Install Invoice Ninja on a Debian 7 VPS

install-invoice-ninja-on-debian-7-vpsIn this tutorial, we’ll see how to install Invoice Ninja on a Debian 7 (Wheezy) VPS with MariaDB, PHP-FPM, and Nginx. Invoice Ninja is a free, open-source solution for invoicing and billing customers and it’s based on Laravel 4.1 framework. This guide should work on other Linux VPS systems as well but was tested and written for Debian 7 VPS.

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Visit Updated Tutorials:
How to Install Invoice Ninja on CentOS 7
How to Install Invoice Ninja on Debian 9

Login to your VPS via SSH

ssh user@myVPS

Update the system and install necessary packages

user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y upgrade
user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get install python-software-properties git curl openssl vim

Install MariaDB 10.0

user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0xcbcb082a1bb943db
user@myVPS:~# sudo add-apt-repository 'deb wheezy main'
user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get update
user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get install mariadb-server

When the installation is complete, run the following command to secure your installation:


Next, we need to create a database for our Invoice Ninja instance.

mysql -uroot -p
MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE ininja;
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON ininja.* TO 'ininjauser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'ininjauser_passwd';
MariaDB [(none)]> \q

Install and configure PHP and Nginx

The latest versions of Nginx 1.6.2 and PHP 5.6 are not available via the default Debian repositories, so we will add the Dotdeb repository. Open the /etc/apt/sources.list file and append the following lines:

user@myVPS:~# sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list
deb wheezy all
deb wheezy-php56 all

Next, fetch and install the GnuPG key:

user@myVPS:~# wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

Update the system and install Nginx, PHP and all necessary extensions:

user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get update
user@myVPS:~# sudo apt-get install nginx php5-fpm php5-cli php5-mcrypt php5-gd php5-curl
user@myVPS:~# sudo php5enmod mcrypt

Install Composer

Composer is a dependency manager for PHP with which you can install packages. Composer will pull in all the required libraries and dependencies that you need for your project.

user@myVPS:~# curl -sS | php
user@myVPS:~# sudo mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer

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Install Invoice Ninja

Create a root directory for your application.

user@myVPS:~# mkdir -p ~/your_ininja_site

Clone the project repository from GitHub:

user@myVPS:~# git clone ~/your_ininja_site
user@myVPS:~# cd  ~/your_ininja_site

Install all dependencies:

user@myVPS:~# composer install --no-dev -o

Set the environment to production:

user@myVPS:~# cp bootstrap/environment.default.php bootstrap/environment.php
user@myVPS:~# vim bootstrap/environment.php

Open the database.php file and edit the database settings:

user@myVPS:~# vim config/database.php
       'mysql' => array(
            'driver'    => 'mysql',
            'host'      => 'localhost',
            'database'  => 'ininja',
            'username'  => 'ininjauser',
            'password'  => 'ininjauser_passwd',
            'charset'   => 'utf8',
            'collation' => 'utf8_unicode_ci',
            'prefix'    => '',

Run database migrations and seed the database with sample data:

user@myVPS:~# php artisan migrate
user@myVPS:~# php artisan db:seed

Generate a new application key:

user@myVPS:~# php artisan key:generate
user@myVPS:~# vim app/config/app.php
'key' => 'iL7OD2fbvjJvIcSgalLThFaEM4gPtPNF',

Configure Nginx and PHP

Create a new PHP-FPM pool for your user:

user@myVPS:~# sudo nano /etc/php5/fpm/pool.d/your_user.conf
user = your_user  
group = your_user  
listen = /var/run/php5-fpm-your_user.sock  
listen.owner = your_user = your_user  
listen.mode = 0666  
pm = ondemand  
pm.max_children = 5  
pm.process_idle_timeout = 10s;  
pm.max_requests = 200  
chdir = /  

Do not forget to change your_user with your username.

Restart PHP-FPM

user@myVPS:~# sudo service php5-fpm restart

Generate SSL certificate:

user@myVPS:~# sudo mkdir -p /etc/nginx/ssl
user@myVPS:~# cd /etc/nginx/ssl
user@myVPS:~# sudo openssl genrsa -des3 -passout pass:x -out ininja.pass.key 2048
user@myVPS:~# sudo openssl rsa -passin pass:x -in ininja.pass.key -out ininja.key
user@myVPS:~# sudo rm ininja.pass.key
user@myVPS:~# sudo openssl req -new -key ininja.key -out ininja.csr
user@myVPS:~# sudo openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in ininja.csr -signkey ininja.key -out ininja.crt

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Next, create a new Nginx server block:

user@myVPS:~# sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_ininja_site
server {
    listen      443 default;
    server_name your_ininja_site;

    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate     /etc/nginx/ssl/ininja.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/ininja.key;
    ssl_session_timeout 5m;

    ssl_ciphers               'AES128+EECDH:AES128+EDH:!aNULL';
    ssl_protocols              TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

    root /home/your_user/your_ininja_site/public;

    index index.html index.htm index.php;

    charset utf-8;

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

    location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; }
    location = /robots.txt  { access_log off; log_not_found off; }

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/ininja.access.log;
    error_log   /var/log/nginx/ininja.error.log;

    sendfile off;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm-your_user.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_intercept_errors off;
        fastcgi_buffer_size 16k;
        fastcgi_buffers 4 16k;

    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;

server {
    listen      80;
    server_name your_ininja_site;

    add_header Strict-Transport-Security max-age=2592000;
    rewrite ^ https://$server_name$request_uri? permanent;

Do not forget to change your_user with your username.

Activate the server block by creating a symbolic link and restart Nginx:

user@myVPS:~# sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_ininja_site /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/your_ininja_site
user@myVPS:~# sudo /etc/init.d/nginx restart

That’s it. You have successfully installed Invoice Ninja on your Debian VPS. For more information about Invoice Ninja, please refer to the Invoice Ninja website.

Of course, you don’t have to do any of this if you use one of our Linux VPS Hosting services, in which case you can simply ask our expert Linux admins to set this up for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately. You can also consider reading our post on How to Install Invoice Ninja on Debian 9 for more information.

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11 thoughts on “Install Invoice Ninja on a Debian 7 VPS”

  1. During my setup, I ran into ” guzzle/guzzle v3.9.3 requires ext-curl * -> the requested PHP extension curl is missing from your system.” problem.

    I have to install php5-curl module. So you might want to update “sudo apt-get install nginx php5-fpm php5-cli php5-mcrypt php5-gd” to “sudo apt-get install nginx php5-fpm php5-cli php5-mcrypt php5-gd php5-curl”

    PS. Love your site btw!

  2. Thanks for the writeup. There’s a few steps missing though: such as renaming “.env.default” to “.env”, installing php5-gmp (required when running composer) and php5-mysql (or one will get PDO driver not found errors when attempting php artisan migrate), and finally editing .env with the correct database settings or “php artisan” will fail attempting to connect to the db.

  3. Please add the nginx config to hide “public” from the url in case invoiceninja is used inside a directory and not as a root

    thank you

  4. That sounds great. Can’t wait to read and hopefully follow it :)

    Thanks for all your effort you put into the article.


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