Ilich Blanco

Ilich Blanco

Data Storytelling or Storytelling based on data is a technique that transforms the information available into a story. It combines data display formats - such as graphs, charts, animated maps, among others - with narrative elements. The goal is to use a somewhat complex amount of data to tell a story in a simple and concise way.

In an increasingly information-driven culture, telling a story through it adds credibility to any Marketing strategy.

Another benefit of this methodology is the high degree of attraction of these contents. As we will see later, these stories captivate the audience, helping to improve conversions and brand loyalty.

Keep reading and learn more about it!

What is data storytelling?

It is a technique that uses data to tell a story. It is a useful way of presenting information, which means that it can be used with both internal and external audiences.

However, it is important to differentiate narration of data from visualization of data. Data visualization is about representing data graphically, not necessarily telling a story.

If you are presenting a report, for example, you can better sell an idea or better explain a point if you use graphs, tables or infographics, since these contents retain the attention of your audience in a way that a text or even a video they cannot do it.

They facilitate the processing of all the information at once and the decision making.

Data storytelling goes beyond representing data in a more attractive way. It consists of showing how or why the data changed during a period, and for that it is necessary to collect:

  • a narrative;
  • a context;
  • characters.

These are the key factors for your audience to really engage with the content!

Why tell a story with data?

Never has so much data been produced as today. Big Data is already a reality and every day more and more companies invest in a culture based on tangible and real evidence.

With so much information available, data-driven storytelling is a way to organize everything and present it in a more enjoyable and accessible way.

Since it is easier to absorb information that way, data storytelling also makes your content have a longer useful life and generate more engagement, whether it is shared online or it generates word of mouth marketing.

Beyond being visually appealing, data storytelling also strengthens your credibility. Unfortunately, all that information that we have also has its negative version: fake news or false news.

In this context, it won't take long for the data-driven approach to be requested by the customer as well.

Interactivity is another current trend in Digital Marketing and it works as a two-way street, since companies can also collect information about their customers in this process.udience, the better your chances of hitting this choice.

Many elements of data visualization not only allow consumer participation, but also encourage it, and there are many data visualization software that can help you find the most suitable format for your audience.

How to create relevant data storytelling?

We've already seen the basics related to data-driven storytelling and its importance for a marketing strategy, so now let's discuss what we need to keep in mind when implementing this concept.

Continue reading!

Be clear and concise

The idea of investing in data-driven storytelling is to make it easy to read huge and complex amounts of data. Therefore it is essential to use clear and concise language.

Think about the cognitive load of your buyer persona and choose images that provide the most information with the least possible effort. The more you know your audience, the better your chances of hitting this choice.

Highlight insights
As we've already mentioned, making data more accessible is very useful for expressing a point of view or selling an idea.

It is essential that you identify what is the main information that your data storytelling is trying to convey. Without it, the chances are high that it is data visualization content rather than a story.

This "insight moment" in which we create a framework for the disclosure of information, generally arises from the combination of two or more data sets.

Determining a goal for data storytelling can be helpful: do you want to inspire your audience or do you prefer to tell a funny story?

Match words with pictures
Telling a data storytelling does not mean that we should tell a story without words. In reverse, words should be used to make images even more attractive.

At the same time that you want to reduce the cognitive load on your audience, you want to highlight the information that you need to keep in their minds, so presenting it through text and images has its advantages.

Make it shareable

If you want your story to reach more people, you should create it in a way that is simple to share. How do we do that? Two features are essential here:

The first is visual appeal, of course. Discover the tastes of your audience and identify formats and design patterns that are best suited for them.

Second, don't underestimate the context. Why am I telling this story to these people through this data?

In other words, why should they care? It won't matter how beautiful or interactive your story is if you're addressing something your consumer doesn't want to hear about.

3 examples of Data Storytelling
Now that you know what relevant data should have in good data storytelling, let's look at 3 great examples of well-established brands that presented information through a combination of data and narrative.

1. Spotify
The annual “Wrapped” campaign could be one of the best examples of interactive data storytelling of all time.

Since 2016, Spotify has presented its users with an elaborate timeline that shows the artists, songs, and most recently the most listened to podcasts of the year.

The streaming application uses the data of its users not only to speak individually with its customers, but also to demonstrate how interesting Big Data can be.

No matter how specific a drinking pattern may be, it can be relatable and fun. Who wouldn't want to know how many times “Total Eclipse of The Heart” was heard during an eclipse week?

This case becomes even more interesting when we see that, even being an online product, Spotify was able to take its data storytelling out of that sphere, also taking it to traditional media, as you can see in the following image.

2. Google Maps
Google Maps provides a monthly travel report to users who activate the "Location History" feature on their mobile devices. You can explore this feature by interacting with Google Maps.

You can find out the places and cities that you visited the most, see photos taken in each location and acquire information about the most used means of transport.

Do you know how much time you spent on public transportation or in your car in the last month? Maybe you rode your bike more than you walked, right?

All this information can be tracked through this tool. As you can see, Google Maps has all the main characteristics that a good data storytelling should have: context, narrative turns and characters (yourself!).

3. John’s Hopkins Hospital
Yes, we are facing a global pandemic. Although little is known about the disease so far, people around the world receive a great deal of information on the subject every day.

Again, fake news is a danger, so how can we be sure that we collect all the necessary information from a trusted source?

Maryland Johns Hopkins University Hospital created a real-time map showing relevant figures on the COVID-19 situation around the world.

If you think that it is not really a data storytelling, but an example of data visualization - since we lack the narrative factor here - you are right!

However, it is also possible to consult a critical trends section, in which we can monitor the spread of the virus over time in a combination of animated videos, interactive maps, and small paragraphs of text.

As you clearly see, data storytelling is already a trend and will continue to distinguish relevant brands from their competitors.

Beyond being visually appealing, it is a smart approach that conveys credibility and can be used in many different ways and for a variety of purposes, from a fun perspective of exemplifying an app's consumer behavior to an official demonstration of the growth of the app. pandemic, for example.

