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Friendica Installation

We've tried very hard to ensure that Friendica will run on commodity hosting platforms - such as those used to host Wordpress blogs and Drupal websites. But be aware that Friendica is more than a simple web application. It is a complex communications system which more closely resembles an email server than a web server. For reliability and performance, messages are delivered in the background and are queued for later delivery when sites are down. This kind of functionality requires a bit more of the host system than the typical blog. Not every PHP/MySQL hosting provider will be able to support Friendica. Many will. But please review the requirements and confirm these with your hosting provider prior to installation.

Before you begin: Choose a domain name or subdomain name for your server. Put some thought into this - because changing it is currently not-supported. Things will break, and some of your friends may have difficulty communicating with you. We plan to address this limitation in a future release. Also decide if you wish to connect with members of the Diaspora network, as this will impact the installation requirements.

Decide if you will use SSL and obtain an SSL cert. Communications with the Diaspora network MAY require both SSL AND an SSL cert signed by a CA which is recognized by major browsers. Friendica will work with self-signed certs but Diaspora communication may not. For best results, install your cert PRIOR to installing Friendica and when visiting your site for the initial installation in step 5, please use the https: link. (Use the http: or non-SSL link if your cert is self-signed).

1. Requirements

  • Apache with mod-rewrite enabled and "Options All" so you can use a local .htaccess file

  • PHP 5.6.1+ (PHP 7.1+ recommended for performance and official support).

    • PHP command line with register_argc_argv = true in php.ini
    • curl, gd (with at least jpeg support), mysql, mbstring, xml, zip and openssl extensions
    • Some form of email server or email gateway such that PHP mail() works
    • The POSIX module of PHP needs to be activated (e.g. RHEL, CentOS have disabled it)
    • Composer for a Git install
  • Mysql 5.6+ or an equivalent alternative for MySQL (MariaDB 10.0.5+, Percona Server etc.)

  • Ability to schedule jobs with cron (Linux/Mac) or Scheduled Tasks (Windows)

  • Installation into a top-level domain or sub-domain (without a directory/path component in the URL) is preferred. This is REQUIRED if you wish to communicate with the Diaspora network.

  • For alternative server configurations (such as Nginx server and MariaDB database engine), refer to the Friendica wiki.

This guide will walk you through the manual installation process of Friendica. If this is nothing for you, you might be interested in:

2. Install Friendica sources

Unpack the Friendica files into the root of your web server document area.

If you copy the directory tree to your webserver, make sure that you also copy .htaccess-dist - as "dot" files are often hidden and aren't normally copied.


Clone the friendica/friendica GitHub repository and import dependencies

git clone -b master [web server folder]
cd [web server folder]
bin/composer.phar install --no-dev

Make sure the folder view/smarty3 exists and is writable by the webserver user, in this case www-data

mkdir view/smarty3
chown www-data:www-data view/smarty3
chmod 775 view/smarty3

Get the addons by going into your website folder.

cd mywebsite

Clone the addon repository (separately):

git clone -b master addon

If you want to use the development version of Friendica you can switch to the develop branch in the repository by running

git checkout develop
bin/composer.phar install
cd addon
git checkout develop

Please be aware that the develop branch is unstable. Exercise caution when pulling. If you encounter a bug, please let us know.

Either way, if you use Apache, copy .htaccess-dist to .htaccess to enable URL rewriting.

3. Database

Create an empty database and note the access details (hostname, username, password, database name).

  • Friendica needs the permission to create and delete fields and tables in its own database.
  • Please check the additional notes if running on MySQ 5.7.17 or newer

4. Config

If you know in advance that it will be impossible for the web server to write or create files in the config/ directory, please create an empty file called local.config.php in it and make it writable by the web server.

5a. Install Wizard

Visit your website with a web browser and follow the instructions. Please note any error messages and correct these before continuing.

If you are using SSL with a known signature authority (recommended), use the https: link to your website. If you are using a self-signed cert or no cert, use the http: link.

If you need to specify a port for the connection to the database, you can do so in the host name setting for the database.

5b. Manual install

If the automated installation fails for any reason, please check the following:

  • config/local.config.php exists
    • If not, copy config/local-sample.config.php to config/local.config.php and edit it with your settings.
  • Database is populated.
    • If not, import the contents of database.sql with phpMyAdmin or the mysql command line tool.

6. Register the admin account

At this point visit your website again, and register your personal account with the same email as in the config.admin_email config value. Registration errors should all be recoverable automatically.

If you get any critical failure at this point, it generally indicates the database was not installed correctly. You might wish to delete/rename config/local.config.php to another name and drop all the database tables so that you can start fresh.

7. Background tasks (IMPORTANT)

Set up a cron job or scheduled task to run the worker once every 5-10 minutes to pick up the recent "public" postings of your friends. Example:

cd /base/directory; /path/to/php bin/worker.php

Change "/base/directory", and "/path/to/php" as appropriate for your situation.

If you are using a Linux server, run "crontab -e" and add a line like the one shown, substituting for your unique paths and settings:

*/10 * * * *	cd /home/myname/mywebsite; /usr/bin/php bin/worker.php

You can generally find the location of PHP by executing "which php". If you have troubles with this section please contact your hosting provider for assistance. Friendica will not work correctly if you cannot perform this step.

