Installation on Ubuntu

This guide will walk you through a production installation of Baserow. Specifically this document aims to provide a walkthrough for servers running Ubuntu 18.04.03 LTS. These instructions have been tested with a clean install of Ubuntu 18.04.03 LTS and a user account with root access. Note that without root access, many of the instructions cannot be executed, so root access is necessary in almost all cases.

Prerequisites

Update & Upgrade Packages

In order to make sure that we’re getting the correct and new versions of any packages we install, we need to update and upgrade our packages.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade -y

A quick note on firewalls

In order to serve web content you will need to open up the HTTP (and HTTPS) ports 80 (and 443). You can do this with a firewall - ufw might be good place to start if you are new to firewalls.

Installation

Install & Setup PostgreSQL

Baserow uses PostgreSQL in order to store its user data. You can install PostgreSQL with the following commands:

$ sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-contrib -y
$ sudo -u postgres psql
postgres=# create database baserow;
CREATE DATABASE
postgres=# create user baserow with encrypted password 'yourpassword';
CREATE ROLE
postgres=# grant all privileges on database baserow to baserow;
GRANT
postgres=# \q

Make sure that you use a secure password instead of yourpassword! Also take care that you use the password you’ve chosen in any upcoming commands that need the PostgreSQL baserow user password.

Install & Setup Redis

Baserow uses Redis for asynchronous tasks and the real time collaboration. You can install Redis with the following commands.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/redis-server
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install redis-server -y
$ sed -i 's/supervised no/supervised systemd/g' /etc/redis/redis.conf
$ sudo systemctl enable --now redis-server
$ sudo systemctl restart redis.service

Redis is not publicly accessible by default, so there is no need to setup a password.

Install Baserow

In this section, we will install Baserow itself. We will need a new user called baserow. Baserow uses the /baserow directory for storing the application itself.

# Create baserow user
$ sudo useradd baserow
$ sudo passwd baserow
Enter new UNIX password: yourpassword
Retype new UNIX password: yourpassword

# Change to root user
$ sudo -i

# Clone the baserow project
$ mkdir /baserow
$ cd /baserow
$ git clone --branch master https://gitlab.com/bramw/baserow.git

The password used for the baserow user does not have to be the same as the one used with PostgreSQL. Just make sure that you use a secure password and that you remember it for when you need it later.

Install dependencies for & setup Baserow

In order to use the Baserow application, we will need to create a media directory for the uploaded user files, a virtual environment and install some more dependencies like: NodeJS, Yarn, Python 3.

# Create uploaded user files and media directory
$ mkdir media
$ chmod 0755 media

# Install python3, pip & virtualenv
$ apt install python3 python3-pip virtualenv libpq-dev libmysqlclient-dev -y

# Create virtual environment
$ virtualenv -p python3 env

# Activate the virtual environment
$ source env/bin/activate

# Install backend dependencies through pip
$ pip3 install -e ./baserow/backend

# Deactivate the virtual environment
$ deactivate

# Install NodeJS
$ curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_12.x | sudo -E bash -
$ apt install nodejs -y

# Install yarn
$ curl -sS https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/pubkey.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
$ echo "deb https://dl.yarnpkg.com/debian/ stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
$ apt update
$ apt install yarn -y

# Install frontend dependencies through yarn
$ cd baserow/web-frontend
$ yarn install

# Build frontend
$ ./node_modules/nuxt/bin/nuxt.js build --config-file config/nuxt.config.local.js

Install NGINX

Baserow uses NGINX as a reverse proxy for its frontend and backend. Through that, you can easily add SSL Certificates and add more applications to your server if you want to.

# Go back to baserow root directory
$ cd /baserow

# Install & Start NGINX
$ apt install nginx -y
$ service nginx start

Setup NGINX

If you’re unfamiliar with NGINX: NGINX uses so called “virtualhosts” to direct web traffic from outside your network to the correct application on your server. These virtual hosts are defined in .conf files which are put into the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ directory where NGINX will then process them on startup. Baserow comes with two configuration files for NGINX. After moving these over, change the server_name value in both of the files. The server name is the domain under which you want Baserow to be reachable.

Make sure that in the following commands you replace api.domain.com with your own backend domain, that you replace baserow.domain.com with your frontend domain and replace media.baserow.com with your domain to serve the user files.

