Learn Install Horde Groupware Webmail on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Apache2

Horde Groupware Webmail Edition is a free, is web-based email app that can be configured to manage your emails, contacts and shared calendar hosted in your own environment…

Horde supports the LAMP / LEMP stack and can be a great way to bring all your external emails like Google, Yahoo, and other SMTP in-boxes onto your own server..

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Horde Groupware web-mail app on Ubuntu with Apache2, MariaDB and PHP 7.2 support..

Horde also comes with decent performance, simple installation and upgrade with support for IMAP and SMTP protocols (SSL, STARTTLS), sieve scripts support, integration for popular services and many more via plugins..

For more about Horde, please check out its homepageSome highlights of Horde:

  • IMAP and POP3 webmail client
  • 3-pane and 3-column-layouts
  • Message filtering
  • Message searching
  • HTML message composition with WYSIWIG editor
  • Spell checking
  • Built in attachment viewers
  • Encrypting and signing of messages (S/MIME and PGP)
  • Quota support
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Full character set support for folders names and email messages
  • Conversation view of all messages in a thread
  • Downloading of message attachments in a ZIP file
  • Flexible, individual alias addresses
  • IMAP folder subscriptions
  • Shared IMAP folder

When you’re ready to get Horde install on Ubuntu, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP Server

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use… so install it, since Horde needs it.. To install Apache2 HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below…

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable Apache2 service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop apache2.service
sudo systemctl start apache2.service
sudo systemctl enable apache2.service

To test whether Apache2 is installed, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address… When you see that, then Apache2 is working as expected..


Apache2 Test Page

Step 2: Install MariaDB Database Server

MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open source database servers to use with Horde… To install MariaDB run the commands below…

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots..

Run these on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mysql.service
sudo systemctl start mysql.service
sudo systemctl enable mysql.service

Run these on Ubuntu 17.10 and 18.04 LTS

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon to MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on… if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

mariadb welcome

Step 2: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories… in order to install it, you will have to get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the below third party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2 php-pear libapache2-mod-php7.2 php7.2-common php7.2-curl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-xml php7.2-intl php7.2-ldap php7.2-imagick php7.2-tidy php7.2-json php7.2-cli

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open PHP default config file for Apache2…

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below is great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, save the file and close out.

Step 3: Restart Apache2

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Apache2 to reload PHP configurations…

To restart Apache2, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Apache2, create a phpinfo.php file in Apache2 root directory by running the commands below

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file.. then browse to your server hostname followed by /phpinfo.php


You should see PHP default test page…

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 4: Create Horde Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required for Horde to function, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create a blank Horde database.

To logon to MariaDB database server, run the commands below.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called horde


Create a database user called hordeuser with new password

CREATE USER 'hordeuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON horde.* TO 'hordeuser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 3: Download and Configure Horde

After installing the packages above, run the commands below to register Horde pear channel…

sudo pear channel-discover pear.horde.org

Next, set Horde directory by running the commands below:

sudo pear install horde/horde_role
sudo pear run-scripts horde/horde_role

When prompted, enter /var/www/horde as its filesystem directory:

Filesystem location for the base Horde application : /var/www/horde
Configuration successfully saved to PEAR config.
Install scripts complete

After that, run the commands below to install Horde Groupware Webmail edition..

sudo pear install -a -B horde/webmail

After a while, Horde should download all required packages into its home directory… When done, run the commands below to begin its installation..

sudo webmail-install

Configure your settings as below:

Installing Horde Groupware Webmail Edition

Configuring database settings

What database backend should we use? 
    (false) [None]
    (mysql) MySQL / PDO
    (mysqli) MySQL (mysqli)
    (oci8) Oracle
    (pgsql) PostgreSQL
    (sqlite) SQLite

Type your choice []: mysql

Username to connect to the database as* [] hordeuser
Password to connect with 
How should we connect to the database? 
    (unix) UNIX Sockets
    (tcp) TCP/IP

Type your choice [unix]: unix

Location of UNIX socket [] 

Database name to use* [] horde

Internally used charset* [utf-8] 
Use SSL to connect to the server? 
    (false) No
    (true) Yes

Type your choice []: false
Split reads to a different server? 
    (false) Disabled
    (true) Enabled

Type your choice [false]: 
Should Horde log all queries. If selected, queries will be logged at the DEBUG level to your configured logger. 
    (1) Yes
    (0) No

Type your choice [0]: 

Writing main configuration file... done.

Creating and updating database tables... done.

Configuring administrator settings

Specify an existing mail user who you want to give administrator permissions (optional): 

Writing main configuration file... done.

Thank you for using Horde Groupware Webmail Edition!

Horde should be installed… now continue below to configure…

First create Horde tmp directory and Apache2 configurations file…

sudo mkdir /var/www/horde/tmp
sudo nano /etc/apache2/conf-available/horde.conf

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save…

Alias /Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync /var/www/horde/rpc.php
Alias /horde /var/www/horde
ServerName webmail.example.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/horde
<Directory /var/www/horde>
           DirectoryIndex index.php
           Options +FollowSymLinks
           AllowOverride All
           Require all granted
           AddType application/x-httpd-php .php
           php_value include_path ".:/usr/share/php"
           php_value open_basedir "none"
           php_value upload_tmp_dir "/var/www/horde/tmp/"

Setup Horde password tool to allow users to change / reset passwords

sudo pear install -a -B horde/passwd
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/horde/passwd

Next, enable and restart Apache2…

sudo a2enconf horde
sudo systemctl reload apache2

Login and begin configuring Horde


Horde Webmail


Horde Ubuntu install

Congratulations! You have successfully installed and configure Horde on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Apache2 and PHP 7.2.

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1 thought on “Learn Install Horde Groupware Webmail on Ubuntu 16.04 | 18.04 with Apache2”

  1. Thanks for this great description!
    I followed this setup procedure on a freshly installed system, and it works fine all the way trough; but I fail in the final step, the login.
    What user/password to use for the initial configuration?
    I understand that any user can become horde administrator; and that this user can be define in the horde admin interface *once horde is configured and an existing administrator is logged in*.
    But which user would be the “default” administrator user for the initial login and configuration?
    (I tried the sole linux user on my new system, plus various usernames mentioned in this HowTo, but none of them works.)


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