Installing TT-RSS on DreamHost

TT-RSS & DreamHost

Earlier this year Google Reader was savagely murdered and, despite massive public outcry, it was not resurrected after its shutdown in July earlier this year.

Evidently it’s not considered “evil” to kill something that’s used daily and loved by thousands!

Somewhere in Mountain View a glasshole has been staring out of a corner office window and laughing maniacally for the better part of the last five months, waiting for the one foretold in The Great Prophecy to arrive on the east winds and challenge him to a duel!

Until that day comes we’ll all have to make do with one of any number of very good Google Reader alternatives.

Smart people will avoid most of those alternatives for one simple reason, though:

They’re run by other people.

What happens if, say, Feedly “pulls a Google” a few years down the line? If they close up shop that leaves you right back at square one – with only an OPML file to your name and years spent learning and mastering an interface that your eyes will never see again.

I’m already pissed at Feedly just thinking about this – and they haven’t even done anything wrong!

A lot of these externally hosted RSS services do the unthinkable – they try to charge you money just to read news on the Internet! Are you kidding me?

Luckily the open-source gods have gifted us with Tiny Tiny RSS, a completely standalone open-source RSS/Atom feed reader that can be installed on any shared, VPS, or dedicated hosting account with DreamHost!

TT-RSS’s primary developer sort of hates shared hosting, dumb suggestions, stupid questions, and people, so if you’re the type of person who needs premium features like “technical support” or someone to treat you “not like an idiot” TT-RSS might not be for you.

For the rest of us – TT-RSS is a very mature, supremely customizable Google Reader alternative that is every bit as powerful as the web app it’s replacing.

The official TT-RSS installation guide is great, but if you need a little more help, read on!

Step 1: Download TT-RSS

Grab the latest version of TT-RSS from the bottom of this page.

Step 2: Decide where to stick it!

Extract the contents of that archive to a directory anywhere among your hosted DreamHost sites. Let’s say we’re putting it in “yourdomain.com/tt-rss/”

Step 3: Upgrade PHP (not always required)

TT-RSS requires PHP version 5.3 or newer!

To check or upgrade the version currently in use by your domain, visit the “Manage Domains” section of your account control panel.

Click to Edit the hosting service for your domain…

Edit your hosting

And you’ll see this:

Select your PHP version

What you see in this box may vary, but if you’re not on PHP 5.3 or higher, you’ll want to change that now and submit the form!

Step 4: Create a MySQL database

Visit the MySQL section of your account control panel. Create a database!

Not sure how? Our wiki will walk you through the process!

Step 5: Run the TT-RSS installer

Now the magic happens! Visit yourdomain.com/tt-rss (or wherever you ended up installing TT-RSS) in a web browser. You’ll see this installation dialog:

TT-RSS installer - empty

BORING. Let’s sex it up with some content! Make it look like this:

TT-RSS installer - populated

Obviously you’ll want to fill in the username, password, database name, and host name fields with the values you created back in step 4. You can leave the port field blank

Step 6: Test your configuration

Click “Test configuration” to do exactly that.

If everything goes as planned, you should see this:

Test your configuration

If you don’t see these success messages, check your entries for typos! If you JUST created your database, maybe wait a few minutes for it to get created, Turbo!

Click the new “Intialize database” button to get started

All good!  Intialize DB!

Step 7: SAVE your configuration

Once TT-RSS has its way with your database for the first magical time, it’ll generate a configuration file. Scroll down past the contents of the file and click this button:

Save config

Step 8: Login to TT-RSS!

Click this new link to login to your new, FREE RSS reader:

Done!

The default user account is admin. The default password is password.

If you don’t change both of these right away I will personally travel to your home and poop on your front porch.

Step 9: Schedule automatic updates

Unless you keep TT-RSS open in a browser window, it’s not going to pull down feed updates on its own. For that you’ll need to schedule a cron job.

Visit the Cron Jobs section of your DreamHost control panel.

Click the “Add A New Cron Job” button.

From the first dropdown select a shell user account that’s got access to your tt-rss installation.
Give it a title! Something like “Update TT-RSS Feeds” would be good.

In the “Command to run” box, enter this as a single line of text:
/usr/local/php54/bin/php /home/yourshelluser/yourdomain.com/tt-rss/update.php --feeds
(Change ‘yourshelluser’ and ‘yourdomain’ to match your setup!)

Tell the cron job to run every hour (or less frequently, if you’d prefer!) and click “Add”.

Step 10: Bask in the glow of the power of open source

You’re done! You’ve now got access to a completely free RSS reader that rivals anything that Google made back when it was trying to make the world better, not emptier.

Done!

Now that you’re all set up, visit TT-RSS’ preferences page to customize the look, feel, and operation of your new best friend.

If you want a mobile version of TT-RSS that’s a spitting image of Google Reader, you might try installing g2ttrss, too.

Be sure to check out TT-RSS’ official site for FAQs!

Enjoy!