Did you find this post interesting? Then, download our Interactive Content Guide so you can diversify your possibilities when creating content with the data storytelling style.


 If your life hasn't changed drastically in the last few months, prepare for it to be only a matter of time. The Covid-19 virus will affect everyone (perhaps the only exception is the confined participants of a reality show).

From a professional point of view, your habits will change, your company will be put to the test and what is left of the year will be different.

With few exceptions, we will all go through a period of low sales, clients will disappear due to insecurity with the economic scenario and financial adjustment.

Your company needs digital marketing now more than ever and this you must do to adapt

 You might also be interested : Adaptation or bankruptcy: Strategies that ecommerce should apply in times of pandemic

And what is the situation of Marketing in all this history?

It continues to be extremely important, but it is time to adapt quickly, because in this crisis, there is no point doing more of the same. At this point, we have to think on two different fronts:

- What should I do to mitigate the problems now?
- How should I act today to avoid future losses?

The acid test for your brand is now

There is a natural tendency to talk about Content Marketing with a strong focus on its predictability and its metrics. In a quiet moment, that makes perfect sense.

But we are not living in a quiet moment!

Of course, monitoring visits, conversions, CAC, etc., is still extremely important, but this is the time to open your eyes a little and target something that has a great impact on the future of your business: how do you is your brand facing the current situation?

Your brand will be tested and this goes way beyond the marketing department. The way you treat your employees, your communication errors, your correct actions and the decisions you make to help society is being observed.

 And what can and should the marketing department do?

* Change your content for information that helps the immediate needs of people and calms them. There is surely some knowledge, in your area, that can help with this. Here at Andromeda we are investing in content about Home Office and texts like the one you are reading now.

* Stay close to directors to publicize positive actions to combat the virus and prevent messages that could be interpreted as opportunistic from being published on behalf of the company.

* Closely monitor the evolution of the local and global scenario.

* Evaluate all the ways the company can help at this time. In this article, for example, you can find information about Home Office. Also, we have written articles the last few months dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs.

 These are just a few essential examples for your brand to navigate this turbulent period and emerge with a positive reputation in the future. And of course helping others which is always the right thing to do.

And the generation of demand?

Well, the first step is to accept reality: the current moment will be scarce for almost all of us, that is, there is a real risk that your goal will not be reached.

On the other hand, it doesn't make sense for us to stand still. Sellers are counting on us and throwing in the towel is not an option! It is time to get creative and take advantage of every possible opportunity.

If you already have a content strategy in place, your funnel traffic will likely not suffer much impact, which will already guarantee visibility and potential customers. The problem will be to convert these leads into customers, since nobody is sure of closing new deals.

You might also be interested :  Link Building : Definitive strategies to Grow Brand Authority

This is where marketing comes in. Some examples:

- Use the informational content, already mentioned in the sales process, to reduce the anxiety of the leads. One tip is to ask marketers what their biggest fears and objections are, and create top-of-the-funnel content to help with that;

-  Examine the main objections right now and create middle and bottom funnel materials to get around them. Here you can use sales enablement materials, case studies and webinars;

- If it is within your means, offer discounts or special payment conditions for a while, until everything calms down. Although this action may not guarantee income, it can at least guarantee the maintenance of your clients;

- Reverse part of your paid media strategy from the bottom to the middle of the funnel, this will accelerate the generation of leads and, at the same time, are actions that can be carried out with marketing and sales automation.

Actions like these will ensure that the loss is not so great, as your sales team will be better prepared to deal with customer insecurity and help them make the best decision.

Preparing for the future

The advice we have given so far is to help you make the most of an extremely negative situation and reduce its impact on your company. Luckily this moment will pass and we have to be ready to return with everything.

Something that surprised us at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic was that the large number of companies that depend on events to generate demands was evidenced.

In some cases, we saw entrepreneurs commenting that more than 60% of their leads are generated at events.

For many companies, paid media is losing momentum right now, because:

-  Ads are generally focused on a bottom funnel.
-  People's buying intentions are very low, especially in B2B.

These two factors are specific, since the construction of your brand, reputation and audience lasts over time and will not cease to exist now. Therefore, routine marketing activities should not stop.

As we noted above, facing the litmus test to make your brand useful, relevant, and help others will not only help you survive this crisis, but will create a permanent positive impact. When everything calms down, you can bet it will help you do business!

The audience you are building over time is not going away either. Your top-of-the-funnel content will continue to be useful and sought after by people, whether in the office or in isolation.

Yes, there will be a fall, but it probably won't be that bad, and it's temporary too! So far, Andromeda Computer's traffic has fallen 6% on average.

That is, even if leads are not turning into customers now, at least you continue to generate them and your content is helping people who, in the future, will be better able to do business.

If you are one of the people who does not sleep at night due to event cancellations, I suggest that you start investing in creating your own channels.

It's no wonder so many companies are investing in podcasts, newsletters, and blogs today.

Take care of your team

Moments of uncertainty are complicated for everyone and, professionally, they require great effort and sacrifice. If you have a team, it is your responsibility to help them get through this.

So never stop paying attention to the physical and mental health of your team.

Asking them to not only keep doing a good part of the routine, but also face pressure from salespeople, come up with new strategies in a sensitive setting, produce more and more content, etc. can be extremely exhausting.

To complicate matters, everyone is probably already working in isolation, which helps with anxiety for many people and can further damage work and emotional exhaustion.

Hold frequent meetings, preferably with the computer camera on, always available to help and always ask how they feel.

If you are not a manager, pay attention to your co-workers, because we are in a moment of physical isolation does not mean that we should also isolate ourselves socially. Send messages, make quick video calls.

We are living in a unique moment, that is true, but we can take comfort in the fact that, at least, it is temporary.

