3.4.6 • Public • Published


This module helps you to generate and manipulate the startup configuration for an ssb-server.

Table of contents

Example usage | Api | Configuration | License

Example usage

This is the most use basic use case where it is not necessary to modify any configuration parameters.

var Server = require('ssb-server')
var config = require('ssb-config')

var server = Server(config)
server.whoami((err, feed) => {

  server.close(() => console.log('closing the server!'))

If you want to change the default values you can use inject to overwrite them, without having to specify all the settings. For example you can setup a test network that doesn't collide with the main ssb network:

var Server = require('ssb-server')
var Config = require('ssb-config/inject')

var config = Config('testnet', { port: 9999 })

var server = Server(config)
server.whoami((err, feed) => {

  server.close(() => console.log('closing the server!'))



Returns you the stock standard config for starting an ssb-server.

require('ssb-config/inject')(appName, opts) => Object

A function which takes:

  • appName (string) Which declares where to look for further config, where to read and write databases. Stores data in ~/.${appName}, defaults to ssb (so data in ~/.ssb).
  • opts (object) An object which can override config defaults (see Configuration below).


All configuration is loaded via rc. This means the final config is a result of config collected from opts passed into the inject method, cli args, env var, and config (e.g. ~/.ssb/config). See the rc repo for full details.


  • connections (object) Details incoming and outgoing connections behaviour (See below).
  • remote (string) Multiserver address to connect as a client. Useful in some cases, such as using ssb-unix-socket + ssb-no-auth. In the future this may be deprecated / derived from connections.
  • timeout: (number) Number of milliseconds a replication stream can idle before it's automatically disconnected. Defaults to 30000.
  • pub (boolean) Replicate with pub servers. Defaults to true.
  • local (boolean) Replicate with local servers found on the same network via udp. Defaults to true.
  • friends.dunbar (number) Dunbar's number. Number of nodes your instance will replicate. Defaults to 150.
  • friends.hops (number) How many friend of friend hops to replicate. Defaults to 3.
  • gossip (object) Controls what sort of connections are made (See below).
  • path (string) Path to the application data folder, which contains the private key, message attachment data (blobs) and the leveldb backend. Defaults to $HOME/.ssb.
  • master (array) Pubkeys of users who, if they connect to the ssb-server instance, are allowed to command the primary user with full rights. Useful for remotely operating a pub. Defaults to [].
  • logging.level (string) How verbose should the logging be. Possible values are error, warning, notice, and info. Defaults to notice.
  • party.out (string) Where to put standard output of sbot. may be a path (absolute, or relative to ssb's directory), or false to discard, or true to pass through to the controlling terminal. Defaults to true.
  • party.err(string) Where to put standard error of sbot. Defaults to same as
  • timers.connection (number) TODO
  • timers.reconnect (number) TODO
  • timers.inactivity (number) Timeout (ms) before dropping the connection with an inactive pair. Defaults to 5 seconds.
  • (number) Timeout (ms) used to consider a peer valid when pinging. Defaults to 5 minutes.
  • timers.handshake (number) Maximum waiting time (ms) for a handshake response. Defaults to 5 seconds.
  • timers.keepalive (number) Minimum time (ms) to keep the server online after the last client disconnects. Defaults to 30s.
  • caps.shs (string) Key for accessing the scuttlebutt protocol (see secret-handshake paper for a full explaination).
  • caps.sign (string) Used to sign messages.

Deprecated Options

  • host (string) The domain or ip address for ssb-server. Defaults to your public ip address.
  • port (string|number) The port for ssb-server. Defaults to 8008.
  • ws TODO

You should use connections to more explicitly configure connections. These values are currently only used to generate connections.incoming if that option isn't provided. The raw options are no longer returned in the final config - this is to ensure we don't have multiple places where different host / port / ws are being set!


An object with two required properties: incoming and outgoing to specify transports and transformations for connections. Defaults to the following:

  "incoming": {
    "net": [{ "port": 8008, "scope": "public", "transform": "shs" }]
  "outgoing": {
    "net": [{ "transform": "shs" }],
    "onion": [{ "transform": "shs" }]

It specifies the default TCP network transport for incoming and outging connections, using secret-handshake/boxstream (shs) for authentication and encryption.

