Installing FreshRSS on Linux cover image

Installing FreshRSS on Linux

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I've been using feedly as my news aggregator, also known as rss reader. In recent months I became interested in open source applications and as an extension to that, hosting them yourself so are in control of your data, in this blog post I will run through the steps required to setup your own self hosted freshRSS

Hosting

You can follow this guide using any type of hosting, all you need is a Linux distribution (I'm using Ubuntu) and a server, this can be a rusty RaspberryPi or a hosted VPS solution such as DigitalOcean or Amazon Lightsails, which are both extremely cheap to use ($5 per month). I'm going to use a fresh Ubuntu server on Amazon Lightsails.

Installing Nginx

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y nginx

When nginx installed succesfully and you browse to the ip of your server, you should see the "Welcome to nginx!" page.

Install and configure MySQL

Install mysql-server and run the secure installation, which will remove test databases and secure our installation.

sudo apt install -y mysql-server
sudo mysql_secure_installation

Select the following options during the secure installation

Next let's create an independant user for our freshrss database, and the database itself. Connect to our mysql database using sudo mysql, make sure to replace the password with your own.

CREATE USER 'freshrssuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'freshrsspassword';
CREATE DATABASE `freshrss`;
GRANT ALL privileges ON `freshrss`.* TO 'freshrssuser'@localhost;
FLUSH PRIVILEGES;
QUIT;

Installing PHP

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

Install php and required modules, we're using nginx so we will use php-fpm, after installation start php-fpm.

sudo apt install -y php7.4 php7.4-fpm php7.4-curl php7.4-mbstring php7.4-mysql php7.4-dom
sudo systemctl start php7.4-fpm

Install FreshRSS

cd /var/www
sudo git clone https://github.com/FreshRSS/FreshRSS.git freshrss

Move into our newly created freshrss folder and set permissions for reading and writing our data

cd /var/www/freshrss
sudo chown -R :www-data .
sudo chmod -R g+rw .

Create the NGINX Server Block

Remove the default server block and it's symlink in the enabled sites, so we can start fresh and create our own.

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-available/default
sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Let's create our own nginx server block sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/freshrss

Add the following configuration data, for the purpose of this demo we won't be using ssl, you could uncomment the ssl lines if you like. I commented the code inline so you can understand what's going on.

server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen 443 ssl;

    # We're not using SSL for the purpose of this demo
    # Feel free to get a certificate and uncomment the following lines.
    #
    # ssl on;
    # ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/server.crt;
    # ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/server.key;

    # your server’s IP or URL(s)
    server_name mysite.com

    # the folder of your FreshRSS installation
    root /var/www/freshrss/p;

    index index.php index.html index.htm;

    # nginx log files
    access_log /var/log/nginx/freshrss.access.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/freshrss.error.log;

    # php files handling
    # this regex is mandatory because of the API
    location ~ ^.+?\.php(/.*)?$ {
        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.*)$;
        # FreshRSS API greader.php needs the variable PATH_INFO
        fastcgi_param PATH_INFO $fastcgi_path_info;
        include fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    }

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ index.php;
    }
}

Save and exit nano and verify that the server block is valid by running sudo nginx -t

When the above command succeeded and we don't have errors, symlink our new server block to the sites-enabled folder so it will be used by nginx, and restart the server.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/freshrss /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
sudo service nginx restart

FreshRSS Configuration

When you browse to your server or domain name, you should see the freshRSS installation page, if all php modules installed correctly, we should see all checklist items light up in green.

Checklist

Finish the database configuration with the data we used in previous steps, freshrssuser for the database user, freshrsspassword as password and freshrss as the database name.

Config

Choose a username and password to login to your web interface, you can optionally choose to not use authentication, but that doesn't sound like a great idea, does it?

That should bring you to the web interface login screen, into your freshRSS dashboard and to the end of this guide. If you have any questions or comments you can reach me at miguel@notflip.be