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Install Miniflux on your Raspberry PI
Apr 8, 2020
4 minutes read

In the article “Nginx with TLS on OpenWRT”, I explained how to install Nginx with TLS support on a Raspberry PI. But without an application to protect, Nginx is quite useless. This article explains how to install Miniflux (a lightweight RSS reader) on your Raspberry PI and how to host it as an Nginx virtual host.

Miniflux is a web application written in Go and backed by a PostgreSQL database. So we will need to install PostgreSQL, install miniflux and setup Nginx. The rest of this article assumes you installed OpenWRT on your Raspberry, but it should be applicable to any Linux distribution with minimal changes.

Install PostgreSQL

Install the pgsql-server and pgsql-cli packages.

opkg update
opkg install pgsql-server pgsql-cli

Create a directory to hold PostgreSQL data (for instance /srv/postgresql/data).

mkdir -p /srv/postgresql/data
uci set postgresql.config.PGDATA=/srv/postgresql/data
uci set postgresql.config.PGLOG=/srv/postgresql/data/postgresql.log
uci commit
chown postgres:postgres /srv/postgresql/data

Initialize the database.

cd /srv/postgresql/data
sudo -u postgres /bin/ash -c 'LC_COLLATE="C" initdb —pwprompt -D /srv/postgresql/data'

Enable and start the PostgreSQL service.

service postgresql enable
service postgresql start

Note: if you need to start/stop the database manually, you can do so with the following commands:

sudo -u postgres /bin/ash -c 'LC_COLLATE="C" pg_ctl -D /srv/postgresql/data -l logfile start'
sudo -u postgres /bin/ash -c 'LC_COLLATE="C" pg_ctl -D /srv/postgresql/data -l logfile stop'

To be able to connect to the database by just typing psql in a command prompt, you have to create a PostgreSQL user for each Unix user. In the following example, root can do everything and nicolas can create new databases.

sudo -u postgres psql -c 'CREATE USER root SUPERUSER;'
sudo -u postgres psql -c 'CREATE USER nicolas CREATEDB;'

Install Miniflux

If not already done yet, install the required libraries to handle HTTPS URLs in wget. This is required by the next step (download from github.com over HTTPS).

opkg update
opkg install libustream-mbedtls ca-bundle ca-certificates

Install Miniflux in /opt/miniflux.

mkdir -p /opt/miniflux/bin
wget -O /opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux https://github.com/miniflux/miniflux/releases/download/2.0.19/miniflux-linux-armv8
chmod 755 /opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux

Create a Unix user and a PostgreSQL user named miniflux.

useradd -d /var/run/miniflux -s /bin/false -m -r miniflux
sudo -u postgres psql -c "CREATE USER miniflux WITH PASSWORD 'miniflux';"
sudo -u postgres psql -c "CREATE DATABASE miniflux OWNER miniflux;"

Check that users and database are setup correctly with the following command (no error message should appear here).

psql -h 127.0.0.1 miniflux miniflux
cd /tmp && sudo -u miniflux psql miniflux -c ''

Create the hstore extension required by Miniflux.

sudo -u postgres psql miniflux -c 'CREATE EXTENSION hstore;'

Configure Miniflux with the database connection URL and the port to listen on.

mkdir -p /opt/miniflux/etc
cat > /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf <<EOF
DATABASE_URL=postgres://miniflux:miniflux@localhost/miniflux?sslmode=disable
LISTEN_ADDR=8001
EOF
chown miniflux:miniflux /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf
chmod 600 /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf

Initialize the Miniflux database.

/opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux -c /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf -migrate
/opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux -c /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf -create-admin

Create an init script for Miniflux (/etc/init.d/miniflux for instance).

#!/bin/sh /etc/rc.common
# Miniflux

# Start after PostgreSQL (S50)
START=80
STOP=20

start() {
  start-stop-daemon -c miniflux -u miniflux -x /opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux -b -S -- -c /opt/miniflux/etc/miniflux.conf
}

stop() {
  start-stop-daemon -c miniflux -u miniflux -x /opt/miniflux/bin/miniflux -b -K
}

Enable and start the miniflux service.

service miniflux enable
service miniflux start

If everything goes well, you should see a process binding port 8001.

# netstat -tlnp
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name    
tcp        0      0 0.0.0.0:22              0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN      517/dropbear
tcp        0      0 127.0.0.1:5432          0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN      676/postmaster
tcp        0      0 127.0.0.1:8001          0.0.0.0:*               LISTEN      804/miniflux

Configure the Nginx virtual host

Edit your nginx configuration file and, as explained in “Nginx with TLS on OpenWRT”, insert a new server directive after the last one.

The only difference is that we are not serving static files from the filesystem but rather forwarding requests to a backend service.

So the root directive in the location / block needs to be replace by a proxy_pass directive.

server {
    listen 443 ssl;
    server_name miniflux.pi.example.test;

    ... redacted ...

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8001;
    }
}

Note: Do not insert a slash at the end of the URL, otherwise you would get a very different behavior.

Of course, you would also need to add a new DNS entry for the hostname of this new virtual host and renew your TLS certificate to include it.

Conclusion

This article explained how to install Miniflux on your Raspberry PI and how to host it as an Nginx virtual host.

If you liked this article, you can use your freshly installed Miniflux instance to subscribe to my RSS feed!


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