Automatic install on Debian


These are the installation instructions that are recommended on Debian. Aegir dependencies (Apache, MySQL, PHP...) are also automatically installed. If you are managing the installation from a remote Windows computer, well-known open source tools for this task are for example PuTTY (a SSH client for command line), and WinSCP (a SFTP client with easy text file editing).

If you wish to install Debian packages over an existing manual install, it's possible. See the Debian upgrade procedures.

Debian packages are uploaded to shortly after a release. We eventually want to upload those packages to the official archives, but this will take some adaptation and time to sponsor the packages in.

1. Requirements for automatic install on Debian

Basic Linux system administration skills

Root access to your server

An up-to-date system and applications

Run the following command lines to update your system and applications.

  aptitude update

  aptitude safe-upgrade
A configured Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)

Such as

The hostname returned by the commands hostname -f and uname -a must resolve to the IP address of your server.

After setting up your FQDN you must restart your server with a reboot command so your changes take effect.

Note that newly created domain name usually take 24 to 48 hours to fully start working. This period, called propagation, is the projected length of time it takes for root name servers and cache records across the entire web to be updated with your website's DNS information.

Other System Requirements


2. Adding the project repositories

Use this command to add the Aegir package "Software Source" repository to your system:

echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/aegir-stable.list

To install a customized Debian package, see the developer instructions for the debian package. Other distributions are available for courageous people that want to try development versions.

2.x note: to install the development version of Aegir, you can use the unstable or stable distribution above.

3. Adding the archive key to your keyring

This repository self-signs packages uploaded to it (and packages uploaded are verified against a whitelist of trusted uploaders) using OpenPGP (GnuPG, to be more precise).

Use these commands to download and add the repository's PGP key, then update the package list on your system:

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update

4. Adding backports for or manually installing Drush

If you are running Debian wheezy or later, or Ubuntu Natty 11.04 or later, you don't need to do anything here. The Drush package you need is available from your distribution's repositories.

If not, you should also configure backports repositories for Drush. Version 4.4 of Drush is now in Debian unstable, wheezy, squeeze-backports and Ubuntu Natty.

1.x note: if you are running Debian Squeeze 6.0 or Debian Squeeze 7.0, add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list :

You might also have to add a proper Pin-Priority before this works. Create a file called drush containing the following and drop it into /etc/apt/preferences.d:

Package: drush
Pin: release a=squeeze-backports
Pin-Priority: 1001

Alternatively, you could download and install the squeeze-backports package for Drush 4.5 directly from: Then you could install it with:

dpkg -i drush_4.5-2~bpo60+1_all.deb

2.x note: if you are running Debian Squeeze 6.0, to get drush-5.8.x and above, download php-console-table manually and install it

wget ""
dpkg -i php-console-table_1.1.4-1_all.deb

You do not need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list or create /etc/apt/preferences.d/drush

Then run:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install drush

If you are running Debian lenny 5.0 or Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 or Karmic Koala or earlier, we recommend downloading and installing the Drush package manually. The version of Drush in the Ubuntu Universe repository for these versions of Ubuntu is outdated. If you are using Ubuntu Lucid LTS 10.04, you can install the Drush package manually or instead use Brian Mercer's PPA (Personal Package Archive) using the following command:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:brianmercer/drush

Now run apt-get update again to refresh the apt database.

sudo apt-get update

N.B. Since Aegir 2 requires Drush 5, which in turn requires PHP 5.3+, Drupal 5 sites are not supported in Aegir 2.

5. DNS configuration

Aegir requires a properly configured "FQDN" (Fully Qualified Domain Name) be assigned to the machine. In practice, this means that the hostname returned by the hostname -f and uname -n shell commands should resolve to the IP address for this server, and vice versa, with the resolveip command (included with the mysql-server package).

For Ubuntu, /etc/hosts should have entries that look like:

::1 host ip6-localhost ip6-loopback host localhost host localhost

To set this up in a virtual machine (e.g. Virtualbox), here are the steps:

  1. Create a new VM
  2. Go to settings->network. Enable Adapter 2, and set to "host-only"
  3. Install Ubuntu. Set hostname as FQDN during install
  4. You may need to add the lines `auto eth1` and `iface eth1 inet dhcp` to /etc/network/interfaces

If you have a virtual machine already setup and want to change the FDQN:

  1. change /etc/hostname using: `sudo hostname NEW_NAME`
  2. change /etc/hosts using: `sudo nano /etc/hosts` and change name
  3. reboot and test `hostname -f`, `uname -n`, `resolveip NEW_NAME`, `resolveip IP`
  4. YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary

6. Manual sudo configuration

If you are running Debian squeeze or later, or Ubuntu Lucid 11.04 or later, you don't need to do anything here. The Aegir package configures sudoers automatically.

