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Caching assets and media

When you've configured your GoToSocial instance with local storage for media, you can use your reverse proxy to serve these files directly and cache them. This avoids hitting GoToSocial for these requests and reverse proxies can typically serve assets faster than GoToSocial.

You can also use your reverse proxy to cache the GoToSocial web UI assets, like the CSS and images it uses.

When using a split domain deployment style, you need to ensure you configure caching of the assets and media on the host domain.

Media pruning

If you've configured media pruning, you need to ensure that when media is not found on disk the request is still sent on to GoToSocial. This will ensure the media is fetched again from the remote instance and subsequent requests for this media will then be handled by your reverse proxy again.


There are 2 endpoints that serve assets we can serve and cache:

  • /assets which contains fonts, CSS, images etc. for the web UI
  • /fileserver which serves attachments for status posts when using the local storage backend

The filesystem location of /assets is defined by the web-asset-base-dir configuration option. Files under /fileserver are retrieved from the storage-local-base-path.


The Cache-Control header is manually set to merge the values from the configuration and the expires directive to avoid breakage from having two header lines. Header set defaults to onsuccess, so it is also not added to error responses.

Assuming your GtS installation is rooted in /opt/GtS with a storage subdirectory, and the webserver has been given access, add the following section to the vhost:

<Directory /opt/GtS/web/assets>
    Options None
    AllowOverride None
    Require all granted
    ExpiresActive on
    ExpiresDefault A300
    Header set Cache-Control "public, max-age=300"
RewriteRule "^/assets/(.*)$" "/opt/GtS/web/assets/$1" [L]

<Directory /opt/GtS/storage>
    Options None
    AllowOverride None
    Require all granted
    ExpiresActive on
    ExpiresDefault A604800
    Header set Cache-Control "private, immutable, max-age=604800"
RewriteCond "/opt/GtS/storage/$1" -f
RewriteRule "^/fileserver/(.*)$" "/opt/GtS/storage/$1" [L]

The trick here is that, in an Apache 2-based reverse proxy setup…

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP:Upgrade} websocket [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP:Connection} upgrade [NC]
RewriteRule ^/?(.*) "ws://localhost:8980/$1" [P,L]

ProxyIOBufferSize 65536
ProxyTimeout 120

ProxyPreserveHost On
<Location "/">

… everything is proxied by default, the RewriteRule bypasses the proxy (by specifying a filesystem path to redirect to) for specific URL præficēs and the RewriteCond ensures to only disable the /fileserver/ proxy if the file is, indeed, present.

Also run the following commands (assuming a Debian-like setup) to enable the modules used:

$ sudo a2enmod expires
$ sudo a2enmod headers
$ sudo a2enmod rewrite

Then (after a configtest), restart Apache.

Here's an example of the three location blocks you'll need to add to your existing configuration in nginx:

server {

location /assets/ {
    alias web-asset-base-dir/;
    autoindex off;
    expires 5m;
    add_header Cache-Control "public";

location @fileserver {
    proxy_pass http://localhost:8080;
    proxy_set_header Host $host;
    proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
    proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

location /fileserver/ {
    alias storage-local-base-path/;
    autoindex off;
    expires 1w;
    add_header Cache-Control "private, immutable";
    try_files $uri @fileserver;

The /fileserver location is a bit special. When we fail to fetch the media from disk, we want to proxy the request on to GoToSocial so it can try and fetch it. The try_files directive can't take a proxy_pass itself so instead we created the named @fileserver location that we pass in last to try_files.

Trailing slashes

The trailing slashes in the location directives and the alias are significant, do not remove those.

The expires directive adds the necessary headers to inform the client how long it may cache the resource:

  • For assets, which may change on each release, 5 minutes is used in this example
  • For attachments, which should never change once they're created, we currently use one week

For other options, see the nginx documentation on the expires directive.

Nginx does not add cache headers to 4xx or 5xx response codes so a failure to fetch an asset won't get cached by clients. The autoindex off directive tells nginx to not serve a directory listing. This should be the default but it doesn't hurt to be explicit. The added add_header lines set additional options for the Cache-Control header:

  • public is used to indicate that anyone may cache this resource
  • immutable is used to indicate this resource will never change while it is fresh (it's before the end of the expires) allowing clients to forgo conditional requests to revalidate the resource during that timespan.