So I’m installing Mattermost for the first time on a Ubuntu machine running version 16.04 LTS. I’ve followed several instructions online but the main one I’ve been using is https://docs.mattermost.com/install/install-ubuntu-1604.html. I’m using SQL instead of PostgreSQL. When I initially install it I can point my browser to http://localhost:8065, create a team and start configuring the settings. What I’m confused about is what I’m supposed to put in for the Site-URL. I understand that this is the URL that team members point their browsers to since they can’t use the localhost link above. All of the instructions I’ve seen just say to use your own domain. Do I have to register a domain with somebody like Godaddy before I can start using Mattermost? That doesn’t seem right, but I’m stuck at this point. I can’t invite team members until I get this figured out. Thanks for you help!
Here might be some help in the section
...to derive the name of the Site URL setting
Let me know if this helps?
quick question: is everyone connecting to it on the same network (eg office network) or are they going to be accessing it across the internet?
Well I figured out that I can use the IP address of the server. I can now invite team members to join and they just use https://server-ip-address to log in. Most of the team members share the same office, but there are some out of state, so they need to connect over the internet. The main issue I’m having now is that the connection between server and client isn’t secure. I made another post about that. I generated a certificate and key using the openssl command based on these instructions: https://www.howtoforge.com/tutorial/how-to-install-mattermost-with-postgresql-and-nginx-on-ubuntu-16-04/
I think the problem is that it doesn’t link the server with the certificate and key so I have to manually accept the certificate. I don’t know if that’s because it’s self-signed or what.
Those instructions set you up with a self-signed certificate, which means you’ll have to manually accept the certificate in your browser. You can follow these instructions https://docs.mattermost.com/install/install-ubuntu-1604.html#configuring-tls-on-mattermost-server which set you up with a free Let’s Encrypt certificate, which is trusted by browsers and you won’t have to manually accept it.
The Site URL is used for creating links in email messages that the server sends. Emails are sent for invites and for notifications. The value for Site URL needs to be something that when clicked, opens your Mattermost instance in a browser. As you discovered, an IP address is ok for this. However, if the IP address is on a private network (typically 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x) people outside that network won’t have access. If your machine is exposed to the Internet, you can use that Internet IP address as the Site URL, and people on your private network should still be able to use links in emails.
I’ve tried following those instructions as well. The problem that I ran into was that it requires you to enter in a domain name. I don’t have a domain in the form of whatever.com that I’m paying for. Do I need to have such a domain in order to use Let’s Encrypt. I found that I can’t use the IP address.
if you don’t have a domain, you can use something like https://freedns.afraid.org/ to sign up for a domain name that you can update with your IP address (eg jrichardscorp.privatedns.org). You’d just need to set up port forwarding rules in your router (port 443 is the big one) to point at the Mattermost server and then you could use Let’s Encrypt to get a valid SSL cert for use with Mattermost.
Did everything turn out well?
Yeah I got it working. I’m still just using a self-signed certificate and the IP address of the server. Thanks for your help.
You’re very welcome! Keep in mind that you can get a DDNS provider and then do Let’s Encrypt using that alias if you want to clean it up later