Friday, 12 June 2020 13:52

The Man Who Gathers Memes #17


The toilet phase:

When I was younger, around 3 or 4 years old, I had a phase of flushing things down the toilet. I would flush McDonald’s toys I didn’t want anymore or change I had found in my room. the biggest and most hilarious thing I ever dumped was a gallon of milk. one day I was bored and was looking around in the fridge low and behold there it was, a new gallon of milk. my tiny body dragged the bottle on the floor all the way to the bathroom. I opened the cap, let it go into the toilet, and flushed. I thought I was smart enough to let it go unnoticed but I’ll never forget what my dad yelled out when he walked in. “why in the hell is the water white?!“ my mom found the empty carton and just stared at me.

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My mom’s thong:

One day when I was 3 I decided I wanted to be like my mom and wear “big girl” panties. I sneakily went through her drawer and grabbed the first thing I could find – a thong (I didn’t know what it was at the time). She didn’t know until we went to breakfast with some friends and took me to the bathroom. She still won’t let me live it down!

{avsplayer videoid=267 playerid=0} 


There was a boy that I had a crush on for the past year in my class.

Now for whatever reason, I was swinging my arms around in a wild half-windmill motion. Don’t ask me why, I was just filled with child-like glee I guess. So there I was, swinging my arms dramatically, then just when I got to the corner…


I had accidentally slapped someone in the face. It took me a second to realize who it was: my crush.

I was mortified, but he just started laughing. To this day I can probably cite that as one of my top clumsy/socially inept moments.

{avsplayer videoid=268 playerid=0}


The ramen incident: I have decided to remain anonymous to protect my identity from the foolishness. last night, I became hungry and decided to make some ramen. I removed the various packets from the bowl, added the flavor and vegetables, then put the bowl in the microwave.

After about a minute or two, I realized something was wrong. A terrible burning smell had filled my kitchen.

I opened the door to my microwave and…low and behold…I had neglected to add water. There was some smoke coming from the bowl. Not wanting to waste the ramen, I went to the sink and added water, which filled the room in acrid smoke for several seconds. I then returned the bowl to the microwave and cooked it for two more minutes before attempting to eat it.

Well….It went okay for a little while, until I discovered a globule of blackened noodles which had turned into some sort of strange crystalline substance yet seen in nature by humankind. I had a change of heart.

{avsplayer videoid=269 playerid=0}


First phone accident: When I was in the 6th grade my parents decided I should get my first cell phone because I was going to middle school now and things were different. It was a pink little slide phone where you’d slide it sideways and have the texting keyboard and all. I took decent care of my phone and never needed a replacement. Well, flash forward to Memorial Day weekend. My family and another family went camping up in Pennsylvania for the weekend. Well, one of the days we were up there my buddy, Oliver, and I decided to take the kayaks out on the lake. Genius me, decided she wanted to listen to the 4 Selena Gomez songs I had on my phone. I thought it would be a brilliant idea to put my phone in a plastic bag to protect it from the water. When we got back from kayaking I took my phone out only to find the bag was submerged in water. We had no rice or anything to save my phone so we tried laying it out to dry, not even 15 minutes later it starts down pouring destroying my phone even more. My mom ended up giving me her first flip phone which didn’t even have a camera or the option to have music or photos transferred. Lesson learned.

{avsplayer videoid=270 playerid=0}


Little thief: When I was around four or five I was with my mom at this store buying some Christmas gifts. as we were leaving I saw these little plushy dinosaurs that fit perfectly in my hands. I grabbed two of them and stashed one in each of my pockets. my pockets were so small that they made me look like I had two rumors on each of my hips. I still remember the rush of energy I got from actually leaving the store undetected. well, when my mom and I got to the car, she found them and called the store back and made me apologize. I had the absolute worst social anxiety when I was a kid so I was a absolutely sobbing, telling this poor employee how horrible a person I was. like I was having a mental breakdown, it was so bad my mom apologized to me afterwards and bought me a nice milkshake!

{avsplayer videoid=271 playerid=0} 

 {avsplayer videoid=272 playerid=0} 



It is no secret that link building is one of the most challenging, yet most vital tactics in search engine optimization. Google holds such high regard for high-quality backlinks, because they are the best indicators of whether or not your website is authoritative in the space.

Through basic crowdsourcing, Google can use website data (number of links pointing toward your website) to determine the viability and relevance of your website on certain topics.

So why is link building so difficult?

Over the years, SEOs from all over the world have been able to manipulate Google’s algorithm through black-hat link building tactics like link farms and link buying. In response, Google has determined what patterns are a result of such tactics and severely punish websites who continue to use these methods.

As a result, websites must now be creative with how they utilize different strategies that result in a higher volume of backlinks naturally. There are several things to consider, however, when executing link building strategies, including:

  • The difference between unique referring domains and backlinks
  • The importance of link flow
  • The influence of digital PR

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Focus on unique referring domains

When you are approaching link building, it can be tempting for your team to chase after as many backlinks as possible, regardless of where they come from. That may be beneficial for the first few links; however, after a while, you will start to see diminishing returns.

The reason why the crowdsourcing analogy is so helpful to explain this is simple: the more that authoritative websites approve of your website’s content, the more Google will recognize your website as authoritative as well.

If you continue to receive backlinks from the same website over and over, Google may think that you are participating in questionable techniques, and you may be impacted negatively.

By having a goal of increasing unique referring domains, you naturally go after links from a variety of websites rather, minimizing your risk in getting negatively affected by Google’s algorithm.

With that being said, there are plenty of websites that use content aggregation methods, like Databox, where you can easily obtain a link. You will not ruin your authority by submitting content through their website because:

Databox is an extremely reputable source of content.

  • The number of links that you get in return from them are not high enough for Google to flag them as an issue.
  • The best advice I can give is to additionally seek other unique link building partners to improve your overall authority even further.

