How to Setup Friendica with Nginx on Ubuntu Linux

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install the Friendica Social Network Platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with an Nginx HTTP server.

Our previous tutorial showed you how to install the Friendica social network platform on Ubuntu with Apache2. This one shows you how to run it with Nginx instead.

Friendica is a free, flexible, decentralized social networking platform that makes it easy to build and maintain your social networking projects and communities.

This software comes with built-in support for ActivityPub, including platforms like Funkwhale, Hubzilla, Mastodon, Pleroma, Pixelfed, OStatus, and diaspora* protocols.

For more on Friendica social platform, please visit its home page

To get started with installing Friendica, follow the steps below:

Install Nginx HTTP

Nginx HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use. Install it since Friendica needs it.

To install Nginx HTTP on the Ubuntu server, run the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx

After installing Nginx, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable the Nginx service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

To test the Nginx setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see the Nginx default test page as shown below. When you see that, then Nginx is working as expected.

http://localhost
nginx default home page test

Install MariaDB Database Server

v also needs a database server to store its content. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start when looking at open-source database servers to use with v.

To install MariaDB run the commands below.

sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing MariaDB, the commands below can stop, start and enable the MariaDB service to start up when the server boots.

Run these on Ubuntu

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure the MariaDB server by creating a root password and disallowing remote root access.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

To test if MariaDB is installed, type the commands below to logon into the MariaDB server

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then type the password you created above to sign on. if successful, you should see MariaDB welcome message

Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories. to install it, you will have to get it from third-party repositories.

Run the commands below to add the below third party repository to upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Then update and upgrade to PHP 7.2

sudo apt update

Next, run the commands below to install PHP 7.2 and related modules.

sudo apt install php7.2-fpm php7.2-common php7.2-gmp php7.2-curl php7.2-intl php7.2-mbstring php7.2-xmlrpc php7.2-mysql php7.2-gd php7.2-imagick php7.2-xml php7.2-cli php7.2-zip php7.2-sqlite

After installing PHP 7.2, run the commands below to open Nginx’s PHP default config file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/fpm/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below is a great setting to apply in your environment.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0
upload_max_filesize = 100M
max_execution_time = 360
max_input_vars = 1500
date.timezone = America/Chicago

After making the change above, save the file and close it.

Create Friendica Database

Now that you’ve installed all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First, create a Friendica database.

Run the commands below to log on to MariaDB. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called friendica

CREATE DATABASE friendica;

Create a database user called friendicauser with a new password

CREATE USER 'friendicauser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the friendica database.

GRANT ALL ON friendica.* TO 'friendicauser'@'localhost' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.

FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
EXIT;

After installing PHP and related modules, you must restart Nginx to reload PHP configurations.

To restart Nginx, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Download Friendica Latest Release

To get Friendica latest release, you may use the GitHub repository… Install Composer, Curl and other dependencies to get started.

sudo apt install curl git
curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | sudo php -- --install-dir=/usr/local/bin --filename=composer

Then change into the Nginx home directory and download Friendica packages and dependencies using Composer.

cd /var/www
sudo git clone https://github.com/friendica/friendica.git -b master friendica
cd /var/www/friendica
sudo composer install --no-dev
sudo git clone https://github.com/friendica/friendica-addons.git -b master addon

Since you just ran the web server as root, you should make sure any newly created files are owned by the www-data user and group.

To do that, run the commands below:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/friendica/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/friendica/

Configure Nginx

Finally, configure the Apahce2 site configuration file for Friendica. This file will control how users access Friendica content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called friendica

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/friendica

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    server_name example.com www.example.com;
    root   /var/www/friendica;
    index  index.php;
    
    access_log /var/log/nginx/example.com.access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/example.com.error.log;

    client_max_body_size 100M;
  
    autoindex off;

    location / {
    try_files $uri /index.php?pagename=$uri&$args;
      }

    location ~ \.php$ {
         include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
         fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
         include fastcgi_params;
         fastcgi_intercept_errors on;
    }
}

Save the file and exit.

Enable the Friendica and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/friendica /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name or hostname. This is often localhost but can be a hostname or IP address. Your server admin or hosting company will have this information available.

http://example.com/

Validate that all requirements are met, then continue with the wizard.

Friendica Ubuntu Install

Next, choose whether to use SSL or not. If you’re setting up with an SSL certificate, you can use self-signed or public certificates.

Friendica Ubuntu Setup

Next, set up your site admin account and continue

Friendica Ubuntu Install

That should complete the setup.

Friendica ubuntu setup

Log in and begin building your network.

Conclusion:

You have learned how to install Friendica on Ubuntu with the Nginx HTTP server. If you find any errors above, please leave a comment below

Thanks,