How To Install Akaunting Self-Hosted Accounting Software on Debian 10 Buster

This tutorial will be showing you how to install Akaunting on Debian 10 Buster with Apache or Nginx web server. Akaunting is a free, open-source self-hostable accounting software. You can use it for tracking personal finance or small business accounting.

Akaunting Features

  • Completely Free and open source.
  • Easy-to-use web-based Interface. See your financials online anytime, anywhere on your Mac, PC, tablet or mobile phone.
  • Mobile & Tablet Ready Interface
  • Multilingual Admin & Client Panel
  • Designed For Small Businesses
  • 100% Financial Data Ownership
  • Lifetime FREE Updates
  • You can create clients and send invoices to them. You can also set a password so they could to access the client portal.
  • Send professional invoices to clients and start accepting online payments, no commission/transaction fee.
  • Add deposits to and transfers between accounts and keep the balance of your bank accounts active.
  • Create vendors so you could assign bills and payments to them and later filter their transactions easily.
  • Create and manage bills so your finances are always accurate and healthy. Know what and when to pay.
  • Add non-billable expenses as payments in order to keep your bank/cash account balances up-to-date.
  • Enable inventory tracking and manage goods as they come in and go out. Items also speed up invoicing.
  • Create unlimited bank and cash accounts and track their opening and current balances.
  • Send invoices and add expenses in any currency and let the system convert them in your main currency.
  • Manage the finances of multiple companies from one admin panel. Assign users to different companies.
  • Get detailed financial reports to help you better visualize all the information you need to improve your business.
  • Extend Akaunting by installing apps from the app store, you can install or purchase anything.
  • Configure permissions on a Role level to protect and simplify their management experience.

Prerequsites of Installing Akaunting on Debian 10 Buster

First, you need a Debian server with at least 512MB RAM. If you are looking for a VPS (virtual private server), then you can click this special link to create an account on Vultr to get $50 free credit (for new users only). Once you have an account at Vultr, install Debian 10 Buster on your server and follow the instructions below.

Akaunting requires PHP and MySQL/MariaDB. To follow this tutorial, you should have already set up a LAMP stack or LEMP stack. If you prefer to use Apache web server, then install LAMP stack.

If you prefer to use Nginx web server, then install LEMP stack.

You also need a domain name, so your clients can see the invoice via your domain name. I registered my domain name at NameCheap because the price is low and they give whois privacy protection free for life.

Now let’s install Akaunting.

Step 1: Download Akaunting Install Zip File on Debian 10 Buster Server

Go to https://akaunting.com/thank-you to download the Akaunting zip file. Then use scp command or FTP to upload the zip file to your Debian 10 Buster server. After the file is uploaded, log into your Debian 10 Buster server via SSH, then create a directory under the web root for Akaunting.

sudo mkdir /var/www/akaunting/

Extract the zip archive with unzip.

sudo apt install unzip

sudo unzip Akaunting_1.3.17-Stable.zip -d /var/www/akaunting/

The -d option specifies the target directory. Akaunting web files will be extracted to /var/www/akaunting/. Then we need to change the owner of this directory to www-data so that the web server can write to this directory.

sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/akaunting/ -R

Step 2: Create a Database and User in MariaDB

Log into MariaDB database server with the following command. Since MariaDB is now using unix_socket plugin to authentication user login, there’s no need to enter MariaDB root password. We just need to prefix the mysql command with sudo.

sudo mysql

Then create a database for Akaunting. This tutorial names the database akaunting. You can use whatever name you like.

create database akaunting;

Create the database user. Again, you can use your preferred name for this user. Replace your-password with your preferred password.

create user accountant@localhost identified by 'your-password';

Grant this user all privileges on the akaunting database.

grant all privileges on akaunting.* to accountant@localhost;

Flush privileges and exit.

flush privileges;

exit;

Step 3: Install PHP Modules

Run the following commands to install PHP modules required or recommended by Akaunting.

sudo apt install php-imagick php7.3-common php7.3-gd php7.3-json php7.3-curl php7.3-zip php7.3-xml php7.3-mbstring php7.3-bz2 php7.3-intl

Then restart Apache. (If you use Nginx, you don’t need to restart Nginx.)

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Step 4: Setting Up Web Server

We can use Apache or Nginx web server.

Apache

If you prefer Apache, create a virtual host file for Akaunting with a command line text editor like Nano.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/akaunting.conf

Put the following text into the file. Replace the red-colored text with your actual data. Don’t forget to set DNS A record for the domain name at your domain registrar’s DNS manager.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName accounting.yourdomain.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/akaunting/

    <Directory /var/www/akaunting/>
       DirectoryIndex index.php
       Options +FollowSymLinks
       AllowOverride All
       Require all granted
    </Directory>

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/akaunting.error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/akaunting.access.log combined

</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file. Then enable this virtual host.

sudo a2ensite akaunting.conf

We need to enable the rewrite module.

