Raspberry Pi Web Server




About: Hi there, I'm an engineering apprentice with a passion for computing.

Hi there,
This is my first Instructable so all criticisms and comments are welcome.
This will show you how to set up a simple wired web server on your Raspberry Pi, with PHP and MySql.

The Raspberry Pi is a good choice for a webserver that will not recieve too much traffic, such as a testing server, or small intranet, as it doesn;t get too hot (so is nice and quiet), and only uses around 5 Watts of power (costing £3.50 a year where I am if it's running 24/7)

In the future I might add how to set up a wireless server.

If you have any problems, post them in the comments, or PM me - I'm happy to help.


Step 1: You Will Need

To create a simple web server, you will need:

1. A power supply (Micro USB)
2. A network cable
3. A HDMI cable (or Component cable) as well as a screen and USB keyboard
3. A Raspberry Pi
4. An SD card (2GB or more)
5. An SD card reader for your computer
6. Win32DiskImager (For Windows) or dd (for Unix)
7. The Raspberry Pi Debian Image
8. PuTTY (For Windows) or any other SSH client
9. Around an hour of free time

You can download the software from the following locations:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Data-CD-DVD-Burning/Win32-Disk-Imager.shtml (for Win32DiskImager)
http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/download.php?file=/images/debian/6/debian6-19-04-2012/debian6-19-04-2012.zip (Debian Image)
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html (for PuTTY)

Step 2: Format SD Card

Firstly, you need to install the Debian image onto an SD card (2GB or more).
(The image can be downloaded from http://downloads.raspberrypi.org/download.php?file=/images/debian/6/debian6-19-04-2012/debian6-19-04-2012.zip)

You can do this using the Win23DiskImager tool for Windows (downloaded from http://www.softpedia.com/get/CD-DVD-Tools/Data-CD-DVD-Burning/Win32-Disk-Imager.shtml)

Insert your SD card.
Once you have downloaded the above, Extract the Debian image, and the Imaging tool, then run Win32DiskImager.
Ignore the error that you will see.
Select the Image file (debian6-19-04-2012) and your SD card, then click "Write", it will ask you to confirm, click "Yes". Then enjoy a break, as it usually takes a couple of minutes to write.

Once the write process has finished, you can remove the SD card, then the fun begins.

Step 3: Allow SSH Connections

Now plug the HDMI cable into your Raspberry Pi and your monitor, then add the power cable and SD card, as well as the USB Keyboard.

When you first turn on your Raspberry Pi, the boot up might take a while, but be patient. It will also reboot itself once, this is normal.

Login with the following information when prompted:
Username: pi
Password: raspberry

Type in the following without the quote marks:

"sudo -i"
[Return / Enter key]
"cd /boot"
[Return / Enter key]
"mv boot_enable_ssh.rc boot.rc"
[Return / Enter key]
[Return / Enter key]

This will restart your raspberry pi.

Step 4: Change Hostname

Now that SSH is enabled, you want to change the hostname so you can connect to it more easily.

Login to your raspberry pi with the username pi and password raspberry.

Type in the following without the quote marks:

"sudo -i"
[Return / Enter key]
"nano /etc/dhcp/dhclient.conf"
[Return / Enter key]

Now look for the line "#send host-name "xxxxxx";" (on mine, xxxxxx is andare.fugue.com), and remove the "#" symbol from in front of it.

Now hold the Ctrl key and press "x" to save the changes. You will be asked to save changes, just type "y" then hit the Return / Enter key.

Then type "hostname xxxxxx" where "xxxxxx" is what you want to call your server (I chose "raspberryPi" to make it easy).
Please Note that you cannot have any spaces in the hostname.

Finally for this step, type in "ifdown eth0" and hit Return / Enter.
Once that has finished, type "ifup eth0" and hit Return / Enter.

Now type "halt" and hit Return / Enter.

Step 5: SSH Login

Once your Raspberry Pi has halted, you can disconnect it from the monitor as it is no longer needed.

Plug your Raspberry Pi's power connection in, as well as the network cable into your switch, or hub / router.
Wait a minute or so, then run your SSH client. (I used PuTTY).

Type your hostname into the hostname box, and use port 22. (The hostname is the one you set earlier).
Then click "Open".

As this is the first time you have connected to your Raspberry Pi via SSH, you will get a security warning. Click "Yes" to continue.

Now you can login to your Raspberry Pi with the username: pi and password: raspberry.

