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How to Install FreshRSS on Ubuntu 14.04

FreshRSS is a free, self hostable RSS agregator that fast, responsive and we can install on our own server.

You can learn more about FreshRSS by visiting FreshRSS website.

Objective

In this tutorial we'll learn how to install FreshRSS on Ubuntu 14.04. We will also install and configure its prerequisites

Prerequisites

We will install FreshRSS in fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04. We also need these applications to be able to run FreshRSS:

  • Apache 2
  • MySQL >= 5.0.3
  • PHP >= 5.3.7

Update Base System

Before we install FreshRSS, let's update the system to the latest update.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Install Apache 2

After applying the latest update to our base system, let's start installing Apache 2 and required libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install apache2 apache2-bin apache2-data apache2-mpm-prefork libaio1 libapache2-mod-php5 libapr1 libaprutil1 libdbd-mysql-perl libdbi-perl libhtml-template-perl libmysqlclient18 libterm-readkey-perl libwrap0 ssl-cert tcpd

We can check the Apache 2 service status using command below:

sudo service apache2 status
 * apache2 is running

We can also check which port Apache 2 is listening on using the command below.

 sudo netstat -naptu | grep apache
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      14873/apache2

Install MySQL 5.6

We will install and use MySQL 5.6 as database for FreshRSS.

We will use MySQL Server 5.6 since MySQL 5.6 is the most up to date version of MySQL shipped with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr.

$ sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server-5.6

We need to setup MySQL root password. Please input password for MySQL root user.

Verify root password.

Securing MySQL Installation

We will secure MySQL installation by running mysql_secure_installation.

Enter the root password that we set on installation.

$ mysql_secure_installation 
NOTE: RUNNING ALL PARTS OF THIS SCRIPT IS RECOMMENDED FOR ALL MySQL
      SERVERS IN PRODUCTION USE!  PLEASE READ EACH STEP CAREFULLY!

In order to log into MySQL to secure it, we'll need the current password for the root user. If you've just installed MySQL, and you haven't set the root password yet, the password will be blank, so you should just press enter here.

Enter current password for root (enter for none): OK, successfully used password, moving on...

Since we already have root password set, answer this part with n.

Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MySQL
root user without the proper authorisation.

You already have a root password set, so you can safely answer 'n'.

Change the root password? [Y/n] n ... skipping.

Remove the anonymous user to improve security. This will make sure people or application have correct username and password to login to MySQL. Answer with Y.

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

We also want remove root login from remote machine. Answer with Y.

Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'.  This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

Previously the test database was created automatically by MySQL installation, but MySQL 5.6 does not create test database. We can still choose Y, it will throw error but that's fine.

By default, MySQL comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access.  This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y - Dropping test database... ERROR 1008 (HY000) at line 1: Can't drop database 'test'; database doesn't exist ... Failed! Not critical, keep moving... - Removing privileges on test database... ... Success!

The last step is to reload the MySQL privilege table.

Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

All done! If you've completed all of the above steps, your MySQL installation should now be secure.

Thanks for using MySQL!

Cleaning up...

Create Database for freshrss

Now we have a secure MySQL installation, time to create database and user for freshrss itself.

Login to MySQL using root credential.

$ mysql -u root -p
Enter password: 
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 58
Server version: 5.6.30-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 (Ubuntu)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2016, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.

mysql>

Create new database named freshrss using command below:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE freshrss;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

Create a User for FreshRSS

The database for freshrss is ready, let's create username and password and grant privileges to freshrss database.

Don't forget to change the password freshrss123secret below with better password.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `freshrss`.* TO 'freshrss'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'freshrss123secret';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

We need to run FLUSH PRIVILEGES command so that the privileges table will be reloaded by MySQL and we can use new credential.

mysql> FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

Exit from MySQL console by typing \q

mysql> \q

Install PHP 5

The last component that we have to install before we can install freshrss is PHP 5. We will install PHP 5 and several common PHP libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-cli php5-common php5-json php5-mysql php5-readline

Install additional php libraries:

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-curl

Restart the Apache 2 process so the changes will be applied

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install freshrss

All prerequisites is already installed. We're ready to install freshrss. The latest stable version of freshrss is available FreshRSS release page on GitHub.

