Install Friendica Social Network Platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Apache2

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to install Friendica Social Network Platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Apache2 HTTP server…

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

You can use Friendica to create a customized social networking websites for your school, company or for any group looking to collaborate around the same ideas or issues.

Whether you’re creating a personal or company social networking platform, Friendica can help you build and manage your content on every device with its intuitive and powerful user and admin dashboard…

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

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

Step 1: Install Apache2 HTTP

Apache2 HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use… so install it since Friendica needs it..

To install Apache2 HTTP on Ubuntu server, run the commands below…

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apache2

After installing Apache2, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable Apache2 service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop apache2.service
sudo systemctl start apache2.service
sudo systemctl enable apache2.service

To test Apache2 setup, open your browser and browse to the server hostname or IP address and you should see Apache2 default test page as shown below.. When you see that, then Apache2 is working as expected..

http://localhost

apache2 ubuntu install

Step 2: 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 be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always 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 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 to 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

Step 3: Install PHP 7.2 and Related Modules

PHP 7.2 may not be available in Ubuntu default repositories… in order 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 libapache2-mod-php7.2 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 PHP default config file for Apache2…

sudo nano /etc/php/7.2/apache2/php.ini

Then make the changes on the following lines below in the file and save. The value below are great settings to apply in your environments.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
short_open_tag = On
memory_limit = 256M
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 out.

Step 4: Create Friendica Database

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

Run the commands below to logon 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 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;

Step 5: Restart Apache2

After installing PHP and related modules, all you have to do is restart Apache2 to reload PHP configurations…

To restart Apache2, run the commands below

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

To test PHP 7.2 settings with Apache2, create a phpinfo.php file in Apache2 root directory by running the commands below

sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Then type the content below and save the file.

<?php phpinfo( ); ?>

Save the file.. then browse to your server hostname followed by /phpinfo.php

http://localhost/phpinfo.php

You should see PHP default test page…

PHP 7.2 ubuntu nginx

Step 6: Download Friendica Latest Release

To get Friendica latest release, you may want to use 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 Apache2 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

After that, run the commands below to create Apache2 .htaccess file.

sudo cp /var/www/friendica/.htaccess-dist /var/www/friendica/.htaccess

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/

Step 7: Configure Apache2

Finally, configure 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.conf

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/friendica.conf

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

<VirtualHost *:80>
     ServerAdmin admin@example.com
     DocumentRoot /var/www/friendica
     ServerName example.com
     ServerAlias www.example.com

     <Directory /var/www/friendica/>
        Options +FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted
     </Directory>

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

</VirtualHost>

Save the file and exit.

Step 8: Enable the Friendica and Rewrite Module

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

sudo a2ensite friendica.conf
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name or hostname. This is often localhost but can be a host name 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 SSL certificate, then you can choose to use self-signed or public certificates.

Friendica Ubuntu Setup

Next, setup your site admin account and continue

Friendica Ubuntu Install

That should complete the setup.

Friendica ubuntu setup

Login and begin building your network.

Conclusion:

You have learned how to install Friendica on Ubuntu with Apache2 HTTP server.. If you find any errors above, please leave a comment below

Thanks,

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One Reply to “Install Friendica Social Network Platform on Ubuntu 18.04 | 16.04 with Apache2”

  1. You missed the database configuration page when initially visiting the server.
    This should fall between the Base setting graphic and the Site settings graphic above. This is where friendica asks for the Database Server (localhost) , the Database User (friendicauser), the Database Password (the password set earlier) and the Database Name (friendica).

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