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Why link flow is critical

Link flow is defined as the rate at which new backlinks are flowing into your website. To understand why link flow is important, you must grasp Google’s E-A-T guidelines. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

To determine authoritativeness and trustworthiness in your industry, create new content that gains high volumes of quality links. This continuous flow of content and links shows Google that:

  • You are active in your industry and community.
  • Other authoritative websites are still cosigning your authority.

A slow link flow can indicate lost relevance or trustworthiness in your industry or on the internet as a whole. Continue to create relevant content and actively engage your audience in an ongoing attempt to gain quality backlinks. Quality over quantity is the key.

Influence of digital PR

Digital PR (public relations) is a pillar of digital marketing that focuses on media relations, thought leadership, and relationship marketing. While link building is not the primary (or even secondary) goal of digital PR, it can be a pivotal link building tool.

One of the main focuses of digital PR is brand awareness, which can include outreach to relevant podcasts for a company representative to be a guest or pitching the digital media to cover a new company story. Most of the time, when you, your company, or a subject matter expert at your company is featured on a podcast, is at an event, or is in the media, the website will link back to your website.

These tactics do not directly affect your SEO goals, but if your website starts gaining backlinks from highly authoritative websites, your ability to rank for more challenging keywords will improve significantly.

It is crucial to have your PR team and web strategy team work hand-in-hand on digital initiatives. For an effective digital PR strategy, you need:

  • A designer to create infographics or other marketing materials
  • A dedicated outreach strategist who is the face of the PR team
  • A web strategist who works hand-in-hand with a link building lens

Some creative teamwork can help improve your digital outcomes drastically.

3 tactics to try on

Because link building can take a large portion of your time, think of creative ideas that are simple to execute on and powerful enough that your return will be worth it.

I have broken down three data-backed link building tactics that have proven continuously to grow brand authority.

Thought leadership

Think about all of the blogs, newsletters, or podcasts that you consistently read, listen to, and refer to on a daily basis. For marketing blogs, it’s Marketo, G2, and SEMrush. For general business blogs, it’s Mashable, Business Insider, and Forbes. In tech, it’s TechCrunch, Gizmodo, and ReadWrite.

There is a reason as to why you keep returning to these blogs. Why? They are known to publish content representing high-quality, their content is data-driven, and their pieces are written by experts in their respective industries.

Not only do people constantly refer to them verbally; they backlink to these sites as well.

Business Insider ranks with an Ahrefs rank of 242 (out of the entire Ahrefs database), with over 114M backlinks from over 458K websites.


TechCrunch ranks with an Ahrefs rank of 294, with other 73.1M backlinks from over 319K websites.


Depending on the industry your company is in, these thought leaders differ vastly. However, one feature is very much consistent: good authoritative content generates a high volume of backlinks with the right audience. It’s not rocket science.

Unique research

Some companies create reports that cover multiple verticals or sub-verticals. For example, for digital marketing that would be content, social media, SEO, email, advertising, web strategy, and market research. They create unique infographics for each research report and make them highly shareable, with little to no friction.


  • By putting out the annual report, they generate thousands of backlinks from many websites, in addition to generating unique referring domains.
  • By creating a report that is widely respected and referenced in your industry, you can generate a large amount of SEO value, in the form of authority, to your website.

Guest posting

Guest posting (or guest blogging) is the process of sharing content with or writing content for another website, with the hopes of gaining a backlink in return. Companies utilize guest posting strategies to produce high-quality content on authoritative publications throughout their industry. Guest posting can also improve companies’ organic reach through SEO, social media, and more. Overall, it helps your brand be more visible and shows that other companies trust you to share your expertise as well. Think about it, they trust you enough to share content on their own website.

In return, the writer typically includes a useful link back to their website to further authoritative value. Depending on the company you write for, they may reserve the right to remove that link whenever they please. If you haven’t already written the content for them, you might have to burden that risk.

Regardless, guest posting can be helpful in your digital PR efforts and improve brand awareness to audiences that you previously have not had access to. You may gain a link directly from that website, and you also might indirectly gain backlinks from the subsequent readers of their website and blog.

Directive utilizes guest posting as one of their main drivers of referring domain growth (as seen below).


Key takeaways

Link building is, and always will be, one of the more influential ranking factors in search marketing. Google continues to view quality backlinks in high regard and will continue to crack down on inorganic link building schemes that “trick” their algorithm.

Building audiences who continuously consume your content will, at the least, slowly link back to your website. Creating relevant and unique content will organically build links to your website. Creating professional relationships with other websites in the same space and sharing content will continue to build links for your website.

There are other simple link building techniques such as broken link building and brand mention outreach; however, these should not be the centerpiece of your link building strategy.

Understanding the power of the basics of relationship and content marketing will prove to help you out more than anything else. Take advantage of the relationships you have set, and focus on creating more down the road. Continue to provide value to your target audience and to partners you work with, and link building will be smooth sailing from here on out.



The great thing about hosting is that similar to setting up your own site, you can make it as simple as you would like or you can get really complex, the reality is whichever method you choose is up to you. This is not a project for the faint of heart – indeed, you should be techy and much into the intricacy of hosting your own site. Someone who is interested in setting up their own server is a person with time to dedicate to this task and looks forward to the fulfillment of completing something that can be arduous even for the most tech-savvy.

Before getting into how to do your own hosting, you need to be aware of a few issues. Hosting your site requires a lot of electricity and you could deal with power outages, plus you are responsible for the efficacy and maintenance of hardware and software. Self-hosting has slower speeds than paid, dedicated hosts as well. However, the challenge of setting up your own hosting is invigorating, and a great next step on your tech journey.

Before you get started on hosting your own sites, it is a wise move to consider the benefits of paid hosting. The first thing you should know about paid hosting is generally things move faster on a paid host; these servers are dedicated to getting everything going and they don’t have the upload limitations that your ISP imposes upon you. That said, the other benefit a paid host has over self-hosting is that a paid host is responsible for the software and hardware. If anything goes wrong, you have to fix it instead of relying on the paid server company to perform maintenance. While sometimes it is easier to get any web hosting by simply paying with PayPal, the reality is hosting your own site is something for techy people that is really fun and as you improve in this endeavor, you develop skills that are quite marketable.

