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Social server with an ActivityStreams API

This is It's a stream server that does most of what people really want from a social network.

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Copyright 2011-2017, E14N and contributors

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

What's it for?

I post something and my followers see it. That's the rough idea behind the pump.

There's an API defined in the file. It uses JSON as the main data and command format.

You can post almost anything that can be represented with activity streams -- short or long text, bookmarks, images, video, audio, events, geo checkins. You can follow friends, create lists of people, and so on.

The software is useful for at least these scenarios:

  • Mobile-first social networking
  • Activity stream functionality for an existing app
  • Experimenting with social software

It also comes with a web UI.


For more information please check out the GitHub wiki and our ReadTheDocs documentation.

or clone them with the following commands:

git clone
git clone clone



You'll need four things to get started:

  • node.js 4.x or 6.x
  • npm 1.1.0 or higher
  • A database server (see below)
  • The graphicsmagick package with the gm command

Note that the requirement to have gm available is new for 0.3.0; if you're upgrading, you need to install it.

Install with npm

The easiest way is to install the software globally using npm, like so:

npm install -g

That should set up all the files and dependencies for you.

Local install

If you want to set up the software in its own directory, you can clone the git repository, so:

git clone

You can then install the dependencies using npm:

npm install
npm run build

To test the install, run:

npm test

Database setup uses databank package to abstract out the data storage for the system. Any databank driver should work. Couchbase, MongoDB and Redis are probably the best bets for production servers, but the disk or even memory drivers can work for testing.

If you're confused, just use the MongoDB one, databank-mongodb.

You can find other drivers like so:

npm search databank

One tricky bit is that the driver you use has to be available to the databank package. There are two ways to make that work.

First, you can install globally. For example:

npm install -g databank-mongodb

Use this if you installed the package globally.

Second, you can install in the databank directory.

npm install databank-mongodb

Note that you also need to install and configure your database server.

Configuration uses a JSON file for configuration. It should be at /etc/ or on ~/

The file should give you an idea of how to use it.

The default config values are stored in the source file lib/defaults.js.

You can override the config file location with the -c option.

pump -c <CONFIG_FILE>

Here are the main configuration keys.

  • driver The databank driver you're using. Defaults to "disk", which is probably going to be terrible.
  • params Databank driver params; see the databank driver README for details on what to put here.
  • hostname The hostname of the server. Defaults to "localhost" which doesn't do much for you.
  • address The address to listen on. Defaults to hostname, which is OK for most systems. Use this if you've got some kind of load-balancer or NAS or whatever and your local IP doesn't map to the IP of the hostname.
  • port Port to listen on. Defaults to 31337, which is no good. You should listen on 80 or 443 if you're going to have anyone use this.
  • urlPort Port to use for generating URLs. Defaults to the same as port, but if you're insisting on proxying behind Apache or whatever despite warnings not to, you can use this.
  • secret A session-generating secret, server-wide password.
  • noweb Hide the Web interface. Defaults to false. Set this to something truthy to disable the Web interface.
  • site Name of the server, like "My great social service".
  • owner Name of owning entity, if you want to link to it.
  • ownerURL URL of owning entity, if you want to link to it.
  • appendFooter a bit of custom HTML you want appended to the footer text.
  • nologger If you're debugging or whatever, turn off logging. Defaults to false (leave logging on).
  • logfile Full path to the logfile. Logs are JSON in bunyan format.
  • serverUser If you're listening on a port lower than 1024, you need to be root. Set this to the name of a user to change to after the server is listening. daemon or nobody are good choices, or you can create a user like pump and use that.
  • key If you're using SSL, the path to the server key, like "/etc/ssl/private/myserver.key".
  • cert If you're using SSL, the path to the server cert, like "/etc/ssl/private/myserver.crt".
  • hsts Controls the HTTP Strict-Transport-Security header. It's passed directly to the hsts module, so you can set true to use the defaults (180 days, includeSubdomains is on) or set an object to use a longer time, enable preloading, etc.
  • uploaddir Obsolete; see issue #1261
  • datadir Directory for the server to store data in (mostly uploads). Should be the full path of a local directory that's readable and writeable by the serverUser. Optional unless you have uploads turned on.
  • enableUploads If you want to enable file uploads, set this to true. Make sure that datadir is set and that the directory it's set to contains a subdirectory named uploads.
  • debugClient For developers, if you're debugging the Web interface and you want to use the non-minified version of the JavaScript libraries, set this to true. Defaults to false, which is what people should use in production.
  • firehose Firehose host running the ofirehose software. Defaults to "". Public notices will be ping this firehose server and from there go out to search engines and the world. If you want to disconnect from the public web, set this to something falsy.
  • spamhost Host running activityspam software to use to test updates for spam.
  • spamclientid oauth pair for spam server.
  • spamclientsecret oauth pair for spam server.
  • disableRegistration default false. Disables registering new users on the site through the Web or the API.
  • noCDN Use local copies of the JavaScript libraries instead of the ones on the CDN. Good for debugging. Defaults to false, meaning "use the CDN".
  • requireEmail Require an email address to register. Should be ignored if email server isn't configured. Default false.
  • smtpserver Server to use for sending transactional email. If it's not set up, no email is sent and features like password recovery and email notification won't work. Defaults to undefined.
  • smtpport Port to connect to on SMTP server. Defaults to 25 which is really the only sane value.
  • smtpuser Username to use to connect to SMTP server. Might not be necessary for some servers. Defaults to undefined.
  • smtppass Password to use to connect to SMTP server. Might not be necessary for some servers. Defaults to undefined.
  • smtpusetls Try to negotiate using SSL with the SMTP server. Defaults to true, because it's a smart idea.
  • smtpusessl Only use SSL with the SMTP server. Defaults to false. You may need to change the smtpport value if you set this.
  • smtptimeout Timeout for connecting to the SMTP server in milliseconds. Defaults to 30000. Change this if... I dunno. I see no reason to change this.
  • smtpfrom Email address to use in the "From:" header of outgoing notifications. Defaults to 'no-reply@' plus the site hostname.
  • compress Use gzip or deflate to compress text output. This can cut down on network transfers considerably at the expense of memory and CPU on the server. Defaults to true.
  • children Number of children to run. Defaults to 1 for some kinds of DBs, number of CPUS - 1 for others.
  • clients. You can pre-configure some OAuth credentials if you want to have a replicable configuration (say, for test scripts or development environments). This setting is an array of objects, each of which has a 'client_id' and 'client_secret' property, and an optional 'title' and 'description' object. Most people don't need this. Default is an empty list.
  • sockjs Use SockJS-node to provide a realtime connection. Defaults to true.
  • cleanupSession Time interval to clean up sessions (in ms). These are staggered a bit if you have more than one child process running, to spread them out a bit. Defaults to 1200000, or 20 minutes.
  • cleanupNonce Time interval to clean up OAuth nonces (in ms). Staggered. Defaults to 1200000, or 20 minutes.
  • favicon Local filesystem path to the favicon.ico file to use. This will be served as "/favicon.ico" by the server. By default, uses public/images/favicon.ico.

