Dcycle Blog

Installing an evaluation version of Phabricator

December 02, 2014

Phabricator is a free open-source code review and workflow management system. Here is how to quickly install Phabricator in a manner which should be considered non-secure, so you can determine if it is right for you. You might also be interested in Gerrit or Gitlab, similar products.

(Fans of Docker can skip this entire procedure and use this Docker image instead.)

Step 1: get a new server

I do not recommend installing this on an existing server or alongside other software. Start with a new CentOS 6.x server with 1 Gb of RAM (I used Digital Ocean). Note your server IP address (

Step 2: set up a subdomain to point to your server

Using your domain management system (I use AlternC hosted at Koumbit), create a new subdomain (phabricator.example.com) which points to

Step 3: install LAMP and make sure everything works

Create a user “demo” with sudo privileges and install LAMP as per these instructions, making sure you take note of the root mysql password in the process.

Then, install the mbstring extension

	sudo yum install php-mbstring
	sudo apachectl restart

Finally, make sure everything works:

  • Visit http://phabricator.example.com and it should show you the Apache welcome page.
  • Visit and it should show you the Apache welcome page.

Step 4: download Phabricator

sudo su demo
sudo yum install git
git clone https://github.com/phacility/libphutil.git
git clone https://github.com/phacility/arcanist.git
git clone https://github.com/phacility/phabricator.git



Should give the result

bash: /home/demo/phabricator/webroot/: is a directory

Step 5: Set up Virtual Hosts to access Phabricator

For this we will be using virtual hosts. Edit the conf file by typing

sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Make the following changes/additions to /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf:

run as demo user

Find the line which starts with “User” and make

User demo
Group demo

Add a VirtualHost section to the end of your httpd.conf document:

<VirtualHost *>
  # Change this to the domain which points to your host.
  ServerName phabricator.example.com

  # Change this to the path where you put 'phabricator' when you checked it
  # out from GitHub when following the Installation Guide.
  # Make sure you include "/webroot" at the end!
  DocumentRoot /home/demo/phabricator/webroot

  RewriteEngine on
  RewriteRule ^/rsrc/(.*)     -                       [L,QSA]
  RewriteRule ^/favicon.ico   -                       [L,QSA]
  RewriteRule ^(.*)$          /index.php?__path__=$1  [B,L,QSA]
<Directory "/home/demo/phabricator/webroot">
  Order allow,deny
  Allow from all

Restart Apache

sudo apachectl restart


Make sure the page http://phabricator.example.com gives you the Phabricator setup page. If you are getting a “Permission denied” or “Internal server error” problem, it is probably a server config problem; make sure you following all the instructions above very carefully and leave a comment if you find there was something missing.

Step 6: Install (setup) Phabricator

Visit phabricator.example.com and follow the instructions on-screen. You might have missing php extensions and you will need to set the mysql credentials on the command line.

Reload the page after each action you perform on the command line. If you get an “Authentication problem” message, just reload the page. Eventually you will get a page with:

"Installation is complete. Register your administrator account..."

Create the admin user account.


You now have an insecure version of Phabricator for evaluation and demo purposes! I’ll give some indications on how to use it in a following post.

Next step