All posts by Don Matteo

Home at Zurich, System Engineer MCP by A-Enterprise GmbH. Memebr of UNBLOG Network. Author and Blogger to the Themes, Linux and Open Source. Tutorials for Windows, VMware, Synology, Fortinet.

Firefox Syncing bookmarks in Private Cloud

How to Run Your Own Firefox Sync Server


Firefox Sync Server running self-hosted, for bookmarks available synchronously on any device, including the timeline, tabs, add-ons, settings, and credentials, which can be matched on request.

The Mozilla-hosted Firefox account server can be easily used in combination with a self-hosted synchronization server and storage. Authentication and encryption protocols are designed so that the account server does not know the user’s plaintext password and therefore cannot access the stored synchronization data.


Firefox Sync Server Installation
Firefox Sync Basic Configuratin
Firefox Sync Apache Configuration
Firefox Sync HTTPS Let’s Encrypt
Firefox Browser Setting
Troubleshoting & Settings

This tutorial shows how to install Firefox Sync 1.5 servers on Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS. The Ubuntu server, here as an example, is accessible via the Apache 2.4 web server on the Internet.

Firefox Sync Server Installation

Prerequisite for Sync 1.5 servers is Python 2.7 and Python Virtualenv, python-dev, make, git, as well as the C and C++ compiler. To ensure this, the following pacts will be made available:

$ sudo apt-get install apach2 libapache2-mod-wsgi python-dev python-virtualenv git-core g++ make

We install the sync server under /opt, who prefers /usr/local, can choose this path, we will root and execute the following lines:

$ sudo su -
$ cd /opt
$ git clone
$ cd syncserver
$ make build

To verify that the installation was successful, the following can provide the following:

$ make test

Firefox Sync Basic Configuration

Create users and assign permission:

$ useradd -d /opt/syncserver/ -s /bin/false -l -r -U ffsync
$ chown -R ffsync:www-data /opt/syncserver/

The sync server is configured using the ini file to pass different runtime settings. The syncserver .ini file serves as a starting point.

Most settings can be applied before the sync server runs, the URL that can be reached for clients must be adapted to the sync server. For productive use, we open the syncserver .ini file and edit the public_url:

$ vi /opt/syncserver/syncserver.ini

public_url =

Change the public_url from localhost:5000 to our In another section, the configuration is set up on the HTTPS protocol.

Then adjust the sqluri for our data beacon:

sqluri = sqlite:////opt/syncserver/syncserver.db

A secret key with the random generator is generated from a terminal, running the following line:

$ head -c 20 /dev/urandom | sha1sum

Enter this key generated in the syncserver.ini file:

secret = 60bev0b7bd2f56dxea3794fb97f03c824e70e21d

Assign enough rights to the database:

chmod 660 /opt/syncserver/syncserver.db

Create automatic start in systemd for Firefox Sync:

$ vi /etc/systemd/system/firefox-sync.service

and insert the following content:

$ [Unit]
Description=Firefox Sync Server

ExecStart=/opt/syncserver/local/bin/gunicorn --paste /opt/syncserver/syncserver.ini


Start the Firefox Sync Service:

$ systemctl start firefox-sync.service

Firefox Sync Apache Configuration

Create an Apache Virtualhost as follows in this example:

$ vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/

<virtualhost *:80="">
DocumentRoot /opt/syncserver

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/ combined
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/
LogLevel warn

<directory opt="" syncserver="">
        Require all granted
        Options -Indexes

Activate and restart the Apache Virtualhost:

$ a2ensite
$ sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Firefox Sync HTTPS Let’s Encrypt

Provide Let’s Encrypt for our sync server, adding the repository and installing the ACME packages:

$ add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
$ apt-get update
$ apt-get install python-certbot-apache

Now the Let’s Encrypt certificate can be created, certbot makes it easy for us, the SSL configuration required for our virtual host is created automatically.

$ certbot --apache -d

Under /etc/apache2/sites-enabled is now the symlink of this to file shows, this is stored under/etc/apache2/sites-available.

$ ls /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/

In the file, the WSGI configuration still needs to be added, we edit, which then shows the following content:

<ifmodule mod_ssl.c="">
<virtualhost *:443="">
DocumentRoot /opt/syncserver

        WSGIProcessGroup ffsync
        WSGIDaemonProcess ffsync user=ffsync group=ffsync processes=2 threads=25 python-path=/opt/syncserver/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/
        WSGIPassAuthorization On
        WSGIScriptAlias / /opt/syncserver/syncserver.wsgi

        CustomLog /var/log/apache2/ combined
        ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/
        LogLevel warn
<directory opt="" syncserver="">
        Require all granted
        Options -Indexes
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
Include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf

Now the Apache web server needs to be restarted:

sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Firefox browser setting

In order for Firefox to be able to synchronize via its own sync server, the URL must be changed, for this purpose you enter about:config in the address bar and confirm with the enter key.

Firefox about:config identity.sync.tokenserver.uri
Firefox: about:config

After confirming the warning, enter identity.sync.tokenserver.uri into the search box.

Firefox: identity.sync.tokenserver.uri

Double-clicking changes the value to your own sync server

Finally, the Mozilla account is created via the following URL:

The account itself is located on the Mozilla server, the data is stored on the own sync server.

  It is important that the synchronization was made only after the entry to the own sync server in Firefox. If bookmarks and data are on the sync server with Mozilla, the data can be deleted, with the following command lines:

$ apt install python-pip 
$ sudo pip install PyFxA
$ python ./bin/ with actual account email.

