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This is a place for providing instructions, documenting changes, and troubleshooting problems regarding SudoPad, the etherpad-lite instance running on the sudomesh server.

Etherpad lite is a real time collaborative editor which allows multiple users to simultaneously work with the same document.

SudoPad is available at or Documentation regarding etherpad can be found in its repo,


If you receive an nginx error (like 503 bad gateway) when going to

  • Try going to
  • If this also fails, start (or restart) the etherpad instance by logging into sudomesh server and running,
  sudo start etherpad-lite

Setting up an etherpad-lite instance

The following are the instructions that were used to install our instance of etherpad-lite and could be used to reinstall the instance from scratch. Instructions adapted from

1. Add a new etherpad-specific system user, etherpad should never be run as root in production.

  sudo adduser --system --home=/opt/etherpad --group etherpad-lite

2. Install prequistes, some of these may already be installed, but it is always good to check that they are up-to-date,

  sudo apt update
  sudo apt install gzip git-core curl python libssl-dev build-essential abiword python-software-properties

3. Next, you'll need to install Node.JS and NPM, (someone please confirm steps for install node js, i think it was already installed)

  curl -o- | bash
  export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"  # or you can close and reopen your terminal before using nvm
  nvm install 7.10

4. Install and test etherpad-lite with following command,

  sudo su - etherpad-lite -s /bin/bash 
  mkdir -p ~/local/etherpad
  cd ~/local/etherpad
  git clone git://
  cd etherpad-lite

5. Etherpad should now be running manually, you can check by going to <hostname>:9001 6. However, you will want to set up etherpad as a service that can be run in the background, to do this,

  sudo mkdir /var/log/etherpad-lite
  sudo chown etherpad /var/log/etherpad-lite
  sudo chown -R etherpad /var/log/etherpad-lite
  sudo nano /etc/init/etherpad-lite.conf

7. In the etherpad-lite.conf file paste the following:

  description "etherpad-lite"
  start on started networking
  stop on runlevel [!2345]
  env EPHOME=/opt/etherpad/local/etherpad/etherpad-lite  
  env EPLOGS=/var/log/etherpad-lite
  env EPUSER=etherpad-lite
  pre-start script
     cd $EPHOME
     mkdir $EPLOGS                              ||true
     chown $EPUSER:admin $EPLOGS                ||true
     chmod 0755 $EPLOGS                         ||true
     chown -R $EPUSER:admin $EPHOME/var         ||true
     $EPHOME/bin/ >> $EPLOGS/error.log || { stop; exit 1; }
  end script
     cd $EPHOME/
     exec su -s /bin/sh -c 'exec "$0" "$@"' $EPUSER -- node node_modules/ep_etherpad-lite/node/server.js \
                       >> $EPLOGS/access.log \
                       2>> $EPLOGS/error.log
  end script

8. Assuming everything worked correctly, you should be able to start the etherpad service,

  sudo start etherpad-lite

9. Check if it worked by going again to <hostname>:9001

Setting up the MySQL database

You may have noticed a warning about DirtyDB in the logs when you started the service. It is advised that you do not use DirtyDB in production, instead, we'll setup a MySQL database for etherpad in our existing MySQL server.

1. First, assumming that MySQL is already installed and configured on the server, log into the MySQL server as root,

  mysql -u root -p

2. Once in MySQL, execute the following commands,

  create database `etherpad-lite`;
  grant all privileges on `etherpad-lite`.* to 'etherpad'@'localhost';

3. Now go to the ethepad config file with,

  sudo nano /opt/etherpad/local/etherpad/etherpad-lite/settings.json

and change the settings to match the priveleges you just granted, replacing the default dbType categories with the following,

  "dbType" : "mysql",
     "dbSettings" : {
         "user"    : "etherpad", 
         "host"    : "localhost", 
         "database": "etherpad-lite"
         "charset" : "utf8mb4"

4. Restart the service and go to <hostname>:9001 to enable the new settings and check that the instance is still working.

5. Finally, back on the server, we'll need to change a few of the database's settings to do this, log into the MySQL server with,

  mysql -u root -p

and then execute the following commands,

  ALTER DATABASE `etherpad-lite` CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_bin;
  USE `etherpad-lite`;

6. To set backups of the etherpad-lite database...

Setting up log rotation

Explain what log rotation does? Why is it neccessary?

1. Create a logrotate config file with,

  sudo nano /etc/logrotate.d/etherpad-lite

2. Copy and paste the following into this file,

     rotate 4
        restart etherpad-lite >/dev/null 2>&1 || true

3. Check that it is working with,

  logrotate -d /etc/logrotate.d/etherpad-lite


  • setup/check-on the timetable for clearing abandoned pads