You can do web hosting with Windows and with Linux. Here is how with both systems.


Windows is not a popular way to host. The people who like Windows for hosting are those using ASP.NET or C# to code. If using these systems, Windows is the best option, despite being less popular than Linux.

Step 1: Get WAMP

One of the best installation programs is WampServer. This helps you work in Windows, Apache, PHP, and MySQL. Get the massive package when you download this, as the individual packages can be onerous and less accurate than the ones coming with WampServer. Once you get your WAMP, you can create subdirectories within it. Clicking on the Local Host link will take you to a URL that says, http://localhost in your main screen of WampServer.

Step 2: Simple Page Creation and Configuration of MySQL

As with anything, you want to test what you are doing. The next step is creating a new file with sample code. This could be something simple as a test using PHP. You can check in on this by going to the info section. However, if you click on phpMyAdmin, you can get going on configuring the MySQL information. This means the screen will open for admin credentials, but if you type in Admin to the log in name, rarely do you need a password. Once you get there, you can set and reconfigure your MySQL databases, and some CMS’s like WordPress do it for you.

Step 3: Make Your Site Public
Apache by default doesn’t want to make your site public, so you need to go in Apache and turn on the public settings. This will allow not just you to view your site, but the public as well.

Step 4: Domain Names
Setting up your DNS is not the easiest. What you do here is associate your IP address with a particular domain name. This will allow any DNS to pick out your domain name and download your site to get the information they need.


This is the most popular system used for web hosting. Learning about Linux will give you plenty of advantages while using a platform most folks are comfortable with.

Step 1: Use LAMP Software on the Terminal

The first thing you do with your terminal is to write a line of code to start your LAMP software installation. These tutorials will help you get started:

Step 2: Check if your PHP is Working

The way to test your PHP is to place a test file in the webserver root directory. Once there, you can visit the page by going to http://localhost/info.php. At this point, you’ll get a lot of information including the current version of PHP, configuration, and the installed modules. The good news is you can use Ubuntu to get the newest PHP modules. You can also use a simple command-line technique to get the same information as well.

Step 3: Get MySQL Under Control

Testing the MySQL for your site is imperative. This is especially important when you are using a CMS like Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress. Once there, you have to look at the server issue. Unfortunately, like the other servers, these one needs you to guide them. Most of the time, the system itself takes care of these MySQL databases. That said, you may have to enter some manually.

Step 4: DNS Configuration

Use the A record to get the IP address for your server using the dig tool. Once you do this, the next step is to associate your domain name with an IP address. The DNS step is vitally important because getting your domain associated with the IP means people won’t have to type in random numbers to see your site. Use Apache to set up the domain name, the index file, and any other files and set up permissions as well, and that gets your hosting done for you. You can use Namecheap to buy a domain name, read this review to help you decide.

This is just a short intro to self-hosting. You should do more research on security, setting up and maintaining servers, and a lot more. Though it’s a fun thing to do, it still requires a lot of skills and knowledge.


Finally, the third part of our LAMP tutorial series: how to install PHP on Ubuntu. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to install various versions of PHP, including PHP 7.2, PHP 7.3, and the latest PHP 7.4

This tutorial should work for any Ubuntu release and other Ubuntu-based releases. Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, even Ubuntu 19.10.


Tutorials here:

  • Before we begin
  • How to install PHP 7.4 on Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04
  • How to Install PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 16.04
  • How to Install PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 18.04
  • How to Install PHP 7.3 on Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04
  • How to change the PHP version you’re using
  • How to upgrade to PHP 7.3 (or 7.4) on Ubuntu
  • Speed up PHP by using an opcode cache



For the first part of our LAMP series, go to our Ubuntu: How to install Apache

And for the second part, go to How to Install MySQL/MariaDB on Ubuntu



Before we begin installing PHP on Ubuntu


  • PHP has different versions and releases you can use. Starting from the oldest that is currently supported – PHP 7.2, and onto PHP 7.3 and the latest – PHP 7.4. We’ll include instructions for PHP 7.4, PHP 7.2 (the default in Ubuntu 18.04) and the default PHP version in the Ubuntu 16.04 repositories – PHP 7. We recommend that you install PHP 7.3 as it’s stable and has lots of improvements and new features. If you still use PHP 7.1, you definitely need to upgrade ASAP because its security support ended at 2019.
  • You’ll obviously need an Ubuntu server. You can get one from Vultr. Their servers start at $2.5 per month. Or you can go with any other cloud server provider where you have root access to the server.
  • You’ll also need root access to your server. Either use the root user or a user with sudo access. We’ll use the root user in our tutorial so there’s no need to execute each command with ‘sudo’, but if you’re not using the root user, you’ll need to do that.
  • You’ll need SSH enabled if you use Ubuntu or an SSH client like MobaXterm if you use Windows.
  • Check if PHP is already installed on your server. You can use the ‘which php’ command. If it gives you a result, it’s installed, if it doesn’t, PHP is not installed. You can also use the “php -v” command. If one version is installed, you can still upgrade to another.
  • Some shared hosts have already implemented PHP 7.3 and PHP 7.4 in their shared servers, like Hawk Host and SiteGround.

Now, onto our tutorial.


How to install PHP 7 on Ubuntu 16.04

Currently, as of January 2018, the default PHP release in the Ubuntu 16.04 repositories is PHP 7.0. We’ll show you how to install it using Ubuntu’s repository.

You should use PHP 7.2 or 7.3 instead of the default, outdated PHP version in Ubuntu 16.04. Skip these instructions and follow the instructions below for a newer version.


Update Ubuntu

First, before you do anything else, you should update your Ubuntu server:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade


Install PHP

Next, to install PHP, just run the following command:

apt-get install php

This command will install PHP 7.0, as well as some other dependencies:


To verify if PHP is installed, run the following command:

php -v

You should get a response similar to this:



And that’s it. PHP is installed on your Ubuntu server.



