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      Troubleshooting Web Servers, Databases, and Other Services


      Updated by Linode Written by Linode

      This guide presents troubleshooting strategies for when you can’t connect to your web server, database, or other services running on your Linode. This guide assumes that you have access to SSH. If you can’t log in with SSH, review Troubleshooting SSH and then return to this guide.

      Where to go for help outside this guide

      This guide explains how to use different troubleshooting commands on your Linode. These commands can produce diagnostic information and logs that may expose the root of your connection issues. For some specific examples of diagnostic information, this guide also explains the corresponding cause of the issue and presents solutions for it.

      If the information and logs you gather do not match a solution outlined here, consider searching the Linode Community Site for posts that match your system’s symptoms. Or, post a new question in the Community Site and include your commands’ output.

      Linode is not responsible for the configuration or installation of software on your Linode. Refer to Linode’s Scope of Support for a description of which issues Linode Support can help with.

      General Troubleshooting Strategies

      This section highlights troubleshooting strategies that apply to every service.

      Check if the Service is Running

      The service may not be running. Check the status of the service:

      Distribution Command                                                               
      systemd systems (Arch, Ubuntu 16.04+, Debian 8+, CentOS 7+, etc) sudo systemctl status <service name> -l
      sysvinit systems (CentOS 6, Ubuntu 14.04, Debian 7, etc) sudo service <service name> status

      Restart the Service

      If the service isn’t running, try restarting it:

      Distribution Command
      systemd systems sudo systemctl restart <service name>
      sysVinit systems sudo service <service name> restart

      Enable the Service

      If your system was recently rebooted, and the service didn’t start automatically at boot, then it may not be enabled. Enable the service to prevent this from happening in the future:

      Distribution Command
      systemd systems sudo systemctl enable <service name>
      sysVinit systems sudo chkconfig <service name> on

      Check your Service’s Bound IP Address and Ports

      Your service may be listening on an unexpected port, or it may not be bound to your public IP address (or whatever address is desirable). To view which address and ports a service is bound on, run the ss command with these options:

      sudo ss -atpu
      

      Review the application’s documentation for help determining the address and port your service should bind to.

      Note

      One notable example is if a service is only bound to a public IPv4 address and not to an IPv6 address. If a user connects to your Linode over IPv6, they will not be able to access the service.

      Analyze Service Logs

      If your service doesn’t start normally, review your system logs for the service. Your system logs may be in the following locations:

      Distribution System Logs
      systemd systems Run journalctl
      Ubuntu 14.04, Debian 7 /var/log/syslog
      CentOS 6 /var/log/messages

      Your service’s log location will vary by the application, but they are often stored in /var/log. The less command is a useful tool for browsing through your logs.

      Try pasting your log messages into a search engine or searching for your messages in the Linode Community Site to see if anyone else has run into similar issues. If you don’t find any results, you can try asking about your issues in a new post on the Linode Community Site. If it becomes difficult to find a solution, you may need to rebuild your Linode.

      Review Firewall Rules

      If your service is running but your connections still fail, your firewall (which is likely implemented by the iptables software) may be blocking the connections. To review your current firewall ruleset, run:

      sudo iptables -L # displays IPv4 rules
      sudo ip6tables -L # displays IPv6 rules
      

      Note

      Your deployment may be running FirewallD or UFW, which are frontends used to more easily manage your iptables rules. Run these commands to find out if you are running either package:

      sudo ufw status
      sudo firewall-cmd --state
      

      Review How to Configure a Firewall with UFW and Introduction to FirewallD on CentOS to learn how to manage and inspect your firewall rules with those packages.

      Firewall rulesets can vary widely. Review the Control Network Traffic with iptables guide to analyze your rules and determine if they are blocking connections. For example, a rule which allows incoming HTTP traffic could look like this:

        
      -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -m conntrack --ctstate NEW -j ACCEPT
      
      

      Disable Firewall Rules

      In addition to analyzing your firewall ruleset, you can also temporarily disable your firewall to test if it is interfering with your connections. Leaving your firewall disabled increases your security risk, so we recommend re-enabling it afterward with a modified ruleset that will accept your connections. Review Control Network Traffic with iptables for help with this subject.

