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Installing on Ubuntu

Required Software

Installing Node.js

Node.js is available from the NodeSource Ubuntu binary distributions repository. Start by adding this repository to the apt index:

% curl -o- | bash

Then, update the apt packages and install nodejs:

% sudo apt-get update
% sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Verify installation of Node.js and npm. You should have version LTS of Node.js installed, and version 8 of npm installed:

% node -v
% npm -v      # this should output "8.11.0" or similar

Installing Redis

The original NodeBB installation guide suggests the use of MongoDB database, but for simplicity and consistency across the installation guides, we will be using Redis as our database.

Here is an abbreviated version of the installation instructions provided by Redis:

Add Redis repository to the apt index:

% curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/redis-archive-keyring.gpg
% echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/redis-archive-keyring.gpg] $(lsb_release -cs) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/redis.list

Update the apt packages and install redis:

% sudo apt-get update
% sudo apt-get install redis

Start the redis server:

% redis-server

Installing NodeBB

You should have already forked the class-specific repository. Clone your forked repository onto your local machine.

Windows WSL2 Warning

For Windows WSL2 users, you should store your project files on the same operating system as the tools you plan to use. When it comes to cloning the NodeBB repository, it means that you should clone it in:

  • the Linux file system root directory: \\wsl$\Ubuntu\home\<user name>\
  • NOT the Windows file system root directory: /mnt/c/Users/<user name>/$ or C:\Users\<user name>\

You can use % cd ~ to access the Linux home directory, then clone the repository there.

Enter the directory where you have cloned the repository:

% cd NodeBB

Run the interactive installation command:

% ./nodebb setup

You will then be presented with a series of setup questions.

For each of the questions — except for "Which database to use (mongo)", which you should answer with "redis" — you may accept the default answer by pressing Enter

URL used to access this NodeBB ( 
Please enter a NodeBB secret (ee18b7c3-1d23-41c9-800f-78d74acc0861) 
Would you like to submit anonymous plugin usage to nbbpm? (yes) 
Which database to use (mongo) redis

Now configuring redis database:
Host IP or address of your Redis instance ( 
Host port of your Redis instance (6379) 
Password of your Redis database 
Which database to use (0..n) (0) 

The first time you run the setup command, you will also be asked to configure a forum administrator. When prompted, enter the desired information for the admin account.

Once everything has finished installing, a configuration file config.json will be created. This file can be modified if you need to make changes to the above settings, such as the database location or credentials used to access the database.

After the installation, build the files:

% ./nodebb build

And start the NodeBB server:

% ./nodebb start

You can now visit your forum at http://localhost:4567/.