How to host BookStack on AWS Lightsail VM Instance - ServerAvatar

Published : Mar 28, 2023

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AWS Lightsail

AWS Lightsail is a simplified and cost-effective way to launch and manage virtual private servers (VPS) in the cloud. It provides a user-friendly interface for deploying and scaling VPS instances with pre-configured options for operating systems, applications, and storage. Additionally, it offers a predictable pricing model that includes a flat monthly fee based on the instance size and data transfer limits.

Get started with AWS Lightsail


BookStack is a web-based software application for creating and managing documentation and knowledge bases. It provides a platform for teams and individuals to collaboratively create and organize content such as articles, notes, and documentation into a hierarchical structure.

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Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail

To create a server in AWS Lightsail, First log in to the AWS Lightsail console. Once you are there, Follow the steps given below.

Step 1: Go to the Instance Creation Form

To access the instance creation form, Go to the AWS Lightsail dashboard and click on the orange button with the Create Instance text. See the following image for reference.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 1

Step 2: Select the Location of your Instance

First of all, You have to select the location for your instance. It is always better to select a location closest to your major traffic source. It will decrease the latency for the majority of your website visitors.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 2

If you want to change the location of your server, You can simply update the current region in your AWS account.

Step 3: Select the OS for your Instance

After selecting the location, Select the operating system for your instance. In this case, First, click on OS Only and then select Ubuntu 20.04 as an operating system just like the following image.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 3

Step 4: Select SSH Key and Launch Script (Optional/Advanced)

This is an optional step. Here you can set the Launch script and the main SSH key for your server. If you don't understand the launch script and SSH keys, Just ignore this step.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 4

Step 5: Select the Plan

In this step, select the size of your VM instance. AWS Lightsail provides lots of different options when it comes to plans and pricing. The plan and pricing selection completely depend on the requirements of your site(s). So, select the plan based on the complexity and traffic of your sites.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 5

Step 6: Verify and Create the Instance

Finally, Enter the name of your instance, the number of instances you want to create and assign the tags accordingly for identification. Once done, click on the Create Instance button to start the instance creation process.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 6

It might take a few minutes to deploy the instance. Once done, follow the below-given step to update the firewall rules for the VM instance.

Step 7: Update Firewall Rules

ServerAvatar requires 43210 port open. In total, You need to keep the following ports open on the instance.

  • 22 (SSH): To access your server via SSH.
  • 80 (HTTP): To access your sites on HTTP.
  • 443 (HTTPS): To access your sites on HTTPS.
  • 43210 (ServerAvatar): To allow communication between ServerAvatar and your instance.

To update the firewall rules for a specific instance, Go to the AWS Lightsail dashboard and click on the name of the instance you want to update. Then go to the Networking section and add the missing firewall rules. After updating the firewall rules, the networking section of your Instance should look like the following image.

Create VM Instance in AWS Lightsail - Step 7

Initial Server Configuration

The Initial server configuration includes the installation and configuration of various packages required to host your website. Usually, You have to write commands and modify configuration files. Luckily, With ServerAvatar, Your full server configuration and optimization can be automated.

Here are the three ways to automatically configure your server with ServerAvatar.

Install and setup BookStack wiki software with ServerAvatar

Step 1. Create a PHP application

On the ServerAvatar server panel, navigate to the Applications tab and click the Create button like the following image.


1. Fill up basic details

In the first step of the application creation, fill in the basic details, including,** Application Name**, select the application type, and type Primary Domain/Test Domain Name.


note that:

If you want to host BookStack on your domain, then make sure to point your domain to the current IP address of your server, and for that:

  1. Log in to your domain provider site, where you buy your domain. Click here for more info about your domain name.
  2. Access DNS Manager to edit your DNS records(contact the support team if you don’t find them)
  3. Change the IP address of A Record of your website to the current server’s IP address. To host BookStack on your subdomain, for example,, create a new application with the subdomain as your primary domain and follow the same procedure. For accessing BookStack on the subdomain, you need to add your subdomain on A Record that points to the current IP address of your server. To point to an IPV6 address, you would need to use an AAAA record.

Click the Next Step to continue.

2. Select an application creation method

BookStack is an open-source project. It can be available on GitHub, so you can directly clone the repository with Serveravatar. In this step-

  1. Select the Git method and GitHub as a service provider.
  2. Mark on Public repository.
  3. Type BookStack project URL from the GitHub BookStack project. you‘ll find it like in the following image.


  1. Enter the release branch name in the branch field.
  2. And. type the below commands in the deployment script.

cp .env.example .env composer install - -no-dev php artisan key:generate - -force image

3. Allocate system user

Allocate a system user for your BookStack application. You can create a new system user or select an existing system user.


Click the Next Step button to continue.

4. Other options

Select a PHP version for your application, and set Custom Webroot as Public in the respective field.


Click the Next Step button.

5. Review your application details

Review your application details and click the Create Application button.


Upon creating an application, the repository can be successfully cloned to your application* Public_html* folder.

Step 2. Create BookStack Database

To create a database for the BookStack application, go to the server panel, navigate to the Database tab, and click the Create button like the following image.


On the next screen, fill up the database details, including -

  • Database Name
  • Database Username
  • Database Password


Click the Create Database to continue.

Step 3. Delete the .env.example file and Update the Database Information and App URL

To delete the .env.example file, go to Application Panel>>File Manager And access the public_html folder. Now click the Show Hidden Files box. The .env.example file can be shown at the top of the files, like the following image.


Now open the .env file and update the details with the database we created in the above step. It includes- DB_DATABASE: Database Name DB_USERNAME: Database Username DB_PASSWORD: Database Password

After that, update the app URL just above the file's database information. Note that if you install SSL on your application, type https:// before your domain name; otherwise, type http:// in the code.


Step 4. Update the Database Schema

It is necessary to keep your database up to date. And for that, log in to your application using an SSH connection. You can see the credentials in the application dashboard like the following image.

Note: make sure the SSH connection toggle is enabled on your application.


Execute the following command in your terminal to log in to your application-

ssh Username@Host Now go to your application path using “cd Application_Name/public_html” and execute the following command.

php artisan migrate - -force After the successful migration of the database, access the URL of your application in the web browser.

Step 5. Login to BookStack

Upon accessing the URL, the login page will appear. You can now log in using the default admin details and password of password. You can change these details immediately after logging in for the first time.


You’ll see the admin screen like the following image upon logging in.


You can now perform administrative tasks to manage your documentation and knowledge base website.