      1. Create a temporary backup of your current iptables:

        sudo iptables-save > ~/iptables.txt
        
      2. Set the INPUT, FORWARD and OUTPUT packet policies as ACCEPT:

        sudo iptables -P INPUT ACCEPT
        sudo iptables -P FORWARD ACCEPT
        sudo iptables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT
        
      3. Flush the nat table that is consulted when a packet that creates a new connection is encountered:

        sudo iptables -t nat -F
        
      4. Flush the mangle table that is used for specialized packet alteration:

        sudo iptables -t mangle -F
        
      5. Flush all the chains in the table:

        sudo iptables -F
        
      6. Delete every non-built-in chain in the table:

        sudo iptables -X
        
      7. Repeat these steps with the ip6tables command to flush your IPv6 rules. Be sure to assign a different name to the IPv6 rules file (e.g. ~/ip6tables.txt).

      Troubleshoot Web Servers

      If your web server is not running or if connections are timing out, review the general troubleshooting strategies.

      Note

      If your web server is responding with an error code, your troubleshooting will vary by what code is returned. For more detailed information about each request that’s failing, read your web server’s logs. Here are some commands that can help you find your web server’s logs:

      • Apache:

        grep ErrorLog -r /etc/apache2  # On Ubuntu, Debian
        grep ErrorLog -r /etc/httpd    # On CentOS, Fedora, RHEL
        
      • NGINX:

        grep error_log -r /etc/nginx
        

      Frequent Error Codes

      • HTTP 401 Unauthorized, HTTP 403 Forbidden

        The requesting user did not have sufficient permission or access to the requested URL. Review your web server authorization and access control configuration:

      • HTTP 404 Not Found

        The URL that a user requested could not be found by the web server. Review your web server configuration and make sure your website files are stored in the right location on your filesystem:

      • HTTP 500, 502, 503, 504

        The web server requested a resource from a process it depends on, but the process did not respond as expected. For example, if a database query needs to be performed for a web request, but the database isn’t running, then a 50X code will be returned. To troubleshoot these issues, investigate the service that the web server depends on.

      Troubleshoot Databases

      Is your Disk Full?

      One common reason that a database may not start is if your disk is full. To check how much disk space you are using, run:

      df -h
      

      Note

      This reported disk usage is not the same as the reported storage usage in the Linode Manager. The storage usage in the Linode Manager refers to how much of the the disk space you pay for is allocated to your Linode’s disks. The output of df -h shows how full those disks are.

      You have several options for resolving disk space issues:

      • Free up space on your disk by locating and removing files you don’t need, using a tool like ncdu.

      • If you have any unallocated space on your Linode (storage that you pay for already but which isn’t assigned to your disk), resize your disk to take advantage of the space.

      • Upgrade your Linode to a higher-tier resource plan and then resize your disk to use the newly available space. If your Linode has a pending free upgrade for your storage space, you can choose to take this free upgrade to solve the issue.

      Database Performance Troubleshooting

      If your database is running but returning slowly, research how to optimize the database software for the resources your Linode has. If you run MySQL or MariaDB, read How to Optimize MySQL Performance Using MySQLTuner.

      Find answers, ask questions, and help others.

      This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.



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      The 8 Best Web Management Tools for Small Businesses in 2019


      From site design to social media and everything in between, managing your web presence is integral in today’s market. There are several reasons why you need a strong online presence: it reinforces your brand, boosts your marketing efforts, and most importantly, helps you connect with your customers.

      But what if you’ve got a local clientele or are a brick-and-mortar operation that’s not really interested in doing the whole e-commerce thing? Do you really need a small-business website?

      The answer is an internet-troll-style, all-caps, gigantic YES: 97 percent of consumers use the web to search for local businesses. If you want your small business to reach its full potential, you need to have an online presence.

      But where do you start? After all, there are thousands of tools out there that claim they help with web management. So we’ve put our fingers on the keyboard and nose to the grindstone — gross, right? — to research the best web management tools for your small business. Here’s what we found.