At the time of this writing, the latest stable version is version 1.6.3, let's download freshrss compressed file using wget.

$ wget -c https://github.com/FreshRSS/FreshRSS/archive/1.6.3.tar.gz -O FreshRSS-1.6.3.tar.gz

Extract freshrss archive:

$ tar xzf FreshRSS-1.6.3.tar.gz

Move FreshRSS-1.6.3 directory to Apache directory.

$ sudo mv FreshRSS-1.6.3 /var/www/freshrss

Change ownership of freshrss directory to www-data user and group.

$ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/freshrss

The freshrss files is ready, now let's create Apache Virtual Host configuration to serve freshrss.

Configure Apache Virtual Host for http Only

Create new apache configuration file on /etc/apache2/sites-available/freshrss.conf with contents below.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName freshrss.exampleserver.xyz

DocumentRoot /var/www/freshrss

<Directory /var/www/freshrss> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz-error.log CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz-access.log combined

</VirtualHost>

Don't forget to change freshrss.exampleserver.xyz above with the domain name that you use for your freshrss installation.

Enable the site using a2ensite command.

$ sudo a2ensite freshrss

Reload apache2 process so it read the new virtualhost configuration:

$ sudo service apache2 reload

FreshRSS Installation Wizard

Open our FreshRSS URL, We will be redirected to FreshRSS installation wizard.

In the first page we can choose language that we want to use, we will use English in this tutorial. Click Go to the next step.

Step 1 will be requirements check, we should already pass all requirements by now. Click Go to the next step.

Step 2 is general configuration of FreshRSS.

In this step we can configure how long we want to keep articles on FreshRSS, setting default user credential and also authentication method.

For authentication method we will choose web form.

Step 3 is database configuration. Enter database name and credentials that we already created on previous step. Click Submit.

The installation is finish, click Complete installation.

We can login to FreshRSS using default credential we created on setup wizard.

After successfully login we can see and manage all of our feed subscription.

Configure https only site for freshrss

Secure connection is now a requirement for web application. Last step that we will do in this tutorial is changing the connection to only use https. We assume that you already have SSL certificate and private key.

Let's create new apache virtual host configuration on /etc/apache2/sites-available/freshrss-ssl.conf with contents below. Don't forget to change:

  • ServerName
  • SSLCertificateFile
  • SSLCertificateChainFile
  • SSLCertificateKeyFile
<VirtualHost *:80>
   ServerName freshrss.exampleserver.xyz
   Redirect permanent / https://freshrss.exampleserver.xyz/
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:443>

ServerName freshrss.exampleserver.xyz

DocumentRoot /var/www/freshrss

<Directory /var/www/freshrss> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz-error.log CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz-access.log combined

SSLEngine on SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz.crt SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/apache2/ssl/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz.crt SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/freshrss.exampleserver.xyz.key

# Uncomment the following directive when using client certificate authentication #SSLCACertificateFile /path/to/ca_certs_for_client_authentication

# HSTS (mod_headers is required) (15768000 seconds = 6 months) Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15768000"

</VirtualHost>

# intermediate configuration, tweak to your needs SSLProtocol all -SSLv2 -SSLv3 SSLCipherSuite ECDHE-ECDSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-ECDSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA:AES128-GCM-SHA256:AES256-GCM-SHA384:AES128-SHA256:AES256-SHA256:AES128-SHA:AES256-SHA:DES-CBC3-SHA:!DSS SSLHonorCipherOrder on

We will also disable freshrss http only virtual host and enable the new virtual host config.

$ sudo a2dissite freshrss
$ sudo a2ensite freshrss-ssl

The new virtual host configuration need ApacheĀ mod_ssl and mod_headers modules. We need to enable those modules.

$ sudo a2enmod ssl
$ sudo a2enmod headers

Now, restart Apache 2 service so it will reload its configuration. We need to restart instead of reload since we enable new module.

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Summary

In this tutorial we learned how-to install freshrss on Ubuntu 14.04.

We installed all the prerequisites, create user and database on MySQL for FreshRSS and also configure Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve freshrss.

We also configure https settings for freshrss so we run FreshRSS securely.

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