Installation script

If you prefer to use your own server, we've provided an installation script which does most of the work for you.

Note that there are other ways to install Alaveteli.

Installing with the installation script

If you have a clean installation of Debian Wheezy 64-bit or Ubuntu Trusty, you can use an install script in our commonlib repository to set up a working instance of Alaveteli. This is not suitable for production (it runs in development mode, for example) but should set up a functional installation of the site, which can send and receive email.

Warning: only use this script on a newly installed server – it will make significant changes to your server’s setup, including modifying your nginx setup, creating a user account, creating a database, installing new packages etc.

To download the script, run the following command:

curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mysociety/commonlib/master/bin/install-site.sh

If you run this script with sh install-site.sh, you’ll see its usage message:

Usage: ./install-site.sh [--default] <SITE-NAME> <UNIX-USER> [HOST]
HOST is only optional if you are running this on an EC2 instance.
--default means to install as the default site for this server,
rather than a virtualhost for HOST.

In this case <SITE-NAME> should be alaveteli. <UNIX-USER> is the name of the Unix user that you want to own and run the code. (This user will be created by the script.)

The HOST parameter is a hostname for the server that will be usable externally – a virtualhost for this name will be created by the script, unless you specified the --default option. This parameter is optional if you are on an EC2 instance, in which case the hostname of that instance will be used.

For example, if you wish to use a new user called alaveteli and the hostname alaveteli.127.0.0.1.xip.io, creating a virtualhost just for that hostname, you could download and run the script with:

sudo sh install-site.sh alaveteli alaveteli alaveteli.127.0.0.1.xip.io

(xip.io is a helpful domain for development.)

Or, if you want to set this up as the default site on an EC2 instance, you could download the script, make it executable and then invoke it with:

sudo ./install-site.sh --default alaveteli alaveteli

If you have any problems or questions, please ask on the Alaveteli Google Group or report an issue.

What the install script does

When the script has finished, you should have a working copy of the website, accessible via the hostname you supplied to the script. So, for this example, you could access the site in a browser at http://alaveteli.10.10.10.30.xip.io. The site runs using the thin application server, and the nginx webserver. By default, Alaveteli will be installed into /var/www/[HOST] on the server.

The server will also be configured to accept replies to information request emails (as long as the MX record for the domain is pointing at the server). Incoming mail handling is set up using Postfix as the MTA.

##What next?

Check out the next steps.