Reverse proxy with NGINX

Requirements

For this you will need Certbot, the Certbot NGINX plugin and of course NGINX itself.

These are popular packages so your distro will probably have them.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx nginx

Arch

sudo pacman -S certbot certbot-nginx nginx

OpenSuse

sudo zypper install nginx python3-certbot python3-certbot-nginx

Configure GoToSocial

If GoToSocial is already running, stop it.

sudo systemctl stop gotosocial

Or if you don't have a systemd service just stop it manually.

In your GoToSocial config turn off letsencrypt by setting letsencrypt-enabled to false.

If you we running GoToSocial on port 443, change the port value back to the default 8080.

Set up NGINX

First we will set up NGINX to serve GoToSocial as unsecured http and then use Certbot to automatically upgrade it to serve https.

Please do not try to use it until that's done or you'll risk transmitting passwords over clear text, or breaking federation.

First we'll write a configuration for NGINX and put it in /etc/nginx/sites-available.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/nginx/sites-available
sudoedit /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourgotosocial.url.conf

In the above commands, replace yourgotosocial.url with your actual GoToSocial host value. So if your host is set to example.org, then the file should be called /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.org.conf

The file you're about to create should look like this:

server {
  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  server_name example.org;
  location / {
    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;
  }
  client_max_body_size 40M;
}

Change proxy_pass to the ip and port that you're actually serving GoToSocial on and change server_name to your own domain name.

If your domain name is example.org then server_name example.org; would be the correct value.

If you're running GoToSocial on another machine with the local ip of 192.168.178.69 and on port 8080 then proxy_pass http://192.168.178.69:8080; would be the correct value.

Note: You can remove the line listen [::]:80; if your server is not ipv6 capable.

Note: proxy_set_header Host $host; is essential. It guarantees that the proxy and GoToSocial use the same server name. If not, GoToSocial will build the wrong authentication headers, and all attempts at federation will be rejected with 401.

Note: The Connection and Upgrade headers are used for WebSocket connections. See the WebSocket docs.

Note: client_max_body_size is set to 40M in this example, which is the default max video upload size for GoToSocial. You can make this value larger or smaller if necessary. The nginx default is only 1M, which is rather too small.

Next we'll need to link the file we just created to the folder that nginx reads configurations for active sites from.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/nginx/sites-enabled
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourgotosocial.url.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Again, replace yourgotosocial.url with your actual GoToSocial host value.

Now check for configuration errors.

sudo nginx -t

If everything is fine you should get this as output:

nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Everything working? Great! Then restart nginx to load your new config file.

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Setting up SSL with certbot

You should now be able to run certbot and it will guide you through the steps required to enable https for your instance.

sudo certbot --nginx

After you do, it should have automatically edited your configuration file to enable https.

Reload NGINX one last time:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Now start GoToSocial again:

sudo systemctl start gotosocial

Results

You should now be able to open the splash page for your instance in your web browser, and will see that it runs under https!

If you open the NGINX config again, you'll see that Certbot added some extra lines to it.

Note: This may look a bit different depending on the options you chose while setting up Certbot, and the NGINX version you're using.

server {
  server_name example.org;
  location / {
    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;
  }
  client_max_body_size 40M;

  listen [::]:443 ssl ipv6only=on; # managed by Certbot
  listen 443 ssl; # managed by Certbot
  ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.org/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.org/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
  include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
  ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot
}

server {
  if ($host = example.org) {
      return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
  } # managed by Certbot

  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  server_name example.org;
    return 404; # managed by Certbot
}

Extra Hardening

If you want to harden up your NGINX deployment with advanced configuration options, there are many guides online for doing so (for example). Try to find one that's up to date. Mozilla also publishes best-practice ssl configuration here.