINX (Engine-X), MySQL (or MariaDB), and PHP. Basically, it’s one of the popular Tech Stack used to build web application. The installation is very straight-forward in Ubuntu. First, update the repository database and upgrade.

sudo bash -c "apt update && apt dist-upgrade -yq && apt autoremove"

Install NGINX

Install NGINX and enable it using systemctl command,

sudo apt install nginx -yqq
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service
sudo systemctl status nginx.service # make sure that nginx
                                    # have "running" status

Install Database Server and Client

Install mariadb server and client,

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client -yqq
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service
sudo systemctl status mysql.service # check mysql status

Start MySQL secure installation, secure installation have several functions,

  1. Delete Anonymous users
  2. Remove Remote root Login
  3. Delete test database and it’s access
  4. Reload privilege tables
sudo mysql_secure_installation

mysql secure installation

Restart MariaDB (or MySQL),

mysql restart

Install PHP 7

Add ppa php ondrej repository into ubuntu.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

add ppa php

Install PHP 7.1 (you can adjust the version if there’s newer release) and the required/recommended extensions.

sudo apt install php7.1-common php7.1-fpm php7.1-mbstring php7.1-xmlrpc php7.1-soap php7.1-gd php7.1-xml php7.1-intl php7.1-mysql php7.1-cli php7.1-mcrypt php7.1-ldap php7.1-zip php7.1-curl -yqqq

install php and extensions

2. EMP Configuration


Login to mysql root user to create database for wordpress, don’t forget to take a note about database user, password, and database name. Also, FLUSH PRIVILEGES before you exit the mariadb console.

sudo mysql -u root -p
MariaDB > CREATE DATABASE db_name_for_first_wp_site;
MariaDB > CREATE DATABASE db_name_for_second_wp_site;

MariaDB > GRANT ALL ON db_name_for_first_wp_site.* TO 'db_user_for_first_wp_site'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password';

MariaDB > GRANT ALL ON db_name_for_second_wp_site.* TO 'db_user_for_second_wp_site'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password';


MariaDB > exit;

create db for wordpress

create db for wordpress

create db for wordpress

Pro tip: don’t forget to add semicolon for each SQL command :)


Sites Available

Create two files in /etc/nginx/sites-available directory. It’s considered a best practice to create with the domain name we want to use (for example

nginx sites-available

For each of the file, you can configure it like this

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/; # replace this with 
                                          # your wp location
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name; # replace with your domain

    client_max_body_size 100M;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

    location ~ \.php$ {
    include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
    fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

Sites Enabled

After that, enable each of the server block by soft link it to the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ directory.

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

nginx sites-enabled

Creating Wordpress Application Directory

Create the directory to store the wordpress,

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/

create wp dir

3. Wordpress Configuration

Download Wordpress

Download Wordpress from this link. After that, extract it using tar and copy it to the directory we created before.

tar -xzf latest.tar.gz
sudo cp -R wordpress/* /var/www/html/

wordpress download app

wordpress copy app

Wordpress Configuration

Before we use wordpress, we must configure

  1. Database Name
  2. Database User
  3. Password Database User
  4. Database Host
  5. Database Charset

You can copy wp-config-sample.php provided in wordpress app root directory and renamne it to wp-config.php

sudo cp /var/www/html/ /var/www/html/

Here’s my example configuration

wp config from sample

wp config

Lastly, change the ownership of your wordpress app directory to www-data or the webserver user.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html

Verify Your Configuration

Verify your nginx setting we created earlier and restart the nginx service.

sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl restart nginx

verify nginx

Setup Wordpress

Done! now we can visit the website and as you can see we’ve successfully create 2 different wordpress site on the same EC2 server. Finish the setup on both site.

first site

second site

4. SSL Using Certbot

Now then, we’ve successfully setup the site but, as you can see the project requires us to make one of the site serves with HTTPS.

There are two methods to enable HTTPS, by using certbot (automatic) and by using self-signed certificate and manually update the nginx server configuration. I choose the first one for the sake of simplicity, but if you have dev/test environment on local, you can’t use the first method (see this link to set up SSL with self-signed certificate).

First, we need to install certbot and certbot module for nginx.

sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx -yqq

certbot install

After that, we can just run certbot to generate and verify the domain of our website.

sudo certbot --nginx -d

certbot setup

ssl success

If you see the config file we created earlier in /etc/nginx/sites-available/, there’s additional block to serve https and redirect all http traffic to https.