Customizing Greenlight

    Greenlight is written in Ruby on Rails. If you know how Ruby on Rails works, you can easily customize Greenlight to your own needs.

    The default install instructions will run Greenlight within docker. To customize Greenlight, you’ll want to checkout the source code and build your own docker image.

    1. Install Docker

    The official Docker documentation is the best resource for Docker install steps. To install Docker (we recommend installing Docker CE unless you have a subscription to Docker EE), see Install Docker on Ubuntu.

    Before moving onto the next step, verify that Docker is installed by running:

    docker -v

    2. Install Greenlight

    Using your GitHub account, do the following

    1. Fork the Greenlight repository into your GitHub account
    2. Clone your repository onto your local machine

    After cloning, you’ll have the following directory:


    Confirm that you are working on the master branch.

    cd greenlight
    git status

    You should see

    On branch master
    Your branch is up to date with 'origin/master'.
    nothing to commit, working tree clean

    When you first clone the Greenlight git repository, git will place you, by default, on the master branch, which is the latest code for Greenlight. The release branch for v2 is on the v2 branch.

    The first thing we need to do is to add the remote repository to our local clone.

    git remote add upstream

    You can now check your local list of tracked repositories to verify that the addition worked. You should see at least two results (origin and upstream). The one named “origin” should link to your personal fork and is the repository that you cloned. The second result “upstream” should link to the main Greenlight repository.

    git remote -v

    After, we need to fetch the most up to date version of the remote repository.

    git fetch upstream

    You are now ready to create a new branch to start your work and base the new branch off v2

    git checkout -b custom-changes upstream/v2

    You should now confirm that you are in the correct branch.

    git status
    On branch custom-changes
    Your branch is up to date with 'upstream/v2'.
    nothing to commit, working tree clean

    3. Configure Greenlight

    Greenlight will read its environment configuration from the .env file. To generate this file, enter ~/greenlight directory and run:

    cp sample.env .env

    If you open the .env file you’ll see that it contains information for all of the Greenlight configuration options. Some of these are mandatory.

    Generating a Secret Key

    Greenlight needs a secret key in order to run in production. To generate this, run:

    docker run --rm bigbluebutton/greenlight:v2 bundle exec rake secret

    Inside your .env file, set the SECRET_KEY_BASE option to the last line in this command. You don’t need to surround it in quotations.

    Setting BigBlueButton Credentials

    By default, your Greenlight instance will automatically connect to if no BigBlueButton credentials are specified. To set Greenlight to connect to your BigBlueButton server (the one it’s installed on), you need to give Greenlight the endpoint and the secret. To get the credentials, run:

    bbb-conf --secret

    In your .env file, set the BIGBLUEBUTTON_ENDPOINT to the URL, and set BIGBLUEBUTTON_SECRET to the secret.

    Verifying Configuration

    Once you have finished setting the environment variables above in your .env file, to verify that you configuration is valid, run:

    docker run --rm --env-file .env bigbluebutton/greenlight:v2 bundle exec rake conf:check

    If you have configured an SMTP server in your .env file, then all four tests must pass before you proceed. If you have not configured an SMTP server, then only the first three tests must pass before you proceed.

    4. Configure Nginx to Route To Greenlight

    Greenlight will be configured to deploy at the /b subdirectory. This is necessary so it doesn’t conflict with the other BigBlueButton components. The Nginx configuration for this subdirectory is stored in the Greenlight image. To add this configuration file to your BigBlueButton server, run:

    cat ./greenlight.nginx | sudo tee /etc/bigbluebutton/nginx/greenlight.nginx

    Verify that the Nginx configuration file (/etc/bigbluebutton/nginx/greenlight.nginx) is in place. If it is, restart Nginx so it picks up the new configuration.

    systemctl restart nginx

    This will routes all requests to https://<hostname>/b to the Greenlight application. If you wish to use a different relative root, you can follow the steps outlined here.

    Optionally, if you wish to have the default landing page at the root of your BigBlueButton server redirect to Greenlight, add the following entry to the bottom of /etc/nginx/sites-available/bigbluebutton just before the last } character.

    location = / {
      return 307 /b;

    To have this change take effect, you must once again restart Nginx.

    5. Start Greenlight 2.0

    To start the Greenlight Docker containter, you must install docker-compose, which simplifies the start and stop process for Docker containers.

    Install docker-compose by following the steps for installing on Linux in the Docker documentation. You may be required to run all docker-compose commands using sudo. If you wish to change this, check out managing docker as a non-root user.

    Using docker-compose

    Before you continue, verify that you have docker-compose installed by running:

    docker-compose -v

    Once you have verified that it is installed correctly, create your Docker image by running (image name can be any name of your choosing):

    ./scripts/ <image name> release-v2

    Next, in the docker-compose.yml file, replace:

        entrypoint: [bin/start]
        image: bigbluebutton/greenlight:v2


        entrypoint: [bin/start]
        image: <image name>:release-v2

    Finally, from the ~/greenlight directory, start the application using:

    docker-compose up -d

    This will start Greenlight, and you should be able to access it at https://<hostname>/b.

