Mastodon is a free and open source self-hosted social network server licensed under AGPLv3. Mastodon is similar in features to Twitter and allows you to publish links, text, video and pictures and share in the globally interconnected microblogging community. In this post, we will discuss how to install Mastodon on Ubuntu 18.04 Linux secured with Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate.
Mastodon has a number of dependencies that must be installed. They include Ruby, PostgreSQL, Node.js, Yarn, Redis, Nginx e.t.c. Our steps will discuss all the steps required to have a running Mastodon on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Top Features of Mastodon
- No vendor lock-in: Fully interoperable with any conforming platform
- Real-time, chronological timeline updates: See the updates of people you’re following appear in real-time in the UI via WebSockets
- Safety and moderation tools: Private posts, locked accounts, phrase filtering, muting, blocking and all sorts of other features, along with a reporting and moderation system.
- Media attachments like images and short videos: Upload and view images and WebM/MP4 videos attached to the updates. Videos with no audio track are treated like GIFs; normal videos are looped – like vines!
- OAuth2 and a straightforward REST API: Mastodon acts as an OAuth2 provider so 3rd party apps can use the REST and Streaming APIs, resulting in a rich app ecosystem with a lot of choices!
The following pieces of software are required when setting up Mastodon on Ubuntu 18.04 Linux.
- PostgreSQL 9.5+
- Ruby 2.4+
- Node.js 8+
We assume you have the following ready as well.
- A running Ubuntu 18.04 machine
- A domain name (or a subdomain) for the Mastodon server, e.g. example.com or social.example.com
- An e-mail delivery service or other SMTP server to use for notifications.
Step 1: Update System
Ensure your server is updated:
sudo apt -y update && sudo apt -y upgrade sudo reboot
Step 2: Install Node.js & Yarn
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x | sudo bash - sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
Confirm successful installation by checking the version:
$ nodejs --version v8.10.0
curl -sS https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/pubkey.gpg | sudo apt-key add - echo "deb https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list sudo apt update sudo apt -y install yarn
Step 3: Install other dependency packages
There are a number of system dependency packages required to run Mastodon on Ubuntu 18.04. Let’s ensure these packages are installed locally.
sudo apt install -y imagemagick ffmpeg libpq-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev file git-core g++ libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler pkg-config nodejs gcc autoconf bison build-essential libssl-dev libyaml-dev libreadline6-dev zlib1g-dev libncurses5-dev libffi-dev libgdbm5 libgdbm-dev nginx redis-server redis-tools certbot python-certbot-nginx yarn libidn11-dev libicu-dev libjemalloc-dev
Step 4: Install Ruby
The preferred way of running Ruby is with rbenv since it allows you to manage multiple versions easily. We’ll create a Mastodon user to be used for these operations.
sudo adduser --disabled-login mastodon sudo su - mastodon
Then install rbenv and rbenv-build:
git clone https://github.com/rbenv/rbenv.git ~/.rbenv cd ~/.rbenv && src/configure && make -C src echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.rbenv/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bashrc echo 'eval "$(rbenv init -)"' >> ~/.bashrc exec bash git clone https://github.com/rbenv/ruby-build.git ~/.rbenv/plugins/ruby-build
Once this is done, we can install the correct Ruby version:
RUBY_CONFIGURE_OPTS=--with-jemalloc rbenv install 2.6.5 rbenv global 2.6.5
The default gem version shipped with ruby_2.6.0 is incompatible with latest bundler, so we need to update gem and install bundler.
gem update --system gem install bundler --no-document exit
Step 5: Install PostgreSQL Database server
Use our PostgreSQL installation guide:
Creating a user:
sudo -u postgres psql CREATE USER mastodon CREATEDB; \q
Step 6: Setting up Mastodon
It is time to download the Mastodon code. First switch from root or your user account to the mastodon user:
sudo apt -y install git sudo su - mastodon
Clone the Mastodon code:
git clone https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon.git live && cd live git checkout $(git tag -l | grep -v 'rc[0-9]*$' | sort -V | tail -n 1)
Installing the last dependencies:
gem install bundler:1.17.3 bundle install -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) --deployment --without development test yarn install --pure-lockfile
Run the interactive wizard to generate a configuration:
RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake mastodon:setup
Fill required information:
/home/mastodon/.rbenv/versions/2.6.5/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/bundler-1.17.3/lib/bundler/rubygems_integration.rb:200: warning: constant Gem::ConfigMap is deprecated Your instance is identified by its domain name. Changing it afterward will break things. Domain name: example.com Single user mode disables registrations and redirects the landing page to your public profile. Do you want to enable single user mode? yes Are you using Docker to run Mastodon? no PostgreSQL host: /var/run/postgresql PostgreSQL port: 5432 Name of PostgreSQL database: mastodon_production Name of PostgreSQL user: mastodon Password of PostgreSQL user: Database configuration works! 🎆 Redis host: localhost Redis port: 6379 Redis password: Redis configuration works! 🎆 Do you want to store uploaded files on the cloud? No Do you want to send e-mails from localhost? yes E-mail address to send e-mails "from": Mastodon <[email protected]> Send a test e-mail with this configuration right now? no This configuration will be written to .env.production Save configuration? Yes
Agree to compile assets when prompted:
