Categories
IT Servers Streaming

My HLS Server

The second server took a lot of work to get correct. It was much harder but the work payed off and it’s functional. I’m still trying to upgrade it to get better statistics about how many people are using the app to watch live but I have some going now.

HLS and Re-stream server configuration using 2 separate servers
We use this server in the above configuration. In ours, the RTMP streaming server is now a node.js node-media-server according to https://timdrones.com/2020/05/12/another-type-of-re-stream-server/

To make this part function, the server takes in an RTMP stream and converts it using ffmpeg to make it an HLS .m3u8 file. That file is then the target of a link in the apps control panel that tells it to get the stream on a users phone and display our live service. Each user of the app who watches within the app is connected to the HLS streaming server and so we have to scale this one up to use it well.

I have a snapshot of the server that is in AWS Lightsale and when we need it I can spin it up to be what would cost $40 a month. But we only need it for a couple hours. Then we delete it. So it costs about 12 cents to run each week for our live service on Wednesday. I just transfer over the dns records and IP address information and allow the proper ports on the firewall and in 5 minutes it’s ready to go.

I also found data about statistics by searching for “stub_status Nginx” on Google. That led me to information such as: https://www.google.com/amp/s/easyengine.io/tutorials/nginx/status-page/%3Famp

The configuration is similar to the RTMP re-streamer in that they both use Ubuntu and NGINX and this one needs ffmpeg to do its conversions of the RTMP feed into the HLS feed for the app.

I used a tutorial I found online to begin this one as well. It’s found below.

After going around and around trying to recompile Nginx with the stub_status module, I found the tutorial that told me how to check if it was already installed. It turns out it was. So that was good however I wasted a lot of time trying to install it and a c compiler when I didn’t need to.

If you’d like to see my NGINX.conf file for the HLS streaming server an example of it is here. If you’d like it to also stream to other services you can use it, but you have to modify it a little bit like the RTMP server that I posted about previously. Facebook only accepts “secure” rtmp so you have to pass it’s feed through “stunnel”. Here’s my nginx.conf file. I also put in the “Streamingserver.xyz.conf” file that you will need in the sites-available folder on the server. This file should be named after your proper registered domainname and .com or .org or .xyz or whatever your domain name is. The default file below is “default” as seen in the sites-available folder on the server as well. These are all in “/etc/nginx/nginx.conf” or the others are in “/etc/nginx/sights-available/”. If you follow along in the examples that I gave above from the links to outside sites, you can see that you’ll make a link between the sites-available folder and two files in the sites-enabled folder with the same names of “default” and “yourserver.something.conf”. Also while I was creating this, I had to stop the apache server because it was interfering. I had to issue the command “sudo systemctl stop apache2”. It was causing errors.

If you’re interested in the app we use it’s The Church App from Subsplash.

Categories
IT Servers Streaming

Statistics and Webpage for HLS server

I need a few statistics for the HLS server because as you stream the .m3u8 file, it’s a bit hard to tell how many people are using the app to watch it. I’ve inserted a couple statistics pages on this server to help get a better pictures of who’s using it.

The first way is to use the RTMP streaming statistics as seen in the /etc/nginx/sites-available/default file at the location at the bottom.

## XML stylesheet to view RTMP stats. Copy stat.xsl wherever you want and put the full directory path here
location /stat.xsl {
	root /var/www/html/;
	}
## This provides RTMP statistics in XML at 
location /stat {
	rtmp_stat all;
	rtmp_stat_stylesheet stat.xsl;
	}

This outputs a nice little page that looks like below:

The next bit of Stats that I added was the below. This is from the stub_status output. It’s very simple and only somewhat useful, but it’s a start on seeing how many people are on my .m3u8 feed. The active connections is the useful part however because of the internal connections and my own viewing of this page, out of the 11 seen connections I think only about 3 or so are actually users on our app in the below case.

I put in a little index.html file to replace the original that tells you Nginx on a standard install of Nginx. I made my page just give a few links to the various status reports on the server. It makes it a little bit easier to use and will help when I train others to use these servers later. The status page looks like the below:

This is made with an index.html file with the links to the low resolution, high resolution HLS feeds as well as the two status pages.

