This guide was written for Ubuntu Server 18.04. You may run into issues if you are using another operating system.
It is assumed that you have technical knowledge and skills sufficient to administer Linux servers and scale them, if necessary. Gab Social communities that succeed have no upper limit to the maximum amount of users, posts, attachments, and problems related to operating publicly-accessible online communities at scale. Fortunately, Gab Social does not require you to operate at scale. You can run this server in single-user mode, which guarantees users complete ownership of all their data while still participating in the Gab Platform.
This document describes how to prepare a host for development, test, and production service.
This guide is a walk through of the setup process of a Gab Social instance.
We use example.com to represent a domain or sub-domain. Example.com should be replaced with your instance domain or sub-domain.
You will need the following for this guide:
DNS records should be added before anything is done on the server.
The records added are:
A Helpful And Optional Note
tmuxwhen following through with this guide will be helpful.
Not only will this help you not lose your place if you are disconnected, it will let you have multiple terminal windows open for switching contexts (root user versus the gabsocial user).
You can install tmux from the package manager:
apt -y install tmux
All dependencies should be installed as root.
Starting with .1-release Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (not 18.04), Canonical has removed the multiverse, universe and restricted repository from the sources.list file in /etc/apt/. It is now necessary to add those repositories, otherwise the installation of the following dependencies will fail. Simply run the following commands:
add-apt-repository universe add-apt-repository multiverse add-apt-repository restricted apt update
apt -y install imagemagick ffmpeg libpq-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev file git-core g++ libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler pkg-config 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 postgresql postgresql-contrib certbot libidn11-dev libicu-dev
Let us create this user first:
Log in as the
sudo su - gabsocial
Node Version Manager is a tool used for managing Node.js deployments. By convention at Gab, we only use Node.js as a standard user. No part of Node.js is managed or executed with superuser privileges. Those responsibilities are handled by Nginx later in this document.
curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.34.0/install.sh | bash
Refresh your user session to pick up the environment changes added by
nvm. Then, let's install Node.js v10.15.3LTS, verify that it was installed correctly, and install Yarn:
# ask NVM to install 10.15.3LTS nvm install 10.15.3 --lts # ask Node to print it's version number and exit. node --version # (should display) v10.15.3 # Install Yarn, globally npm install -g yarn
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 # Restart shell exec bash # Check if rbenv is correctly installed type rbenv # Install ruby-build as rbenv plugin git clone https://github.com/rbenv/ruby-build.git ~/.rbenv/plugins/ruby-build
To enable Ruby, run:
# We recommend watching videos on BitChute while this procedure # ruins your whole machine forever. rbenv install 2.6.1 # set the global RoR environment to version 2.6.1 rbenv global 2.6.1
Run the following to clone and install:
# Return to gabsocial user's home directory cd ~ # Clone the gabsocial git repository into ~/live git clone https://code.gab.com/gab/social/gab-social live # Or, clone the developer version (requires credentials) git clone https://code.gab.com/gab/social/gab-social live # Change directory to ~/live cd ~/live # Checkout to the latest stable branch git checkout $(git tag -l | grep -v 'rc[0-9]*$' | sort -V | tail -n 1) # Install bundler gem install bundler # Use bundler to install the rest of the Ruby dependencies bundle install -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) --deployment --without development test # Use yarn to install node.js dependencies yarn install --pure-lockfile
That is all we need to do for now with the
gabsocial user, you can now
exit back to root.
If you plan on deploying more than one front-end app server, you may want to consider using a host image once you are done setting up all dependencies. That
rbenv install 2.6.1 command only gets intensely worse on anemic shared cloud hosts, and the
bundle install nonsense is just out of control.
The remainder of the setup procedure is quick (esp. when automated). If you want to leave the rest of your setup dynamic, now is really the right time to snapshot the host. You will save yourself a lot of deployment time in the days and months to come.
Eventually, the Ruby On Rails dependencies are going away. This is a stop-gap solution while we continue our migration to a Gab-native implementation of ActivityPub/GNU Social on HYDRA.
Create a user for a PostgreSQL instance:
# Launch psql as the postgres user sudo -u postgres psql # In the following prompt CREATE USER gabsocial CREATEDB; \q
Note that we do not set up a password of any kind, this is because we will be using ident authentication. This allows local users to access the database without a password.
Reminder: Replace all occurrences of example.com with your own instance's domain or sub-domain.
/etc/nginx/sites-available and open a new file:
Copy and paste the following and make edits as necessary:
Activate the nginx configuration added:
cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled ln -s ../sites-available/example.com.conf
This configuration makes the assumption you are using Let's Encrypt as your TLS certificate provider.
If you are going to be using Let's Encrypt as your TLS certificate provider, see the
next sub-section. If not edit the
This section is only relevant if you are using Let's Encrypt as your TLS certificate provider.
We need to generate Let's Encrypt certificates.
Make sure to replace any occurrence of 'example.com' with your Gab Social instance's domain.