If not, you will need to manually modify your /etc/sudoers file to add the following line:

echo "aegir ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/apache2ctl" | sudo tee -a /etc/sudoers

The line above assumes that you have created a user aegir as specified in the installation instructions.

7. Manual installation of MySQL (on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS)

Please note that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installs, by default, an insecure MySQL installation that contains an anonymous user grant, allowing anyone to login without a password. This breaks Aegir functionality.

If you are running Ubuntu 12.04, you should install MySQL manually, and then ensure it is installed securely:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server
sudo mysql_secure_installation

When running 'sudo mysql_secure_installation', answer 'Y' to 'Remove anonymous users?'

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y
... Success!

Now you can proceed with installing Aegir below.

8. Installing Aegir

To install Aegir version 2, frontend and backend, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install aegir2

2.x note: Aegir version 2 is now stable. Read more at

1.x note: to install Aegir version 1, use sudo apt-get install aegir instead.

If apt-get reports that the aegir packages have unmet dependencies, then make sure that you have installed Drush (as explained above). On a debian system, you can force the install of Drush from the squeeze-backports repository:

sudo apt-get -t squeeze-backports install drush

Then install aegir using the apt-get command above.

This will prompt you for the required information (MySQL password, Postfix configuration...) and go ahead with the install.

During the Postfix configuration, the following options appear: "No configuration, Internet site, Internet with smarthost, Satellite system, Local only". That first text screen only allows to use the tab key to select "OK", and then the enter key to display a second screen where you can select one of the choices. The default is "Internet site", useful in most cases to enable the server to send email messages, for example to the admin.

At the end of the installation, you will receive an email message or, if the user "aegir" has been assigned with a local email account during the installation, the file /var/mail/aegir will contain the message. It will include a one-time login to your new Aegir control panel, that is a URL to copy into your browser so that you can set the password for the "admin" user.

9. Custom Drupal distributions and make files

If you have your own Drupal make file, you can go ahead with the above process, but change the make file to the one you want:

echo debconf aegir/makefile string /var/aegir/makefiles/aegir/aegir-custom.make | debconf-set-selections
apt-get install aegir

This allows you to specify the makefile path for your custom distribution of Aegir. To maintain these customizations, you'll need to ensure you do the same when upgrading.

An example aegir-custom.make file could look like:

core = 6.x
api = 2

includes[aegir] = "/usr/share/drush/commands/provision/aegir.make"

projects[] = module_filter

Note that for this to work, you may need the patch from this issue, allowing drush_make to reference absolute system paths. If drush make --version <= 2.2 you need this patch.

After installing Aegir, you can reinstall the front end (hostmaster), with following commands:

sudo rm -rf /var/aegir/hostmaster-*.*
sudo su -s /bin/sh aegir -c "drush -y hostmaster-install --aegir_db_pass=$DB_PASSWORD --makefile=$MAKEFILE $DOMAIN"
su -s /bin/sh aegir -c "some command" runs some command in the /bin/sh shell as user aegir. sudo runs the su command as root - prompting for your user's password instead su asking for aegir's password.

10. Troubleshooting the install

To make the install smoother, the install command is run without much debugging information, which can make diagnostics pretty hard. For this, there's a special environment variable you can set that will trigger debugging output. Install aegir with this*:

env DPKG_DEBUG=developer apt-get install aegir

You can build your own Debian packages from our repositories using those instructions.

Note: Prior to 1.1-4. the command was env DEBUG=yes apt-get install aegir

Automatic Installation on Ubuntu 11.04+ (QuickStart)

Here are simplified instructions for installing Aegir on a server, quickly and easily.

The fastest way to install Aegir is on the latest Ubuntu Server LTS (Long Term Support). Currently 12.04.

Command Summary

Here is every command, ready to copy and paste.

sudo su
echo "deb stable main" | tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/aegir-stable.list
wget -q -O- | apt-key add -
apt-get update
apt-get install aegir

It is highly recommended to read through the Installation Instructions step by step to give yourself the feel for how this is done. In addition, if you are not already familiar in Linux system administration, please read up on the subject. Standard linux security protocols should be followed.

Installation Instructions

Enter all commands in code boxes exactly as they are written.

ALL commands should be entered as root user until these instructions are complete. After that, you should never have to use the root user.