# Move virtualhost files to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
$ cp baserow/docs/guides/installation/configuration-files/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/baserow.conf

$ rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

# Change the server_name values
$ sed -i 's/\*YOUR_BACKEND_DOMAIN\*/api.domain.com/g' /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/baserow.conf
$ sed -i 's/\*YOUR_WEB_FRONTEND_DOMAIN\*/baserow.domain.com/g' /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/baserow.conf
$ sed -i 's/\*YOUR_MEDIA_DOMAIN\*/media.domain.com/g' /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/baserow.conf

# Then restart nginx so that it processes the configuration files
$ service nginx restart

Import relations into database

In the “Install & Setup PostgreSQL” Section, we created a database called baserow for the application. Since we didn’t do anything with that database it is still empty, which will result in a non-working application since Baserow expects certain tables and relations to exist in that database. You can create these with the following commands:

# Prepare for creating the database schema
$ source env/bin/activate
$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE='baserow.config.settings.base'
$ export DATABASE_PASSWORD='yourpassword'
$ export DATABASE_HOST='localhost'

# Create database schema
$ baserow migrate

# Sync the template files with the database
$ baserow sync_templates

$ deactivate

Install & Configure Supervisor

Supervisor is an application that starts and keeps track of processes and will restart them if the process finishes. For Baserow this is used to reduce downtime and in order to restart the application in the unlikely event of an unforeseen termination. You can install and configure it with these commands:

# Install supervisor
$ apt install supervisor -y

# Create folder for baserow logs
$ mkdir /var/log/baserow/

# Move configuration files
$ cd /baserow
$ cp baserow/docs/guides/installation/configuration-files/supervisor.conf /etc/supervisor/conf.d/baserow.conf

You will need to edit the baserow.conf file (located now at /etc/supervisor/conf.d/) in order to set the necessary environment variables. You will need to change at least the following variables which can be found in the environment= section.

  • PUBLIC_WEB_FRONTEND_URL: The URL under which your frontend can be reached from the internet.
  • PUBLIC_BACKEND_URL: The URL under which your backend can be reached from the internet.
  • MEDIA_URL: The URL under which your media files can be reached from the internet.

Backend

  • SECRET_KEY: The secret key that is used to generate tokens and other random strings. You can generate one with the following commands:
    $ cat /dev/urandom | tr -dc 'a-zA-Z0-9' | fold -w 80 | head -n 1
    
  • DATABASE_PASSWORD: The password of the baserow database user
  • DATABASE_HOST: The host computer that runs the database (usually localhost)
  • REDIS_HOST: The host computer that runs the caching server (usually localhost)

After modifying these files you need to make supervisor reread the files and apply the changes.

# Stop NGINX service so that supervisor can take over
$ service nginx stop

# Read the newly added files
$ supervisorctl reread

# Apply the read changes
$ supervisorctl update

# Check if the startup worked correctly
$ supervisorctl status

If the reread or the update commands fail, try checking the logs at /var/log/baserow/ - it is possible that another process is listening to one of the ports which would terminate NGINX, or parts of Baserow.

HTTPS / SSL Support

Since you’re probably serving private data with Baserow, we strongly encourage to use a SSL certificate to encrypt the traffic between the browser and your server. You can do that with the following commands. We will do that with certbot, which retrieves a SSL certificate from the LetsEncrypt Certificate Authority.

If you’re not installing Baserow on a completely new server, you might need to remove previously installed certbot binaries from your machine. Consult the certbot installation instructions for more information.

# Install certbot
$ sudo snap install core; sudo snap refresh core
$ sudo snap install --classic certbot

# Make certbot command available
$ sudo ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot

# Start the certificate retrieval process
$ sudo certbot --nginx

# Restart nginx so that it reads the configuration created by certbot
$ supervisorctl restart nginx

Conclusion

You now have a full installation of Baserow, which will keep the Front- & Backend running even if there is an unforeseen termination of them.

Updating existing installation to the latest version

If you already have Baserow installed on your server and you want to update to the latest version then you can execute the following commands. This only works if there aren’t any additional instructions in the previous release blog posts.

Follow these steps if you installed after June first 2021:

$ cd /baserow/baserow
$ git pull
$ cd /baserow
$ source env/bin/activate
$ pip3 install -e ./baserow/backend
$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE='baserow.config.settings.base'
$ export DATABASE_PASSWORD='yourpassword'
$ export DATABASE_HOST='localhost'
$ baserow migrate
$ baserow sync_templates
$ deactivate
$ cd baserow/web-frontend
$ yarn install
$ ./node_modules/nuxt/bin/nuxt.js build --config-file config/nuxt.config.local.js
$ supervisorctl reread
$ supervisorctl update
$ supervisorctl restart all

Follow these steps if you installed before June first 2021.

$ cd /baserow
$ git pull
$ source backend/env/bin/activate
$ pip3 install -e ./backend
$ export DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE='baserow.config.settings.base'
$ export DATABASE_PASSWORD='yourpassword'
$ export DATABASE_HOST='localhost'
$ baserow migrate
$ baserow sync_templates
$ deactivate
$ cd web-frontend
$ yarn install
$ ./node_modules/nuxt/bin/nuxt.js build --config-file config/nuxt.config.local.js
$ supervisorctl reread
$ supervisorctl update
$ supervisorctl restart all