Friendica Installation

We've tried very hard to ensure that Friendica will run on commodity hosting platforms - such as those used to host Wordpress blogs and Drupal websites. We offer a manual and an automatic installation. But be aware that Friendica is more than a simple web application.

It is a complex communications system which more closely resembles an email server than a web server. For reliability and performance, messages are delivered in the background and are queued for later delivery when sites are down. This kind of functionality requires a bit more of the host system than the typical blog.

Not every PHP/MySQL hosting provider will be able to support Friendica. Many will.

But please review the requirements and confirm these with your hosting provider prior to installation.


If you encounter installation issues, please let us know via the helper or the developer forum or file an issue.

Please be as clear as you can about your operating environment and provide as much detail as possible about any error messages you may see, so that we can prevent it from happening in the future. Due to the large variety of operating systems and PHP platforms in existence we may have only limited ability to debug your PHP installation or acquire any missing modules - but we will do our best to solve any general code issues.



If your hosting provider doesn't allow Unix shell access, you might have trouble getting everything to work.

For alternative server configurations (such as Nginx server and MariaDB database engine), refer to the Friendica wiki.


Installation procedure

Alternative Installation Methods

This guide will walk you through the manual installation process of Friendica. If this is nothing for you, you might be interested in the following:

Get Friendica

Download the full archive of the stable release of Friendica core and the addons from the project homepage. Make sure that the version of the Friendica archive and the addons match. Unpack the Friendica files into the root of your web server document area.

If you copy the directory tree to your webserver, make sure that you also copy .htaccess-dist - as "dot" files are often hidden and aren't normally copied.


Clone the friendica/friendica GitHub repository and import dependencies. This makes the software much easier to update.

The Linux commands to clone the repository into a directory "mywebsite" would be

git clone -b stable mywebsite
cd mywebsite
bin/composer.phar install --no-dev

Make sure the folder view/smarty3 exists and is writable by the webserver user, in this case www-data

mkdir -p view/smarty3
chown www-data:www-data view/smarty3
chmod 775 view/smarty3

Get the addons by going into your website folder.

cd mywebsite

Clone the addon repository (separately):

git clone -b stable addon

If you want to use the development version of Friendica you can switch to the develop branch in the repository by running

git checkout develop
bin/composer.phar install
cd addon
git checkout develop

Be aware that the develop branch is unstable and may break your Friendica node at any time. You should have a recent backup before updating. If you encounter a bug, please let us know.

Create a database

Create an empty database and note the access details (hostname, username, password, database name). Generate a strong password, then enter mysql with:


Then use the following script using the password you just generated:

CREATE DATABASE friendicadb;
CREATE USER 'friendica'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '<<your mysql password here>>';
GRANT ALL ON friendicadb.* TO 'friendica'@'localhost';

Friendica needs the permission to create and delete fields and tables in its own database.

Please check the troubleshooting section if running on MySQL 5.7.17 or newer.

Option A: Run the installer

Before you point your web browser to the new site you need to copy .htaccess-dist to .htaccess for Apache installs. Follow the instructions. Please note any error messages and correct these before continuing.

If you need to specify a port for the connection to the database, you can do so in the host name setting for the database.

If the manual installation fails for any reason, check the following:

At this point visit your website again, and register your personal account. Registration errors should all be recoverable automatically. If you get any critical failure at this point, it generally indicates the database was not installed correctly. You might wish to move/rename config/local.config.php to another name and empty (called 'dropping') the database tables, so that you can start fresh.

Option B: Run the automatic install script

You have the following options to automatically install Friendica: - creating a prepared config file (f.e. prepared.config.php) - using environment variables (f.e. MYSQL_HOST) - using options (f.e. --dbhost <host>)

You can combine environment variables and options, but be aware that options are prioritized over environment variables.

For more information during the installation, you can use this command line option

bin/console autoinstall -v

If you wish to include all optional checks, use -a like this statement:

bin/console autoinstall -a

If the automatic installation fails for any reason, check the following:

B.1: Config file

You can use a prepared config file like local-sample.config.php.

Navigate to the main Friendica directory and execute the following command:

bin/console autoinstall -f <prepared.config.php>

B.2: Environment variables

There are two types of environment variables. - those you can use in normal mode too (Currently just database credentials) - those you can only use during installation (because Friendica will normally ignore it)

You can use the options during installation too and skip some of the environment variables.

Database credentials

if you don't use the option --savedb during installation, the DB credentials will not be saved in the config/local.config.php.

Friendica settings

This variables wont be used at normal Friendica runtime. Instead, they get saved into config/local.config.php.

Navigate to the main Friendica directory and execute the following command:

bin/console autoinstall [--savedb]

B.3: Execution options

All options will be saved in the config/local.config.php and are overruling the associated environment variables.

Navigate to the main Friendica directory and execute the following command:

bin/console autoinstall [options]

Prepare .htaccess file

Copy .htaccess-dist to .htaccess (be careful under Windows) to have working mod-rewrite again. If you have installed Friendica into a sub directory, like /friendica/ set this path in RewriteBase accordingly.


cp .htaccess-dist .htaccess

Note: Do not rename the .htaccess-dist file as it is tracked by GIT and renaming will cause a dirty working directory.