A transport is a vehicle or avenue for communication. The following transports are currently supported:

  • net - TCP based
  • unix - socket based
  • onion - TOR based
  • ws - websocket based

Each transport can have an array of different configurations passed to it, these are objects with properties:

  • transform (string) Determines whether traffic is encrypted, and if so how.
    • shs - Secret handashake.
    • noauth - No encryption, any connection via noauth is considered authorized. use only with device scope or unix socket.
  • port (integer)
  • host (string) IP or hostname that the listener is binding on.
  • scope (string | array of string) scope Determines the set of network interfaces to bind the server to. If scope is an array, then the server will bind to all the selected ports. See more about scopes below.
  • external (array of strings) For use in combination with public scope. this is the external domain given out as the address to peers.
  • key (string) Used together with cert for ws plugin to run over TLS (wss). Needs to be a path to where the key is stored.
  • cert (sitring) Used together with key for ws plugin to run over TLS (wss). Needs to be a path to where the certificate is stored.


An address scope is the area from which it's possible to connect to an address.

  • device Means connections can only come from the same device. (talking to your self). alias private.
  • local Means connections can only come from the same network, i.e. same wifi.
  • public Means connections can come from anywhere on the internet.

Some protocols only work in particular scopes. unix socket requires file system access, so it only works for the device scope. onion (tor) routes connections through a distributed network, so it only works if you are fully connected to the public internet. Some mesh networks are really large, so they might seem public. Some overlay networks, such as cjdns and ZeroTier create a fake local network that is publically accessible (these should be manually configured as public addresses!).

Most ssb peers just have a local and device scopes. Pubs require a public scope. ssb-tunnel allows any peer to have a public address, by routing connections through a friendly pub.

Addresses for scopes are provides secret-stacks getAddress(scope) method, which in turn calls multiservers stringify(scope) method.

Example connnections configurations

If you only want to use Tor to create outgoing connections you can specify your outgoing like this. It will use localhost:9050 as the socks server for creating this.

  "incoming": {
    "net": [{ "port": 8008, "scope": "public", "transform": "shs" }]
  "outgoing": {
    "onion": [{ "transform": "shs" }]

If you want to run a peer behind NAT or other kind of proxy but still want ssb-server to be able to create invites for the outside address, you can specify a public scope as your by defining the external parameter like this:

  "incoming": {
    "net": [
      { "scope": "public",  "external": ["cryptop.home"], "transform": "shs", "port": 8008 },
      { "scope": "private", "transform": "shs", "port": 8008, "host": "" },
  "outgoing": {
    "net": [{ "transform": "shs" }]

One thing to notice is that you need incoming connections for Apps (like patchwork or git-ssb) to function. By default they use the same authentication mechanism (shs) to grant access to the database, choosing access levels depending on the keypair that opens the connection. If you connect to yourself, you get full access (query and publish). If a remote peer connects, it can only replicate. So be sure to have at least one incoming connection.

That being said, the overhead of encryption for local applications can be very high, especially on low-powered devices. For this use-case there is a noauth transform which by-passes the authentication and grants full access to anybody that can connect to it. hint: This is risky! it might expose private messages or enables people to publish as you! Therefore be sure to bind the listener to localhost or use the unix socket. The unix file socket is created as $HOME/.ssb/socket by default and has permissions such that only the user running ssb-server start can open it, just like the $HOME/.ssb/secret file.

  "incoming": {
    "unix": [{ "scope":"device", "transform":"noauth" }],
    "net": [{ "scope": "device", "transform": "noauth", "port": 8009, "host": "localhost" }]
  "outgoing": {
    "net": [{ "transform": "shs" }]

The local plugin inside ssb-server will use the first incoming connection of either public or private scope.


Set which sorts of gossip connections are permitted:

  • connections (number) How many other nodes to connect with at one time. Defaults to 2.
  • local (boolean) Make gossip connections with peers on the same local network as you.
  • friends (boolean) Make gossip connections with peers who are friends.
  • seed (boolean) Make gossip connection with manually added seeds, it is generally used in tests.
  • global (boolean) Don't restrict the connections but prioritize the connections to the peers you're friends with.

For example, allow only gossip connections with peers found on the same local network as you, but prioritize connections with friends:

  gossip: {
    connections: 3,
    local: true,
    friends: false,
    seed: false,
    global: true






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