Setup a Pub

Note, this guide assumes moderate technical ability. If you are looking for easier ways to setup a SSB pub, you might want to try ssb-pub or ssb-easy-pub.

1. Get the Server

Pub servers need a static, publicly-reachable IP address. The easiest way to get a public server is by renting a virtual server from businesses such as Amazon, Linode, or Digital Ocean.

After renting the server, follow the guides provided by your host to configure the software. We recommend using a common Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu.

ssb-server by default uses port 8008, so make sure to expose that port (or whatever port you configure ssb-server to use) to the internet.

2. Install Node

On the server, install NVM:

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.34.0/install.sh | bash

Then install NodeJS:

nvm install 10
nvm alias default 10

3. Install ssb-server

Install ssb-server using NPM. (If you prefer to install using git, follow the instructions here).

npm install -g ssb-server

To update ssb-server in the future, simply run the global install again.

4. Create a run-server.sh script

Save the following script somewhere easy to find, such as ~/run-server.sh. This script will help ensure uptime, even if ssb-server experiences a crash:

#!/bin/bash
while true; do
  ssb-server start --host {your-hostname}
  sleep 3
done

Be sure to replace {your-hostname} with the actual hostname of your server For instance, if your server is foobar.com, then you should enter ssb-server start --host foobar.com.

5. Run the server script

Use a session-manager such as screen or tmux to create a detachable session. Start the session and run the script:

sh ~/run-server.sh

Then, detach the session.

6. Confirm ssb-server server is running

To check if the server is running, use the following command:

ssb-server whoami

If all is well, your Pub's ID will be logged to the console. If this fails, check that the server-script is still active, and isn't failing during startup.

7. Create the Pub's profile

It's a good idea to give your Pub a name, by publishing one on its feed. To do this, first get the Pub's ID, with ssb-server whoami. Then, publish a name with the following command:

ssb-server publish --type about --about {pub-id} --name {name}

It's a good idea to use your Pub's hostname. Also, don't use spaces, or include the @ symbol. Here's an example usage (dont copy this!):

ssb-server publish --type about --about @2mIg4e/GO53+hKJBBrn+KZtb+1aMYazb/9FGEHoQp3U=.ed25519 --name foobar.com

8. Create invites

For a last step, you should create invite codes, which you can send to other users to let them join the pub. The command to create an invite code is:

ssb-server invite.create 1

This may now be given out to friends, to command your pub to follow them. If you want to let a single code be used more than once, you can provide a number larger than 1.

9. Backup your data directory (optional)

It's a good idea to regularly backup the Pub's data directory, in case of failures. The data-directory will include the Pub's keypair, messages, and files. It can be found at ~/.ssb, where ~ points to the home directory of the user running ssb-server.

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