About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(BSD OpenBSD Qubes OS Lisp cmdline gaming security QubesOS internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@. No AI is involved in this blog.

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How to install Kanboard on OpenBSD

Written by Solène, on 07 July 2023.
Tags: #openbsd #selfhosting #nocloud

Comments on Fediverse/Mastodon

1. Introduction §

Let me share an installation guide on OpenBSD for a product I like: kanboard. It's a Kanban board written in PHP, it's easy of use, light, effective, the kind of software I like.

While there is a docker image for easy deployment on Linux, there is no guide to install it on OpenBSD. I did it successfuly, including httpd for the web server.

Kanboard official project website

2. Setup §

We will need a fairly simple stack:

  • httpd for the web server (I won't explain how to do TLS here)
  • php 8.2
  • database backed by sqlite, if you need postgresql or mysql, adapt

2.1. Kanboard files §

Prepare a directory where kanboard will be extracted, it must be owned by root:

install -d -o root -g wheel -m 755 /var/www/htdocs/kanboard

Download the latest version of kanboard, prefer the .tar.gz file because it won't require an extra program.

Kanboard GitHub releases

Extract the archive, and move the extracted content into /var/www/htdocs/kanboard; the file /var/www/htdocs/kanboard/cli should exists if you did it correctly.

Now, you need to fix the permissions for a single directory inside the project to allow the web server to write persistent data.

install -d -o www -g www -m 755 /var/www/htdocs/kanboard/data

2.2. PHP configuration §

For kanboard, we will need PHP and a few extensions. They can be installed and enabled using the following command: (for the future, 8.2 will be obsolete, adapt to the current PHP version)

pkg_add php-zip--%8.2 php-curl--%8.2 php-zip--%8.2 php-pdo_sqlite--%8.2
for mod in pdo_sqlite opcache gd zip curl
  ln -s /etc/php-8.2.sample/${mod}.ini /etc/php-8.2/
rcctl enable php82_fpm
rcctl start php82_fpm

Now you have the service php82_fpm (chrooted in /var/www/) ready to be used by httpd.

2.3. HTTPD configuration §

Configure the web server httpd, you can use nginx or apache if you prefer, with the following piece of configuration:

server "kanboard.my.domain" {
    listen on * port 80

    location "*.php" {
        fastcgi socket "/run/php-fpm.sock"

    # don't rewrite for assets (fonts, images)
    location "/assets/*" {
        root "/htdocs/kanboard/"

    location match "/(.*)" {
        request rewrite "/index.php%1"

    location "/*" {
        root "/htdocs/kanboard"

Now, enable httpd if not already done, and (re)start httpd:

rcctl enable httpd
rcctl restart httpd

From now, Kanboard should be reachable and usable. The default credentials are admin/admin.

2.4. Sending emails §

If you want to send emails, you have three choices:

  • use php mail() which just use the local relay
  • use sendmail command, which will also use the local relay
  • configure an smtp server with authentication, can be a remote server

2.4.1. Local email §

If you want to use one of the first two methods, you will have to add a few files to the chroot like /bin/sh; you can find accurate and up to date information about the specific changes in the file /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readms/php-8.2.

2.4.2. Using a remote smtp server §

If you want to use a remote server with authentication (I made a dedicated account for kanboard on my mail server):

Copy /var/www/htdocs/kanboard/config.default.php as /var/www/htdocs/kanboard/config.php, and changes the variables below accordingly:

define('MAIL_TRANSPORT', 'smtp');

define('MAIL_SMTP_HOSTNAME',   'my-server.local');
define('MAIL_SMTP_PORT',       587);
define('MAIL_SMTP_HELO_NAME',  null);
define('MAIL_SMTP_ENCRYPTION', "tls");

Your kanboard should be able to send emails now. You can check by creating a new task, and click on "Send by email".

NOTE: Your user also NEED to enable email notifications.

2.5. Cronjob configuration §

For some tasks like reminding emails or stats computation, Kanboard requires to run a daily job by running a the CLI version.

You can do it as the www user in root crontab:

0 1 * * * -ns su -m www -c 'cd /var/www/htdocs/kanboard && /usr/local/bin/php-8.2 cli cronjob'

3. Conclusion §

Kanboard is a fine piece of software, I really like the kanban workflow to organize. I hope you'll enjoy it as well.

I'd also add that installing software without docker is still a thing, this requires you to know exactly what you need to make it run, and how to configure it, but I'd consider this a security bonus point. Think that it will also have all its dependencies updated along with your system upgrades over time.