Skip to content
A simple, easy social wlan hotspot. Exchange internet access for Facebook check-ins
Branch: master
Clone or download
Michael Haas
Michael Haas Bump facebook SDK to 4.0.23
Fixes #29
Latest commit 2c6a762 May 8, 2017
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
views Add nonce in FB callback Oct 4, 2015

FB WLAN Hotspot

A simple, easy social wlan hotspot. This script works as an auth server for Wifidog. If a user checks in to your business' location on Facebook, they get free wifi in exchange.


Why another auth server?

Quite simply because there are no other working solutions. Some scripts which claim to use Facebook for hotspot authentication are available in the wild. For Authpuppy, there is a third-party plugin for Facebook authentication. Authpuppy itself is quite unmaintained and uses the outdated Symfony 1.x framework. Additionally, there is no check-in functionality out of the box.

There's also the Wifidog auth server which requires PostgreSQL. I don't have a web host capable of PostgreSQL, so that was not acceptable either. The Wifidog auth server also does not support Facebook.

There are more attempts at integrating Facebook login into a open-source hotspot. Kikiauth is promising, yet abandoned by its author. The problem here is themultitude of IP addresses used by Facebook which makes it hard to whitelist all ressources necessary. I solve this problem with the ipset feature of Dnsmasq based on a recommendation by jow on the OpenWRT forums.

The socialwifi project by mengning requires tomcat and other java stuff.

social-hotspot comes quite close to my requirements. It connects to Facebook and either asks the user to like a page or to check in. On the gateway, NoCatSplash captures the user. The problem here is that the Facebook app provides no real security: the user can always log in by POST-ing the correct form to NoCatSplash. Although this is unlikely to pose a real problem as there are unlikely to be any security implications, I didn't like this way of handling authentication client-side.

In my implementation, the gateway (Wifidog) verifies that the Facebook app (this script) actually granted access to the user.

Several commercial implementations are also available. Facebook themselves offer Facebook Wifi. The offer looks good on paper, with affordable devices like the D-Link DIR-865L and the Netgear R6300 (v2). Some research reveals that the Facebook Wifi implementation always enables HTTPS. This means that many smartphone apps will always work and the user might not even notice there is captive portal.

Other vendors charge unreasonable monthly fees for their services.


Social hotspots typically rely on an AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) server. Quite simply, there is no Accounting. Although Wifidog will occasionally update this script with bandwidth usage information, the data is simply discarded.

There is also no real Authentication: the script does not remember who used the hotspot. Facebook is only used to post a message and no details such as user names or emails are retained.

Regarding Authorization: an user is authorized to access the internet once they successfully check in via Facebook or if they provide the access code.

In some jurisdictions, you must keep track of who uses your network. In this case, this script is probably not for you. (Pull requests welcome!)


For this script:

  • Webhost with some space
  • PHP 5.4 (or maybe 5.3)
  • 1 MySQL database
  • lftp client

For the gateway:


Copy the example config file to config.php and edit to suit your needs.

cp config-example.php config.php
vim config.php

The entries should be self-explanatory. To use this app, you need to create an app in Facebook. During the app creation process, select "Website" as platform and select "create app id". Proceed to enter the domain where this script will be hosted as app domain. Copy the app id and the app secret to config.php. For testing, this is good enough. Once you have verified that everything works, you need to submit your app for review. Facebook recently introduced this review process for apps which post on behalf of the user.

If you have lftp installed, you can use the upload script. Create a file with login details:

cat <<EOF > 

Run the upload script:


If you do not have lftp, simply upload the files manually with your FTP client of choice. See upload.lftp for details. In particular, make sure to rename htaccess to .htaccess.

Once you have the files uploaded, you can test the script by opening the website in your browser. If you want to test the Facebook integration, provide some fake gateway details like this:

Once you went through the login, you will be redirected to http://localhost:8080/. Don't be scared by the error message (you probably have no server running there!), it means everything is working.

If you get a HTTP 500 error, a possible reason is related to .htaccess. For my Apache 2.4 server, I had to adjust some RewriteRules. If these don't work for you, refer to the original .htaccess for Flight. If that doesn't work, consult the error logs of your webserver.

Configuring Wifidog

Wifidog lives on the gateway/router and intercepts requests made by clients.