  • Connection link: https://your_domain_name_here.xyz/nginx_status
  • RTMP feed status: https://your_domain_name_here.xyz/stat.html
  • Low Res link: https://your_domain_name_here.xyz/low.html
  • High Res link: https://your_domain_name_here.xyz/live.html

I’m still trying to find more ways to get better statistics out of the HLS feed use, however I haven’t gotten there yet. I’ll probably keep this updated to tell others when I find more ways to do it.

Categories
4k IT Servers Streaming

Another Nginx Re-Streamer With HLS Output

Recently I had a request to see if I would be able to provide some sort of a tutorial on how to make a re-streaming server for Facebook and YouTube as well as having an HLS output as well, preferably with various resolutions.

My server is based on the rtmp-module in nginx. We should install this on an Ubuntu server from Lightsail. I usually make a very small one for $3.50 per month, but then if I want to stream with HLS I need to use a snapshot and create a new instance that is much larger. Otherwise it won’t be able to handle all the transformations of the data to make the HLS files and it will fail.

This server in the stock configuration as shown will re-stream to any other RTMP locations that you need and also send out HLS to places in various resolutions. If you send it a 1080p 30fps input, it will send out a 1080, 720, and 360 HLS output as well. If you make some adjustments that I show in an optional section, then you can make it take in 4k and re-stream that to any RTMP places you wish, plus output on HLS 4k, 1080, 720, and 360.

Install nginx and update ubuntu

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install -y nginx
sudo apt install -y libnginx-mod-rtmp

Now we have to install a bunch of needed packages to allow for the media streaming to properly occur.

sudo apt install -y software-properties-common
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
sudo apt update

The entire below code should be copied and pasted in its entirety at once.

sudo apt install wget nano python-certbot-nginx ufw unzip software-properties-common dpkg-dev git make gcc automake build-essential joe ntp ntpdate zlib1g-dev libpcre3 libpcre3-dev libssl-dev libxslt1-dev libxml2-dev libgd-dev libgeoip-dev libgoogle-perftools-dev libperl-dev pkg-config autotools-dev gpac ffmpeg sysstat nasm yasm mediainfo mencoder lame libvorbisenc2 libvorbisfile3 libx264-dev libvo-aacenc-dev libmp3lame-dev libopus-dev libfdk-aac-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libavutil-dev g++ libc6:i386 freeglut3-dev libx11-dev libxmu-dev libxi-dev libglu1-mesa libglu1-mesa-dev
sudo apt install mariadb-server mariadb-client phpmyadmin php php-cgi php-common php-pear php-mbstring php-fpm

These are to allow for the rtmp module to be installed and the statistics to be made.

cd /usr/src

sudo git clone https://github.com/arut/nginx-rtmp-module

sudo cp /usr/src/nginx-rtmp-module/stat.xsl /var/www/html/stat.xsl

This is the crossdomain file

sudo nano /var/www/html/crossdomain.xml

Paste the below into that file.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cross-domain-policy SYSTEM "http://www.adobe.com/xml/dtds/cross-domain-policy.dtd">
<cross-domain-policy>
<allow-access-from domain="*"/>
</cross-domain-policy>

This is the info.php file.

sudo nano /var/www/html/info.php

Paste the below into that file.

<?php
phpinfo();
?>

This is to create the locations of the hls streams.

sudo mkdir /var/livestream
sudo mkdir /var/livestream/hls
sudo mkdir /var/livestream/med
sudo mkdir /var/livestream/low

This is to give the proper permissions the livestream location can be used.

sudo chown -R www-data: /var/livestream

Now we have to create the nginx.conf file. This is where the majority of the server gets its programing.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

The below file should be used as the nginx.conf file. I took off the .conf extension and made it a .txt so the site would allow me to post it.

In all the files that I have here, if you use them, please be sure to change the IP to your IP address. You will have to change them by using “sudo nano” and the file name such as nginx.conf. If you click on the link below that says “nginx”, it will open up a new browser window and you can copy and paste this into your nginx.conf file.


Skip this section if you don’t need 4K.