Troubleshoting & Settings

To check that The Firefox Sync sync is running correctly, open the log file /var/log/apache2/

$ sudo tail -f /var/log/apache2/

Note that the Let’s Encrypt certbot for validation, the host must be reachable via port 80, for the firewall included in Ubuntu in the default, the command is as follows:

$ sudo ufw allow http

When you call the Sync Server URL, or in the browser, the following output should appear:

$ curl -k https://sync.server.ent
it works!

If the Apache web server does not start, the syntax of the configuration can be validated:

$ apache2ctl configtest
Syntax OK

After all accounts have been created, access to other users can be blocked in the syncserver .ini file:

$ allow_new_users = false

The Firefox Sync protocol contains the debug information in case of errors and can be queried with the following command in the browser line.


Sources Link:
Run your own Sync-1.5 Server
Github mozilla-services/syncserver

Firefox Sync Logo

Generate keys using SSH-KEYGEN

How to create KEYGEN use for SSH public key authentication

Public key authentication, also known as asymmetric cryptosystem, is an authentication method used by OpenSSH and OpenSSL to log users on to a server using a key pair consisting of digital signatures, private and public keys. Such a key pair is much harder to compromise than a password.

How to generate OpenSSH RSA key

The easiest way to generate a key pair in OpenSSH format is to run ssh-keygen without arguments in the shell. In this case, it asks for the file in which the keys are to be stored. Like here in this example:

$ ssh-keygen
Generating public/private rsa key pair.
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/user/.ssh/id_rsa): 
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.
Your public key has been saved in /home/user/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is:
SHA256:TZ+isKhohYE6wOcKuqWxElclsdZw4UxJwFtnB9txEC8 user@debian.localdomain
The key's randomart image is:
+---[RSA 3072]----+
|   .+.o... +o.    |
|    oOo.oo.+ |
|o o=*o..E .    |
|oo oo. . o o .   |
|o =.  . S o o |
|=.. o . . . |
|+++   . .        |
|oO . .         |
|B.... .          |

SSH keys for user authentication are typically stored in the user base under the .ssh directory.

The key pair can also be generated by passing parameters.

$ ssh-keygen -f.ssh/key_rsa -t rsa -b 4096

The parameters have the following meaning:
-f the key file
-t the algorithm
-b the key length
The longest key is 4096. If no algorithm is passed, the default is an RSA key.

When asking for the passphrase for the private key, a passphrase can be entered, in the next section after that it is shown how it can be generated, by pressing the Enter key, without a passphrase the key is created without password protection.

The purpose of the passphrase is usually to protect the key. It is a second authentication factor. This makes the key file without a public key unusable for attackers.It is not uncommon for hackers to filter for files from compromised systems, including backups and decommissioned hardware.

A secure passphrase can be generated automatically, with the following input a 32-character passphrase is generated.

$ date +%s | sha256sum | base64 | head -c 32 ; echo

OpenSSL can also be used to generate a passphrase with the built-in random number generator (rand), which is output as follows.

$ openssl rand -base64 32

Note. It is important you protect the private key and the associated passphras from unauthorized individuals, if the private key is stolen, a new one must be generated, and the public key has to be changed.

If only the public key is lost, the following input shows how the public key can be recovered from the openSSH private key with the -y option, the passphrase is required for this.

$ ssh-keygen -y -f ~/.ssh/key_rsa > ~/.ssh/

It should be noted that at the end of the file the comment (key comment) must be added again, after a space, as in this example user@host.localdomain:

$ ssh-rsa AAAA...HPCQ== user@host.localdomain

  The file must not be modified in any other place.

If the passphrase is to be removed, this can be performed with the following input:

$ ssh-keygen -p -P old_passphrase -N "" -f ~/.ssh/key_rsa

The empty input between the quotation marks does not write a new passphrase, so it is deleted.

Generate ECDSA key

Next, an ECDSA key pair with a key length of 521 bits is generated and stored under the user base ~/.ssh. Valid lengths are 256, 384 or 521 bits.

$ ssh-keygen -f ~/.ssh/key-ecdsa -t ecdsa -b 521

ECDSA is a new algorithm for digital signatures standardized by the U.S. government using elliptic curves. It’s probably the best algorithm right now. Most SSH clients today support ECDSA.

Two files have now been created in the path ~/.ssh directory. The file with the extension .pub is the public key. The key-ecdsa file in this example is the private key and is readable only by the owner.

-rw-------.  1 user user 801 May 20 20:33 key-ecdsa
-rw-r--r--.  1 user user 279 May 20 20:33

The public key key as SHA2 hash is now stored in the file authorized_keys on the server in the user’s home directory under .ssh.

$ cat ~/.ssh/authorized_keys
ecdsa-sha2-nistp521 AAAAE2vjZHNhLXNoYTItbmlzdHA1MjEFASBIbml
dhSmeVwnLHUQNoktbVPoVDHw== user@host.localdomain

Public-Key Transfer with ssh-copy-id

To use public key authentication, the public key must be copied to the server and stored in the authorized_keys file. This can be done conveniently with the ssh-copy-id tool.

$ ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/key-ecdsa

Now you can log on to the server without having to enter a password, this method is also suitable for automated tasks and for logins from scripts.

$ ssh
Last login: Mon May 20 21:53:46 2019 from

Verbose mode can be useful for troubleshooting, with numerous debugging messages about progress, such as connection, authentication, and configuration issues.

$ ssh -v

Note. multiple -v options increase the verbosity to max. -vvv.

OpenSSH config

If you have different hosts and key pairs, this can be defined in the config file under ~/.ssh.

$ vi ~/.ssh/config
Host *
  User user
  Port 22
  HostKeyAlgorithms +ssh-rsa
  PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes +ssh-rsa
  IdentityFile key-ecdsa

  User user
  Port 22
  HostKeyAlgorithms +ssh-dss
  PubkeyAcceptedKeyTypes +ssh-dss
  IdentityFile id_dss