Install PHP 7.0 modules

You may need some additional packages and PHP modules in order for PHP to work with your applications. You can install the most commonly needed modules with:

apt-get install php-pear php7.0-dev php7.0-zip php7.0-curl php7.0-gd php7.0-mysql php7.0-mcrypt php7.0-xml libapache2-mod-php7.0


Depending on how and what you’re going to use, you may need additional PHP modules and packages. To check all the PHP modules available in Ubuntu, run:

apt-cache search --names-only ^php
You can tweak the command to only show ^php7.0- packages etc.


If you want to use the latest PHP version, follow the next instructions instead.


How to Install PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 16.04
PHP 7.2 is a stable version of PHP and has many new features, improvements, and bug fixes. You should definitely use it if you want a better, faster website/application.


Update Ubuntu
Of course, as always, first update Ubuntu:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade


Add the PHP repository
You can use a third-party repository to install the latest version of PHP. We’ll use the repository by Ondřej Surý.


First, make sure you have the following package installed so you can add repositories:

apt-get install software-properties-common


Next, add the PHP repository from Ondřej:

add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

And finally, update your package list:

apt-get update


Install PHP 7.2

After you’ve added the repository, you can install PHP 7.2 with the following command:

apt-get install php7.2


This command will install additional packages:


And that’s it.


To check if PHP 7.2 is installed on your server, run the following command:

php -v


Install PHP 7.2 modules
You may need additional packages and modules depending on your applications. The most commonly used modules can be installed with the following command:

apt-get install php-pear php7.2-curl php7.2-dev php7.2-gd php7.2-mbstring php7.2-zip php7.2-mysql php7.2-xml

And that’s all. You can now start using PHP on your Ubuntu server.


If you want to further tweak and configure your PHP, read our instructions below.


How to Install PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 18.04
PHP 7.2 is included by default in Ubuntu’s repositories since version 18.04. So the instructions are pretty similar to PHP 7 for 16.04.


Update Ubuntu
Again, before doing anything, you should update your server:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Install PHP 7.2


Next, to install PHP 7.2 on Ubuntu 18.04, just run the following command:

apt-get install php

This command will install PHP 7.2, as well as some other dependencies.


To verify if PHP is installed, run the following command:

php -v
You should get a response similar to this:

PHP 7.2.3-1ubuntu1 (cli) (built: Mar 14 2018 22:03:58) ( NTS )
And that’s it. PHP 7.2 is installed on your Ubuntu 18.04 server.


Install PHP 7.2 modules
These are the most common PHP 7.2 modules often used by php applications. You may need more or less, so check the requirements of the software you’re planning to use:

apt-get install php-pear php-fpm php-dev php-zip php-curl php-xmlrpc php-gd php-mysql php-mbstring php-xml libapache2-mod-php

To check all the PHP modules available in Ubuntu, run:

apt-cache search --names-only ^php


How to install PHP 7.3 on Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04
PHP 7.3 is a stable version that you can safely use on your servers.

Update Ubuntu

First, update your Ubuntu server:

Add the PHP repository
To install PHP 7.3 you’ll need to use a third-party repository. We’ll use the repository by Ondřej Surý that we previously used.

First, make sure you have the following package installed so you can add repositories:

apt-get install software-properties-common
Next, add the PHP repository from Ondřej:

add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
And finally, update your package list:

apt-get update
Install PHP 7.3

After you’ve added the repository, you can install PHP 7.3 with the following command:

apt-get install php7.3


This command will install additional packages:

…and others.
And that’s it. 


To check if PHP 7.3 is installed on your server Run the following command:

php -v


Install PHP 7.3 modules
You may need additional packages and modules depending on your applications. The most commonly used modules can be installed with the following command:

apt-get install php-pear php7.3-curl php7.3-dev php7.3-gd php7.3-mbstring php7.3-zip php7.3-mysql php7.3-xml
And that’s all. You can now start using PHP on your Ubuntu server.

If you want to further tweak and configure your PHP, read our instructions below.



How to install PHP 7.4 on Ubuntu 18.04 or 16.04

PHP 7.4 is the latest version of PHP that has lots of improvements. The instructions are pretty similar to PHP 7.3.

Update Ubuntu

First, update your Ubuntu server:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Add the PHP repository

To install PHP 7.4 you’ll need to use a third-party repository. We’ll use the repository by Ondřej Surý that we previously used again.


First, make sure you have the following package installed so you can add repositories:

apt-get install software-properties-common
Next, add the PHP repository from Ondřej:

add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

And finally, update your package list:

apt-get update
Install PHP 7.4


After you’ve added the repository, you can install PHP 7.4 with the following command:

apt-get install php7.4

This command will install additional packages:

…and others.

And that’s it. To check if PHP 7.4 is installed on your server, run the following command:

php -v
Install PHP 7.4 modules


You may need additional packages and modules depending on your applications. The most commonly used modules can be installed with the following command:

apt-get install php-pear php7.4-curl php7.4-dev php7.4-gd php7.4-mbstring php7.4-zip php7.4-mysql php7.4-xml

And that’s all. You can now start using PHP on your Ubuntu server.

If you want to further tweak and configure your PHP, read our instructions below.


How to change the PHP version you’re using
If you have multiple PHP versions installed on your Ubuntu server, you can change what version is the default one.