Below is the nginx.conf file that you should use if you want the streamer to make 4 types of HLS files. It can take 4k and create 4k, 1080, 720 and 360 outputs. But it needs a very large server to do it all. Also you’ll have to create the proper html files that allow you to show people the created outputs, or just use it to send to other services. I didn’t include the proper html files in this tutorial. You should name this “nginx.conf” if you use it.

Remember that you’ll also need to make directories where the “high” files will be stored.


sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl restart nginx
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

The below default.txt is actually the file that is from /etc/nginx/sites-available/default. I added the .txt extension to it so it would allow me to post it properly. You should delete the .txt extension to make it work if you want to use it directly, or just copy and paste it into the default file when you are in the nano program.

sudo nginx -t
sudo systemctl restart nginx

So that we can create and use a website to manage and check on these streaming server functions we have to have a video player that will play our HLS files on a website. The first two lines below should be copied and pasted individually. The “sudo wget” sections should be done as sections. That will get the .zip file and the .js file that you will need for the video player.

sudo mkdir /var/www/html/videojs
cd /var/www/html/videojs

sudo wget https://github.com/videojs/video.js/releases/download/v7.7.6/video-js-7.7.6.zip

sudo wget https://github.com/videojs/http-streaming/releases/download/v1.13.1/videojs-http-streaming.js

The following lines should be done individually and they will all the video player to be unzipped as well as make the proper allowance for it to be used with the directories we created.

sudo unzip /var/www/html/videojs/video-js-7.7.6.zip
sudo chown -R www-data: /var/www/html
sudo ls -la /var/www/html/videojs

Now we have to make the page that will show the options for the server.

We have to make the index.html page as well as the pages for the videos, low.html, med.html, live.html.

Here are some copies of my files. You’ll have to modify them slightly and add in your IP address on each of them to make them operate. Just replace the IP in some of the lines with your IP.

Note that these are very poor HTML code. I just made them quickly so that I could get a working page for myself. They aren’t neat and they aren’t good. They just work. Maybe sometime in the future I might fix them a bit, but for now I have other things that are more pressing than making them nice and pretty.

sudo nano /var/www/html/index.html
sudo nano /var/www/html/live.html
sudo nano /var/www/html/med.html
sudo nano /var/www/html/low.html

The index file below is set up for making 3 outputs (Low, Med, Live). The Live file output is the same stream output resolution that the input comes into the server. The below is a rough index.html file. It should make a workable webpage where you can choose to see some of your stats or a feed from each of the 3 above resolutions.

<h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Streaming Status Pages</strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p style="text-align: 
center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://(YOUR IP.Address)/nginx_status" target="_blank" 
rel="noopener">Status of Connections</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: 
center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://(YOUR IP.Address)/stat.html" target="_blank" 
rel="noopener">Status of the Stream</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p 
style="text-align: center;">Feed for Computers? <a href="https://(YOUR IP.Address)/live.html" target="_blank" 
rel="noopener">Live Stream "Full 1080 Resolution"</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p 
style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Feed for the App: <a 
href="https://(YOUR IP.Address)/low.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Live Stream "Low Resolution"</a></p> <p 
style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p>

<p style="text-align: center;">Feed for Computers?: <a href="https://(YOUR IP.Address)/med.html" target="_blank" 
rel="noopener">Live Stream "720 Resolution"</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p 
style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: 
center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>

Now you should test it all by streaming to your RTMP location at rtmp://IP/live/stream. If it takes hold and your streamer attaches then you can click on the websites links to check the feed.

After we have that all running. We have to get stunnel so that facebook will work. We’ll go back to the command prompt from your server. Issue the following commands to get stunnel.

sudo apt-get install stunnel4 -y

Now we’ll have to change stunnel’s boot configuration, issue the following command:

sudo nano /etc/default/stunnel4

Change Enabled from 0 to 1. It should look like the following:

ENABLED=1

Next we have to edit the stunnel configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf

You’ll have to cut and paste this in its entirety. It should look like this:

pid = /var/run/stunnel4/stunnel.pid
output = /var/log/stunnel4/stunnel.log
setuid = stunnel4
setgid = stunnel4
# https://www.stunnel.org/faq.html
socket = r:TCP_NODELAY=1
socket = l:TCP_NODELAY=1
debug = 4
[fb-live]
client = yes
accept = 1936
connect = live-api-s.facebook.com:443
verifyChain = no

Then of course you’ll have to use ctrl-x to exit, and Y to save it as the original named file.

