Dockerize Omeka CMS
Jun 27, 2018
Aldrin Navarro
4 minute read

Dockerize Omeka CMS

We had this activity in our “Advanced Computer Systems” class to deploy a collections archive website using a content management system written in PHP, Omeka CMS. What is Omeka CMS?

Omeka provides open-source web publishing platforms for sharing digital collections and media-rich online exhibits. -

What Omeka CMS is for? Resource sharing. Sharing resources is a valuable asset for hobbyists, enthusiasts, educational institutions and government offices. OMEKA provides such perk plus offers a lot more like publishing collections and digital contents through online exhibits.

alt My omeka website aptly called 221B Coder Street :D
My omeka website aptly called 221B Coder Street :D

Just in time, I am also learning Docker. In a nutshell, Docker creates a portable container or package for applications and services. It’s not only useful in development, it also takes a lot of provision, test and ship process. It makes it easy to bundle software requirements and dependencies. Many have adopted Docker as a go-to solution for containerizing the technology stack in order to have a product ready for development and production. It is no surprise that famous technologies written in PHP, like Wordpress, has a readily available Docker image.

Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run distributed applications, whether on laptops, data center VMs, or the cloud. -

alt Docker
Admit it. It’s cute.

At the time, I have limited knowledge in using Docker all the while getting rusty in PHP. The instuctions given to us assumes installation and deployment on a bare metal server. Yet I still manage to get approval from my professor to use Docker. Just making sure this will be not all for nothing in the end just because I have a different method from the rest of the class.

Our goals:

  • Create Dockerfile for our simple docker image
  • Use Docker Compose for defining and running services
  • Deploy and use the CMS

It’s important to know the following points too:

Manual setup and deploy

Omeka CMS specifications is a standard LAMP stack. In detail its the following:

  • Apache HTTP server (with mod_rewrite enabled)
  • MySQL >= v5.0
  • PHP >= v5.3.2
  • ImageMagick image manipulation software

A typical flow will look like this

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt install apache2 -y
# Make sure UFW firewall allows HTTP(S) traffic for Apache
sudo ufw allow in "Apache Full"
sudo apt install mysql-server -y
sudo apt install -y php libapache2-mod-php php-mcrypt php-mysql
# Enable mod_rewrite
sudo a2enmod rewrite && sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
sudo apt install -y imagemagick

Next is to install and configure Omeka. Download the latest version of Omeka from Unzip the downloaded file and move to the directory discoverable by Apache web server.

# replace x.x by version downloaded
unzip /var/www/html
# set permissions to the web server
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/files

At this point, the only thing left is to update db.ini to have the correct database configuration.

host = "<localhost-or-server-ip>"
username = "omekauser"
password = "omekapass"
dbname = "omekadb"
prefix = "omeka_"
charset = "utf8"
;port = ""

Now check http://localhost-or-ip/ and you should see Omeka ready for use.

Setup and deploy using Docker

Our Dockerfile will be trimmed-fat version of the manual setup above.

FROM ubuntu:16.04
LABEL maintainer="Wonderful Being <[email protected]>"

ENV DEBIAN_FRONTEND noninteractive
RUN apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y
RUN apt-get install -y \
    zip unzip \
    php7.0 \
    apache2 \
    libapache2-mod-php7.0 \
    php7.0-mysql \
    php7.0-xml \
    imagemagick \
    openssh-server \
    vnstat \

# Enable mod_rewrite
RUN a2enmod rewrite && /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

# RUN rm /var/www/html/index.html
ADD omeka-2.6 /var/www/html
# Update the default apache site with the config we created.
ADD apache-config.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf
# Set permissions
RUN chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/files

COPY --chown=root:root omekactl /

VOLUME ["/var/www", "/var/log/apache2", "/etc/apache2"]
ENTRYPOINT ["/usr/sbin/apache2ctl", "-D", "FOREGROUND"]

A companion docker-compose.yml may look as simple as this

version: '3.3'

    image: omeka:dev
    env_file: .env
    restart: always

Development workflow will look like this

docker build -t omeka:dev .
# compose
cd omeka-build
docker-compose up -d
# persist common files
docker volume create file-vol
docker volume ls
docker volume inspect file-vol
docker run --rm -d \
-p 4000:80 \
-v file-vol:/var/www/html/files \
--name omekabox \
# debugging service
docker exec -it omekabox bash
# stopping service
docker stop omekabox


A ready-to-run Docker image is available at the store so deploying your own will be as easy as:

docker pull aldnav/omeka:alpha
docker volume create file-vol
docker run --rm -d \
-p 80:80 \
-v file-vol:/var/www/html/files \
--name omekabox \

Proceed to Omeka by visiting http://localhost/install/


Easy “A”.

I am happy for what the project has turned out. I get to learn the basics of Docker. There are a lot of things to improve.

You can check out my repository for the entirety of the project at

🐋 hello there! If you enjoy this, a "Thank you" is enough.

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