The article provides a detailed walkthrough on how to install and use the Mastodon social networking CMS on Ubuntu Linux. Mastodon, a free and open-source CMS supports microblogging features; it is self-hosted, and supports interaction via mobile devices. The installation process involves steps such as setting up dependencies, installing Node.js, Yarn, PostgreSQL, Ruby, and finally setting up Mastodon along with managing its services and setting up an SSL certification.
This article describes installing Mastodon social networking CMS on Ubuntu Linux.
Like Twitter and Facebook, Mastodon offers microblogging features that allow users to post messages, including images, follow others, and create other content.
You can self-host Mastodon on your server in your environment. Users can interact with your server via mobile devices, including Android, macOS, and others.
How to Install Mastodon Social Network CMS on Ubuntu Linux
Below is how to install it on Ubuntu Linux.
First, prepare and install package dependencies, allowing you to install and run Mastodon.
Run the commands below to update Ubuntu and install dependencies for Mastodon.
sudo apt update sudo apt install software-properties-common dirmngr apt-transport-https ca-certificates redis-server curl gcc g++ make imagemagick ffmpeg libpq-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev file git-core libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler pkg-config autoconf bison build-essential libssl-dev libyaml-dev libreadline-dev libidn11-dev libicu-dev libjemalloc-dev zlib1g-dev libncurses5-dev libffi-dev libgdbm-dev
Once you have installed the packages above, continue below.
Install Node.js and Yarn
Add the Node.js repository to Ubuntu by running the commands below.
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_16.x | sudo bash -
After that, run the commands below to install Node.js.
sudo apt install nodejs
Additional Node.js resources can be found in the post below.
After installing Node.js, go and also install Yarn.
Run the commands below to add Yarn’s repository GPG key and file.
curl -sL 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
Finally, run the commands below to update the Ubuntu package index and install Yarn.
sudo apt update sudo apt install yarn
Additional Yarn resources can be found in the post below:
Mastodon needs a database server to store its content. It uses the PostgreSQL database server for that.
Run the commands below to install PostgreSQL.
sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-contrib
After installing, log on to the PostgreSQL database shell.
sudo su - postgres psql
Run the commands below to create a Mastodon user on the command shell.
CREATE USER mastodon CREATEDB;
Additional resources on PostgreSQL can be found in the post below.
Again, Mastodon is developed in Ruby on Rails. It needs Ruby installed to function. We will create a system account to create an environment to run Ruby.
Run the commands below to create a system account named Mastodon.
sudo adduser --disabled-login --gecos 'Mastodon Server' mastodon
Next, switch to the account by typing the commands below.
sudo su - mastodon
Then, create a Ruby environment.
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
Finally, install Ruby and update dependencies.
RUBY_CONFIGURE_OPTS=--with-jemalloc rbenv install 3.0.3 rbenv global 3.0.3 gem update --system gem install bundler --no-document
At this point, your system should be ready for Mastodon. Run the commands below to switch to the Mastodon account.
sudo su - mastodon
The clone is the latest version of Mastodon.
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)
Next, install all dependencies.
bundle config deployment 'true' bundle config without 'development test' bundle install -j$(getconf _NPROCESSORS_ONLN) yarn install --pure-lockfile
Set up Mastodon by running the commands below.
RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake mastodon:setup
Answer the questions to the prompts as shown below.
Your instance is identified by its domain name. Changing it afterward will break things. Domain name: mastodon.example.com Single user mode disables registrations and redirects the landing page to your public profile. Do you want to enable single user mode? No 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? No SMTP server: smtp.mailgun.org SMTP port: 587 SMTP username: SMTP password: SMTP authentication: plain SMTP OpenSSL verify mode: none E-mail address to send e-mails "from": Mastodon <firstname.lastname@example.org> Send a test e-mail with this configuration right now? No This configuration will be written to .env.production Save configuration? Yes Now that configuration is saved, the database schema must be loaded. If the database already exists, this will erase its contents. Prepare the database now? Yes Running `RAILS_ENV=production rails db:setup` ... Created database 'mastodon' 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` ...
You’ll be prompted to create an admin account. Please do it.
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@example.com You can login with the password: 1c9e2ce773933bec6a71dccd9b889d0a You can change your password once you login.
Exit when all is done above.
Create a Systemd Service for Mastodon
You want to create a systemd service to efficiently manage the Mastodon service. Then, run the commands below to copy pre-configured scripts to use.
sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/mastodon-web.service /etc/systemd/system/ sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/mastodon-sidekiq.service /etc/systemd/system/ sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/mastodon-streaming.service /etc/systemd/system/
Reload systemd daemon
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
Now, you should be able to start all necessary Mastodon services.
sudo systemctl start mastodon-web sudo systemctl start mastodon-sidekiq sudo systemctl start mastodon-streaming sudo systemctl enable mastodon-web sudo systemctl enable mastodon-sidekiq sudo systemctl enable mastodon-streaming
Setup Nginx reverse proxy for Mastodon
Mastodon is SSL enabled by default. You must set up an SSL certificate to use with Mastodon. You can use Let’s Encrypt free SSL with Mastodon; below is how to do it.
Run the commands below to install Certbot and Nginx HTTP server.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot sudo apt update sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx
Please read the post below for additional resources on installing and creating Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for Nginx.
After installing, run the commands below to use Mastodon’s default Nginx server block config setting to create the Nginx server block.
sudo cp /home/mastodon/live/dist/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf sudo sed -i 's/example.com/mastodon.example.com/g' /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
If you can’t get the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your local host, use the default Ubuntu snakeoil certificate in the Nginx server block file at /etc/nginx/sites-available/mastodon.conf.
#Uncomment these lines once you acquire a certificate: ssl_certificate /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem; ssl_certificate_key /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key;
Give Nginx permission to Mastodon’s directory and restart.
sudo chown -R mastodon:www-data /home/mastodon sudo systemctl restart nginx
Once you’re done, Mastodon should be installed and ready.
Open your browser and browse the domain name specified in the Nginx server block file.
Log in with the Mastodon account created above.
That should do it!
This post showed you how to install and use Mastodon social network CMS on Ubuntu Linux. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.