Debian 9 Stretch RC3 Dedicated Web Server Setup Step by Step. Time for PHP7 and MariaDB

Debian 9 (Stretch) release candidate 3 (RC3) is available since April 10th, 2017. Debian 9 RC3 is still a “testing” release (not recommended for production servers). Which is the release date of stable Debian 9?“When it’s ready” is the Debian answer. But, as Full freeze announced on February 5th, 2017 we can suppose that the final stable release will be available in about six months (mid of 2017). Please, note that no major differences are added after Full freeze (only bug fixes).

There are two very important changes in Debian 9 (Stretch):

  • PHP 7 is the default PHP version
    In addition to the new features, version 7 of PHP is much more faster than PHP 5.6.
  • MariaDB is the default MySQL flavor

So, it is crucial to test your projects, probably based on php 5.* and MySQL, in order to use Debian 9 official release in your server.

For this purpose, I setup Debian 9 RC3 in a virtual machine using Virtualbox. As MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL, moving to MariaDB seems to be easy. Use mysqldump to export your databases and then import them to MariaDB. You may encounter some problems moving to php7, depending on your php code. But generally, the migration is not so difficult. Below I describe my experience.


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