This tutorial walks you through the steps needed to setup and deploy a standalone, single-node Offen instance that is using a local SQLite file as its database backend.
systemd is used for managing the Offen service.
- Downloading and Installing the binaries
- Choosing a Location for Storing Your Data
- Running the
- Setting up AutoTLS
- Setting up Email
- Verifying your config file
- Creating and Running a
- Updating the Version in Use
You can download a tarball of the latest release from our Releases section on GitHub.
In this tutorial, we will put the binaries for each version in a directory in
/opt/offen/<version> and create a symlink for the version you want to use in
/usr/bin. This allows you to update your binaries without interrupting the service.
Untar the archive you downloaded and look for the binary called
offen-linux-amd64. Put this file in a subdirectory of
/opt/offen that specifies its version. This example is using the
mkdir -p /tmp/offen-download && cd /tmp/offen-download curl -sSL https://get.offen.dev | tar -xvz md5sum -c checksums.txt # check that your download contains the expected files sudo mkdir -p /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.5 sudo cp offen-linux-amd64 /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.5 sudo ln -s /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.5/offen-linux-amd64 /usr/bin/offen
If you have GPG installed, we also recommend verifying the binary’s signature:
gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv F20D4074068C636D58B53F46FD60FBEDC90B8DA1 gpg --verify offen-linux-amd64.asc offen-linux-amd64
You can confirm that your installation is working as expected like this:
$ which offen /usr/bin/offen $ offen version INFO Current build created using revision=v0.1.0-alpha.5
In the simple setup described in this tutorial Offen needs to persist the following files:
- a database file
- a configuration file
- cache files the SSL certificates
Keeping these files available at any time is required for running the application, so make sure they aren’t stored on ephemeral systems. If you deploy to a ephemeral host (e.g. Heroku), check “Configuring The Application At Runtime” for how to configure the application using environment variables and connecting to a remote Database.
This tutorial assumes you are able to use
sudo, so we create a
/var/opt/offen directory in which we will store our database.
sudo mkdir -p /var/opt/offen
/var/www directory, create a
.cache directory if it doesn’t already exist.
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/.cache
/etc directory create an
offen directory and populate it with an empty file called
offen.env. This will hold your application configuration.
sudo mkdir -p /etc/offen && sudo touch /etc/offen/offen.env
Now that we have defined the database location, Offen lets you setup a new instance using the
sudo offen setup \ -email firstname.lastname@example.org \ # the email used for login -name mysite \ # your account name, this will not be displayed to users -populate # this will automatically create required secrets for you
When finished, the command has created an account for you, using the given name and credentials.
/etc/offen/offen.env file will now look something like this:
OFFEN_SECRETS_COOKIEEXCHANGE="uNrZP7r5fY3sfS35tbzR9w==" # do not use this secret in production
Offen requires a secure connection and can automatically acquire a renew SSL certificates from LetsEncrypt for your domain. All you need to do is add the domain you want to serve Offen from to your
To make sure the automatic certificate creation and renewal works, make sure your host system exposes both port 80 and 443 to the public internet.
Offen needs to send transactional email for the following features:
- Inviting a new user to an account
- Resetting your password in case you forgot it
To enable this, you can add SMTP credentials, namely Host, Sender, User, Password and Port to the
OFFEN_SMTP_HOST="smtp.mysite.com" OFFEN_SMTP_SENDER="email@example.com" OFFEN_SMTP_USER="me" OFFEN_SMTP_PASSWORD="my-password" OFFEN_SMTP_PORT="587"
Offen will run without these values being set and try to fall back to a local
sendmail install, yet please be aware that if you rely on any of the above features email delivery will be very unreliable if not configured correctly. You can always add this at a later time though.
Before you start the application, it’s a good idea to double check the setup. Your config file at
/etc/offen/offen.env should now contain an entry for each of these values:
OFFEN_SECRETS_COOKIEEXCHANGE="uNrZP7r5fY3sfS35tbzR9w==" # do not use this secret in production OFFEN_SERVER_AUTOTLS="offen.mysite.com" OFFEN_SMTP_HOST="smtp.mysite.com" OFFEN_SMTP_USER="me" OFFEN_SMTP_PASSWORD="my-password" OFFEN_SMTP_PORT="587"
If all of this is populated with the values you expect, you’re ready to use Offen.
If you want to expose Offen to the internet, you need some other process to supervise it and restart it on failure or reboot. This tutorial uses
systemd to do so for it ubiquity, but if you prefer any other tool to handle this for you it should work just as fine.
First, create a service definiton in
sudo touch /etc/systemd/system/offen.service
and populate it with the following content:
[Unit] Description=Offen Service [Service] ExecStart=/usr/bin/offen Restart=always [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
This means you can now register the service with
sudo systemctl daemon-reload sudo systemctl enable offen sudo systemctl start offen
You can check whether this worked correctly using
$ sudo systemctl status offen ● offen.service - Offen Service Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/offen.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Mon 2020-01-27 15:57:58 CET; 1min ago Main PID: 6701 (offen) Tasks: 11 (limit: 4915) CGroup: /system.slice/offen.service └─6701 /usr/bin/offen
Your instance is now ready to use. Once you have setup DNS to point at your host system, you can head to
https://offen.mysite.com/login and login to your account.
The easiest way for accessing application logs in this setup is using
$ sudo journalctl -u offen offen: time="2020-01-27T15:57:41+01:00" level=info msg="Successfully applied database migrations" offen: time="2020-01-27T15:57:41+01:00" level=info msg="Server now listening on port 80 and 443 using AutoTLS" offen: time="2020-01-27T15:57:41+01:00" level=info msg="Cron successfully pruned expired events" removed=0
If you want to uninstall the service from your system, stop and disable the
sudo systemctl stop offen sudo systemctl disable offen
To update to a new version of Offen, download the contents of the newest release into a new directory in
/opt/offen and update the symlink in
curl -sSL https://get.offen.dev | tar -xvz md5sum -c checksums.txt # check that your download contains the expected files sudo mkdir -p /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.12 sudo cp offen-linux-amd64 /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.12 sudo ln -sf /opt/offen/v0.1.0-alpha.12/offen-linux-amd64 /usr/bin/offen
Confirm that this worked by having
offen print its version:
$ offen version INFO Current build created using revision=v0.1.0-alpha.12
You can now restart your service to pick up the changes:
sudo systemctl restart offen
At the moment Offen is alpha stage software. We are working hard to keep things stable for our users, but at the moment we cannot guarantee upgrade compatibility. Check the changelogs carefully to see if you can actually upgrade to a new release before replacing your running version.
You can read more about our approach to versioning in this blog post.