Installation

Basic Setup

We recommend installing FlaskBB in an isolated Python environment. This can be achieved with virtualenv. In our little guide we will use a wrapper around virtualenv - the virtualenvwrapper. In addition to virtualenv, we will also use the package manager pip to install the dependencies for FlaskBB.

Virtualenv Setup

Linux: The easiest way to install virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper is, to use the package manager on your system (if you are running Linux) to install them.

Windows: Take a look at the flask documentation (then skip ahead to dependencies).

For example, on archlinux you can install them with:

$ sudo pacman -S python-virtualenvwrapper

or, on macOS, you can install them with:

$ sudo pip install virtualenvwrapper

It’s sufficient to just install the virtualenvwrapper because it depends on virtualenv and the package manager will resolve all the dependencies for you.

After that, you can create your virtualenv with:

$ mkvirtualenv -a /path/to/flaskbb -p $(which python) flaskbb

This will create a virtualenv named flaskbb using the python interpreter in version 2 and it will set your project directory to /path/to/flaskbb. This comes handy when typing workon flaskbb as it will change your current directory automatically to /path/to/flaskbb. To deactivate it you just have to type deactivate and if you want to work on it again, just type workon flaskbb.

It is also possible to use virtualenv without the virtualenvwrapper. For this you have to use the virtualenv command and pass the name of the virtualenv as an argument. In our example, the name of the virtualenv is .venv.

$ virtualenv .venv

and finally activate it

$ source .venv/bin/activate

If you want to know more about those isolated python environments, checkout the virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper docs.

Dependencies

Now that you have set up your environment, you are ready to install the dependencies.

$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Alternatively, you can use the make command to install the dependencies.

$ make dependencies

The development process requires a few extra dependencies which can be installed with the provided requirements-dev.txt file.

$ pip install -r requirements-dev.txt

Optional Dependencies

We have one optional dependency, redis (the python package is installed automatically). If you want to use it, make sure that a redis-server is running. Redis will be used as the default result and caching backend for celery (celery is a task queue which FlaskBB uses to send non blocking emails). The feature for tracking the online guests and online users do also require redis (although online users works without redis as well). To install redis, just use your distributions package manager. For Arch Linux this is pacman and for Debian/Ubuntu based systems this is apt-get.

# Installing redis using 'pacman':
$ sudo pacman -S redis
# Installing redis using 'apt-get':
$ sudo apt-get install redis-server

# Check if redis is already running.
$ systemctl status redis

# If not, start it.
$ sudo systemctl start redis

# Optional: Lets start redis everytime you boot your machine
$ sudo systemctl enable redis

Configuration

Production

FlaskBB already sets some sane defaults, so you shouldn’t have to change much. To make this whole process a little bit easier for you, we have created a little wizard which will ask you some questions and with the answers you provide it will generate a configuration for you. You can of course further adjust the generated configuration.

The setup wizard can be started with:

flaskbb makeconfig

These are the only settings you have to make sure to setup accordingly if you want to run FlaskBB in production:

  • SERVER_NAME = "example.org"
  • PREFERRED_URL_SCHEME = "https"
  • SQLALCHEMY_DATABASE_URI = 'sqlite:///path/to/flaskbb.sqlite'
  • SECRET_KEY = "secret key"
  • WTF_CSRF_SECRET_KEY = "secret key"

By default it will try to save the configuration file with the name flaskbb.cfg in FlaskBB’s root folder.

Finally to get going – fire up FlaskBB!

flaskbb --config flaskbb.cfg run

[+] Using config from: /path/to/flaskbb/flaskbb.cfg
* Running on http://127.0.0.1:5000/ (Press CTRL+C to quit)

Development

To get started with development you have to generate a development configuration first. You can use the CLI for this, as explained in Configuration:

flaskbb makeconfig -d

or:

flaskbb makeconfig --development

Now you can either use make to run the development server:

make run

or if you like to type a little bit more, the CLI:

flaskbb --config flaskbb.cfg run

You can either pass an import string to the path to the (python) config file you’ve just created, or a default config object. (Most users will follow the example above, which uses the generated file). This is how you do it by using an import string. Be sure that it is importable from within FlaskBB:

flaskbb –config flaskbb.configs.default.DefaultConfig run

Redis

If you have decided to use redis as well, which we highly recommend, then the following services and features can be enabled and configured to use redis.