You can also set these by passing commandline flags starting with -- - for example,'s port value can be set by passing --port. Camelcasing like urlPort should be replaced with - (i.e. urlPort becomes --url-port). Keys whose value is an object can be specified using . to separate nested keys. For example, a with the following contents:

{ "params": { "host": "localhost" } }

can be set by passing localhost.

Web server proxy is designed to be a standalone server. You do not need to set up an Apache or nginx or lighttpd Web server in front of it. In fact, that's going to make things harder for you, and stuff like WebSockets is going to work less well.

If you really insist, check the configuration options carefully. If you want http://pump.yourdomain.example/ to proxy to the daemon listening on port 8000 on, use configuration options like this:

"hostname": "pump.yourdomain.example",
"urlPort": 80,
"address": "",
"port": 8000

Running the daemon

To run the daemon, you need to run either ./bin/pump (if you installed from git) or pump (if you installed from npm).

You'll probably get a more reliable experience if you use forever to keep the daemon running.


NODE_ENVIRONMENT determines the environment is running in. This should be set to production in production environments or performance will be significantly degraded. In development environments it should be set to development, which is the default.

The pump daemon also accepts configuration values via environment variables. You can find available configuration values above - the basic idea is to start with PUMPIO_ and append the capitalized configuration key you want to set. For example, the port key in would translate to the environment variable PUMPIO_PORT. To configure camelcased config values like urlPort, replace the camelcasing with an underscore (_). For example, urlPort would become PUMPIO_URL_PORT. Keys whose value is an object can be specified using __ (two underscores) to separate subkeys. For example, a with the following contents:

{ "params": { "host": "localhost" } }

can be represented by exporting PUMPIO_PARAMS__HOST to the environment with a value of localhost.

You can also set the env variable NODE_DEBUG to enable debugging of internal libraries.


export NODE_DEBUG=dev,all,net,http,fs,tls,module,timers

See How to set NODE_DEBUG.

Using the command line tools

You can use any client application you want to interact with servers. However, this repository comes with some samples to get you started, if you want.


First use this tool to create the credentials file

./bin/pump-register-app  -t <APPNAME>

<APPNAME> will be the name of the client app that pump-register-app registers with the server.

This will create the file ~/.pump.d/<SERVER>.json that contains your credentials.


It will also add an entry into the server database where you will find the clientID. Note that if you use the memory Databank driver the data will be lost between server runs and you will need to rerun the configuration.


Use this command to register a user:

./bin/pump-register-user  -u <USERNAME> -p <PASSWORD>


After you register an app, you can authorize your user to use it.

./bin/pump-authorize -u <USERNAME>

When you do that it will ask you to open a website, login and verify the value. You paste that back in and all is good.

Making changes

If you're connecting your site with other software (such as federated servers or using Web clients), please note that most of them save OAuth keys based on your hostname and listening port. The following changes may make your relationships stop working.

  • Change of hostname
  • Change of port (from 8000 to 80 or even from HTTP to HTTPS)
  • Clearing your database or clearing some tables
  • Changing user nicknames

I realize that these kind of changes are normal when someone's experimenting with new software, and I'm trying to make the software more robust in the face of this kind of change without sacrificing security, but for now it's a good idea to decide on your "real" domain name first before making connections to other sites.


If you find bugs, you can report them here:

You can also email me at


This software includes the following great packages of client-side software.

  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • Backbone
  • JQuery
  • Fine Uploader
  • WysiHTML5
  • Spin.js
  • SockJS
  • Select2
  • JQuery Easydate
  • OAuth.js

It also uses these icon sets:

  • Fancy Avatars, © 2009 Brandon Mathis, (CC-By)
  • Glyphicons, (CC-By)

This sample photo is used for the main page:

  • (CC-by)


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