Verify the "host-meta" page is working

Friendica should respond automatically to important addresses under the /.well-known/ rewrite path. One critical URL would look like, for example:
It must be visible to the public and must respond with an XML file that is automatically customized to your site.

If that URL is not working, it is possible that some other software is using the /.well-known/ path. Other symptoms may include an error message in the Admin settings that says "host-meta is not reachable on your system. This is a severe configuration issue that prevents server to server communication." Another common error related to host-meta is the "Invalid profile URL."

Check for a .well-known directory that did not come with Friendica. The preferred configuration is to remove the directory, however this is not always possible. If there is any /.well-known/.htaccess file, it could interfere with this Friendica core requirement. You should remove any RewriteRules from that file, or remove that whole file if appropriate. It may be necessary to chmod the /.well-known/.htaccess file if you were not given write permissions by default.

Register the admin account

At this point visit your website again, and register your personal account with the same email as in the config.admin_email config value. Registration errors should all be recoverable automatically.

If you get any critical failure at this point, it generally indicates the database was not installed correctly. You might wish to delete/rename config/local.config.php to another name and drop all the database tables so that you can start fresh.

Post Install Configuration

(REQUIRED) Background tasks

Set up a cron job or scheduled task to run the worker once every 5-10 minutes in order to perform background processing. Example:

cd /base/directory; /path/to/php bin/worker.php

Change "/base/directory", and "/path/to/php" as appropriate for your situation.

cron job for worker

If you are using a Linux server, run "crontab -e" and add a line like the one shown, substituting for your unique paths and settings:

*/10 * * * * cd /home/myname/mywebsite; /usr/bin/php bin/worker.php

You can generally find the location of PHP by executing "which php". If you run into trouble with this section please contact your hosting provider for assistance. Friendica will not work correctly if you cannot perform this step.

If it is not possible to set up a cron job then please activate the "frontend worker" in the administration interface.

Once you have installed Friendica and created an admin account as part of the process, you can access the admin panel of your installation and do most of the server wide configuration from there.

worker alternative: daemon

Otherwise, you’ll need to use the command line on your remote server and start the Friendica daemon (background task) using the following command:

cd /path/to/friendica; php bin/daemon.php start

Once started, you can check the daemon status using the following command:

cd /path/to/friendica; php bin/daemon.php status

After a server restart or any other failure, the daemon needs to be restarted. This could be achieved by a cronjob.

(RECOMMENDED) Logging & Log Rotation

At this point it is recommended that you set up logging and logrotation. To do so please visit Settings and search the 'Logs' section for more information.

(RECOMMENDED) Set up a backup plan

Bad things will happen. Let there be a hardware failure, a corrupted database or whatever you can think of. So once the installation of your Friendica node is done, you should make yourself a backup plan.

The most important file is the config/local.config.php file. As it stores all your data, you should also have a recent dump of your Friendica database at hand, should you have to recover your node.

(OPTIONAL) Reverse-proxying and HTTPS

Friendica looks for some well-known HTTP headers indicating a reverse-proxy terminating an HTTPS connection. While the standard from RFC 7239 specifies the use of the Forwarded header.

Forwarded: for=; proto=https; by=

Friendica also supports a number on non-standard headers in common use.

X-Forwarded-Proto: https

Front-End-Https: on

X-Forwarded-Ssl: on

It is however preferable to use the standard approach if configuring a new server.


"System is currently unavailable. Please try again later"

Check your database settings. It usually means your database could not be opened or accessed. If the database resides on the same machine, check that the database server name is "localhost".

500 Internal Error

This could be the result of one of our Apache directives not being supported by your version of Apache. Examine your apache server logs. You might remove the line "Options -Indexes" from the .htaccess file if you are using a Windows server as this has been known to cause problems. Also check your file permissions. Your website and all contents must generally be world-readable.

It is likely that your web server reported the source of the problem in its error log files. Please review these system error logs to determine what caused the problem. Often this will need to be resolved with your hosting provider or (if self-hosted) your web server configuration.

400 and 4xx "File not found" errors

First check your file permissions. Your website and all contents must generally be world-readable.

Ensure that mod-rewrite is installed and working, and that your .htaccess file is being used. To verify the latter, create a file test.out containing the word "test" in the top directory of Friendica, make it world readable and point your web browser to

This file should be blocked. You should get a permission denied message.

If you see the word "test" your Apache configuration is not allowing your .htaccess file to be used (there are rules in this file to block access to any file with .out at the end, as these are typically used for system logs).

Make certain the .htaccess file exists and is readable by everybody, then look for the existence of "AllowOverride None" in the Apache server configuration for your site. This will need to be changed to "AllowOverride All".

If you do not see the word "test", your .htaccess is working, but it is likely that mod-rewrite is not installed in your web server or is not working.

