Drupal 8 composer installation on EC2 with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

composer code


In this post we will share our experience in installing a Drupal 8 application on an Amazon EC2 server with latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Installing Drupal with composer greatly simplify system maintenance and further update.

AWS image

First you will need to create EC2 instance with proper AMI from Amazon Web Service. You can find the AMI from the locator.

We will not cover in detail this part, as we assume this is already covered by many other blogs and tutorials.

We pick latest 18.04 LTS version of Ubuntu to comply with requirements of Drupal 8 with PHP 7.2.



Once your server is running, the next step is to install composer.

Once again, we will not go too much into details as composer installation is also widely covered.

In our case we followed similar procedure as the one described here.



For actual installatin of Drupal with composer, there is a guide at drupal.org with 3 options. We picked the option A.

The repository is a composer template for Drupal projects with pretty good usage guide. The latest version will install Drupal 8.6.1.

We run the command:

git clone https://github.com/drupal-composer/drupal-project.git <MyAppName>

(note: the code will be copied within the folder "MyAppName" within your current folder location. For instance if you are in /var/www, the application will be in /var/www/MyAppName)

At this point we edited the composer.json file to match our desired folder configuration. You need to edit manually the installer path here before installing the application or if you prefer, keep the default paths.

"installer-paths": {
            "web/core": ["type:drupal-core"],
            "web/libraries/{$name}": ["type:drupal-library"],
            "web/modules/contrib/{$name}": ["type:drupal-module"],
            "web/profiles/contrib/{$name}": ["type:drupal-profile"],
            "web/themes/contrib/{$name}": ["type:drupal-theme"],
            "drush/Commands/{$name}": ["type:drupal-drush"]

To edit, run command:

Sudo nano MyAppName/composer.json

and edit "installer-paths". In our case we changed to:

Once your have the desired folder configuration, you can run actual installation command:

composer -vvv install

(note: -vvv option is optional)

This will install Drupal site.

Custom application

One of the purpose of using composer installation is to merge other composer files and install custom plugins and applications.

To be able to merge composer files, you need to install the composer-merge-plugin first with command:

composer require wikimedia/composer-merge-plugin

then run:

composer update --lock

You can now add additional plugins with their specific composer installer. In our case, we install our own application EK Management tools suite with the following command:

composer require arreasystem/ek:"dev-8.x-dev"

This will install custom application.

You can merge composer.json paths as "extra" option in main composer.json:

Sudo nano MyAppName/composer.json

For instance add the custom plugins paths:    

"extra": {
          "merge-plugin": {
                      "include": [
                      "recurse": true,
                      "replace": false,
                      "merge-extra": false

And run:

composer update --lock

This will for instance install following libraries:


You may encounter error with composer when updating with an out of memory error. This will happen with low specification EC2 instances. To solve this problem, add swap memory on Ubuntu server.

Create swap file: sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/swapfile bs=2M count=2048 (this will create a 4M memory swap);

Enable file: sudo chmod 600 /swapfile;

Allocate: sudo mkswap /swapfile;

Start: sudo swapon /swapfile.


With this installation, you will just have to run composer update to update your installation version. This comes also with Drush and Drupal Console installed. Don't forget to run update.php after core update if necessary.


We hope this short post has been useful. Feel free to add comment or questions.

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