The following instructions assume you have already configured the network on your gateway. Typically, you have a wlan interface running without encryption called "MyPlace Guest". Isolating clients from each other is probably a good idea. See the OpenWRT wiki for details.

The script is a drop-in replacement for the Wifidog auth server. Make sure to set up GatewayInterface and ExternalInterface in /etc/wifidog.conf. The AuthServer directive is set up as follows if the script is installed on

AuthServer {
    Path /fbwlan/

Make sure to set the correct hostname and path!

Allowing Access to Facebook

As described above, Facebook uses many different IP addresses. Due to the way the content distribution networks work, the same host name may resolve to different addresses. This is why it's impractical to just whitelist individual IP addresses. However, together with dnsmasq solve this problem nicely.

On OpenWRT 14.07 (Barrier Breaker), the default dnsmasq version does not support ipset. Install dnsmasq-full instead

opkg update
opkg install dnsmasq-full

On boot, we need to create the ipset where we store the IP addresses. This must happen before dnsmasq can populate them. A simple way to handle this is to edit /etc/firewall.user and add the following line to the end:

ipset create fb hash:ip

Then, edit /etc/dnsmasq.conf and tell dnsmasq to store any IPs for Facebook in the fb ipset. Add this to end of the file:


Finally, allow the fb ipset in the firewall. Add this under the FirewallRuleSet unknown-users section in /etc/wifidog.conf

FirewallRule allow to-ipset fb

Testing the setup

Start wifidog and reload the firewall:

fw3 reload
/etc/init.d/dnsmasq restart
/etc/init.d/wifidog start
sleep 10

Open any non-HTTPS website in your browser and you should be redirected to the captive portal.

Starting Wifidog automatically & reliably

In my testing on Barrier Breaker, the default wifidog init script failed to bring up Wifidog. Apparently, Wifidog starts before the interfaces are up and quits. However, we can (re-)start wifidog automatically on Wifi changes. I took the opportunity to rewrite the Wifidog init script to use the new procd init system. The distinct advantage here is the process supervision: if Wifidog crashes, it is automatically restarted. I originally hoped to reload Wifidog automatically on interface changes via the netdev param, but that didn't work.

cat <<EOF > /etc/init.d/wifidog
#!/bin/sh /etc/rc.common
# Copyright (C) 2006


EXTRA_HELP="        status Print the status of the service"

start_service() {
    # -s: log to syslog
    # -f: run in foreground
    procd_set_param command /usr/bin/wifidog -s -f
    procd_set_param respawn # respawn automatically if something died
    procd_set_param file /etc/wifidog.conf
    # wait for firewall rules to be setup
    /etc/init.d/wifidog-fw-extra enabled && /etc/init.d/wifidog-fw-extra restart &

# TODO: wdctl supports reload without disconnecting users
chmod +x /etc/init.d/wifidog

Note that the script backgrounds the call to wifidog-fw-extra. Otherwise, the firewall will be set up before Wifidog which will then promptly discard the rules.

To ensure that Wifidog is restarted on interface changes, we create the following hotplug script:

cat <<EOF >/etc/hotplug.d/iface/30-wifidog
# Based on firewall.hotplug
[ "$ACTION" = ifup -o "$ACTION" = ifupdate ] || exit 0
[ "$ACTION" = ifupdate -a -z "$IFUPDATE_ADDRESSES" -a -z "$IFUPDATE_DATA" ] && exit 0

/etc/init.d/wifidog enabled || exit 0
logger -t wifidog "Reloading wifidog due to $ACTION of $INTERFACE ($DEVICE)"
/etc/init.d/wifidog restart
chmod +x /etc/hotplug.d/iface/30-wifidog

Note that you can see the logger output with the logread command.

Now enable the init scripts to make Wifidog start on boot:

/etc/init.d/wifidog enable
/etc/init.d/wifidog-fw-extra enable

The downside to this method is that Wifidog is restarted multiple times. In addition, the firewall is called repeatedly and slows down the boot process due to the sleep 10 call. The upside is that it works.


FBWLAN is licensed under the AGPL. The files in views/* bear no copyright notice for practical reasons, but they carry the same license.

You can’t perform that action at this time.