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Host your Cryptpad web office suite with OpenBSD

Written by Solène, on 14 December 2020.
Tags: #web #openbsd

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In this article I will explain how to deploy your own cryptpad instance with OpenBSD.

Cryptpad official website

Cryptpad is a web office suite featuring easy real time collaboration on documents. Cryptpad is written in JavaScript and the daemon acts as a web server.

Pre-requisites §

You need to install the packages git, node, automake and autoconfig to be able to fetch the sources and run the program.

# pkg_add node git autoconf--%2.69 automake--%1.16

Another web front-end software will be required to allow TLS connections and secure the network access to the Cryptpad instance. This can be relayd, haproxy, nginx or lighttpd. I'll cover the setup using httpd, and relayd. Note that Cryptpad developers will provide support only to Nginx users.

Installation §

I really recommend using dedicated users daemons. We will create a new user with the command:

# useradd -m _cryptpad

Then we will continue the software installation as the `_cryptpad` user.

# su -l _cryptpad

We will mainly follow the official instructions with some exceptions to adapt to OpenBSD:

Official installation guide

$ git clone https://github.com/xwiki-labs/cryptpad
$ cd cryptpad
$ env AUTOMAKE_VERSION=1.16 AUTOCONF_VERSION=2.69 CC=clang CXX=clang++ npm install
$ env AUTOMAKE_VERSION=1.16 AUTOCONF_VERSION=2.69 CC=clang CXX=clang++ npm install bower
$ node_modules/.bin/bower install
$ cp config/config.example.js config/config.js

Configuration §

There are a few variables important to customize:

  • "httpUnsafeOrigin" should be set to the public address on which cryptpad will be available. This will certainly be a HTTPS link with an hostname. I will use https://cryptpad.kongroo.eu
  • "httpSafeOrigin" should be set to a public address which is different than the previous one. Cryptpad requires two different addresses to work. I will use https://api.cryptpad.kongroo.eu
  • "adminEmail" must be set to a valid email used by the admin (certainly you)

Make a rc file to start the service §

We need to automatically start the service properly with the system.

Create the file /etc/rc.d/cryptpad



. /etc/rc.d/rc.subr

rc_start() {
	${rcexec} "cd ${location}; ${daemon} ${daemon_flags}"

rc_cmd $1

Enable the service and start it with rcctl

# rcctl enable cryptpad
# rcctl start cryptpad

Operating §

Make an admin account §

Register yourself on your Cryptpad instance then visit the *Settings* page of your profile: copy your public signing key.

Edit Cryptpad file config.js and search for the pattern "adminKeys", uncomment it by removing the "/* */" around and delete the example key and paste your key as follow:

adminKeys: [

Restart Cryptpad, the user is now admin and has access to a new administration panel from the web application.

Backups §

In the cryptpad directory, you need to backup `data` and `datastore` directories.

Extra configuration §

In this section I will explain how to configure generate your TLS certificate with acme-client and how to configure httpd and relayd to publish cryptpad. I consider it besides the current article because if you have nginx and already a setup to generate certificates, you don't need it. If you start from scratch, it's the easiest way to get the job done.

Acme client man page

Httpd man page and

Relayd man page

From here, I consider you use OpenBSD and you have blank configuration files.

I'll use the domain **kongroo.eu** as an example.

httpd §

We will use httpd in a very simple way. It will only listen on port 80 for all domain to allow acme-client to work and also to automatically redirect http requests to https.

# cp /etc/examples/httpd.conf /etc/httpd.conf
# rcctl enable httpd
# rcctl start httpd

acme-client §

We will use the example file as a default:

# cp /etc/examples/acme-client.conf /etc/acme-client.conf

Edit `/etc/acme-client.conf` and change the last domain block, replace `example.com` and `secure.example.com` with your domains, like `cryptpad.kongroo.eu` and `api.cryptpad.kongroo.eu` as alternative name.

For convenience, you will want to replace the path for the full chain certificate to have `hostname.crt` instead of `hostname.fullchain.pem` to match relayd expectations.

This looks like this paragraph on my setup:

domain kongroo.eu {
        alternative names { api.cryptpad.kongroo.eu cryptpad.kongroo.eu }
        domain key "/etc/ssl/private/kongroo.eu.key"
        domain full chain certificate "/etc/ssl/kongroo.eu.crt"
        sign with buypass

Note that with the default acme-client.conf file, you can use *letsencrypt* or *buypass* as a certification authority.

acme-client.conf man page

You should be able to create your certificates now.

# acme-client kongroo.eu


You will want the certificate to be renewed automatically and relayd to restart upon certificate change. As stated by acme-client.conf man page, add this to your root crontab using `crontab -e`:

~ * * * * acme-client kongroo.eu && rcctl reload relayd

relayd §

This configuration is quite easy, replace `kongroo.eu` with your domain.

Create a /etc/relayd.conf file with the following content:

relayd.conf man page

tcp protocol "https" {
        tls keypair kongroo.eu

relay "https" {
        listen on egress port 443 tls
        protocol https
        forward to port 3000

Enable and start relayd using rcctl:

# rcctl enable relayd
# rcctl start relayd

Conclusion §

You should be able to reach your Cryptpad instance using the public URL now. Congratulations!