    The database is saved to the BigBlueButton server so data persists when you restart. This can be found at ~/greenlight/db.

    All of the logs from the application are also saved to the BigBlueButton server, which can be found at ~/greenlight/log.

    If you don’t wish for either of these to persist, simply remove the volumes from the docker-compose.yml file.

    To stop the application, run:

    docker-compose down

    Using docker run

    docker run is no longer the recommended way to start Greenlight. Please use docker-compose.

    If you are currently using docker run and want to switch to docker-compose, follow these instructions.

    Making Code Changes

    Using the text editor/IDE of choice, you can edit any of the files in the directory. The majority of Greenlight’s code lives in ~/greenlight/app.

    You can see an example of how to customize the Landing Page here.

    To see your changes reflected in Greenlight, you will need to restart Greenlight.

    Applying .env Changes

    After you edit the .env file or make any change to the code, you are required to rebuild the Greenlight image in order for it to pick up the changes. Ensure you are in the Greenlight directory when restarting Greenlight. To do this, enter the following commands:

    docker-compose down
    ./scripts/ <image name> release-v2
    docker-compose up -d

    Updating to the Latest Version of Greenlight

    If a new version of Greenlight has been released, you’ll need to fetch the most up to date version of the remote repository.

    git fetch upstream

    To merge the code:

    git merge upstream/v2

    Then, restart Greenlight.

    Switching from docker run to docker-compose

    To switch from using docker run to start Greenlight, to using docker-compose, run the following commands:

    docker stop <image name>
    docker rm <image name>

    And then follow the instructions for Starting Greenlight

    Customizing the Landing Page

    A common customization is to modify the default landing page. For a simple change, let’s rename the welcome banner to say “Welcome to MyServer”.

    The welcome banner is generated by index.html.erb. To customize this message, open app/views/main/index.html.erb in an editor.

    # BigBlueButton open source conferencing system -
    # Copyright (c) 2018 BigBlueButton Inc. and by respective authors (see below).
    # This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the
    # terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software
    # Foundation; either version 3.0 of the License, or (at your option) any later
    # version.
    # BigBlueButton is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY
    # WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A
    # PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.
    # You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along
    # with BigBlueButton; if not, see <>.
    <div class="background">
      <div class="container pt-9 pb-8">
        <div class="row">
          <div class="col-md-12 col-sm-12 text-center">
            <h1 id="main-text" class="display-4 mb-4"> <%= t("landing.welcome").html_safe %></h1>
            <p class="lead offset-lg-2 col-lg-8 col-sm-12 "><%= t("landing.about", href: link_to(t("greenlight"), "", target: "_blank")).html_safe %></p>
            <%= link_to "", target: "_blank" do %>
              <h4><%= t("") %> <i class="far fa-play-circle ml-1"></i></h4>
            <% end %>
    <%= render "shared/features" %>

    This is an Embedded RuBy (ERB) file. Look for the following line:

    <h1 id="main-text" class="display-4 mb-4"> <%= t("landing.welcome").html_safe %></h1>

    The function t("landing.welcome") retrieves the localized version of the label landing.welcome. For English, this retrieves the string from en.yml. Edit config/locales/en.yml and look for the following section:

        about: "%{href} is a simple front-end for your BigBlueButton open-source web conferencing server. You can create your own rooms to host sessions, or join others using a short and convenient link."
        welcome: Welcome to BigBlueButton.
        video: Watch our tutorial on using Greenlight
        upgrade: Show me how to upgrade to 2.0!
        version: We've released a new version of Greenlight, but your database isn't compatible.

    To change the welcome message, modify the text associated with landing.welcome to say “Welcome to MyServer”.

        welcome: Welcome to MyServer

    Save the change to en.yml, and restart Greenlight. The welcome message should have the new text.

    Updated login

    Configuring Greenlight 2.0

    Greenlight is a highly configurable application. The various configuration options can be found below. When making a changes to the .env file, in order for them to take effect you must restart you Greenlight container. For information on how to do this, see Applying .env Changes.

    Using a Different Relative Root

    By default Greenlight is deployed to the /b sub directory. If you are running Greenlight on a BigBlueButton server you must deploy Greenlight to a sub directory to avoid conflicts.

    If you with to use a relative root other than /b, you can do the following:

    1. Change the RELATIVE_ROOT_URL environment variable.
    2. Update the /etc/bigbluebutton/nginx/greenlight.nginx file to reflect the new relative root.
    3. Restart Nginx and the Greenlight server.

    If you are not deploying Greenlight on a BigBlueButton server and want the application to run at root, simply set the RELATIVE_ROOT_URL to be blank.

    Setting a Custom Branding Image

    You can now setup branding for Greenlight through its Administrator Interface.

    Adding Terms and Conditions

    Greenlight allows you to add terms and conditions to the application. By adding a file to app/config/ you will enable terms and conditions. This will display a terms and conditions page whenever a user signs up (or logs on without accepting yet). They are required to accept before they can continue to use Greenlight.

    The file is a Markdown file, so you can style your terms and conditions as you wish.

