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Revision of Automatic install on Debian from Fri, 06/27/2014 - 02:49


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.

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


On Squeeze, I tried to install aegir2, but have some dependency errors, firstly stating I need hostmaster2 and provision2, then stating I need drush5.5 or greater. I have installed drush5.8 using php-pear package, but apt-get mustn't know about this.

  • What is the 2.x procedure for the automatic installation?
  • Is there a method to add a higher version of drush than 4.5 to squeeze-backports so that apt-get knows the correct drush version?

I thought that running 'apt-get install aegir2' would have picked up the correct hostmaster and provision (aegir-provision2 and aegir-hostmaster2), as I think it does for 'apt-get install aegir'.

root@aegir2:~# apt-get install aegir2
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
aegir2 : Depends: aegir-provision2 (>= 2.0~alpha1) but it is not going to be installed
          Depends: aegir-hostmaster2 (>= 2.0~alpha1) but it is not going to be installed
E: Broken packages
root@aegir2:~# apt-get install aegir-provision2 aegir-hostmaster2
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information... Done
Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
or been moved out of Incoming.
The following information may help to resolve the situation:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
aegir-hostmaster2 : Depends: drush (>= 5.5) but 4.5-2~bpo60+1 is to be installed
aegir-provision2 : Depends: drush (>= 5.5) but 4.5-2~bpo60+1 is to be installed
E: Broken packages

Thanks in advance for any help with this.


@mccrodp: I had a similar experiance, and opend this issue:


Would it be possible to add "profile" as an option, just like "makefile"?


Sure. It would have to be added to the drush hostmaster-install and possibly hostmaster-migrate commands. Feel free to open an issue. Patches welcome ;)


Thanks to jonpugh @ #32 and #33 for helping me get aegir 1.9 going with a fresh install of Debian Wheezy. The default wheezy version of drush is now too new (v5.x) for aegir 1.x. You need version 4.x, available in squeeze-backports. If you've already tried to install and run into "The drush command '@hostmaster status' could not be found." you must purge aegir and drush before attempting to reinstall with the correct drush version pinned.


I had problem installing aegir2 on debian 7. Warning was

ERROR: Module ssl does not exist!

This can be solved with enabling mod_ssl on your apache2. For my case I needed to create /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.load with content

LoadModule ssl_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/

After creating that file and restarting apache enable module sudo a2enmod ssl.

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