You should also be sure that config.php_path is set correctly, it should look like this: (changing it to the correct PHP location)

'config' => [
	'php_path' => '/usr/local/php56/bin/php',

Alternative: If you cannot use a cron job as described above, you can use the frontend worker and an external cron service to trigger the execution of the worker script. You can enable the frontend worker after the installation from the admin panel of your node and call:

with the service of your choice.

Bad things will happen. Let there be a hardware failure, a corrupted database or whatever you can think of. So once the installation of your Friendica node is done, you should make yourself a backup plan.

The most important file is the config/local.config.php file in the base directory. As it stores all your data, you should also have a recent dump of your Friendica database at hand, should you have to recover your node.

9. (Optional) Reverse-proxying and HTTPS

Friendica looks for some well-known HTTP headers indicating a reverse-proxy terminating an HTTPS connection. While the standard from RFC 7239 specifies the use of the Forwaded header.

Forwarded: for=; proto=https; by=

Friendica also supports a number on non-standard headers in common use.

X-Forwarded-Proto: https

Front-End-Https: on

X-Forwarded-Ssl: on

It is however preferable to use the standard approach if configuring a new server.


"System is currently unavailable. Please try again later"

Check your database settings. It usually means your database could not be opened or accessed. If the database resides on the same machine, check that the database server name is "localhost".

500 Internal Error

This could be the result of one of our Apache directives not being supported by your version of Apache. Examine your apache server logs. You might remove the line "Options -Indexes" from the .htaccess file if you are using a Windows server as this has been known to cause problems. Also check your file permissions. Your website and all contents must generally be world-readable.

It is likely that your web server reported the source of the problem in its error log files. Please review these system error logs to determine what caused the problem. Often this will need to be resolved with your hosting provider or (if self-hosted) your web server configuration.

400 and 4xx "File not found" errors

First check your file permissions. Your website and all contents must generally be world-readable.

Ensure that mod-rewite is installed and working, and that your .htaccess file is being used. To verify the latter, create a file test.out containing the word "test" in the top directory of Friendica, make it world readable and point your web browser to

This file should be blocked. You should get a permission denied message.

If you see the word "test" your Apache configuration is not allowing your .htaccess file to be used (there are rules in this file to block access to any file with .out at the end, as these are typically used for system logs).

Make certain the .htaccess file exists and is readable by everybody, then look for the existence of "AllowOverride None" in the Apache server configuration for your site. This will need to be changed to "AllowOverride All".

If you do not see the word "test", your .htaccess is working, but it is likely that mod-rewrite is not installed in your web server or is not working.

On most Linux flavors:

% a2enmod rewrite
% /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Consult your hosting provider, experts on your particular Linux distribution or (if Windows) the provider of your Apache server software if you need to change either of these and can not figure out how. There is a lot of help available on the web. Search "mod-rewrite" along with the name of your operating system distribution or Apache package (if using Windows).

Unable to write the file config/local.config.php due to permissions issues

Create an empty config/local.config.phpfile with that name and give it world-write permission.

On Linux:

% touch config/local.config.php
% chmod 664 config/local.config.php

Retry the installation. As soon as the database has been created,

******* this is important *********

% chmod 644 config/local.config.php

Suhosin issues

Some configurations with "suhosin" security are configured without an ability to run external processes. Friendica requires this ability. Following are some notes provided by one of our members.

On my server I use the php protection system Suhosin []. One of the things it does is to block certain functions like proc_open, as configured in /etc/php5/conf.d/suhosin.ini:

suhosin.executor.func.blacklist = proc_open, ...

For those sites like Friendica that really need these functions they can be enabled, e.g. in /etc/apache2/sites-available/friendica:

<Directory /var/www/friendica/> php_admin_value suhosin.executor.func.blacklist none php_admin_value suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist none

This enables every function for Friendica if accessed via browser, but not for the cronjob that is called via php command line. I attempted to enable it for cron by using something like:

*/10 * * * * cd /var/www/friendica/friendica/ && sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php
-d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none
-d suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist=none -f bin/worker.php

This worked well for simple test cases, but the friendica-cron still failed with a fatal error:

suhosin[22962]: ALERT - function within blacklist called: proc_open() (attacker 'REMOTE_ADDR not set', file '/var/www/friendica/friendica/boot.php', line 1341)

After a while I noticed, that bin/worker.php calls further PHP script via proc_open. These scripts themselves also use proc_open and fail, because they are NOT called with -d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none.

So the simple solution is to put the correct parameters into config/local.config.php:

'config' => [ //Location of PHP command line processor 'php_path' => '/usr/bin/php -d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none
-d suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist=none', ],

This is obvious as soon as you notice that the friendica-cron uses proc_open to execute PHP scripts that also use proc_open, but it took me quite some time to find that out. I hope this saves some time for other people using suhosin with function blacklists.

Unable to create all mysql tables on MySQL 5.7.17 or newer

If the setup fails to create all the database tables and/or manual creation from the command line fails, with this error:

ERROR 1067 (42000) at line XX: Invalid default value for 'created'

You need to adjust your my.cnf and add the following setting under the [mysqld] section:

sql_mode = '';

After that, restart mysql and try again.