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Setup Matrix and Element Chat Server

In this tutorial we will setup a Matrix and Element Chat Server using Docker on Ubuntu.

What is Matrix?

Matrix is an open standard and communication protocol for secure, decentralised, real-time communication. For more information on Matrix, see their website

Install Docker

I will assume that docker and docker compose is installed, if not, follow this resource to install them: - https://docs.docker.com/get-docker/

Install Matrix Server

Create the directory structure:

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$ docker network create --driver=bridge --subnet=10.10.10.0/24 --gateway=10.10.10.1 matrix_net
$ mkdir matrix
$ cd matrix/

The docker-compose.yml:

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version: '3.8'

services:
  element:
    image: vectorim/element-web:latest
    restart: unless-stopped
    volumes:
      - ./element-config.json:/app/config.json
    networks:
      default:
        ipv4_address: 10.10.10.3

  synapse:
    image: matrixdotorg/synapse:latest
    restart: unless-stopped
    networks:
      default:
        ipv4_address: 10.10.10.4
    volumes:
     - ./synapse:/data

  postgres:
    image: postgres:11
    restart: unless-stopped
    networks:
      default:
        ipv4_address: 10.10.10.2
    volumes:
     - ./postgresdata:/var/lib/postgresql/data
    environment:
     - POSTGRES_DB=synapse
     - POSTGRES_USER=synapse
     - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=STRONGPASSWORD
     - POSTGRES_INITDB_ARGS=--lc-collate C --lc-ctype C --encoding UTF8

networks:
  default:
    external:
      name: matrix

Download a sample config:

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$ wget https://develop.element.io/config.json
$ mv config.json element-config.json

And adjust the bits where needed in element-config.json:

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{
    "default_server_config": {
        "m.homeserver": {
            "base_url": "https://matrix.domain.co.za",
            "server_name": "matrix.domain.co.za"
        },
        "m.identity_server": {
            "base_url": "https://vector.im"
        }
    },
    "brand": "Element",
    "integrations_ui_url": "https://scalar.vector.im/",
    "integrations_rest_url": "https://scalar.vector.im/api",
    "integrations_widgets_urls": [
        "https://scalar.vector.im/_matrix/integrations/v1",
        "https://scalar.vector.im/api",
        "https://scalar-staging.vector.im/_matrix/integrations/v1",
        "https://scalar-staging.vector.im/api",
        "https://scalar-staging.riot.im/scalar/api"
    ],
    "hosting_signup_link": "https://element.io/matrix-services?utm_source=element-web&utm_medium=web",
    "bug_report_endpoint_url": "https://element.io/bugreports/submit",
    "uisi_autorageshake_app": "element-auto-uisi",
    "showLabsSettings": true,
    "piwik": {
        "url": "https://piwik.riot.im/",
        "siteId": 1,
        "policyUrl": "https://element.io/cookie-policy"
    },
    "roomDirectory": {
        "servers": [
            "matrix.org",
            "gitter.im",
            "libera.chat"
        ]
    },
    "enable_presence_by_hs_url": {
        "https://matrix.org": false,
        "https://matrix-client.matrix.org": false
    },
    "terms_and_conditions_links": [
        {
            "url": "https://element.io/privacy",
            "text": "Privacy Policy"
        },
        {
            "url": "https://element.io/cookie-policy",
            "text": "Cookie Policy"
        }
    ],
    "hostSignup": {
      "brand": "Element Home",
      "cookiePolicyUrl": "https://element.io/cookie-policy",
      "domains": [
          "matrix.org"
      ],
      "privacyPolicyUrl": "https://element.io/privacy",
      "termsOfServiceUrl": "https://element.io/terms-of-service",
      "url": "https://ems.element.io/element-home/in-app-loader"
    },
    "sentry": {
        "dsn": "https://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxc5@sentry.matrix.org/6",
        "environment": "develop"
    },
    "posthog": {
        "projectApiKey": "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx",
        "apiHost": "https://posthog.hss.element.io"
    },
    "features": {},
    "map_style_url": "https://api.maptiler.com/maps/streets/style.json?key=xxxxxxxxxxxxx"
}

Generate the homeserver config:

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$ docker run -it --rm -v "$HOME/matrix/synapse:/data" -e SYNAPSE_SERVER_NAME=matrix.domain.co.za -e SYNAPSE_REPORT_STATS=yes matrixdotorg/synapse:latest generate

Verify the generated config in synapse/homeserver.yaml (I only changed server name and database):

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server_name: "matrix.domain.co.za"
database:
  name: psycopg2
  args:
    user: synapse
    password: STRONGPASSWORD
    database: synapse
    host: postgres
    cp_min: 5
    cp_max: 10

Boot the stack:

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$ docker-compose up -d

Caddy Reverse Proxy

Install caddy as a reverse proxy (includes letsencrypt out of the box):

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$ apt install -y debian-keyring debian-archive-keyring apt-transport-https
$ curl -1sLf 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/gpg.key' | sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/caddy-stable.asc
$ curl -1sLf 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/debian.deb.txt' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/caddy-stable.list
$ apt update
$ apt install caddy -y

Create the /etc/caddy/Caddyfile with the following content:

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matrix.domain.co.za {
        reverse_proxy /_matrix/* 10.10.10.4:8008
        reverse_proxy /_synapse/client/* 10.10.10.4:8008

        header {
                X-Content-Type-Options nosniff
                Referrer-Policy strict-origin-when-cross-origin
                Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=63072000; includeSubDomains;"
                Permissions-Policy "accelerometer=(), camera=(), geolocation=(), gyroscope=(), magnetometer=(), microphone=(), payment=(), usb=(), interest-cohort=()"
                X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN
                X-XSS-Protection 1
                X-Robots-Tag none
                -server
        }
}

element.domain.co.za {
        encode zstd gzip
        reverse_proxy 10.10.10.3:80

        header {
                X-Content-Type-Options nosniff
                Referrer-Policy strict-origin-when-cross-origin
                Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=63072000; includeSubDomains;"
                Permissions-Policy "accelerometer=(), camera=(), geolocation=(), gyroscope=(), magnetometer=(), microphone=(), payment=(), usb=(), interest-cohort=()"
                X-Frame-Options SAMEORIGIN
                X-XSS-Protection 1
                X-Robots-Tag none
                -server
        }
}

Change to the /etc/caddy directory then reload:

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$ pushd /etc/caddy
$ caddy fmt
$ caddy reload
$ popd

Wait a couple of minutes and visit element on https://element.domain.co.za/

Admin Element User

Create your admin user on the docker container:

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$ docker exec -it matrix_synapse_1 bash
> register_new_matrix_user -c /data/homeserver.yaml http://localhost:8008

New user localpart [root]: ruan
Password:
Confirm password:
Make admin [no]: yes
Sending registration request...
Success!

Resources

Thanks to cyberhost.uk for credit on helping me with this post.

Thank You

Thanks for reading, if you like my content, check out my website, read my newsletter or follow me at @ruanbekker on Twitter.

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