Installing GNU Social with SSL on Debian 7 Wheezy

Yesterday I got my instance of GNU Social up and running on a Debian 7 server and I thought to document the steps I took in order to have a functional GNU Social instance.

First make sure you have the GLAMP (GNU/Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack installed, with php 5.5 or higher.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Then add the following lines:

deb wheezy-php55 all
deb-src wheezy-php55 all

save and run the following:

apt-key add dotdeb.gpg

Then install the packages:

apt-get update
apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-mysql php5-gd php5-curl php5-intl mysql-server git sendmail-bin

Now it’s time to create a database and a user for our GNU Social instance.
Log in to mysql server:

mysql -u root -p

And execute the following SQL query:

GRANT ALL ON gnusocial.* to 'gnusocial' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password_here';

Now download GNU Social and place it in /var/www/gnusocial

git clone /var/www/gnusocial

Then give the user www-data ownership to the gnusocial folder:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/gnusocial

Now let’s create an apache2 virtual host for our instance

touch /etc/apache2/sites-available/gnusocial

and edit the configuration to match our installation

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/gnusocial
<VirtualHost *:80>
  DocumentRoot /var/www/gnusocial
  DirectoryIndex index.php

And activate the php module and the site with the following commands

a2enmod php5
a2ensite gnusocial
service apache2 reload

Now you can try to access your website domain (e.g. and you will see a page that informs you that you need to make a configuration file and start the installer.
Before continuing the GNU Social installation we are going to enable fancy URLs and SSL
In order to enable Fancy URLs we have to use the provided .htaccess file

mv /var/www/gnusocial/htaccess.sample /var/www/gnusocial/.htaccess

In order to have SSL encryption we will use a Let’s Encrypt certificate generated by their automated script.
So let’s go to work.

cd ~
git clone letsencrypt
cd letsencrypt
./letsencrypt-auto --help

Now run the following command and follow on-screen wizard to install the Let’s encrypt certificates.

./letsencrypt-auto --apache

If it complains about outdated libaugeas0 and augeas-lenses you can download and install the packages from jessie (I assune you’re runing on a X86_64 installation, otherwise just find the links on :

cd ~
dpkg -i *.deb

Then run again :

./letsencrypt-auto --apache

Now after all these steps are followed you can proceed with the GNU Social installation wizard by visiting the GNU Social installation page (e.g.

After that you may want to change the theme of GNU Social to neo-quitter by adding the following line to the config.php

$config['site']['theme'] = 'neo-quitter';

If you would like to follow me on GNU Social, please do so at the following address: