humungus - honk

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HONK(8) System Manager's Manual HONK(8)

honkhonk administration

The honk daemon processes messages from other federated servers. This is the admin manual. For user operation, see honk(1).

Set up a TLS reverse proxy. honk can listen on TCP or unix sockets, but will not terminate TLS. https is a required component for federation. Also, http signature verification requires accurate time keeping.

Make sure to pass the Host header, if necessary (as for nginx).

proxy_set_header Host $http_host;

Building honk requires a go compiler and libsqlite. On OpenBSD this is the go and sqlite3 packages. Other platforms may require additional development libraries or headers to be installed. Run make. Please be patient. Even on fast machines, building from source can take several seconds.

The following options control where honk looks for data.

The root data directory, where the database and other user data are stored. Requires write access. Defaults to ".".
The root view directory, where html and other templates are stored. Read only. Defaults to ".".

Run the init command. This will create the database and ask four questions, as well as creating the initial user. See below about importing existing data.

Run honk. Log messages are sent to stderr and should probably be redirected to a file.

Add custom memes (stickers) to the memes data directory. Image and video files are supported.

Add custom emus (emoji) to the emus data directory. Image files are supported.

Site CSS may be overridden by creating a views/local.css file in the data directory. A restart is required after changes.

Custom HTML messages may be added to select pages by using the admin command. A restart is required after changes.

Displayed on the home page.
Displayed on the about page.
Displayed about the login form.
avatar colors
Four 32-bit hex colors (RGBA).

New users can be added with the adduser command. This is discouraged.

Passwords may be reset with the chpass username command.

Users may be deleted with the deluser username command.

The database may grow large over time. The cleanup [days] command exists to purge old data, by default 30 days. This removes unreferenced, unsaved posts and attachments. It does not remove any original content.

Backups may be performed by running backup dirname. Backups only include the minimal necessary information.

Stop the old honk process. Backup the database. Perform the upgrade with the upgrade command. Restart.

The current version of the honk binary may be printed with the version command.

Sometimes servers simply disappear, resulting in many errors trying to deliver undeliverable messages. Running unplug hostname will delete all subscriptions and pending deliveries.

honk is not currently hardened against SSRF, server side request forgery. Be mindful of what other services may be exposed via localhost or the local network.

Debug mode may be enabled or disabled by running debug on|off. In debug mode, secure cookies are disabled and templates are reloaded every request. Debug mode is really more useful for development, not debugging production.

Data may be imported and converted from other services using the import command. Posts are imported and backdated to appear as old honks. No other information is imported. Currently supports Mastodon and Twitter exported data.

To prepare a Mastodon data archive, extract the archive-longhash.tar.gz file.

./honk import username mastodon source-directory

To prepare a Twitter data archive, extract the file. After unzipping the data archive, navigate to the tweet_media directory and unzip any zip files contained within.

./honk import username twitter source-directory

To support separate mentions without a subdomain, e.g. and, add a ('masqname', '') row to the config table of the database. Route /.well-known/webfinger from the top domain to honk.

Custom URL seperators (not "u" and "h") may be specified by adding "usersep" and "honksep" options to the config table. e.g. instead of

honk files are split between the data directory and the view directory. Both default to "." but may be specified by command line options.

The data directory contains:

The main database.
Media and attachment storage.
Custom emoji.
Stickers and such.
Locally customized CSS.

The view directory contains:

HTML templates and CSS files.

This series of commands creates a new database, sets a friendly welcome message, and runs honk.

honk-v98> make
honk-v98> ./honk -datadir ../honkdata init
username: puffy
password: OxychromaticBlowfishSwatDynamite
listen address: /var/www/honk.sock
server name:
honk-v98> ./honk -datadir ../honkdata admin
honk-v98> date; ./honk -datadir ../honkdata >> log 2>&1

The views directory includes a sample pleroma.css to change color scheme.

honk-v98> mkdir ../honkdata/views
honk-v98> cp views/pleroma.css ../honkdata/views/local.css

Upgrade to the next version. Clean things up a bit.

datadir> cp honk.db backup.db
datadir> cd ../honk-v99
honk-v99> make
honk-v99> ./honk -datadir ../honkdata upgrade
honk-v99> ./honk -datadir ../honkdata cleanup
honk-v99> date; ./honk -datadir ../honkdata >> log 2>&1

Image processing and scaling requires considerable memory. It is recommended to adjust the datasize ulimit to at least 1GB.

intro(1), honk(1)

There's no online upgrade capability. Upgrades may result in minutes of downtime.

September 20, 2020 OpenBSD 6.7