How to Install ProjectSend on Ubuntu with Nginx

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install ProjectSend on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04 LTS systems.

ProjectSend is a free, secure, self hosted and user friendly software for file sharing.

Whether you’re creating a personal or company setting up a self-hosted file sharing platform, ProjectSend can help you build and manage your content on every device with its intuitive and powerful user and admin dashboard.

Instead of relying on third party services or sending files via email, ProjectSend lets you build your own server and securely upload files and assign them to specific clients that you create yourself.

When you’re ready to install and use ProjectSend, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx

Nginx HTTP Server is probably the second most popular web server in use today. Go and install Nginx since ProjectSend needs it.

To install Nginx HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable Nginx service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

To test Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Nginx default test page as shown below.

nginx default home page test

Step 2: Install MariaDB

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with ProjectSend.

To install MariaDB run the commands below.

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on. if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

Step 3: Install PHP 7.4-FPM

PHP 7.4-FPM may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. in order to install it, you will have to get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the below third party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.4-FPM

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.4-FPM

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2-FPM and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.4-fpm php7.4-common php7.4-curl php7.4-intl php7.4-mbstring php7.4-xmlrpc php7.4-mysql php7.4-gd php7.4-xml php7.4-cli php7.4-zip imagemagick php-imagick php7.4-bz2 php7.4-bcmath php7.4-gmp

After installing PHP 7.4-FPM, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Nginx.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.4/fpm/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

Step 4: Create ProjectSend Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for ProjectSend to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank ProjectSend database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called projectsend

CREATE DATABASE projectsend;

Create a database user called projectsenduser with new password

CREATE USER 'projectsenduser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON projectsend.* TO 'projectsenduser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download and Install ProjectSend

Download ProjectSend package from its download page. You can simply run the commands below to create a ProjectSend directory, extract its content into the directory and change the content permissions.

cd /tmp
sudo wget -O 
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/projectsend
sudo unzip -d /var/www/projectsend/

Once you’re done above, run the commands below to create ProjectSend configuration file from the sample.

sudo cp /var/www/projectsend/includes/sys.config.sample.php /var/www/projectsend/sys.config.php

After that, run the commands below to open its configuration file.

sudo nano /var/www/projectsend/sys.config.php

Then make the highlighted changes below:

 Database driver to use with PDO.
 Possible options: mysql, mssql
 define('DB_DRIVER', 'mysql'); 
 /** Database name */
 define('DB_NAME', 'projectsend');
 /** Database host (in most cases it's localhost) */
 define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');
 /** Database username (must be assigned to the database) */
 define('DB_USER', 'projectsenduser');
 /** Database password */
 define('DB_PASSWORD', 'type_database_user_password');
 Prefix for the tables. Set to something other than tbl_ for increased
 security onr in case you want more than 1 installations on the same database. 

Save and exit.

Next, run the commands below to change the root folder permissions.

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

Step 6: Configure ProjectSend Site

Next, configure Nginx virtual host for ProjectSend site. This file will control how users access ProjectSend content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called projectsend.conf

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/projectsend.conf

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    root   /var/www/projectsend;
    index  index.php;
    access_log /var/log/nginx/;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/;

    client_max_body_size 100M;
    autoindex off;

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

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;
         fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
         include fastcgi_params;

Save the file and exit.

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below and restart Nginx.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/projectsend.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Finally, open your browser and go to the URL.

You should see ProjectSend setup wizard. Type in the database name, database username and password. Then continue with the wizard.

Next, create the site name and administrator account and password.

After the installation, login with the admin account created above.

That’s it!


This post showed you how to install ProjectSend on Ubuntu 20.04 | 18.04. If you find any error above, please use the form below to report.