Self-installation of Ubuntu has you create an additional user in the admin group, which means they can sudo. If you are using a cloud hosting service, it likely just sent you root user credentials. Server security and user management is up to you. Don't give away access to root or the aegir user unless you know what you are doing. Follow standard web host best practices

For a summary of all needed commands, scroll to the bottom of the page.

  1. Fire up a new server

    • Use Ubuntu 11.04 Server Edition for the smoothest and most reliable installation experience.
    • Make sure it has at least 1024MB, preferably 2048MB of memory. Depending on your host you will have to configure a hostname. It can be convenient to call this 'aegir'.
    • If you want the smoothest installation, create a brand new server. There will be the least chance of conflicts if you start with a brand new Ubuntu 11.04 server. If you use Ubuntu Desktop, you should be able follow these instructions without any problems.
    • Run all commands as root. If you are not root, enter
      sudo su
  2. Add the project repositories and archive key

    Use this command to add the Aegir package "Software Source" repository to your system:

    echo "deb stable main" | tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/aegir-stable.list
    Use this command to add the archive key to your keyring:
    wget -q -O- | apt-key add -
    Then, finally, update your apt repositories:
    apt-get update

  3. Install configure Aegir and dependencies

    Once you have added the repositories, you can now fire off the standard debian installation command. For Aegir 1.x, the command is:

    apt-get install aegir
    For Aegir 2.x, the command is:
    apt-get install aegir2
    This fires off the installation script for AEgir, along all dependencies including Apache, MySQ and PHP. You will be asked a number of questions about your server.

    • You will be asked to create a MySQL root user password. Make this long and random and type it down somewhere safe, you won't need it very often, but you will need it later on in the installation process.
    • In Postfix Configuration: Choose Internet Site, unless you have a reason otherwise. When asked for the System mail name, pick either the hostname (default) or the domain name you will be hosting this server on.
    • In Configure aegir-hostmaster, you will be asked to choose a "URL of the hostmaster frontend". This should be either the hostname (default) or the domain name the server will be hosting, with "aegir" as a subdomain. For example, "". You may want to change this to whatever you prefer, just don't forget it as it will be where you use the Aegir front-end.
    • After entering your domain, Aegir Hostmaster installation will ask you for the MySQL root password you created earlier. You did write it down, didn't you?
      NOTE: The current DEB package requires you to enter the MySQL root password twice. When this script is done, if everything went ok, after a lot of other interesting information, you should see this:
      Aegir is now installed. You can visit it at http://test/user/reset/1/1329504351/eda205d9a27abde400a27cf160dff69a
      frontend bootstrap correctly, operation was a success!
      Setting up aegir (1.6-1) ...
      Setting up libhtml-template-perl (2.9-2) ...
      Setting up mysql-server (5.1.54-1ubuntu4) ...
      Setting up php5 (5.3.5-1ubuntu7.7) ...
      Processing triggers for libc-bin ...
      ldconfig deferred processing now taking place

    At this point, everything is installed. Visit the link the script provided you to check out the frontend. Switch to the aegir user to check out the backend:

    su - aegir

    Once you are the aegir user, check out the drush site aliases it gives you. @hostmaster is the alias for the new front-end you created. You will get new site aliases for every platform and site you create.

    drush site-aliases

  4. Give yourself access to the server

    As the "Administrators Manual" can tell you, you should only manage the Aegir server from the backend as the aegir user.

    However, by default, the aegir user cannot sudo (except to restart apache). The aegir user also does not have a password. Therefor, the only way to become aegir is to sudo su - aegir from a user that can.

    So, to finish the server, you should give yourself a personal account that you can use to login to the server with a password in case all of your SSH keys get lost.

    To add yourself as a user:

    adduser yourname
    Then fill out the little wizard it gives you.

    //@TODO: Add some helpful notes about SSH keys and remote aliases.

    Install SSH on your server, generating your SSH keys and install them on your Ubuntu server. (Directions to generate your SSH keys are assuming your PC is Ubuntu as well, Windows users look below for SSH directions)

    If using Windows, you must use Putty, PuttyGen, and PuttyPageant to generate and use your SSH keys.

    You will want to also be a part of the aegir and www-data groups so you can write to some of their files:

    addgroup yourname aegir
    addgroup yourname www-data

  5. Start Using!

    Now that aegir is installed, head to the User Manual page to get your first platform and site up and running.


This document was originally based on but has been trimmed down to list only the steps you need to use on an Ubuntu server to get Aegir up and running as quickly and easily as possible.