Done! The final step is compiling CSS/JS assets. This may take a while and consume a lot of RAM. Compile the assets now? Yes Running `RAILS_ENV=production rails assets:precompile` ... /home/mastodon/.rbenv/versions/2.6.5/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/bundler-1.17.3/lib/bundler/rubygems_integration.rb:200: warning: constant Gem::ConfigMap is deprecated /home/mastodon/.rbenv/versions/2.6.5/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/bundler-1.17.3/lib/bundler/rubygems_integration.rb:200: warning: constant Gem::ConfigMap is deprecated /home/mastodon/.rbenv/versions/2.6.5/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/bundler-1.17.3/lib/bundler/rubygems_integration.rb:200: warning: constant Gem::ConfigMap is deprecated yarn install v1.21.1 [1/6] Validating package.json... [2/6] Resolving packages... [3/6] Fetching packages... info [email protected]: The platform "linux" is incompatible with this module. info "[email protected]" is an optional dependency and failed compatibility check. Excluding it from installation. info [email protected]: The platform "linux" is incompatible with this module. info "[email protected]" is an optional dependency and failed compatibility check. Excluding it from installation. [4/6] Linking dependencies... warning " > [email protected]" has incorrect peer dependency "[email protected]^3.0.0 || ^4.0.0 || ^5.0.0". [5/6] Building fresh packages... [6/6] Cleaning modules... Done in 12.60s. .....
Agree to create admin account
Done! All done! You can now power on the Mastodon server 🐘 Do you want to create an admin user straight away? Yes Username: admin E-mail: [email protected] You can login with the password: 1b417e401f44c3db5d30f2f2f2a2328b You can change your password once you login.
Step 7: Setting up nginx for Mastodon
We’ll use Nginx as a reverse proxy to our Mastodon application. Check if nginx service is running:
$ systemctl status nginx ● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Tue 2020-01-07 08:25:31 UTC; 7h ago Docs: man:nginx(8) Main PID: 14626 (nginx) Tasks: 2 (limit: 2361) CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service ├─14626 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; └─14629 nginx: worker process
Now copy the configuration template for nginx from the Mastodon directory:
sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf
Edit the file to set correct DNS name for your application:
sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf
Once done, activate the configuration:
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/mastodon.conf sudo systemctl restart nginx
If you have ufw firewall running, allow the service port:
sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'
Using Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate
If you want to use a Let’s Encrypt Certificate, run the command below:
sudo certbot --nginx -d example.com
$ sudo certbot --nginx -d social.computingforgeeks.com Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log Plugins selected: Authenticator nginx, Installer nginx Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter 'c' to cancel): [email protected] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Please read the Terms of Service at https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must agree in order to register with the ACME server at https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (A)gree/(C)ancel: A - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about our work encrypting the web, EFF news, campaigns, and ways to support digital freedom. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (Y)es/(N)o: Y Obtaining a new certificate Performing the following challenges: http-01 challenge for social.computingforgeeks.com Waiting for verification... Cleaning up challenges Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/mastodon.conf Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration. 2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this change by editing your web server's configuration. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2 Redirecting all traffic on port 80 to ssl in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/mastodon.conf - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://social.computingforgeeks.com You should test your configuration at: https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=social.computingforgeeks.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - IMPORTANT NOTES: - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at: /etc/letsencrypt/live/social.computingforgeeks.com/fullchain.pem Your key file has been saved at: /etc/letsencrypt/live/social.computingforgeeks.com/privkey.pem Your cert will expire on 2020-04-06. To obtain a new or tweaked version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of your certificates, run "certbot renew" - Your account credentials have been saved in your Certbot configuration directory at /etc/letsencrypt. You should make a secure backup of this folder now. This configuration directory will also contain certificates and private keys obtained by Certbot so making regular backups of this folder is ideal. - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by: Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/donate Donating to EFF: https://eff.org/donate-le
Substituting example.com with your actual domain name for Mastodon application.
Step 8: Setting up systemd services
Copy the systemd service templates from the Mastodon directory:
sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/mastodon-*.service /etc/systemd/system/
Then edit the files to make sure the username and paths are correct:
Finally, start and enable the new systemd services:
sudo systemctl daemon-reload for i in web sidekiq streaming; do sudo systemctl enable mastodon-$i && sudo systemctl restart mastodon-$i; done
Check status of all services:
for i in web sidekiq streaming; do systemctl status mastodon-$i; done
Step 9: Access Mastodon Dashboard
Now visit your domain in the browser to access Mastodon dashboard.
Click the login button to login. I’ll use the admin username email address and password generated earlier.
Go through initial tutorial to finish setup.
You should now be greeted with an awesome Mastodon dashboard.
Hurray!, You have successfully installed Mastodon on Ubuntu 18.04 Linux.