To set PHP 7.2 as the default, run:

update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.2


To set PHP 7.3 as the default, run:

update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.3


To set PHP 7.4 as the default, run:

update-alternatives --set php /usr/bin/php7.4


If you’re following our LAMP tutorials and you’re using Apache, you can configure Apache to use PHP 7.3 with the following command:

a2enmod php7.3

And then restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2


How to upgrade to PHP 7.3 or 7.4 on Ubuntu

If you’re already using an older version of PHP with some of your applications, you can upgrade by:

  • Backup everything.
  • Install the newest PHP and required modules.
  • Change the default version you’re using.
  • (Optionally) Remove the older PHP (Required) Configure your software to use the new PHP version. You’ll most likely need to configure Nginx/Apache, and many other services/applications. If you’re not sure what you need to do, contact professionals and let them do it for you.
  • Speed up PHP by using an opcode cache
  • You can improve the performance of your PHP by using a caching method. We’ll use APCu, but there are other alternatives available.


If you have the ‘php-pear’ module installed (we included it in our instructions above), you can install APCu with the following command:

pecl install apcu

There are also other ways you can install APCu, including using a package.


To start using APCu, you should run the following command for PHP 7.2:

echo "" | tee -a /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/cache.ini

Or this command for PHP 7.3:

echo "" | tee -a /etc/php/7.3/mods-available/cache.ini


And the following command for PHP 7.4:

echo "" | tee -a /etc/php/7.4/mods-available/cache.ini
If you’re following our LAMP tutorials and you’re using Apache, create a symlink for the file you’ve just created.

For PHP 7.2:

ln -s /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/cache.ini /etc/php/7.2/apache2/conf.d/30-cache.ini


For PHP 7.3:

ln -s /etc/php/7.3/mods-available/cache.ini /etc/php/7.3/apache2/conf.d/30-cache.ini


For PHP 7.4:

ln -s /etc/php/7.4/mods-available/cache.ini /etc/php/7.4/apache2/conf.d/30-cache.ini


And finally, reload Apache for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2

To further configure APCu and how it works, you can add some additional lines to the cache.ini file you previously created. The best configuration depends on what kind of server you’re using, what applications you are using etc. Either google it and find a configuration that works for you, or contact professionals and let them do it for you.

That’s it for our basic setup. Of course, there are much more options and configurations you can do, but we’ll leave them for another tutorial.


Saturday, 30 May 2020 17:07

How to Install MySQL/MariaDB on Ubuntu


This tutorial is intended for Ubuntu servers, the instructions should work on any LTS release of Ubuntu, including Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, even non-LTS releases like Ubuntu 19.10 and other Ubuntu-based distros. We tested this on an Ubuntu 18.04 server.


For the first part of our LAMP series, go to our Ubuntu: How to install Apache


Before we begin installing MySQL/MariaDB Some requirements and other notes:



  • MySQL and MariaDB are almost identical when it comes to basic usage in a LAMP stack. Most commands are the same, even the installation is similar. Choose one and install it for your LAMP stack, we’ll include instructions for both.
  • You’ll need an Ubuntu server to run MySQL/MariaDB on. We recommend Vultr, they offer a $2.5 per month instance which is more than enough for a simple LAMP stack. You can compare other cloud server providers too.
  • You’ll need the root user or a user with sudo access to the server. The commands below are all executed by a root user, so we didn’t have to append ‘sudo’ to each command. You’ll likely have to if you use a non-root user.
  • You’ll need SSH enabled if you use Ubuntu or an SSH client like MobaXterm if you use Windows.
    MySQL/MariaDB may already be installed on your server. You can check if they’re installed by entering “mysql” or “mariadb” and you should know based on the output.

That’s it for now. Let’s move onto our tutorial.


How to install MySQL on Ubuntu
We’ll start with MySQL. If you want to install MariaDB, skip to the MariaDB instructions.


Update Ubuntu
First of all, as always, before you do anything else, update your Ubuntu server by running the following command:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade


Install MySQL
Then, install MySQL by running the following command:

apt-get install mysql-server
This command will install both the MySQL server and client. You’ll get a prompt to enter a password for your root user.

That’s it. MySQL is installed. Now, you need to secure and configure it.


Secure MySQL
You should run the mysql_secure_installation script that will help you secure your MySQL.


Start the script with the following command:

And respond to the prompts. You can respond with the default to each prompt.


Optimize MySQL (advanced users only)
To optimize your MySQL, you can use the MySQLTuner script. It does NOT do all the work for you. The script will only give you recommendations on how you can improve and optimize your MySQL.

Download and run the script with the following command:

curl -L | perl
And check the recommendations. Do some research and use google for each recommendation. If you don’t know what you’re doing, contact someone else and let them do it for you or just skip this.


You can also use mysqlcheck to repair your databases. You can repair all your databases with a single command:

mysqlcheck -A --auto-repair -u root -p
There are other optimizations you can do on your server and databases, so do your own research if you want to further optimize MySQL.



How to install MariaDB on Ubuntu

Now for our MariaDB installation instructions.


Update Ubuntu
First, update your Ubuntu server:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Add the MariaDB repository
Before you can install MariaDB, you need to add the MariaDB repository.


Depending on your Ubuntu release, you may need to run different commands, so go to the official MariaDB repository page, select your distro and choose a mirror closest to your server’s location. Then, copy the commands you’ll get on the page. We use Ubuntu 16.04.1 and we chose a US mirror, so we’ll run these commands to add the repository:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver hkp:// 0xF1656F24C74CD1D8
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb [arch=amd64,arm64,ppc64el] bionic main'

Next, you need to update your package list again:

apt-get update
And move onto installing MariaDB.


Install MariaDB
After you’ve added the MariaDB repository, you can install it by running the following command:

apt-get install mariadb-server
And that’s it. You’ve installed MariaDB on your server.


Secure MariaDB
It’s the same process as with MySQL. Run the security script with the following command:

And follow the prompts. You can enter the default for each prompt. Of course, use a strong password.


Optimize MariaDB (advanced users only)
Again, same with MySQL, you can use MySQLTuner to check your MariaDB and get recommendations on how to improve it. It does NOT do all the work for you. The script will only give you recommendations on how you can improve and optimize your MariaDB.


Run the script with:

curl -L | perl
And check the recommendations. Do some research and use google for each recommendation. If you don’t know what you’re doing, contact someone else and let them do it for you or just skip this.

