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Difference between revisions of "Poddery - Diaspora, Matrix and XMPP"

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Port multiplexer to allow XMPP and Diaspora to share 443 port. This allows us to fool stupid firewalls which blocks all ports except 80 and 443 (hence XMPP).
Port multiplexer to allow XMPP and Diaspora to share 443 port. This allows us to fool stupid firewalls which blocks all ports except 80 and 443 (hence XMPP).
NOTE: This service has been disabled since the community decided that XMPP service no longer needs to be served via port 443, see this loomio post for more details.
=== SSL/TLS certificates ===
=== SSL/TLS certificates ===

Revision as of 15:44, 14 October 2018

We run Diaspora, XMPP and Matrix services at Diaspora username and password can be used to access XMPP and Matrix services. provides Riot client (accessed by a web browser), which can be used to connect to any Matrix server without installing a Riot app/client.



We are on a C2S instance of bare metal cloud server.

  • 4 Dedicated x86 64bit Cores
  • 8GB Memory
  • 50GB SSD Disk
  • 1 Flexible Public IPv4
  • 300Mbit/s Unmetered bandwidth
  • 2.5Gbit/s Internal bandwidth
  • €11.99 Per Month

Due to performance issues we are migrating to a new server (C2M instance of with the following specs:

  • 8 Dedicated x86 64bit Cores
  • 16GB Memory
  • 50GB SSD Disk
  • 1 Flexible Public IPv4
  • 500Mbit/s Unmeterd bandwidth
  • 5Gbit/s Internal bandwidth
  • €17.99 Per Month
  • Extra 150GB SSD
  • Total €20.99 Per Month

Operating System

We run Debian 9 Stretch image provided by Scaleway, with latest security updates applied.

Hardening checklist

  • SSH password login disabled (allow only key based logins)
  • root SSH login disabled (use a normal user with sudo)


 PermitRootLogin no
 PasswordAuthentication no
  • Firewall enabled with only the ports we need opened (ufw tutorial)
 sudo ufw default deny incoming
 sudo ufw default allow outgoing
 sudo ufw allow ssh
 sudo ufw enable

Currently ufw is disabled as it is crashing the server.

  • fail2ban configured against brute force attacks


 sudo systemctl restart ssh
 sudo systemctl enable fail2ban
 sudo systemctl start fail2ban

Check /var/log/fail2ban.log for logs

Unban an IP:

 sudo fail2ban-client set sshd unbanip <banned_ip>

Here sshd is the defaut jail name, change it if you are using a different jail.

System health check

  • There should be a data disk attached (added from
  • The attached disk (/dev/nbdX) should be an lvm physical volume. We cannot use it directly for encryption, so we use lvm.
 # Make sure lvm2 and udev packages are installed
 sudo apt-get install lvm2 udev
 # Replace X with valid number according to lsblk
 sudo pvcreate /dev/nbdX 
  • /dev/data is an lvm volume group created from /dev/nbdX
 sudo vgcreate data /dev/nbdX
  • /dev/data/diaspora is an lvm logical volume
 sudo lvcreate -n diaspora /dev/data -L <size_of_disk>
  • /dev/mapper/diaspora is an encrypted device
 # Make sure cryptsetup package is installed
 sudo apt-get install cryptsetup
 # Give disk encryption password as specified in the access repo
 sudo cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/data/diaspora
 sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/data/diaspora diaspora
  • /dev/mapper/diaspora is an ext4 file system
 sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/diaspora
  • /var/lib/diaspora should be mounted. All critical data should be on /var/lib/diaspora.
 sudo mkdir /var/lib/diaspora
 sudo mount /dev/mapper/diaspora /var/lib/diaspora

User Visible Services



 # Follow steps 1 to 6 from
 sudo mysql -u root -p # Enter password from the access repo
 CREATE USER 'prosody'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '<passwd_in_repo>';
 GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON diaspora_production.* TO 'prosody'@'localhost';
 sudo chown -R root:ssl-cert /etc/letsencrypt
 sudo chmod g+r -R /etc/letsencrypt
 sudo chmod g+x /etc/letsencrypt/{archive,live}
 sudo systemctl restart prosody
  • We have enabled all XEPs conversations expect. We use sslh to multiplex Diaspora and Prosody on port 443. See XMPP over HTTPS section of the Installing Prosody article in Debian Wiki for sample sslh configuration.

