Migrating/Installing Prestashop to Amazon AWS EC2

Recently I migrated a Prestashop website to AWS/EC2 and the process is quite smooth. Here’s how to do it.

1. Get your Website data: including Prestashop website files and a latest database dump. Remove all the files except index.php in /cache/smarty/compile and /cache/smarty/cache. (See here.)

2. Launch your EC2 instance. But before doing that, check first if a pre-configured or managed Prestashop is available in your preferred region (more info here). If not, choose the appropriate instance type and get it running. In my case I chose Ubuntu Linux.

3. Install the AMP (Apache, MySQL and PHP). On Ubuntu you can simply do it with a few simple commands:

Make sure that you remember your password for MySQL root user and phpmyadmin user.

4. Copy your database dump and website files to your EC2 instance using scp, for instance:

5. Create a MySQL user for Prestashop, you don’t want to use the root user for this purpose. You can do this using phpmyadmin or a command line. Also, create a database for Prestashop and grant the user you’ve created just now all privileges on this database.

6. Import your database from the dump:

7. Extract your website files on your EC2 instance. In my case, inside /var/www/html/. If there is an index.html file inside this directory, remove it first. Make sure you set the correct user and group to all the website files:

Note that if don’t set the correct permissions, you may get complaints from Apache, like the following:

PHP Fatal error:  Uncaught exception ‘SmartyException’ with message ‘unable to write file /var/www/html/cache/smarty/compile/46/d9/69/wrt54ecd6c1856a72.61943173’ in /var/www/html/tools/smarty/sysplugins/smarty_internal_write_file.php:44

Stack trace:

#0 /var/www/html/tools/smarty/sysplugins/smarty_internal_template.php(201): Smarty_Internal_Write_File::writeFile(‘/var/www/html/c…’, ‘<?php /* Smarty…’, Object(Smarty))

#1 /var/www/html/tools/smarty/sysplugins/smarty_internal_templatebase.php(155): Smarty_Internal_Template->compileTemplateSource()

#2 /var/www/html/classes/controller/AdminController.php(1936): Smarty_Internal_TemplateBase->fetch(‘controllers/mod…’)

#3 /var/www/html/classes/controller/AdminController.php(2337): AdminControllerCore->initModal()

#4 /var/www/html/classes/controller/Controller.php(163): AdminControllerCore->init()

#5 /var/www/html/classes/Dispatcher.php(373): ControllerCore->run()

#6 /var/www/html/admin123/index.php(54): DispatcherCore->dispatch()

#7 {main}\n  thrown in /var/www/html/tools/smarty/sysplugins/smarty_internal_write_file.php on line 44

8. Enable mcrypt for PHP:

9. Update your Prestashop settings in the config/settings.inc.php file. Set the correct database information.

10. Enable mod_rewrite:

Also, make sure to add something like the following in your apache site configuration file:

And then remember to restart your apache server.

11. Install sendmail:

12. Go to your Prestashop back office and reconfigure your domain. Go to Preferences -> SEO & URLs and scroll down to Set shop URL section.

Now everything should be OK, your new Prestashop website is available on your new domain!

If you have any issues, just drop a line here or email me.

Debugging Apache configuration files on Mac OS X

Sometimes I make some modification to my site’s apache config and apache stops functioning, but I cannot get enough information from /var/log/apache2/error.log. Here’s a command that will tell you where the problem is:

It starts apache for debugging and prints out the messages on screen, so that hopefully you can find something useful.

mod_wsgi and mod_xsendfile on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Updated on Nov 4, 2013: The following tricks may still work, however I have found a much easier solution. Simply install Xcode command line developer tools and you should be able to compile source code without issues:

After upgrading my Mac from 10.8 to 10.9 Mavericks my apache stopped working, so I have to reinstall mod_wsgi and mod_xsendfile. However, tricks are needed to compile and install these mods successfully.

Upgrade Xcode

Upgrade Xcode in App Store. As mentioned by Valerie:

I had to manually upgrade Xcode (after Mavericks upgrade) from the App Store & agree to its license because ./configure hung forever until I did that.


For mod_wsgi installation, create a soft link to OSX10.9.xctoolchain:

Then run configure under mod_wsgi source code directory:

It will generate a Makefile similar as follows:

However, this Makefile is not correct and running ‘make’ the compiler will complain something like:

Prepend the following line to CPPFLAGS value:

Save the Makefile and it will look something like:

Then make && install:

Modify /etc/apache2/httpd.conf to enable mod_wsgi:


Use the following command to compile and install mod_xsendfile:

Enabling HTTPS/SSL

After upgrading OS X the apache configuration was reset, but your original config is save to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf.pre-update. I need to enable SSL in httpd.conf again by uncommenting the following line:

Restart Apache and everything should work fine

Installing mod_xsendfile on OS X Lion

First download mod_xsendfile.c from https://tn123.org/mod_xsendfile/

Then compile and install it:

Add the following line to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf at the end of the first block of “Load” statements:

At last, restart the apache server

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