Since SSH is working, you no longer need to worry about plugging in a monitor, or keyboard, so you Raspberry Pi can be placed anywhere where there are power and network connections available.

Step 6: Change Default Password (IMPORTANT)

Ok, so SSH is working, and you have access to your Raspberry Pi, but it's now accessible by anyone on your network.

To change the default password, start an SSH session (step 5), and login, then type "sudo -i", hit Return / Enter, then type "passwd pi" and hit Return / Enter.

Then you can type in your new password, it will ask you to confirm the password.

Step 7: Install Apache With PHP

Again, either start an SSH session, or continue if you're already in one.

Type in "sudo apt-get update"
Once this is complete, you may recieve an error, just run the same command again to resolve this.
Then type "sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 libapache2-mod-php5"
It will say "Do you want to continue", just press "y" and hit Return / Enter.
Wait for this to finish (as it may take a while). When it is finished, you may have noticed that there was an error, to solve this, type "sudo groupadd www-data", then "sudo usermod -g www-data www-data".
Now restart apache with "sudo service apache2 restart". This time there should be no errors.

If you now start a web browser on your computer, and type your hostname into the address bar, you will get the apache installed page.

To enable htaccess files you must modify the config files, like so:

Type "sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default" and hit Return / Enter.
You'll see a line like the following:

"AllowOverride None" - change this to "AllowOverride ALL". (see image for more detail)
Then hold the Ctrl button and press the "x" key, then press "y" when prompted and hit Return / Enter.
Now restart apache with "sudo service apache2 restart".

Step 8: Install MySQL

Again, either start an SSH session, or continue if you're already in one.

Type in "sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client php5-mysql" and hit Return / Enter.
You will be asked "Do you want to continue?", press the "y" key, then Return / Enter.
This will take a while to download and install, but a screen will appear asking you to set "New password for the MySQL "root" user", enter a password, then confirm it.
Again, wait a while, then you're done.

Step 9: Install an FTP Server

For this I chose to use vsftp, as it's pretty simple to set up.

Again, either start an SSH session, or continue if you're already in one.

Type in "sudo chown -R pi /var/www" <-- IMPORTANT (otherwise you won't be able to upload anything)

Type in "sudo apt-get install vsftpd" and hit Return / Enter
Now type in "sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf" and hit Return / Enter

Search through the file and change the following lines:
anonymous_enable=YESChange To anonymous_enable=NO
#local_enable=YESChange To local_enable=YES
Change To write_enable=YES

Also, add a line to the bottom of the file:

Thenhold the Ctrl key and press "x", then "y", then the Return / Enter key.

Now restart the FTP server with "sudo servce vsftpd restart"

At the moment you will need to change the directory every time you login by FTP, to solve this:

"sudo -i"
"passwd root"
Type in any password (this is only temporary)
Start a new SSH session
Username: root
Password (the one you just set)
"nano /etc/passwd"
find the line "pi:x;1000:1000:Raspberry Pi User,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash" and change it to "#pi:x;1000:1000:Raspberry Pi User,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash".
Then hold the Ctrl key and press "x", then release Ctrl and press "y" then hit Return / Enter.
"usermod -d /var/www pi"

Now close the SSH session, and start a new one with username: pi and your password, and type the following:

"sudo -i"
"usermod -L root"

Now you are able to connect to your Raspberry Pi with an FTP client, using the following information:
Host: (Hostname you set - I used raspberryPi)
Username: pi
Password: (Password you set previously)
Port: 21

Step 10: Installing PhpMyAdmin

Installing phpMyAdmin is a simple task.

1. Go to http://www.phpmyadmin.net
2. Download the zip file
3. Extract it to a folder
4. Upload the extracted files to your server (you may need to set permissions)

For the last point, start your FTP client, then connect to your Raspberry Pi, copy the files across and you're done.

Now navigate to where you installed phpMyAdmin (for me it's http://raspberryPi/admin)
You can login with the information:
Username: root
Password: What you set earlier (in step 8)

Step 11: Overview

Now you have a Raspberry Pi server consuming around 5 Watts (very economical :D)

Installed on your server is:
- Apache web server
- PHP5
- MySQL server
- VSFTP FTP server
- phpMyAdmin

For the future, a firewall is recommended. (I may do an instructable on this soon)
I may also add a wireless dongle to make it a wireless server that just requires a power connection (or battery) making a completely portable server.