Mysqlcheck works with MariaDB too, so to optimize all your MariaDB databases at once, run the following command:

mysqlcheck -A --auto-repair -u root -p
There are other optimizations you can do on your server and databases, so do your own research if you want to further optimize MariaDB


Saturday, 30 May 2020 15:55

Ubuntu: How to install Apache


These instructions should work on any Ubuntu-based distro, including Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and even non-LTS Ubuntu releases like tested and written for Ubuntu 18.04.

Apache (aka httpd) is the most popular and most widely used web server, so this should be useful for everyone.


Before we begin installing Apache
Some requirements and notes before we begin:



  • Apache may already be installed on your server, so check if it is first. You can do so with the “apachectl -V” command that outputs the Apache version you’re using and some other information.
  • You’ll need an Ubuntu server. You can buy one from Vultr, they’re one of the best and cheapest cloud hosting providers. Their servers start from $2.5 per month.
  • You’ll need the root user or a user with sudo access. All commands below are executed by the root user so we didn’t have to append ‘sudo’ to each command.
  • You’ll need SSH enabled if you use Ubuntu or an SSH client like MobaXterm if you use Windows.

That’s most of it. Let’s move onto the installation.


Install Apache on Ubuntu

The first thing you always need to do is update Ubuntu before you do anything else. You can do so by running:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
Next, to install Apache, run the following command:

apt-get install apache2
If you want to, you can also install the Apache documentation and some Apache utilities. You’ll need the Apache utilities for some of the modules we’ll install later.

apt-get install apache2-doc apache2-utils
And that’s it. You’ve successfully installed Apache.

You’ll still need to configure it.


Configure and Optimize Apache on Ubuntu
There are various configs you can do on Apache, but the main and most common ones are explained below.


Check if Apache is running
By default, Apache is configured to start automatically on boot, so you don’t have to enable it. You can check if it’s running and other relevant information with the following command:

systemctl status apache2



And you can check what version you’re using with

apachectl -V

A simpler way of checking this is by visiting your server’s IP address. If you get the default Apache page, then everything’s working fine.


Update your firewall

If you use a firewall (which you should), you’ll probably need to update your firewall rules and allow access to the default ports. The most common firewall used on Ubuntu is UFW, so the instructions below are for UFW.

To allow traffic through both the 80 (http) and 443 (https) ports, run the following command:

ufw allow 'Apache Full'

Install common Apache modules

Some modules are frequently recommended and you should install them. We’ll include instructions for the most common ones:


Speed up your website with the PageSpeed module
The PageSpeed module will optimize and speed up your Apache server automatically.

First, go to the PageSpeed download page and choose the file you need. We’re using a 64-bit Ubuntu server and we’ll install the latest stable version. Download it using wget:


Then, install it with the following commands:

dpkg -i mod-pagespeed-stable_current_amd64.deb
apt-get -f install

Restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2

Enable rewrites/redirects using the mod_rewrite module
This module is used for rewrites (redirects), as the name suggests. You’ll need it if you use WordPress or any other CMS for that matter. To install it, just run:

a2enmod rewrite
And restart Apache again. You may need some extra configurations depending on what CMS you’re using, if any. Google it for specific instructions for your setup.

Secure your Apache with the ModSecurity module
ModSecurity is a module used for security, again, as the name suggests. It basically acts as a firewall, and it monitors your traffic. To install it, run the following command:

apt-get install libapache2-modsecurity

And restart Apache again:

systemctl restart apache2

ModSecurity comes with a default setup that’s enough by itself, but if you want to extend it, you can use the OWASP rule set.


Block DDoS attacks using the mod_evasive module
You can use the mod_evasive module to block and prevent DDoS attacks on your server, though it’s debatable how useful it is in preventing attacks. To install it, use the following command:

apt-get install libapache2-mod-evasive

By default, mod_evasive is disabled, to enable it, edit the following file:

nano /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/evasive.conf
And uncomment all the lines (remove #) and configure it per your requirements. You can leave everything as-is if you don’t know what to edit.


And create a log file:

mkdir /var/log/mod_evasive
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/log/mod_evasive


That’s it. Now restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2
There are additional modules you can install and configure, but it’s all up to you and the software you’re using. They’re usually not required. Even the 4 modules we included are not required. If a module is required for a specific application, then they’ll probably note that.


Optimize Apache with the Apache2Buddy script
Apache2Buddy is a script that will automatically fine-tune your Apache configuration. The only thing you need to do is run the following command and the script does the rest automatically:

 curl -sL | perl


You may need to install curl if you don’t have it already installed. Use the following command to install curl:

apt-get install curl

Additional configurations
There’s some extra stuff you can do with Apache, but we’ll leave them for another tutorial. Stuff like enabling http/2 support, turning off (or on) KeepAlive, tuning your Apache even more. You don’t have to do any of this, but you can find tutorials online and do it if you can’t wait for our tutorials.


Create your first website with Apache
Now that we’re done with all the tuning, let’s move onto creating an actual website. Follow our instructions to create a simple HTML page and a virtual host that’s going to run on Apache.

The first thing you need to do is create a new directory for your website. Run the following command to do so:

mkdir -p /var/www/
Of course, replace with your desired domain. You can get a cheap domain name from Namecheap.

Don’t forget to replace in all of the commands below.


Next, create a simple, static web page. Create the HTML file:

nano /var/www/

And paste this:

Simple Page

If you're seeing this in your browser then everything works.

Save and close the file.


Configure the permissions of the directory:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/
chmod -R og-r /var/www/


Create a new virtual host for your site:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/


And paste the following:

ServerAdmin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DocumentRoot /var/www/

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

This is a basic virtual host. You may need a more advanced .conf file depending on your setup.

Save and close the file after updating everything accordingly.


Now, enable the virtual host with the following command:


And finally, restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

systemctl restart apache2

That’s it. You’re done. Now you can visit and view your page.


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