On most Linux flavors:

% a2enmod rewrite
% /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Consult your hosting provider, experts on your particular Linux distribution or (if Windows) the provider of your Apache server software if you need to change either of these and can not figure out how. There is a lot of help available on the web. Search "mod-rewrite" along with the name of your operating system distribution or Apache package (if using Windows).

Unable to write the file config/local.config.php due to permissions issues

Create an empty config/local.config.phpfile and apply world-write permission.

On Linux:

% touch config/local.config.php
% chmod 664 config/local.config.php

Retry the installation. As soon as the database has been created,

******* this is important *********

% chmod 644 config/local.config.php

Suhosin issues

Some configurations with "suhosin" security are configured without an ability to run external processes. Friendica requires this ability. Following are some notes provided by one of our members.

On my server I use the php protection system Suhosin []. One of the things it does is to block certain functions like proc_open, as configured in /etc/php5/conf.d/suhosin.ini:

suhosin.executor.func.blacklist = proc_open, ...

For those sites like Friendica that really need these functions they can be enabled, e.g. in /etc/apache2/sites-available/friendica:

php_admin_value suhosin.executor.func.blacklist none php_admin_value suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist none

This enables every function for Friendica if accessed via browser, but not for the cronjob that is called via php command line. I attempted to enable it for cron by using something like:

*/10 * * * * cd /var/www/friendica/friendica/ && sudo -u www-data /usr/bin/php \ -d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none \ -d suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist=none -f bin/worker.php

This worked well for simple test cases, but the friendica-cron still failed with a fatal error:

suhosin[22962]: ALERT - function within blacklist called: proc_open() (attacker 'REMOTE_ADDR not set', file '/var/www/friendica/friendica/boot.php', line 1341)

After a while I noticed, that bin/worker.php calls further PHP script via proc_open. These scripts themselves also use proc_open and fail, because they are NOT called with -d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none.

So the simple solution is to put the correct parameters into config/local.config.php:

'config' => [ //Location of PHP command line processor 'php_path' => '/usr/bin/php -d suhosin.executor.func.blacklist=none \ -d suhosin.executor.eval.blacklist=none', ],

This is obvious as soon as you notice that the friendica-cron uses proc_open to execute PHP scripts that also use proc_open, but it took me quite some time to find that out. I hope this saves some time for other people using suhosin with function blocklists.

Unable to create all mysql tables on MySQL 5.7.17 or newer

If the setup fails to create all the database tables and/or manual creation from the command line fails, with this error:

ERROR 1067 (42000) at line XX: Invalid default value for 'created'

You need to adjust your my.cnf and add the following setting under the [mysqld] section:

sql_mode = '';

After that, restart mysql and try again.

Your worker never or rarely runs

Friendica is coded to always play nice. It checks whether the host machine is idle enough and if it seems to be overloaded, it intermittently refuses to process the worker queue.

Such checks originate from the days of single-user single-core machines and involves thresholds that you should adjust based on the number of exclusive CPU cores you have. See this issue for more information:

If you want to be neighborly and are using a shared web hosting PaaS provider, especially within the free tier, you need to set maxloadavg to say twice the maximum value of /proc/loadavg during peak hours.

If you have the whole (virtual) machine for yourself such as in case of an IaaS VPS, you can set it to orders of magnitude higher than its commonly observed value, such as 1000.

You should instead enact limits in your web server configuration based on the number of entry processes to cap the concurrent memory usage of your PHP processes. See RLimitMEM, RLimitCPU, RLimitNPROC, StartServers, ServerLimit, MaxRequestsPerChild, pm.max_children, pm.start_servers and related options in your server.

Error uploading even small image files

You tried to upload an image up to 100kB and it failed.

You may not have the ownership or file mode set correctly if you are using the file system storage backend.

Change the backend to database. If this solves it, that is what needs to be fixed.

Verify in your PHP ini:

Error uploading large files

You may find 413 Request Entity Too Large or 500 Internal Error in the network inspector of the browser if the file is too large, for example if it is a video.

First try to upload a very small file, up to 100kB. If that succeeds, you will need to increase limits at multiple places, including on any web proxy that you are using. Which one applies to you depends on your installation.

In your PHP ini:

You should verify whether you changed them in the right file by checking the web interface at the end of the overview on the Admin panel.

In your Apache2 config:

In your nginx config:

If you are using the database backend for storage, increase this in your SQL configuration:

In your ModSecurity WAF config:

In the end, you will need to restart all services that you have changed configuration for. If you don't know which ones these are, just reboot.

Diaspora support is not activated

You get this error when you try to add a Diaspora contact.

You can enable it from the web interface in Admin -> Site -> Policies -> Enable diaspora* support. You may also set it manually in the config file or in the database within the diaspora_enabled key of the system category.

Upgrade failed due to DB migration timeout

Altering of a table may fail if it contains a large number of rows. First verify the existing timeout (50s by default):

show global variables like "innodb_lock_wait_timeout";

Then increase it:

set global innodb_lock_wait_timeout=600;