Matrix is a modern, decentralized, federated real-time communication protocol and open standard. It has a thriving ecosystem of servers, clients, and applications. Synapse is the reference server and Element is the reference client for the web, desktop and mobile platforms.
This is something that I have been interested in using and self-hosting for a few years now. I have had an account on the main matrix.org instance for a while now and wanted to switch to a self-hosted instance.
Since I have been using docker, docker-compose, and Ansible to deploy and run a wide range of self-hosted applications for my personal use, the spantaleev/matrix-docker-ansible-deploy was my choice for setting up my instance. I chose to use Synapse over Dendrite, the second-generation server because though it is lightweight, it is not feature-complete. All the other third-party implementations have a lot of catching up to do as well, at the time of writing this post.
I learned a bit of Terraform in my previous job, but never had a chance to learn it properly or build something from scratch using it. So armed with my little knowledge of Terraform, I created a small Terraform project to automate setting up a new Matrix instance. It provisions the DNS records needed for Matrix on Namecheap — my domain registrar and DNS host, provisions an appropriately sized Hetzner cloud instance with a floating IP address, and runs the deployment playbook in the
matrix-docker-ansible-deploy repository with the provided Ansible variables file. I used the hcloud and the namecheap Terraform providers to do this.
With this, I was able to provision and set up my Matrix instance in under 10 minutes by just running
$ terraform plan -out=matrix-plan $ terraform apply "matrix-plan"
I have released the source code for this project here on GitLab under the GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 (AGPLv3) or later. Since this project contains the
matrix-docker-ansible-deploy repository as a git submodule, running
git submodule update --init should automatically pull in a known good commit of that repository to use for the deployment. The
README file has the instructions for using the project to set Matrix instances from scratch.
I hope it is useful for those who are looking to set up a new Matrix instance.