Set Nginx Conf for BOSH URLS

  • Add this configuration in nginx configuration file to enable the BOSH url to make JSXC Working.


upstream chat_cluster {
  server localhost:5280;
location /http-bind {
  proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
  proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
  proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
  proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto https;
  proxy_redirect off;
  proxy_connect_timeout 5;
  proxy_buffering       off;
  proxy_read_timeout    70;
  keepalive_timeout     70;
  send_timeout          70;
  client_max_body_size 4M;
  client_body_buffer_size 128K;
  proxy_pass http://chat_cluster;

Plz look here for more details. And apache settings here :)



For scalability, we are running workers. Currently all workers specified in that page, expect `` is running on

A new service matrix-synapse@.service is installed for the workers. (Save the synape_worker file somewhere like /usr/local/bin/ or something.)

The worker config can be found at /etc/matrix-synapse/workers

Synapse needs to be put under a reverse proxy see /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/matrix. A lot of /_matrix/ urls needs to be overridden too see /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/diaspora

These lines must be added to homeserver.yaml as we are running media_repository, federation_sender, pusher, user_dir workers respectively:

 enable_media_repo: False
 send_federation: False
 start_pushers: False
 update_user_directory: false

These services must be enabled, and added to Requires and Before sections of the original matrix-synapse.service:

 matrix-synapse@synchrotron.service matrix-synapse@federation_reader.service matrix-synapse@event_creator.service matrix-synapse@federation_sender.service matrix-synapse@pusher.service matrix-synapse@user_dir.service matrix-synapse@media_repository.service matrix-synapse@frontend_proxy.service matrix-synapse@client_reader.service


Homepage and other static pages are maintained in our Gitlab instance. You can change it directly in the master branch or send pull requests. You can edit it via web as well.

 # Make sure git and acl packages are installed
 sudo apt-get install git acl
 # Grant rwx permissions for the ssh user to /usr/share/diaspora/public
 sudo setfacl -m "u:<ssh_user>:rwx" /usr/share/diaspora/public
 # Clone repo
 cd /usr/share/diaspora/public
 git clone
 cd && mv * .[^.]* .. #Give yes for all files when prompted
 cd .. && rmdir
 cd /usr/share/diaspora/public/save
 git submodule init
 git submodule update repo is maintained as a sub module in repo. See this tutorial -> for working with git submodules.

Backend Services


Front-end for Diaspora and Matrix.


Backend for Matrix.


Backend for Diaspora.

TODO: Consider migrating to PostgreSQL to optimize resources (We can reduce one service and RAM usage).


For sending emails.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure exim4-config


Port multiplexer to allow XMPP and Diaspora to share 443 port. This allows us to fool stupid firewalls which blocks all ports except 80 and 443 (hence XMPP).

NOTE: This service has been disabled since the community decided that XMPP service no longer needs to be served via port 443, see this loomio post for more details.

SSL/TLS certificates

# letsencrypt certonly --webroot -w /usr/share/diaspora/public  -d -d -d -d -w /usr/share/diaspora/public/save -d -w /var/www/riot -d
# cp  -L /etc/letsencrypt/live/ /etc/diaspora/ssl/
# cp -L /etc/letsencrypt/live/ /etc/diaspora/ssl/
# chown -R root:ssl-cert /etc/letsencrypt
# chmod g+r -R /etc/letsencrypt
# chmod g+x /etc/letsencrypt/*

Make sure the certificates used by prosody are symbolic links to letsencrypt default location.

# ls -l /etc/prosody/certs/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 40 Mar 28 01:16 -> /etc/letsencrypt/live/
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 33 Mar 28 01:16 -> /etc/letsencrypt/live/
# crontab -e
30 2 * * 1 letsencrypt renew  >> /var/log/le-renew.log
32 2 * * 1 /etc/init.d/nginx reload
34 2 * * 1 /etc/init.d/prosody reload

Handling critical data

 sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop
 sudo mv /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/diaspora
 sudo ln /var/lib/diaspora/mysql /var/lib/mysql
 sudo mkdir /var/lib/diaspora/uploads
 sudo chown -R diaspora: /var/lib/diaspora/uploads
 sudo ln -s /var/lib/diaspora/uploads /usr/share/diaspora/public/uploads

