Install Jitsi-Meet alongside ejabberd

Image of an office conference room with empty chairs

Since the corona virus is forcing many of us into home office there is a high demand for video conference solutions. A popular free and open source tool for creating video conferences similar to Google’s hangouts is Jitsi Meet. It enables you to create a conference room from within your browser for which you can then share a link to your coworkers. No client software is needed at all (except mobile devices).

The installation of Jitsi Meet is super straight forward – if you have a dedicated server sitting around. Simply add the jitsi repository to your package manager and (in case of debian based systems) type

sudo apt-get install jitsi-meet

The installer will guide you through most of the process (setting up nginx / apache, installing dependencies, even do the letsencrypt setup) and in the end you can start video calling! The quick start guide does a better job explaining this than I do.

Jitsi Meet is a suite of different components that all play together (see Jitsi Meet manual). Part of the mix is a prosody XMPP server that is used for signalling. That means if you want to have the simple easy setup experience, your server must not already run another XMPP server. Otherwise you’ll have to do some manual configuration ahead of you.

I did that.

Since I already run a personal ejabberd XMPP server and don’t have any virtualization tools at hands, I wanted to make jitsi-meet use ejabberd instead of prosody. In the end both should be equally suited for the job.

Looking at the prosody configuration file that comes with Jitsi’s bundled prosody we can see that Jitsi Meet requires the XMPP server to serve two different virtual hosts.
The file is located under /etc/prosody/conf.d/meet.example.org.cfg.lua

VirtualHost "meet.example.org"
        authentication = "anonymous"
        ssl = {
                ...
        }
        modules_enabled = {
            "bosh";
            "pubsub";
            "ping";
        }
        c2s_require_encryption = false

Component "conference.meet.example.org" "muc"
    storage = "memory"
admins = { "focus@auth.meet.example.org" }

Component "jitsi-videobridge.meet.example.org"
    component_secret = "<VIDEOBRIDGE_COMPONENT_SECRET>"

VirtualHost "auth.meet.example.org"
    ssl = {
        ...
    }
    authentication = "internal_plain"

Component "focus.meet.example.org"
    component_secret = "<JICOFO_COMPONENT_SECRET>"

There are also some external components that need to be configured. This is where Jitsi Meet plugs into the XMPP server.

In my case I don’t want to server 3 virtual hosts with my ejabberd, so I decided to replace auth.meet.jabberhead.tk with my already existing main domain jabberhead.tk which already uses internal authentication. So all I had to do is to add the virtual host meet.jabberhead.tk to my ejabberd.yml.
The ejabberd config file is located under /etc/ejabberd/ejabberd.yml or /opt/ejabberd/conf/ejabberd.yml depending on your ejabberd distribution.

hosts:
    ## serves as main host, as well as auth.meet.jabberhead.tk for focus user
  - "jabberhead.tk"
    ## serves as anonymous authentication host for meet.jabberhead.tk
  - "meet.jabberhead.tk"

The syntax for external components is quite different for ejabberd than it is for prosody, so it took me some time to get it working.

listen:
  -
    port: 5280
    ip: "::"
    module: ejabberd_http
    request_handlers:
      "/http-bind": mod_bosh
    tls: true
    protocol_options: 'TLS_OPTIONS'
  -
    port: 5347
    module: ejabberd_service
    hosts:
      "focus.meet.jabberhead.tk":
        password: "<JICOFO_COMPONENT_SECRET>"

The configuration of the modules was a bit trickier on ejabberd, as the ejabberd config syntax seems to disallow duplicate entries. I ended up moving everything from the existing main modules: block into a separate host_config: for my existing domain. That way I could separate the configuration of my main domain from the config of the meet subdomain.

Update: I migrated my server (and this tutorial) to the new videobridge2 component. This means that we no longer need to configure the videobridge as an XMPP component in ejabberd’s configuration.

host_config:
  ## Already existing vhost.
  jabberhead.tk:
    s2s_access: s2s
    ## former main modules block, now further indented
    modules:
      mod_adhoc: {}
      mod_admin_extra: {}
      ...

  ## ADD THIS: New meeting host with anonymous authentication and no s2s
  meet.jabberhead.tk:
    ## Disable s2s to prevent spam
    s2s_access: none
    auth_method: anonymous
    allow_multiple_connections: true
    anonymous_protocol: both
    modules:
      mod_bosh: {}
      mod_disco: {}
      mod_muc:
        access: all
        access_create: local
        access_persistent: local
        access_admin: admin
      mod_muc_admin: {}
      mod_ping: {}
      mod_pubsub:
        access_createnode: local

As you can see I only enabled required modules for the meet.jabberhead.tk service and even disabled s2s to prevent the anonymous Jitsi Meet users from contacting users on other servers.

