How to host BookStack on Digitalocean Droplet - ServerAvatar

Published : Mar 28, 2023

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Digitalocean is one of the most popular cloud platform right now. It offers on-demand cloud computing for various use cases as well as some managed solutions.

Get started with Digitalocean


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 Server in Digitalocean

Digitalocean is one of the most popular cloud platform right now. It offers on-demand cloud computing for various use cases as well as some managed solutions. We can deploy any PHP based applications on Digitalocean Droplets. Droplets are the servers or cloud computing instances in Digitalocean. If you want to learn everything about droplet management in Digitalocean in-depth, We recommend you to read our Digitalocean guide.

To deploy any application on Digitalocean, We first need a Droplet. So, we will first create a droplet and perform the initial set up.

Step 1: Go to the Create Droplets page.

Log in to your Digitalocean account and click on the Create button given on the top-right corner of the page. From the drop down menu, click on the Droplets option to see a droplet creation form.

Create a Droplet - Step 1

Step 2: Choose Region

On the Droplet creation page, You will see lots of sections to select lots of things. We will go step by step.

The first thing you have to do is select the region for your droplet. Digitalocean provides lots of options when it comes to selecting the location. The general rule is to select the region that is closest to your audience. It means that for majority of your audience, Your sites will load faster due to lower latency.

Create a Droplet - Step 2

Step 3: Choose an Image or an OS

In this step, you have to select the operating system for your droplet. We recommend you to use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS x64 or Ubuntu 22.04 LTS x64. Ubuntu is easy to configure and manage. If you are using ServerAvatar to manage your droplets, These operating systems are requirement.

Create a Droplet - Step 3

Step 4: Choose the size of the Droplet

Here you have to choose the size of your Droplet. As we mentioned above, Digitalocean provides many different types of droplets. Select the one that fits best for your project.

Create a Droplet - Step 4

If your site is brand new and does not have much traffic, start with a small plan. Once the project starts getting traction, you can upgrade the plan to handle more visitors on the site.

Step 5: Choose Authentication Method

Now you have to select the authentication method. There are two types of authentication methods. They are:

  1. Authentication via SSH Keys
  2. Authentication via Password

If you are using SSH keys for authentication, It is the best option. If you do not know what is SSH keys, You can go with the password method. Make sure to set the strong password for your root user, which is the most powerful user with all the privileges on Linux OS.

Create a Droplet - Step 5

Step 6: Selecting Additional Options

There are three additional options you can choose. They are optional but important in different use cases. The additional options are:

  1. Monitoring: It is a free feature by Digitalocean. It allows you to see additional monitoring data for your server.
  2. Backups: We recommend you to enable full server backups if you are going to deploy in production environment. The cost of the backups depends on the size of the droplet.
  3. Managed Database: You do not need a Managed database if you are using ServerAvatar to manage sites on a droplet. A managed database is a pre-configured MySQL Droplet.

Step 7: Finalise Details

In the last step of this process, We have to enter the name of the droplet, number of droplets you want to create, Define any tags, and select the project. Enter all the details and click on the Create Droplet button to create a droplet.

Create a Droplet - Step 7

In a few minutes, You will have the Droplet up and running. Now, We have to perform the initial configuration on the Droplet to host PHP based frameworks and software.

Initial Server Configuration

The Initial server configuration includes 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 optimisation 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.