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Federated, ActivityPub-compatible social network server with friends, walls, and groups.


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Federated, ActivityPub-compatible social network with friends, walls, and groups.

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Running directly on your server

  1. Install and configure MySQL
  2. Install maven and JDK >=21 if you don't have it already
  3. Build the jar by running mvn package -DskipTests=true and place the one with dependencies at /opt/smithereen/smithereen.jar
  4. Set up the image processing native library (libvips): run java to automatically download a prebuilt one from here. If you already have libvips installed on your system, you may skip this step, but be aware that not all libvips builds include all the features Smithereen needs.
  5. Install and configure imgproxy
  6. Fill in the config file, see a commented example here
    • You can use either the local file system (default) or an S3-compatible object storage service for user-uploaded media files.
  7. Create a new MySQL database and initialize it with the schema using a command (mysql -p smithereen < schema.sql) or any GUI like phpMyAdmin
  8. Configure and start the daemon: assuming your distribution uses systemd, copy the service file to /etc/systemd/system, then run systemctl daemon-reload and service smithereen start
  9. Run java -jar /opt/smithereen/smithereen.jar /etc/smithereen/ init_admin to create the first account
  10. Log into that account from your web browser, then configure the rest of the server settings from its UI

Using Docker

Copy Docker-specific config example to the project root directory as and edit it to set your domain. Also edit docker-compose.yml to add your imgproxy secrets. You can then use docker-compose to run Smithereen, MySQL, and imgproxy. You still need to configure your web server to reverse proxy the port 4567. Create the first account by running docker-compose exec web bash -c ./smithereen-init-admin.

Using S3 object storage

Smithereen supports S3-compatible object storage for user-uploaded media files (but not media file cache for files downloaded from other servers).

To enable S3 storage, set upload.backend=s3 in your Configure other properties depending on your cloud provider:

  • upload.s3.region: the region to use, us-east-1 by default. Required for AWS, but some other cloud providers accept arbitrary values here.
  • upload.s3.endpoint: the S3 endpoint, s3.<region> by default. Required if not using AWS.
  • upload.s3.key_id and upload.s3.secret_key: your credentials for request authentication.
  • upload.s3.bucket: the name of your bucket.
  • upload.s3.override_path_style: if upload.s3.endpoint is set, set this to true if your cloud provider requires putting the bucket name into the hostname instead of in the path for API requests, like <bucket>.<endpoint>.
  • upload.s3.protocol: https by default, can be set to http.

The following properties control the public URLs for clients to read the files from your S3 bucket. They're currently only used for imgproxy, but will be given out to clients directly when support for non-image (e.g. video) attachments arrives in a future Smithereen version:

  • upload.s3.hostname: defaults to s3-<region> Needs to be set if not using AWS and upload.s3.alias_host is not set.
  • upload.s3.alias_host: can be used instead of upload.s3.hostname if you don't want your bucket name to be visible. Requires that you have a CDN or a reverse proxy in front of the storage provider.
    • If this is set, the bucket name is not included in the generated URLs. The URLs will have the form of <protocol>://<alias_host>/<object>.
    • If this is not set, the generated URLs will be of the form <protocol>://<hostname>/<bucket>/<object>.

You will need to configure your bucket to allow anonymous read access to objects, but not allow directory listing. Refer to Mastodon documentation on how to do this on different cloud providers.

You will also need to configure imgproxy to allow it to access your S3 storage:

IMGPROXY_ALLOWED_SOURCES=local://,https://<your S3 hostname or alias host>/

Make sure to include a trailing slash in the URL.


If you would like to help translate Smithereen into your language, please do so on Crowdin.

Federating with Smithereen

Smithereen supports various features not found in most other ActivityPub server software. See the federation document if you would like to implement these ActivityPub extensions in your project.