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Epicyon is an AGPL licensed ActivityPub protocol compliant federated social network server suitable for hosting a small number of accounts on low power systems requiring minimal maintenance, such as single board computers. It's the ActivityPub equivalent of an email server, storing posts as human readable JSON on file, rather than in a database. It also uses only a small amount of RAM.

Epicyon is written in Python with a HTML+CSS web interface and uses almost no javascript which makes display in a web browser very lightweight.

purple theme timeline screenshot hacker theme profile page
various screenshots mobile screenshot

Emojis, hashtags, photos, video and audio attachments, instance and account level blocking controls, moderation functions and reports are all supported. Build the community you want and avoid the stuff you don't. No ads. No blockchains or other Silicon Valley garbage.

Define the scope of your messages to reach the right people.

Schedule posts to be published at some time in the future. This can be useful for reminding yourself to do things (send your future self a direct message) or for creating a series of posts promoting some event, such as a festival or wedding.

Epicyon supports many languages. Translations and emoji can easily be added. Alter the logo, backgrounds, terms of service and style to create a unique personality for your instance. Choose from a few different themes, or make a new one.

light theme timeline screenshot light theme profile page screenshot

When creating a new post you can optionally also add a date, time and place. This will show up on the calendars of your followers, and makes organizing meetups or other community events simple. You can use message scopes to set up public events or private ones. To create reminders you can send yourself a DM with an event and it will appear on only your calendar.

calendar screenshot

Epicyon's lack of javascript makes it much more usable in shell based web browsers such as Lynx. As new web systems are deployed we should not be leaving anyone with minority use cases behind.

lynx screenshot

Some posts contain images and some don't. The media timeline enables you to view all your pet photos in one place.

media timeline screenshot media timeline screenshot

If you want your instance to be primarily about posting and interacting with media then you can also enable the media instance option.

Barter and gift physical items or services with other people on your instance. Search for shared items which you might want or post items you no longer have a use for. Promote ride shares or available accomodation without any unnecessary companies in the middle. Pool resources between trusted friends to build solidarity and have fun.

Define a set of skills in your profile and search for other people who have the skills you need. Organize teams who can get things done!

Want to remember a particular link or reply to something later? Bookmark your favorite posts and view them on the Saves timeline.

Stay informed about the topics which people that you follow are highlighting. On the search screen there is a hashtag swarm.

No algorithmic timelines. No rating or ranking of people. No trending stuff. Removing the artficial cruft of social networking allows you to focus on things you actually care about, instead of what someone else thinks you should pay attention to.

You will need python version 3.7 or later.

On a Debian based system:

sudo apt install -y tor python3-pip python3-socks imagemagick python3-numpy python3-setuptools python3-crypto python3-dateutil python3-pil.imagetk python3-idna python3-requests libimage-exiftool-perl certbot nginx

sudo pip3 install beautifulsoup4 pycryptodome

The following instructions install Epicyon to the /opt directory. It's not essential that it be installed there, and it could be in any other preferred directory.

Clone the repo, or if you downloaded the tarball then extract it into the /opt directory.

cd /opt

git clone

Create a user for the server to run as:

sudo su

adduser --system --home=/opt/epicyon --group epicyon

chown -R epicyon:epicyon /opt/epicyon

Create a daemon:

nano /etc/systemd/system/epicyon.service

Paste the following:


ExecStart=/usr/bin/python3 /opt/epicyon/ --port 443 --proxy 7156 --domain YOUR_DOMAIN --registration open --debug


Activate the daemon:

systemctl enable epicyon
systemctl start epicyon

Create a web server configuration:

nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/YOUR_DOMAIN

And paste the following:

server {
listen 80;
listen [::]:80;
server_name YOUR_DOMAIN;
access_log /dev/null;
error_log /dev/null;
client_max_body_size 31m;
client_body_buffer_size 128k;

limit_conn conn_limit_per_ip 10;
limit_req zone=req_limit_per_ip burst=10 nodelay;

index index.html;
rewrite ^ https://$server_name$request_uri? permanent;

server {
listen 443 ssl;
server_name YOUR_DOMAIN;

ssl_stapling off;
ssl_stapling_verify off;
ssl on;
ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/YOUR_DOMAIN/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/YOUR_DOMAIN/privkey.pem;
#ssl_dhparam /etc/ssl/certs/YOUR_DOMAIN.dhparam;

ssl_session_cache builtin:1000 shared:SSL:10m;
ssl_session_timeout 60m;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_protocols TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
add_header X-Frame-Options DENY;
add_header X-Content-Type-Options nosniff;
add_header X-XSS-Protection "1; mode=block";
add_header X-Download-Options noopen;
add_header X-Permitted-Cross-Domain-Policies none;

add_header X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow, nosnippet, noarchive";
add_header Strict-Transport-Security max-age=15768000;

access_log /dev/null;
error_log /dev/null;

index index.html;

location / {
proxy_http_version 1.1;
client_max_body_size 31M;
proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forward-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
proxy_set_header X-Forward-Proto http;
proxy_set_header X-Nginx-Proxy true;
proxy_temp_file_write_size 64k;
proxy_connect_timeout 10080s;
proxy_send_timeout 10080;
proxy_read_timeout 10080;
proxy_buffer_size 64k;
proxy_buffers 16 32k;
proxy_busy_buffers_size 64k;
proxy_redirect off;
proxy_request_buffering on;
proxy_buffering on;
proxy_pass http://localhost:7156;

Enable the site:

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/YOUR_DOMAIN /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Forward port 443 from your internet router to your server. If you have dynamic DNS make sure its configured. Add a TLS certificate:

certbot certonly -n --server --standalone -d YOUR_DOMAIN --renew-by-default --agree-tos --email YOUR_EMAIL

Restart your web server:

systemctl restart nginx

If you are using the Caddy web server then see caddy.example.conf

Now you can navigate to your domain and register an account. The first account becomes the administrator.

To subsequently upgrade:

cd /opt/epicyon
git pull
chown -R epicyon:epicyon *
systemctl restart epicyon