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Version: 2.6


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.

Setting Allowed Hosts

For reasons related to security, you'll also need to specify the domain from which the application will be accessible from.

In your .env file, set the SAFE_HOSTS to your domain. If Greenlight is accessible at then

Configure Specific Settings

Other than the 3 configurations listed above, there are many different options for configuring Greenlight. All possible configurations are listed in the .env file.

You can find more info on specific settings that can be configured here.

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 container, 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.

Restart Greenlight

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

Once you've merged your code, you should look through the latest version of the sample.env file here, and see if there are any new settings you would like to change or add to Greenlight. If you come across something you want to add, simply copy paste it to the bottom of your .env, then restart Greenlight.

Customizing the Landing Page

Before you begin


If you installed using the script, then you must switch to the Customize version of Greenlight first, before you proceed.

Updating the code

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

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.

See also