Install Simple Machines Forum on a CentOS 7 Linux VPS

smfSimple Machines Forum, also known as SMF is a very popular forum platform which is widely used. It is an open-source software which is written in PHP and uses a MySQL/MariaDB database. It provides many features and it is user-friendly. In this tutorial we will show you how to install Simple Machines Forum 2.0.9 on a Linux VPS.

First of all, make sure that all your system software is up to date. For that purpose you can use the command:

yum -y update

The command will automatically update all your system software to the latest version.

Next, make sure that you have a LAMP stack installed on your VPS. Else, please use our guide about how to install LAMP on CentOS 7. If you have already fulfilled this operation, you are ready to start with the installation of Simple Machines Forum on your CentOS VPS.

As we mentioned before, Simple Machines Forum uses a MySQL/MariaDB database so we need to create a database first, where Simple Machines Forum will store its data. Connect to your VPS via SSH and run the following command:

mysql -u root -p

This will prompt you for a password, so enter your MySQL/MariaDB root password and hit Enter. Once you are logged in to your database server you need to create a database for the Simple Machines Forum software. Also, you will need to create a database user as well as to set up a new database password. For that purpose you can use the following commands:

CREATE USER 'smf_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'YoUr_PaSsWoRd';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `smf`.* TO 'smf_user'@'localhost';

You can replace the name of the database, the database user and the password with values of your choice.

The next step is to download Simple Machines Forum on your CentOS VPS. Navigate to your ‘/var/www/html/’ directory:

cd /var/www/html/

Create a new directory for the Simple Machines Forum files:

mkdir smf

Navigate to that directory:

cd smf/

And finally, run the following command in order to download Simple Machines Forum on you server:


Next thing you need to do is to unpack the archive:

tar -zxvf smf_2-0-9_install.tar.gz

The software requires some of the directories to obtain specific permissions. The command bellow will make those directories writable:

chmod 777 attachments avatars cache Packages Smileys Themes

Once you execute the last command, you are done with the installation of Simple Machines Forum using the command line. You will need to access Simple Machines Forum using a web browser and complete the on-screen installation.

Open your favorite web browser and enter:


Please note, you will need to replace the IPADDRESS with the IP address of your CentOS VPS. If you do not know the IP address of your VPS, you can simply run the command:

ip addr show

For more information about how to use the software, we recommend you to check the online manual available at

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 install Simple Machines Forum for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

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