I hope this serves to help some people, and all criticisms are welcome.
If you have any problems, post them in the comments, or PM me - I'm happy to help.

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236 Discussions


6 years ago on Introduction

Just wanted to share my experience with this Instructable. Everything went smoothly until it was time to connect to MySQL from a remote machine on the same network. So here's how to fix that:

1. Grant access to your remote machine using: GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'root'@'192.168.1.%' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password_here'; (I used 192.168.1.% so that any computer on my network can connect to it)
2. Go into the my.cnf file (sudo nano /etc/mysql/my.cnf) file and look for "bind-address" and comment this out (put a # in front of the line)
3. Reload MySQL config (service mysql reload)
4. Restart MySQL server (service mysql restart)

Hope this helps, and thank you for the great Instructable :)

4 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

is the "GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'root'@'192.168.1.%' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password_here';"
a command you type into the terminal? or does it go into some config file?
btw, I can advise anybody using a remote linux server (like the Raspberry) to install 'webmin' as well


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

You get an SQL type console when you type "mysql -p -u root" which accepts SQL code like the GRANT. the rest is all normal console code :) btw, what a coincidence to see you here as well!


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

thanks. :-) small world :-)

well all went great with the server and it still works, just somehow the terminal program doesnt accept my login anymore :-) I know th epassword is right as I still can get in through 'Webmin'


4 years ago on Introduction

I don't know why i have this problem. After I add a "#" in "/etc/passwd". I followed your steps and enter the command: "usermod -d /var/www pi". But it said "user 'pi' does not exist. Can anyone help me??

6 replies

For some weird reason, I found that the line he wants you put a # in front of, doesn't actually exist.

If you're like me, you probably put the hashtag in front of the wrong line.


This line is weirdly not the same line as the one in the tutorial, though it does resemble it.

The line in the tutorial is this:

pi:x;1000:1000:Raspberry Pi User,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash

What I did, is I actually made a new line and wrote in the line we were supposed to hashtag, then I un-hashtagged the line that was already there when I opened the file.

It looked like this in the end:

pi:x;1000:1000:,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash (Pre-existing line)

#pi:x;1000:1000:Raspberry Pi User,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash (Line I wrote in)

It seemed to fix the issue.


Reply 7 months ago

Hi ! Thanks a lot for the reply... and the explanation. so it is clear that i shouldn't have commented the line :)

my problem is that any command seems to fail as user "pi" doesn't exist anymore. commands are replied by "who are you ?", so i would be happy to uncomment the line... but i can't open the passwd file as i did before...

any suggestion ?





Reply 2 years ago

in order not to change directory every time open /etc/passwd and change the first lineto:


It doesn't make scenes because the "#" sign is for disabling the following line without deleting it. If you just put a new line:

pi:x;1000:1000:,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash (Pre-existing line)

#pi:x;1000:1000:Raspberry Pi User,,,:home/pi:/bin/bash (Line YOU wrote in)

The # sign doesn't do anything for you. (It didn't disable the pre-existing line)

I thought this tutorial is outdated so the code is not suitable for Raspberry Pi B+. I just skipped that command and go straight. And it goes right!


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

In addition, I found a app called "WebIOPi". It is more convenient to use GPIO in the web and over the web.


Reply 7 months ago


has anyone overcome this issue ?

unfortunately i also followed the instructions... but now that pi user was commented with the "#"... it doesn't exist anymore , and i can't find a way to switch back to root...

is all my work lost on this image and i need to reformat everything ? seems so :(

any help more than welcome



Jesscy Tey.

7 months ago on Step 11

Hello, I m jesscy and doing my fyp (smart home) which I had design interface in android studio and firebase as database. I want to connect raspberry pi with my apps but I failed. Can you tell me how to do it? Thanks in advance


2 years ago

when i type sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
i wont get data which is prewritten , i got an empty editor file.

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

use instaed:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf


Reply 2 years ago

It is "sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf"


2 years ago

I´ve done it precis some it was described. But now I don´t have no chance to come in. :(


3 years ago on Step 9

This guide need some serious overlooks. WARNING IT WILL RUIN YOUR SSH-setup. Many, if not all experience the same thing. Dumb-blue-eyed as I were I followed it through since it looked thorough enough. Anyone know a get around? -.- Or will I need to get to my raspi physically now and reconfigure it? Gosh why did I not question internet.

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Totaly, this tutorial is really bad. I have to reset everything...


3 years ago

What OS was this using? Raspbian?