Last but not least we have to add the focus user as an admin and also generate (not discussed here) and add certificates for the meet.jabberhead.tk subdomain. This step is not necessary if the meet domain is already covered by the certificate in use.

certfiles:
  - ...
  - "/etc/ssl/meet.jabberhead.tk/cert.pem"
  - "/etc/ssl/meet.jabberhead.tk/fullchain.pem"
  - "/etc/ssl/meet.jabberhead.tk/privkey.pem"
...
acl:
  admin:
    user:
      - "focus@jabberhead.tk"
      ...

That’s it for the ejabberd configuration. Now we have to configure the other Jitsi Meet components. Lets start with jicofo, the Jitsi Conference Focus component.

My /etc/jitsi/jicofo/config file looks as follows.

JICOFO_HOST=localhost
JICOFO_HOSTNAME=meet.jabberhead.tk
JICOFO_SECRET=<JICOFO_COMPONENT_SECRET>
JICOFO_PORT=5347
JICOFO_AUTH_DOMAIN=jabberhead.tk
JICOFO_AUTH_USER=focus
JICOFO_AUTH_PASSWORD=<FOCUS_USER_SECRET>
JICOFO_OPTS=""
# Below can be left as is.
JAVA_SYS_PROPS=...

Respectively the videobridge configuration (/etc/jitsi/videobridge/config) looks like follows.

JVB_SECRET=<VIDEOBRIDGE_COMPONENT_SECRET>
## Leave below as originally was
JAVA_SYS_PROPS=...

Note that since the update to videobridge2, most config options have become obsolete and were replaced by options in the sip-communicator.properties file. So lets change /etc/jitsi/videobridge/sip-communicator.properties:

org.ice4j.ice.harvest.DISABLE_AWS_HARVESTER=true
org.ice4j.ice.harvest.STUN_MAPPING_HARVESTER_ADDRESSES=meet-jit-si-turnrelay.jitsi.net:443
org.jitsi.videobridge.ENABLE_STATISTICS=true
org.jitsi.videobridge.STATISTICS_TRANSPORT=muc
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.HOSTNAME=localhost
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.DOMAIN=jabberhead.tk
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.USERNAME=jvb
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.PASSWORD=<JVB_USER_SECRET>
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.MUC_JIDS=JvbBrewery@conference.meet.jabberhead.tk
org.jitsi.videobridge.xmpp.user.shard.MUC_NICKNAME=<some UUID, just leave the original value>

Now we can wire it all together by modifying the Jitsi Meet config file found under /etc/jitsi/meet/meet.example.org-config.js:

var config = {
    hosts: {
        domain: 'meet.jabberhead.tk',
        anonymousdomain: 'meet.jabberhead.tk',
        authdomain: 'jabberhead.tk',
        focus: 'focus.meet.jabberhead.tk',
        muc: 'conference.meet.jabberhead.tk'
    },
    bosh: '//meet.jabberhead.tk/http-bind', // NOTE: or /bosh, depending on your setup
    clientNode: 'http://jitsi.org/jitsimeet',
    focusUserJid: 'focus@jabberhead.tk',

    testing: {
    ...
    }
...
}

Finally of course, I also had to register the focus and jvb users as XMPP accounts:

ejabberdctl register focus jabberhead.tk <FOCUS_USER_SECRET>
ejabberdctl register jvb jabberhead.tk <JVB_USER_SECRET>

Remember to replace the placeholders with strong password and also stop and disable the bundled prosody! That’s it!

I hope this lowers the bar for some to deploy Jitsi Meet next to their already existing ejabberd. Lastly please do not ask me for support, as I barely managed to get this working for myself 😛

Update (11.04.2020)

With feedback from Holger I reworked my ejabberd config and disabled s2s for the meet vhost, see above.

Someone also pointed out that it may be a good idea to substitute prosody with a dummy package to save disk space and possible attack surface.

Update (16.06.2020)

I migrated this guide to use the new videobridge2 package. The changes in a gist:

  • Remove videobridge component configuration from ejabberd config
  • Register new jvb@yourdomain user for the videobridge
  • Update videobridge config and sip-communicator.properties files (see further up)

What I might look into next is how to use ejabberd’s bundled (since 20.04) STUN/TURN server instead of the default one…

Note: The Jitsi Meet components do some regular health checks. They do this by (as far as I understand) creating temporary MUC rooms every few seconds. Since ejabberd stores entity capabilities indefinitely, this may cause the caps_features table of ejabberd’s database to quickly fill up with lots of junk. Apparently this was fixed in later versions of ejabberd, however, if you still need a workaround, you may try deleting unused caps entries periodically.