How to Install WonderCMS on CentOS 7

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install WonderCMS with Nginx on a CentOS 7 VPS.

WonderCMS is a free and open-source flat file CMS. It’s built with PHP, jQuery, and HTML/CSS, and is aimed to be an extremely small, lightweight, and straightforward CMS solution.  No initial configuration is required. The installation process is quite simple and if you follow the instructions provided in this tutorial, you will have WonderCMS running on your server in less than 10 minutes.


  • For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be using a CentOS 7 VPS.
  • Apache (with mod_rewrite enabled) or Nginx web server. In our setup, we will be using Nginx.
  • PHP version 7.1 or greater (including the following extensions: curl, mbstring, zip)
  • Full SSH root access or a user with sudo privileges is also required.

WonderCMS also doesn’t require a traditional/relational database like MySQL. The flat file technology enables WonderCMS to save all data to a text file (flat file) called database.js,which is structured in JSON format.

Step 1: Connect to Your Server

Before we begin, you will need to connect to your server via SSH as the root user or as any other user that has sudo privileges.

To connect to your server as the root user, use the following command:


Make sure to replace IP_ADDRESS and PORT_NUMBER with your actual server IP address and SSH port number. If you want to log in with a user other than root, just replace the word root with the account name that you want to use.

Once logged in, make sure that your server is up-to-date by running the following commands:

sudo yum update

You will also need to add the CentOS 7 EPEL repository:

sudo yum install epel-release

Step 2: Install Nginx

If you don’t have Nginx running on your server, you can install it with the following command:

sudo yum install nginx

After the installation is completed, you can start the Nginx service with:

sudo systemctl start nginx

You can also enable Nginx service to automatically start upon server reboot with:

sudo systemctl enable nginx

Verify that the Nginx service is running using:

sudo systemctl status nginx

You should then see the following output:

● nginx.service - The nginx HTTP and reverse proxy server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; disabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Mon 2019-07-15 10:21:51 CDT; 2s ago

Step 2: Install PHP

CentOS 7 by default comes with PHP 5.4, so we will have to install a new PHP version from another repository.  In this case, we will install and use PHP 7.2 from the Remi repository.

To enable the PHP 7.2 repository on your server, run the following commands:

sudo yum install
sudo yum install yum-utils
sudo yum install
sudo yum-config-manager --disable remi-php54
sudo yum-config-manager --enable remi-php72

To install PHP 7.2 along with the other extensions required by WonderCMS, run the following command:

sudo yum install php php-fpm php-mysqlnd php-curl php-opcache php-xml php-xmlrpc php-gd php-mbstring php-zip php-json

To verify if PHP 7.2 is successfully installed, run the following command:

php -v

You should get the following output on your screen:

PHP 7.2.20 (cli) (built: Jul  2 2019 13:37:16) ( NTS )
Copyright (c) 1997-2018 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v3.2.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Zend Technologies
    with Zend OPcache v7.2.20, Copyright (c) 1999-2018, by Zend Technologies

Now we need to modify our PHP-FPM configuration.

Open the following file:

nano /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

Then change the following lines from:

user = apache
group = apache
listen =
;listen.owner = nobody
; = nobody


user = nginx
group = nginx
listen =  /var/run/php/php-fpm.sock
listen.owner = nginx = nginx

Create the PHP-FPM socket directory with:

mkdir -p /var/run/php

Then, change the permission for PHP session directory:

chown -R nginx:nginx /var/lib/php/session

Finally, we will need to start and enable the PHP-FPM service.

systemctl start php-fpm

systemctl enable php-fpm

Verify that our PHP-FPM service is running:

systemctl status php-fpm

Step 3: Install WonderCMS

Let’s download the latest stable WonderCMS version. At the moment of writing this tutorial, the latest stable version is 2.7.0. To download this version on your server, you can run the following command:


Extract the files to the /var/www location on our server with this next line:

sudo unzip -d /var/www

Note: If you don’t have the unzip package installed on your server, you can install it with the following command: sudo yum install unzip

Remove the downloaded file with:


The owner of all of these files needs to be the user of the web server running on your system. In our example, we are using the Nginx web server and Nginx runs as ‘nginx’ user on CentOS 7.  To change the owner and set the correct permissions for these files, you need to run the following command:

sudo chown -R nginx:nginx /var/www/wondercms

Step 4: Configure Nginx

In this step, we will show you how to create a virtual host file for Nginx – this is so you can access your WonderCMS installation using your domain name.

Create the virtual host file by executing the following command:

nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/wondercms.conf

And enter the following information:

server {
        listen 80;
        root /var/www/wondercms;
        index index.php;
        autoindex off;

        location / {
            if (!-e $request_filename) {
                rewrite ^/(.+)$ /index.php?page=$1 last;

        location ~ database.js {
            return 403;

        location ~ \.php(/|$) {
            try_files $uri =404;
            fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
            fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
            include fastcgi_params;
            fastcgi_index index.php;
            fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php-fpm.sock;

Make sure to replace with your actual registered domain name.

You can then check the configuration files to make sure that there are no syntax errors. Any errors will likely crash the web server on restart.

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nginx -t


nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

If there are no errors, you can reload the Nginx config.

systemctl reload nginx

Step 7: Accessing WonderCMS

You can now open your preferred web browser and access your WonderCMS installation at (of course, make sure to replace with the actual domain name you used when creating the Nginx virtual server block).

Click on the “Login” link and log in with the provided password. For security reasons, change your default password and login URL immediately. (Settings -> Security)

That’s it! WonderCMS has been successfully installed on your CentOS 7 server.

Of course, you don’t have to install WonderCMS on CentOs 7 if you have Managed CentOS Hosting with us. You can simply ask our support team to install WonderCMS on CentOS 7 for you. They are available 24/7 and will be able to help you with the installation.

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