Peter Hinchley

Learning in Public

✪ Building a Debian 8.2 LEMP Server

This article briefly captures the steps I used to build a Debian 8.2 (Jessie) server with nginx 1.6.2, MySQL 5.5 and PHP 7.0.1.

Firstly, I downloaded the first 64-bit (amd64) Debian 8.2.0 ISO (approx. 4GB) [Direct Link]. I mounted and then booted the ISO from a generation 1 Hyper-V virtual machine with the following configuration: 1GB start-up memory (2GB max, and 512MB min); 2 processors; and 60GB hard disk.

From the installation boot menu, I selected Install (non-graphical), then selected English as the installation language, Australia as the location, and American English as the keyboard layout.

I set the hostname of the server to Dennis, and the domain name to I also set the root password, and used Peter Hinchley as the full name of a new non-root user with a username of hinchley. I also set the password of the new user.

I configured the timezone based on the location of Australian Capital Territory.

I opted to use the Guided - Entire Disk partitioning method, storing all files in a single partition.

I elected to use an online package mirror from Australia, specifically (with no proxy). And when prompted to select the software that should be installed, I only chose SSH server and Standard system utilities.

After the software was installed, I agreed to install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record (MBR) on /dev/sda. I then restarted the server and logged in as root.

I modified the package repository list (/etc/apt/sources.list) to comment-out all lines beginning with deb cdrom (as I always intend to use a network mirror), and then updated the list of available packages:

apt-get update

I then configured the server with a static IP address (DHCP was used during installation). To do this I modified /etc/network/interfaces and replaced:

iface eth0 inet dhcp


auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

I then modified /etc/resolv.conf and set nameserver to the IP address of my DNS server (

The next step isn't recommended in production, but since this is only a home lab, I permitted root to SSH to the server using a password by modifying /etc/ssh/sshd_config. In particular, I changed:

PermitRootLogin without-password


PermitRootLogin yes

To restart SSH after the change:

/etc/init.d/ssh restart

And to reboot the server:

shutdown -r now

At this point I was able to connect to the server from a terminal window on my Mac using the following command:

ssh root@

Next up, I installed MySQL 5.5:

apt-get install mysql-server

In response to the last command, I provided the following inputs:

I then installed nginx 1.6.2:

apt-get install nginx

Next up, I installed git and sudo:

apt-get install git
apt-get install sudo

I then cloned the php-7-debian repository from kasparsd:

git clone

I then ran the following commands to install PHP 7.0.1 (the build step will take quite a while):

cd php-7-debian

After the installation completed, I modified /etc/nginx/sites-available/default, adding index.php as the first default document (insert before index.html on the line that begins with index). I also replaced the block starting with location ~ \.php$ with the following:

location ~ \.php$ {
  include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;

Finally, I created a new file under /var/www/html named index.php with the following content:


I then started PHP-FPM and restarted nginx:

/etc/init.d/php7-fpm start
service nginx restart

At this point I was able to open a browser on my Mac and request:

The PHP Version 7.0.1 information page was displayed.