BigBlueButton provides a script to install BigBlueButton with single command but it is always better to go through each step, so that you know what is really being done and makes it easy to do any modification or debug any error.

Minimum Requirements

  1. It is adviced to use a fresh server for the installation of BigBlueButton. The minimum requirement would be a c5.xlarge instance which posses 4 cores and 8GB of RAM.
  2. A domain to host the bbb server
  3. Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit OS running Linux kernel 4.x
  4. TCP ports 80 and 443 open
  5. TCP ports 7443 (to configure SSL) and 5066 open
  6. UDP ports 16384 - 32768 open
  7. 500GB of free disk space (Recommended for production)
  8. 250 Mbits/sec bandwidth

Having enough disk space is essential if you have number of sessions been done since recordings would take up the space. Also consider using a domain and obtain SSL certificate to ensure technologies like WebRTC which is used by BigBlueButton to make real time communication works without any error.

Configure environment

Please go through the below steps to ensure that there are no errors during the installation

Check that the locale of the server is en_US.UTF-8.

cat /etc/default/locale
LANG="en_US.UTF-8"

If you don't see LANG=”en_US.UTF-8”, enter the following commands to set the local to en_US.UTF-8.

sudo apt-get install language-pack-en
sudo update-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Exit from the ssh session and login again before proceding with any other command. Run the first command again to make sure the locale is set correctly.

sudo systemctl show-environment
LANG=en_US.UTF-8
PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin

If you don't see LANG=en_US.UTF-8 run

sudo systemctl set-environment LANG=en_US.UTF-8

and check the output again

Setup Security Groups in EC2

As mentioned above BigBlueButton needs several TCP and UDP ports to be allowed access to.

  1. Go to Security Groups in aws ec2 console
  2. Create Security Group
  3. Give a name and then press Add Rule
  4. Select Custom TCP and enter 80 for Port Range
  5. Select Anywhere for Source if you would not mind allowing traffic from any ip.
  6. Press Create
  7. Repeat the steps from 2-6 for ports 443, 5066 and 7443
  8. Also select Custom UDP ,enter 16384 - 32768 and repeat the steps 5-6

Install necessary packages and security updates

grep "multiverse" /etc/apt/sources.list

Here an uncommented line should have multiverse word with it. If not

echo "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ xenial multiverse" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/ffmpeg-4 -y
add-apt-repository ppa:rmescandon/yq -y

to add repositores yq and ffmpeg needed for bigbluebutton

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

to update the system with the added repositories

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv 0C49F3730359A14518585931BC711F9BA15703C6
echo "deb [ arch=amd64,arm64 ] http://repo.mongodb.org/apt/ubuntu xenial/mongodb-org/3.4 multiverse" | sudo tee /etc/apt/
sources.list.d/mongodb-org-3.4.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y mongodb-org curl

to install mongodb which is used by bigbluebutton

curl -sL <https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_8.x> | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs` to install nodejs

Add Public Key to server's key chain and get bigbluebutton packages

wget https://ubuntu.bigbluebutton.org/repo/bigbluebutton.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -

to add project's public key to server key chain

We will be installing bigbluebutton-2.2beta which is the latest at the time of this article. Since your server needs to know where to download BigBlueButton 2.2-beta packages,

echo "deb https://ubuntu.bigbluebutton.org/xenial-220-beta/ bigbluebutton-xenial main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bigbluebutton.list
sudo apt-get update

Install BigBlueButton

If you have followed the steps properly you should be ready to install bigbluebutton now.

sudo apt-get install bigbluebutton
sudo apt-get install bbb-html5

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Next, restart BigBlueButton:

sudo bbb-conf --restart

Configure BigBlueButton

Go to /usr/share/bbb-web/WEB-INF/classes/bigbluebutton.properties and update the following property.

bigbluebutton.web.serverURL=https://example.site.com

Go to /usr/share/red5/webapps/screenshare/WEB-INF/screenshare.properties and update the following properties.

streamBaseUrl=rtmp://example.site.com/screenshare
jnlpUrl=https://example.site.com/screenshare
jnlpFile=https://example.site.com/screenshare/screenshare.jnlp

Run the following command to configure the BigBlueButton server with your hostname

bbb-conf --setip example.site.com

Install Nginx and SSL certificates

I would recommend to use nginx with bbb. To install nginx

sudo apt install nginx

If you have a domain you can get SSL certificates and configure nginx automatically with letsencrypt

  sudo apt-get update
  sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
  sudo add-apt-repository universe
  sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
  sudo apt-get update

  sudo apt-get install certbot python-certbot-nginx
  sudo certbot --nginx

Test the installation

Go to https://example.site.com/ and if loads a screen like below the installation is successfull.

Debugging BBB

If you experience an error when starting the bbb server you can first try uing

sudo bbb-conf --check

which will show you a summary of the bbb services and their status. It will also show errors under Potential problems described below from which you can get a clue of what you are doing wrong.

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