I am starting to move forward with my Deconstruct project and needed a chat application for the team to communicate better. I wanted it to be cross-platform and work on multiple devices and not have limitations on history of messageds and file transfers.

I decided to go with Rocket.chat as I knew the CEO of the project, that it was an open source project and that I could probably run it cheaply on a Digital Ocean $5/month droplet (1GB RAM, 30GB disk).

I also felt it was time to take the plunge and do all of this with Docker. I have never used Docker before but have been reading about it the last few weeks as it seems like the way forward for setting up server environments.

In short, it allows you to  quickly to match your desired server requirements both on your local machine and in production (live server). You create files which describe your environment so that the whole team can have the same setup – avoiding many issues down the line. Great for collaboration and avoiding stupid bugs. Also great for deploying your environment to a paid server.

So off I went to try and install Rocket.chat on my newly created droplet.

I did not have an easy time.

Because of this, I decided to document here my solution to getting the software not only up-and-running but also having a valid SSL certificate so that communications could happen with a minimum of security. 

Here is what worked for me:

I started with a Digital Ocean container with a one-click install of Docker pre-installed.

1. Installing nginx + SSL (from Let’s encrypt free SSL certificate)

This step was based on this repo for a getting set up with Nginx with auto SSL from Let’s Encrypt:

$ mkdir nginx
$ cd nginx
$ mkdir data 
$ mkdir ssl
$ cd ssl
$ git clone https://github.com/evertramos/docker-compose-letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion.git
$ cd docker-compose-letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion
#create and modify .env file to add IP and networname
$ touch .env
$ sudo nano .env

Copy file from example.env and modify your specific details (IP)

# docker-compose-letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion
# A Web Proxy using docker with NGINX and Let's Encrypt
# Using the great community docker-gen, nginx-proxy and docker-letsencrypt-nginx-proxy-companion
# This is the .env file to set up your webproxy enviornment

# Your local containers NAME

# Your external IP address

# Default Network

# Service Network (Optional)
# In case you decide to add a new network to your services containers you can set this
# network as a SERVICE_NETWORK
# [WARNING] This setting was built to use our `start.sh` script or in that special case
#           you could use the docker-composer with our multiple network option, as of:
#           `docker-compose -f docker-compose-multiple-networks.yml up -d`

# NGINX file path

# NGINX use special conf files 
# In case you want to add some special configuration to your NGINX Web Proxy you could 
# add your files to ./conf.d/ folder as of sample file 'uploadsize.conf'
# [WARNING] This setting was built to use our `start.sh`.
# [WARNING] Once you set this options to true all your files will be copied to data
#           folder (./data/conf.d). If you decide to remove this special configuration
#           you must delete your files from data folder ./data/conf.d. 

# Docker Logging Config
# This section offers two options max-size and max-file, which follow the docker documentation
# as follow:
# logging:
#      driver: "json-file"
#      options:
#        max-size: "200k"
#        max-file: "10" 


$ run ./start.sh 
# Start the container with:
$ docker run -d -e VIRTUAL_HOST=domain.com \
-e LETSENCRYPT_HOST=domain.com \
-e LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL=email@domain.com \
--network=webproxy \
--name deconstruct_chat \

Having installed Nginx, time for Rocket.chat

Inspired by this exchange

$ mkdir rocket
$ cd rocket
$ touch docker-compose.yml
$ sudo nano docker-compose.yml

Copy from example file (docker-compose.yml) and replace with your domain and email info:

version: '3.3'

    image: mongo
      - ./datatest/runtime/db:/data/db
      - ./datatest/dump:/dump
    command: mongod --smallfiles

    image: rocketchat/rocket.chat:latest
      MONGO_URL: mongodb://db:27017/rocketchat
      ROOT_URL: http://domain.com
      Accounts_UseDNSDomainCheck: "false"
      MAIL_URL: smtp://email@domain.com
      VIRTUAL_HOST: domain.com
      LETSENCRYPT_HOST: domain.com
      LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL: email@domain.com
      - db:db
      - 3000:3000
    restart: always
    # doesnt matter for now
         name: mywebproxy
$ docker-compose build
$ docker-compose up -d

And that’s it! I’m sure there are tweaks to be done, but for a first time install I think it went pretty well. The team managed to log on and everything appears to be working a few days on 😉

Let me know if you know of any problems as, like I mentioned, I’m new to Docker and still learning.

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