For a year, I subscribed to IRCCloud. It’s a good service that let’s me stay connected to different chatrooms. In the year that I’ve been a customer, it has served me well. So, why change? It costs USD $50/year. Recently, it has come to my attention that you can rent servers on vultr for just USD $2.5/month.

Granted, it’s a really low-end server, but for the needs of a single user it might just fit my needs. To my pleasant surprise, it works!

The basic idea works like this - rent a server, install thelounge on it, setup credentials, activate it as a service and connect via a web browser.

Renting a server was easy - just pay vultr, tell them I need the cheapest ubuntu server they could offer and save the root credentails - SSH to verify that the system was provisioned and I was in business.

Installing thelounge was a bit tricky - I didn’t know where to start! But that was solved by looking up the dependency tree. The Lounge was built on the nodejs interpretor. Which meant that I needed to get that installed. There were a few versions available, and I decided on the v6.x LTS series. Steps went like, install GPG key from nodesource, add the repository to apt-get and install nodejs.

Installing louge was straight-forward after that. I wasn’t interested in running anything else on the server, so I just installed it globally via the npm install command. Not really sure what that means from a system hardening perspective, but for a single user system, should be fine. I think. Worst case, just throw out the server, get a new one and repeat.

Next step was to ensure that thelounge would be running as a service. Time to configure systemd. I made a configuration file and copied that over to my vultr server.

Additionally, I also created a user.json file, self-signed SSL credentials and restarted the server.

Last step was to connect to it over a web browser via IP. (Didn’t want to setup DNS for this)

And it worked!

For my next step, I’m thinking of automating the process. Perhaps I’ll make a dedicated project on how to deploy the server and share it on github. I have an ansible script that I built, but that’s for another time.