    To add terms and conditions to your docker container, create a file in the ~/greenlight directory. Then, add the following volume to your docker-compose.yml file.

    - ./

    User Authentication

    Greenlight supports four types of user authentication. You can configure any number of these, and Greenlight will dynamically adjust to which ones are configured.

    In Application (Greenlight)

    Greenlight has the ability to create accounts on its own. Users can sign up with their name, email and password and use Greenlight’s full functionality.

    By default, the ability for anyone to create a Greenlight account is enabled. To disable this, set the ALLOW_GREENLIGHT_ACCOUNTS option in your .env file to false. This will not delete existing Greenlight accounts, but will prevent new ones from being created.

    Google OAuth2

    You can use your own Google account, but since Greenlight will use this account for sending out emails, you may want to create a Google account related to the hostname of your BigBlueButton server. For example, if your BigBlueButton server is called, you may want to create a Google account called greenlight_notifications_myserver.

    You need a Google account to create an OAuth 2 CLIENT_ID and SECRET. The will enable users of Greenlight to authenticate with their own Google account (not yours).

    Login to your Google account, and click the following link

    If you want to see the documentation behind OAuth2 at Google, click the link

    First, create a Project click the “CREATE” link.

    In the menu on the left, click “Credentials”.

    Next, click the “OAuth consent screen” tab below the “Credentials” page title.

    From here take the following steps:

    1. Choose any application name e.g “Greenlight”
    2. Set “Authorized domains” to your hostname eg “hostname” where hostname is your hostname
    3. Set “Application Homepage link” to your hostname e.g “http://hostname/b/” where hostname is your hostname
    4. Set “Application Privacy Policy link” to your hostname e.g “http://hostname/b/” where hostname is your hostname
    5. Click “Save”


    1. Click “Create credentials”
    2. Select “OAuth client ID”
    3. Select “Web application”
    4. Choose any name e.g “bbb-endpoint”
    5. Under “Authorized redirect URIs” enter “https://hostname/b/auth/google/callback” where hostname is your hostname
    6. Click “Create”

    A window should open with your OAuth credentials. In this window, copy client ID and client secret to the .env file so it resembles the following (your credentials will be different).

    The GOOGLE_OAUTH2_HD environment variable is optional and can be used to restrict Google authentication to a specific Google Apps hosted domain.

    Office365 OAuth2

    You will need an Office365 account to create an OAuth 2 key and secret. This will allow Greenlight users to authenticate with their own Office365 accounts.

    To begin, head over to the following site and sign in to your Office365 account:

    In the menu on the left, click “Azure Active Directory”.

    Under the “Manage” tab, click “App registrations”.

    From here take the following steps:

    1. Click “New Registration”
    2. Choose any application name e.g “bbb-endpoint”
    3. Set the Redirect URI to your url (must be https): “https://hostname/b/auth/office365/callback”
    4. Click “Register”

    Once your application has been created, Under the “Overview” tab, copy your “Application (client) ID” into the OFFICE365_KEY environment variable in your .env file.

    Finally, click the “Certificates & secrets” under the “Manage” tab

    From here take the following steps:

    1. Click “New client secret”
    2. Choose the “Never” option in the “Expires” option list
    3. Copy the value of your password into the OFFICE365_SECRET environment variable in your .env file

    LDAP Auth

    Greenlight is able to authenticate users using an external LDAP server. To connect Greenlight to an LDAP server, you will have to provide values for the environment variables under the ‘LDAP Login Provider’ section in the .env file. You need to provide all of the values for LDAP authentication to work correctly.

    LDAP_SERVER is the server host.

    LDAP_PORT is the server port (commonly 389).

    LDAP_METHOD is the authentication method, either ‘plain’ (default), ‘ssl’ or ‘tls’.

    LDAP_UID is the name of the attribute that contains the user id. For example, OpenLDAP uses ‘uid’.

    LDAP_BASE is the location to look up users.

    LDAP_BIND_DN is the default account to use for user lookup.

    LDAP_PASSWORD is the password for the account to perform user lookup.

    Here are some example settings using an OpenLDAP server.


    If your server is still running you will need to recreate the container for changes to take effect.

    See Applying .env Changes section to enable your new configuration.

    If you are using an ActiveDirectory LDAP server, you must determine the name of your user id parameter to set LDAP_UID. It is commonly ‘sAMAccountName’ or ‘UserPrincipalName’.

    LDAP authentication takes precedence over all other providers. This means that if you have other providers configured with LDAP, clicking the login button will take you to the LDAP sign in page as opposed to presenting the general login modal.

    Twitter OAuth2

    Twitter Authentication is deprecated and will be phased out in a future release.

    Troubleshooting Greenlight

    Sometimes there are missteps and incompatibility issues when setting up applications.

    Changes not appearing

    If you made changes to the .env file, you will need to restart Greenlight to see the changes appear.

    Checking the Logs

    The best way for determining the root cause of issues in your Greenlight application is to check the logs.

    Docker is always running on a production environment, so the logs will be located in log/production.log from the ~/greenlight directory.