Next we have make it enabled after boot by doing the following:

sudo systemctl enable stunnel4.service

Now we have to restart stunnel because we changed the configuration files.

sudo systemctl restart stunnel4.service

Now since we changed the stunnel configuration and all we should restart NGINX for good measure.

sudo systemctl restart nginx
Categories
IT Servers Streaming

Virtual Services and Streaming

This is what our server configuration looks like. This is a quick document that I made up to show the leadership what I did.

Because of our new uptick in streaming we had to figure out how to stream our live services with RTMP to Facebook and YouTube, as well as our app. The app is a little odd as it requires a stream input of a .m3u8 file, also called HLS. Our church cable modem is not able to support more than one 1080 x 30fps output at once. This is about a 4mps stream. So we needed something to help us.

This led us to research services like restream.io and Boxcast. Both these will do it for RTMP, however Boxcast will do that and also the .m3u8 (HLS). That brought up an interesting challenge in my mind. I figured that this couldn’t be “that” hard. I just had to figure out how to re-stream RTMP. That led me to cloud servers which I had a tiny bit of experience with after-all this website is on an AWS Lightsail cloud server which costs $3.50 and my other website timrides.com is on a free Google cloud server instance.

I had experience in spinning up cloud servers with Bitnami originally and running apache as a webserver. I had seen the wonders of what can be done, but didn’t know how to do more than run WordPress on those Bitnami installations for the websites.

So I went to Amazon and to the Lightsail section which is sort of the simple part of AWS where you pay for various size cloud servers and all your data and things are included. It makes billing simple and you don’t have to worry much about causing some huge bill. You can get there at https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com/ .

The first part of making the re-streaming server for RTMP is getting an instance such as the $3.50 one, it’s good for at least re-streaming to 3 places. So you take in your RTMP feed from your streaming software like wirecast or obs and you send it to the server. The server takes it and sends it on to the services like YouTube and Facebook. If you need more, you might need a bigger server like the $5 one. In any event its cheap and even if one is to small you can take a snapshot of it and spin up a bigger one in about 4 minutes. I chose to run Ubuntu 18.04 on mine. It’s well documented and easy to run NGINX on that to get a good webserver and robust re-streaming server all in one.

I did a ton of Google searching for information and came upon some reasonable tutorials. It was not very hard to get the re-streaming part of this going. Just forwarding streams of RTMP is not to hard and obviously doesn’t even take much computing power since the Ubuntu machine with 512mb of RAM can do it. It requires some simple config file modifications to the NGINX software with the rtmp module in it.

Also to get Facebook to work you have to add in a module called “stunnel”. That is pretty simple as well. The tutorial below should have most of what you need for Facebook, YouTube and any other service that requires only RTMP.

We’ve now streamed a few times to Facebook, YouTube and my HLS streaming server a few times. It works very well with this simple RTMP streaming server setup. It’s running well on my tiny $3.50 per month server just chugging along. Once the persistent stream keys are input in the server there isn’t any maintenance for it or any other reason to look at the configuration files. I’ll modify it sometime to add some of the statistics information that I have on my HLS server.

In addition to the below, you should fix the firewall to only allow through ports 1935, 80, maybe 440,990 and 1000. Depends on what else you do with it.

https://sites.google.com/view/facebook-rtmp-to-rtmps/home

If you’d like to see some of my nginx.conf file and other parts needed for this project see below. I’ll insert them here.

If you need to output an HLS or .m3u8 file, you need to go a little further. I made two servers so that I could get the majority working quickly and then I could modify the other without messing up the working one.

My second server needs to be made bigger to carry the load when we stream to the app. The app users are directly receiving the file from my server and they put a load on it. Also the creation of that HLS file is intensive alone, even if only one person is on the app. I’ll post about that second server in another post.

I hope this brings you as much of a feeling of accomplishment as it brought me. It also taught me a ton about linux and cloud servers.