How to use Pagekite to reach your UBOS Device behind a firewall
If your Device is behind a firewall – such as behind a home broadband router or a company firewall – your firewall will block all incoming traffic and none of the site(s) on your Device are reachable from the public internet. That’s the whole point of a firewall, of course, and a good idea for security reasons.
But what if you do want to make your Site accessible over the internet, either for the general public, or for your friends, or even just for yourself for when you are on the road?
One approach is to register with a dynamic DNS provider, to open a special port in your firewall and forward that special port to the IP address of your Device. This certainly can work, but it tends to be difficult, clumsy (now you need to remember a funny port number!) and is often unreliable; some internet providers block such traffic, others prohibit it in their terms of service, and sometimes the firewalls themselves aren’t cooperating.
Pagekite.net is open-source software combined with a paid service that has been developed by The Beanstalks Project ehf in Iceland. It provides a much simpler alternative: through some ingenious proxying, Pagekite accepts traffic destined for your device at public servers they run, and then securely routes that traffic to your device by tunneling through your firewall. All without compromising your privacy.
To set it up on UBOS, read on. UBOS bundles all necessary software, and integrates Pagekite a bit more tightly than other Linux distributions, making your life easier. Please ignore the installation instructions on pagekite.net and follow the ones here if you are running Pagekite on UBOS.
Step 1: Sign up for pagekite.net
Go to Pagekite.net and sign up for an account. They have free trials, so you can sign up without cost and see how you like it.
Let’s say you signed as user
johndoe and you picked
johndoe as your
“kite” name, to use their terminology. When you are done with the following
setup, you will be able to reach your Device at
Step 2: Make sure you have a Site on your Device that corresponds to your kite name
This only works if you have a Site on your Device that
actually corresponds to your kite name, otherwise UBOS will not forward any traffic.
So if your Pagekite kite name is
johndoe.pagekite.me, make you sure
that your Site either has hostname
the Wildcard hostname
You can determine the hostname of your Site with
Also note the section on SSL/TLS/HTTPS certificates below.
Step 3: Configure Pagekite on your UBOS Device
Log into your Device. Then, execute the following commands:
% sudo pacman -S --noconfirm pagekite % sudo ubos-admin start-pagekite <NNN>
<NNN> is the name of your primary kite (
in our example). UBOS will then ask you for the secret that goes with this kite.
You can find both the kite name and the secret on the pagekite.net website after you
have logged into your account there (open section “Your details”). You need to
provide this information to UBOS so your Device can be securely paired with
your pagekite.net account.
You only need to do this once, for sign-up.
After you initially setup Pagekite, it may take a few minutes until your kitename correctly resolves to your Device. This has to do with DNS propagation. In the meantime, you will get a “Temporarily Unavailable” message when attempting to access your kite.
To determine the status of Pagekite on your Device, execute:
% ubos-admin status-pagekite
Stop using Pagekite on your UBOS device
If you ever wanted to stop using Pagekite, simply execute:
% sudo ubos-admin stop-pagekite
UBOS Site names and Pagekite domain names
If you tell Pagekite.net that your Kite name is
all public web traffic to that domain name will be routed to the website
johndoe.pagekite.me on your Device, or, if a Site
is deployed on your Device with hostname
*, to that
If you do not have a Site with hostname
on your Device, you will either be seeing the UBOS “Site not found” error
page or a Pagekite error message.
Just like if you access your Device directly, the hostname you type into your browser must match the hostname of the Site you created on your Device. If you use Pagekite, it might be easiest to give the “kite” name to your Site when you create it on UBOS.
Note that Pagekite allows you to use sub-domains at no extra cost, so you
could run sites
business.johndoe.pagekite.me on the same Device, and Pagekite will
forward traffic accordingly. To make this easier, you can start Pagekite
% sudo ubos-admin start-pagekite --all --kitesecret <SSS> <NNN>
and UBOS will attempt to set up a kite for all Sites you currently have on your Device, and all future Sites you will deploy to your Device in the future. Of course, this only works if you have configured the right “kites” on the pagekite.net site.
Pagekite and SSL/TLS/HTTPS certificates
Encrypting your web traffic, particularly over the open internet, is of course a good idea. The UBOS/Pagekite integration will automatically take care of it if your Site has been set up with a certificate, such as one from Letsencrypt.
If your Site exists already but does not have a certificate yet, we recommend:
Get Pagekite working without SSL/TLS/HTTPS first. That makes it easier to troubleshoot if anything should go wrong.
Make sure you can access your Site without SSL/TLS/HTTPS over the public internet before going to the next step.
Then, redeploy your Site after adding the SSL/TLS certificate information. This is described here.