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache for the changes to take effect.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Now visit accounting.yourdomain.com and you will be redirected to the setup wizard page (accounting.yourdomain.com/install/language). If you see the default Apache page instead of the setup wizard, then you need to disable the default virtual host.

sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

And restart Apache.

Before entering any information in the setup wizard, we need to enable HTTPS.

Nginx

If you prefer Nginx, create a akaunting.conf file in /etc/nginx/conf.d/ directory.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/akaunting.conf

Put the following text into the file. Replace the red-colored text with your actual data. Don’t forget to set DNS A record for the domain name in your DNS manager.

server {
    listen      80;
    server_name accounting.yourdomain.com;

    root /var/www/akaunting/;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;
    charset utf-8;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$query_string;
    }

    # Prevent Direct Access To Protected Files
    location ~ \.(env|log) {
        deny all;
    }

    # Prevent Direct Access To Protected Folders
    location ~ ^/(^app$|bootstrap|config|database|resources|routes|storage|tests|artisan) {
        deny all;
    }
 
    # Prevent Direct Access To modules/vendor Folders Except Assets
    location ~ ^/(modules|vendor)\/(.*)\.((?!ico|gif|jpg|jpeg|png|js|css|less|sass|font|woff|woff2|eot|ttf|svg).)*$ {
        deny all;
    }
    
    error_page 404 /index.php;

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/akaunting.access.log;
    error_log   /var/log/nginx/akaunting.error.log;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.3-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    }

    location ~ /\.(?!well-known).* {
        deny all;
    }

}

Save and close the file. Then test Nginx configuration.

sudo nginx -t

If the test is successful, reload Nginx for the changes to take effect.

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Now visit accounting.yourdomain.com and you will be redirected to the setup wizard page (accounting.yourdomain.com/setup). Before entering any information in the setup wizard, we need to enable HTTPS.

Step 5: Enabling HTTPS

To encrypt the HTTP traffic, we can enable HTTPS by installing a free TLS certificate issued from Let’s Encrypt. Run the following command to install Let’s Encrypt client (certbot) on Debian 10 Buster server.

sudo apt install certbot

If you use Apache, you also need to install the Certbot Apache plugin.

sudo apt install python3-certbot-apache

And run this command to obtain and install TLS certificate.

sudo certbot --apache --agree-tos --redirect --hsts --staple-ocsp --email [email protected] -d accounting.yourdomain.com

If you use Nginx, install the Certbot Nginx plugin.

sudo apt install python3-certbot-nginx

Next, run the following command to obtain and install TLS certificate.

sudo certbot --nginx --agree-tos --redirect --hsts --staple-ocsp --email [email protected] -d accounting.yourdomain.com

Where

  • --nginx: Use the nginx plugin.
  • --apache: Use the Apache plugin.
  • --agree-tos: Agree to terms of service.
  • --redirect: Force HTTPS by 301 redirect.
  • --hsts: Add the Strict-Transport-Security header to every HTTP response. Forcing browser to always use TLS for the domain. Defends against SSL/TLS Stripping.
  • --staple-ocsp: Enables OCSP Stapling. A valid OCSP response is stapled to the certificate that the server offers during TLS.

The certificate should now be obtained and automatically installed.

akaunting certbot https

Step 6: Finish Installation with the Setup Wizard

Now go to accounting.yourdomain.com and the setup wizard will appear. The first step is to choose your language.

install akaunting debian 10 buster

Then enter the database information. Use the database name and database user you created earlier.

install akaunting with apache web server

Next, enter company name and create an admin account.

install akaunting with nginx web server

Once that’s done, you can log into the admin panel.

akaunting debian 10 buster

After logging in, you need to follow the wizard to create your first company.

akaunting setup wizard

Now you can manage your finance in the web-based admin panel.

akaunting self-hosted accounting for small businesses

Step 7: Configure SMTP

To send out emails (such as account registration, password reset, sending invoice to clients, etc), you need to configure a SMTP server. If you would like to use your own mail server to send emails to clients, please check out the following article to set up your own mail server.

If you would like to use a SMTP relay service, I recommend Mailjet. You can follow the tutorial below to set up SMTP relay on your Akaunting server and you should be able to send invoice to clients.

Wrapping Up

I hope this tutorial helped you install Akaunting on Debian 10 Buster server. As always, if you found this post useful, then subscribe to our free newsletter to get more tips and tricks. Take care 🙂

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