Before you can start using redis, you have to enable and configure it. This is quite easy just set REDIS_ENABLE to True and adjust the REDIS_URL if needed.

REDIS_ENABLED = True
REDIS_URL = "redis://localhost:6379"  # or with a password: "redis://:password@localhost:6379"
REDIS_DATABASE = 0

The other services are already configured to use the REDIS_URL configuration variable.

Celery

CELERY_BROKER_URL = REDIS_URL
CELERY_RESULT_BACKEND = REDIS_URL

Caching

CACHE_TYPE = "redis"
CACHE_REDIS_URL = REDIS_URL

Rate Limiting

RATELIMIT_ENABLED = True
RATELIMIT_STORAGE_URL = REDIS_URL

Mail Examples

Both methods are included in the example configs.

Google Mail

MAIL_SERVER = "smtp.gmail.com"
MAIL_PORT = 465
MAIL_USE_SSL = True
MAIL_USERNAME = "your_username@gmail.com"
MAIL_PASSWORD = "your_password"
MAIL_DEFAULT_SENDER = ("Your Name", "your_username@gmail.com")

Local SMTP Server

MAIL_SERVER = "localhost"
MAIL_PORT = 25
MAIL_USE_SSL = False
MAIL_USERNAME = ""
MAIL_PASSWORD = ""
MAIL_DEFAULT_SENDER = "noreply@example.org"

Installation

MySQL users: Make sure that you create the database using the utf8 charset:

CREATE DATABASE flaskbb CHARACTER SET utf8;

Even though the utf8mb4 charset is prefered today (see this SO answer), we have to create our database using the utf8 charset. A good explanation about this issue can be found here.

For a guided install, run:

$ make install

or:

flaskbb install

During the installation process you are asked about your username, your email address and the password for your administrator user. Using the make install command is recommended as it checks that the dependencies are also installed.

Upgrading

If the database models changed after a release, you have to run the upgrade command:

flaskbb db upgrade

Deploying

This chapter will describe how to set up Supervisor + uWSGI + nginx for FlaskBB as well as document how to use the built-in WSGI server (gunicorn) that can be used in a productive environment.

Supervisor

Supervisor is a client/server system that allows its users to monitor and control a number of processes on UNIX-like operating systems.

To install supervisor on Debian, you need to fire up this command:

$ sudo apt-get install supervisor

There are two ways to configure supervisor. The first one is, you just put the configuration to the end in the /etc/supervisor/supervisord.conf file.

The second way would be to create a new file in the /etc/supervisor/conf.d/ directory. For example, such a file could be named uwsgi.conf.

After you have choosen the you way you like, simply put the snippet below in the configuration file.

[program:uwsgi]
command=/usr/bin/uwsgi --emperor /etc/uwsgi/apps-enabled
user=apps
stopsignal=QUIT
autostart=true
autorestart=true
redirect_stderr=true

uWSGI

uWSGI is a web application solution with batteries included.

To get started with uWSGI, you need to install it first. You’ll also need the python plugin to serve python apps. This can be done with:

$ sudo apt-get install uwsgi uwsgi-plugin-python

For the configuration, you need to create a file in the /etc/uwsgi/apps-available directory. In this example, I will call the file flaskbb.ini. After that, you can start with configuring it. My config looks like this for flaskbb.org (see below). As you might have noticed, I’m using a own user for my apps whose home directory is located at /var/apps/. In this directory there are living all my Flask apps.

[uwsgi]
base = /var/apps/flaskbb
home = /var/apps/.virtualenvs/flaskbb/
pythonpath = %(base)
socket = 127.0.0.1:30002
module = wsgi
callable = flaskbb
uid = apps
gid = apps
logto = /var/apps/flaskbb/logs/uwsgi.log
plugins = python
base /path/to/flaskbb The folder where your flaskbb application lives
home /path/to/virtualenv/folder The virtualenv folder for your flaskbb application
pythonpath /path/to/flaskbb The same as base
socket socket This can be either a ip or the path to a socket (don’t forget to change that in your nginx config)
module wsgi.py This is the file located in the root directory from flaskbb (where manage.py lives).
callable flaskbb The callable is application you have created in the wsgi.py file
uid your_user The user who should be used. NEVER use root!
gid your_group The group who should be used.
logto /path/to/log/file The path to your uwsgi logfile
plugins python We need the python plugin

Don’t forget to create a symlink to /etc/uwsgi/apps-enabled.

ln -s /etc/uwsgi/apps-available/flaskbb /etc/uwsgi/apps-enabled/flaskbb

gunicorn

Gunicorn ‘Green Unicorn’ is a Python WSGI HTTP Server for UNIX.