Make sure that nginx is stopped at this point:
systemctl stop nginx
We will be creating the certificate twice, once with TLS SNI validation in standalone mode and the second time we will be using the webroot method. This is required due to the way nginx and the Let's Encrypt tool works.
certbot certonly --standalone -d example.com
After that successfully completes, we will use the webroot method. This requires nginx to be running:
systemctl start nginx # The certbot tool will ask if you want to keep the existing certificate or renew it. Choose to renew it. certbot certonly --webroot -d example.com -w /home/gabsocial/live/public/
Let's Encrypt certificates have a validity period of 90 days.
You need to renew your certificate before the expiration date. Not doing so will make users of your instance unable to access the instance and users of other instances unable to federate with yours.
We can create a cron job that runs daily to do this:
Copy and paste this script into that file:
#!/usr/bin/env bash certbot renew systemctl reload nginx
Save and exit the file.
Make the script executable and restart the cron daemon so that the script runs daily:
chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/letsencrypt-renew systemctl restart cron
That is it. Your server will renew your Let's Encrypt certificate.
We will configure the Gab Social application.
For this we will switch to the
gabsocial system user:
sudo su - gabsocial
Change directory to
~/live and run the Gab Social setup wizard:
cd ~/live RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake gabsocial:setup
cd ~/live RAILS_ENV=production rails assets:precompile
The interactive wizard will guide you through basic and necessary options, generate new app secrets, setup the database schema and precompile the assets.
The assets precompilation takes a couple minutes, so this is a good time to take another break.
We will need three systemd service files for each Gab Social service.
Now switch back to the root user.
For the Gab Social web workers service place the following in
[Unit] Description=gabsocial-web After=network.target [Service] Type=simple User=gabsocial WorkingDirectory=/home/gabsocial/live Environment="RAILS_ENV=production" Environment="PORT=3000" ExecStart=/home/gabsocial/.rbenv/shims/bundle exec puma -C config/puma.rb ExecReload=/bin/kill -SIGUSR1 $MAINPID TimeoutSec=15 Restart=always [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
For Gab Social background queue service, place the following in
[Unit] Description=gabsocial-sidekiq After=network.target [Service] Type=simple User=gabsocial WorkingDirectory=/home/gabsocial/live Environment="RAILS_ENV=production" Environment="DB_POOL=5" ExecStart=/home/gabsocial/.rbenv/shims/bundle exec sidekiq -c 5 -q default -q push -q mailers -q pull TimeoutSec=15 Restart=always [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
For the Gab Social streaming API service place the following in
[Unit] Description=gabsocial-streaming After=network.target [Service] Type=simple User=gabsocial WorkingDirectory=/home/gabsocial/live Environment="NODE_ENV=production" Environment="PORT=4000" ExecStart=/usr/bin/npm run start TimeoutSec=15 Restart=always [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
Now you need to enable all of these services:
systemctl enable /etc/systemd/system/gabsocial-*.service
Now start the services:
systemctl start gabsocial-*.service
Check that they are properly running:
systemctl status gabsocial-*.service
Gab Social downloads media attachments from other instances and caches it locally for viewing. This cache can grow quite large if not cleaned up periodically and can cause issues such as low disk space or a bloated S3 bucket.
The recommended method to clean up the remote media cache is a cron job that runs daily like so (put this in the gabsocial system user's crontab with
RAILS_ENV=production @daily cd /home/gabsocial/live && /home/gabsocial/.rbenv/shims/bundle exec rake gabsocial:media:remove_remote
That rake task removes cached remote media attachments that are older than NUM_DAYS, NUM_DAYS defaults to 7 days (1 week) if not specified. NUM_DAYS is another environment variable so you can specify it like so:
RAILS_ENV=production NUM_DAYS=14 @daily cd /home/gabsocial/live && /home/gabsocial/.rbenv/shims/bundle exec rake gabsocial:media:remove_remote
If you plan on receiving email notifications or running more than just a single-user instance, you likely will want to get set up with an email provider.
There are several free email providers out there- a couple of decent ones are Mailgun.com, which requires a credit card but gives 10,000 free emails, and Sparkpost.com, which gives 15,000 with no credit card but requires you not be on a .space tld.
It may be easier to use a subdomain to setup your email with a custom provider - in this case, when registering your domain with the email service, sign up as something like "mail.domain.com"
Once you create your account, follow the instructions each provider gives you for updating your DNS records. Once you have all the information ready to go and the service validates your DNS configuration, edit your config file. These records should already exist in the configuration, but here's a sample setup that uses Mailgun that you can replace with your own personal info:
SMTP_SERVER=smtp.mailgun.org SMTP_PORT=587 SMTP_LOGIN=anAccountThatIsntPostmaster@gabsocial.domain.com SMTP_PASSWORD=HolySnacksAPassword SMTP_FROM_ADDRESS=Domain.com Gab Social Admin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Finally, to test this, spin up a Rails console (see the administration guide) and run the following commands to test this out:
m = UserMailer.new.mail to:'email@example.com', subject: 'test', body: 'awoo' m.deliver
That is all! If everything was done correctly, a Gab Social instance will appear when you visit
https://example.com in a web browser.
Congratulations and welcome to Gab Social!