Services health check

Sample output - Look for "Active: active (running)"

 systemctl status nginx # Our web server front-end for Diaspora, XMPP and Matrix
 nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled)
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2018-01-05 07:17:02 UTC; 4 weeks 1 days ago
 Process: 5063 ExecStop=/sbin/start-stop-daemon --quiet --stop --retry QUIT/5 --pidfile /run/ (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 13140 ExecReload=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; -s reload (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 5071 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 5067 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -q -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 5072 (nginx)
 CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
          ├─ 5072 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;
          ├─13149 nginx: worker process
          ├─13150 nginx: worker process
          ├─13151 nginx: worker process
          └─13153 nginx: worker process
 systemctl status diaspora # Diaspora service
 diaspora.service - LSB: Diaspora application server
 Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/diaspora)
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2018-01-05 07:21:29 UTC; 4 weeks 1 days ago
 Process: 5146 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/diaspora stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 5167 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/diaspora start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 CGroup: /system.slice/diaspora.service
         ├─  850 unicorn worker[0] -c config/unicorn.rb -D
         ├─ 5174 sudo -u diaspora -E -H ./script/server
         ├─ 5175 eye monitoring v0.9.1 [diaspora] (in /usr/share/diaspora)
         ├─ 5211 sidekiq 4.2.9 diaspora [0 of 25 busy]
         ├─ 5222 unicorn master -c config/unicorn.rb -D
         └─31717 unicorn worker[1] -c config/unicorn.rb -D  

 systemctl status matrix-synapse.service # Synapse Matrix Server
 matrix-synapse.service - Synapse Matrix homeserver
 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/matrix-synapse.service; enabled)
 Active: active (running) since Sat 2018-01-13 05:38:55 UTC; 3 weeks 1 days ago
 Process: 15800 ExecStartPre=/var/lib/matrix-synapse/synapse/bin/python2.7 -m --config-path=/etc/matrix-synapse/homeserver.yaml --config-path=/etc/matrix-synapse/conf.d/ --generate-keys (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 15808 (python2.7)
 CGroup: /system.slice/matrix-synapse.service
         └─15808 /var/lib/matrix-synapse/synapse/bin/python2.7 -m --config-path=/etc/matrix-synapse/homeserver.yaml --config-path=/etc/matrix-synapse/conf.d/
 systemctl status prosody # Prosody XMPP Server
 prosody.service - LSB: Prosody XMPP Server
 Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/prosody)
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2018-01-05 07:35:41 UTC; 4 weeks 1 days ago
 Process: 6218 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/prosody stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 6483 ExecReload=/etc/init.d/prosody reload (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 6223 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/prosody start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 CGroup: /system.slice/prosody.service
         └─6231 /usr/bin/lua5.1 /usr/bin/prosody
 systemctl status sslh # SSL/SSH multiplexer which allow us to provide multiple services via 443 port (to bypass stupid firewalls)
 sslh.service - SSL/SSH multiplexer 
 Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/sslh.service; enabled) 
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2018-01-05 07:29:27 UTC; 4 weeks 1 days ago 
    Docs: man:sslh(8) 
 Main PID: 5444 (sslh) 
 CGroup: /system.slice/sslh.service 
         ├─  713 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─  830 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 1672 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 1673 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 3514 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 3875 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 3876 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 3896 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 4965 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 5395 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 5444 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 5445 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 5963 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 6617 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 6774 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 6957 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 7063 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─ 7083 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         ├─25613 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg 
         └─27481 /usr/sbin/sslh --foreground -F /etc/sslh/sslh.cfg



Email: poddery at (alias that reaches Akhilan, Abhijith Balan, Fayad, Balasankar, Julius, Praveen, Prasobh, Sruthi, Shirish, Vamsee and Manukrishnan)

The following people have their GPG keys in the password file.