It’s a pre-fork worker model ported from Ruby’s Unicorn project. The Gunicorn server is broadly compatible with various web frameworks, simply implemented, light on server resources, and fairly speedy.

This is probably the easiest way to run a FlaskBB instance. Just install gunicorn via pip inside your virtualenv:

pip install gunicorn

and run FlaskBB using the gunicorn command:

gunicorn wsgi:flaskbb --log-file logs/gunicorn.log --pid gunicorn.pid -w 4

nginx

nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev.

The nginx config is pretty straightforward. Again, this is how I use it for FlaskBB. Just copy the snippet below and paste it to, for example /etc/nginx/sites-available/flaskbb. The only thing left is, that you need to adjust the server_name to your domain and the paths in access_log, error_log. Also, don’t forget to adjust the paths in the alias es, as well as the socket address in uwsgi_pass.

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name forums.flaskbb.org;

    access_log /var/log/nginx/access.forums.flaskbb.log;
    error_log /var/log/nginx/error.forums.flaskbb.log;

    location / {
        try_files $uri @flaskbb;
    }

    # Static files
    location /static {
       alias /var/apps/flaskbb/flaskbb/static/;
    }

    location ~ ^/_themes/([^/]+)/(.*)$ {
        alias /var/apps/flaskbb/flaskbb/themes/$1/static/$2;
    }

    # robots.txt
    location /robots.txt {
        alias /var/apps/flaskbb/flaskbb/static/robots.txt;
    }

    location @flaskbb {
        uwsgi_pass 127.0.0.1:30002;
        include uwsgi_params;
    }
}

If you wish to use gunicorn instead of uwsgi just replace the location @flaskbb with this:

location @flaskbb {
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
    #proxy_set_header SCRIPT_NAME /forums;  # This line will make flaskbb available on /forums;
    proxy_redirect off;
    proxy_buffering off;

    proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8000;
}

Don’t forget to adjust the proxy_pass address to your socket address.

Like in the uWSGI chapter, don’t forget to create a symlink to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/.

User Contributed Deployment Guides

We do not maintain these deployment guides. They have been submitted by users and we thought it is nice to include them in docs. If something is missing, or doesn’t work - please open a new pull request on GitHub.

Deploying to PythonAnywhere

PythonAnywhere is a platform-as-a-service, which basically means they have a bunch of servers pre-configured with Python, nginx and uWSGI. You can run a low-traffic website with them for free, so it’s an easy way to get quickly FlaskBB running publicly.

Here’s what to do:

  • Sign up for a PythonAnywhere account at https://www.pythonanywhere.com/.
  • On the “Consoles” tab, start a Bash console and install/configure FlaskBB like this
git clone https://github.com/sh4nks/flaskbb.git
cd flaskbb

Before continuing the installation it is advised to create a virtualenv as is described in section Virtualenv Setup.

Finish the installation of FlaskBB by executing following commands:

pip3.5 install --user -r requirements.txt
pip3.5 install --user -e .
flaskbb makeconfig
flaskbb install
  • Click the PythonAnywhere logo to go back to the dashboard, then go to the “Web” tab, and click the “Add a new web app” button.
  • Just click “Next” on the first page.
  • On the next page, click “Flask”
  • On the next page, click “Python 3.5”
  • On the next page, just accept the default and click next
  • Wait while the website is created.
  • Click on the “Source code” link, and in the input that appears, replace the mysite at the end with flaskbb
  • Click on the “WSGI configuration file” filename, and wait for an editor to load.
  • Change the line that sets project_home to replace mysite with flaskbb again.
  • Change the line that says
from flask_app import app as application

to say

from flaskbb import create_app
application = create_app("/path/to/your/configuration/file")
  • Click the green “Save” button near the top right.
  • Go back to the “Web” tab.
  • Click the green “Reload…” button.
  • Click the link to visit the site – you’ll have a new FlaskBB install!