Self-Hosting Convos IRC Web Client

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Table of Contents

Convos

Convos is an always-online web client for IRC. It has a few features that made it attractive to me as a self-hosted option:

Docker Installation

To install Convos, simply create a directory and a docker-compose.yml file:

mkdir ~/convos && cd ~/convos
nano docker-compose.yml

With the docker-compose.yml file open, paste the configuration below into the file. You can customize the host port to be something unique, such as 21897:3000. You can also change the data folder to be a docker volume instead, if you prefer.

version: '3'

services:
  convos:
    image: 'convos/convos:stable'
    ports:
      - '3000:3000'
    volumes:
      - './data:/data'
    environment:
      - CONVOS_REVERSE_PROXY=1
    restart: always

Save the docker-compose.yml file and bring the container up:

sudo docker-compose up -d

At this point, Convos is available at <server_ip>:3000 but not available to the public.

Nginx Reverse Proxy

If you're using Nginx, you can create a configuration file for the convos application. Start by opening the file:

nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/convos

Within the nginx configuration file, paste the following content and be sure to update convos.example.com to match your domain and 127.0.0.1:3000 to match the port you opened in the docker-compose.yml file.

# Host and port where convos is running
upstream convos_upstream { server 127.0.0.1:3000; }

server {
    if ($host ~ ^[^.]+\.example\.com$) {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    }

    listen [::]:80;
    listen 80;
    server_name convos.example.com;
    return 404;
}

server {
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    server_name convos.example.com;
    access_log  /var/log/nginx/convos.access.log;
    error_log   /var/log/nginx/convos.error.log;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://convos_upstream;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
        client_max_body_size 0;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Request-Base "$scheme://$host/";
    }

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem;
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf;
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem;
}

Once the file is saved, link it to the sites-enabled directory and restart Nginx.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/convos /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/convos
sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Screenshots

See the screenshots below for an example of the Convos homepage and an excerpt of the chat screen.

There are numerous themes to choose from; the theme shown in the images below is Dracula.

Convos Home

Convos Chat

Registering a Nickname

Hop into the server channel so that you can message NickServ. In the case of Convos, the default sever is libera.chat. Simply click the libera conversation at the top of the sidebar to open it. Once the chat is open, you can claim a nickname by typing:

/nick <nick>

If the nickname is available, and you'd like to register the nickname to yourself, you'll need to type another command:

/msg NickServ REGISTER 
<password> <email>

On libera.chat, the server will send a confirmation email with a command that you must message in IRC to verify registration of the nickname:

/msg NickServ VERIFY REGISTER <nick> <verification_code>

Once entered, the server should confirm registration of the nickname to the supplied email with the password specified.