Praveen Arimbrathodiyil (piratepin) (ID: 0xCE1F9C674512), Balasankar C (ID: 0x96EDAB9B2E6B7171), Manu Krishnan T V (ID: 0x5D0064186AF037D9), Fayad Fami (fayad) (ID: 0x51C954405D432381), Abhijith PA (ID: 0x863D4DF2ED9C28EF), Syam G Krishnan (sgk) (ID: 0x6EF48CCD865A1FFC), Sagar Ippalpalli (ID: 0xFD49D0BC6FEAECDA), Pirate Bady (piratesin) (ID: 0x92FDAB42A95FF20C), Kannan (ID: 0x0B1955F40C691CCE)

We recommend you setup Vim GPG Plugin for transparent editing. If you are new to GPG, then follow this guide.

Server Access

Maintained in a private git repo at ->

Setting up Backup

Backup was setup on a Scaleway C1 VPS (4 core ARM processor with 2GB RAM). TODO: C1 server was crashing frequently and we need to setup backup again on VPS provided by Manu.

Hostname (IP): (No public ip, access via web console). If you restart this machine, you may want to add private ip in /etc/hosts

# apt-get install lvm2 cryptsetup

Directly creating luks volume on /dev/nbd1 is not working, so we use a logical volume

# pvcreate /dev/nbd1
# vgcreate data /dev/nbd1
# lvcreate -n diaspora -L 46.5G /dev/data
# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/data/diaspora
# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/data/diaspora diaspora

and update /etc/crypttab

# <target name> <source device>         <key file>      <options>
diaspora /dev/data/diaspora none luks

# mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/diaspora
# mkdir /var/lib/diaspora

and update /etc/fstab

/dev/mapper/diaspora /var/lib/diaspora ext4 defaults 0 2
# mount -a
# apt-get install mysql-server

Move MySQL data directory to encrypted volume

# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
# mv /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/diaspora/
# ln -s /var/lib/diaspora/mysql /var/lib/mysql

Follow steps in for replication

Follow steps in for ssl (but ssl support is disabled in debian)

Follow steps in to use ssh port forwarding to have encrypted replication

# adduser sshtunnel --disabled-login
# su sshtunnel

Generate SSH key pair and copy public key to target system

$ ssh-keygen -t rsa
$ ssh -f -L 7777: -N

Test the connectivity

# mysql -u poddery_backup -p -P 7777 -h

Uploads are rsynced every hour

# crontab -e
# m h  dom mon dow   command
0 * * * * pgrep rsync || rsync -av --delete /var/lib/diaspora/uploads/ >/var/lib/diaspora/rsync-uploads.log

Note: Since we are not using a public ip (saves us money), connects to via private ip. So if is rebooted, the new ip address should be updated in /etc/hosts file of To connect, use the web console from

Add more disk space

  1. Power off the machine with "ARCHIVE" option. It may take upto an hour for shutdown to complete on and
  2. Add more disk from control panel . Volumes -> CREATE VOLUME
  3. Attach the newly created volume to server from Server page
  4. Power on the server
  5. Create physical volume (pvcreate /dev/nbdN)
  6. Expand volume group (vgextend data /dev/nbdN)
  7. Expand logical volume (lvresize --size=186G data/diaspora)
  8. Expand encrypted partition (cryptsetup resize diaspora)
  9. Resize file system (resize2fs /dev/mapper/diaspora)

Maintenance history

This section holds maintenance/issue history for future tracking.

When updating diaspora-installer-mysql packages, remember to recreate /usr/share/diaspora/public/uploads symlink to /var/lib/diaspora/uploads.

1. Prosody error - Failed to load private key

certmanager error SSL/TLS: Failed to load '/etc/letsencrypt/live/': Previous error (see logs), or other system error. (for
tls error   Unable to initialize TLS: error loading private key (system lib)
certmanager error SSL/TLS: Failed to load '/etc/letsencrypt/live/': Check that the permissions allow Prosody to read this file.

This error is usually when ssl certificate in freshly installed or renewed. Prosody user is unable to access the key file due to lack of privileges.

Note that Poddery uses Letsencrypt for ssl.


  • Make sure that prosody user is in 'certs' group (this group may also be called ssl-certs as setup by Letencrypt)
  • /etc/letsencrypt/ is the ssl directory.
  • Prosody user should have permissions to all folders importantly archive and live folders in /etc/letsencrypt. Permissions to each folder must be 750.
  • Troubleshoot by checking if you can switch to each folder in /etc/letsencrypt as prosody user and cat the files.

If replication fails, you can restart it following the instructions here