      Web Design

      When it comes to web design you’ve got several options. Of course, you can always hire a professional team from a trusted firm to tackle your web design, but experts don’t come cheap. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective method, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are several programs that are easy to navigate, have beautiful templates, and provide easy click-to-edit functionality to make creating a beautiful website easy — even if you don’t know how to code or aren’t a professional designer. Here are some of the best.

      1. WordPress

      If you’re at all web savvy, WordPress is an excellent choice. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy to regularly update your website with fresh blog posts, news stories, and more. WordPress does have a slight learning curve, but it’s relatively easy to tackle and you’ll be pleased with the number of features.

      • Flexibility — WordPress is extremely versatile. You can create a blog, a portfolio, a business website, an online community, an online store, and basically anything else you can think of.
      • Simplicity — Not only is WordPress flexible, but it’s also simple to use. With WordPress, you don’t have to know how to code to get a responsive website up in minutes. Plus, tools like DreamPress are specifically built to make maintaining your site and keeping it secure really easy.
      • Popular — WordPress is one of the most popular web design tools on the market. That means there are thousands of pre-designed themes, useful plugins, and resources to help you build, modify, and update your site with ease.
      • Cost — Since WordPress.org software is free, it’s a budget-friendly option that can scale with your business as you grow and need more features.

      Get More with DreamPress

      DreamPress Plus and Pro users get access to Jetpack Professional (and 200+ premium themes) at no added cost!

      2. Remixer

      Remixer is another top-of-the-line website building tool that was whipped up fresh in DreamHost’s developer kitchen. Here’s why it’s great: if you need a DIY website that doesn’t look homemade, Remixer is a click-to-edit solution. So what else does Remixer have going for it? Glad you asked.

      • Responsive — With Remixer, you can rest assured that your website is 100 percent responsive. This means no matter what device your visitors are using to find your site, they’ll have a great experience. In 2018, a mobile-optimized website is a must for small-biz owners.
      • Easy — Remixer is designed with ease in mind. That’s why the click-to-edit interface makes it easy to import your own images. If you don’t have your own art, the royalty-free image library takes care of that too.
      • Quick — Just a few clicks on Remixer and you can get a website up and running in 10 minutes. Yeah, we timed it.
      • Easy to Export  You can start your site in Remixer and then easily export it to WordPress when you’re ready to add e-commerce or blogging functionality.

      Need a Beautiful Website?

      Design it yourself with Remixer, our easy-to-use website builder. No coding required.

      E-Commerce Software

      If you want e-commerce capabilities, we’d recommend building your website with WordPress — the flexibility and scalability are ideal for online stores. But remember: WordPress doesn’t come with an e-commerce solution out of the box. You’ll have to add that functionality, either via a plugin or an additional platform, to create a digital shopping cart.

      3. WooCommerce

      WooCommerce is a popular WordPress plugin and one of the best e-commerce solutions on the market. And it’s easy to get started! Basic features to help you manage payment, shipping, and other common tasks come baked in. If you need additional options, however, it’s easy to find extensions to add functionality.

      • Budget-Friendly — Both WordPress.org software and WooCommerce are completely free, as are some of the extensions (most of the others range from around $50 to $100). Getting your online store up and running doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.
      • Scalable — WooCommerce makes scaling from small business to larger venture easy. For example, if you need more payment gateways, simply download and install a relevant extension or plugin.
      • Secure — Security is vital for every website but especially if you’re managing transactions. WordPress’ dedication to security and frequent updates will help protect your site. Additionally, customers using DreamHost’s managed WordPress options are protected by a built-in firewall that eliminates the need for additional security plugins.
      • Search Engine Optimized — WooCommerce itself is light on SEO-related features. It’s built using code optimized for SEO, and there are a few relevant extensions you can add, such as SEO Friendly Images. However, if you really want to improve your store’s chances of getting to the first page of Google, you can download a WordPress SEO plugin.

      Your Store Deserves WooCommerce Hosting

      Sell anything, anywhere, anytime on the world’s biggest eCommerce platform.

      4. Shopify

      Shopify is a subscription-based, e-commerce platform that makes it easy for beginners to build and customize an online store in very little time. It also provides a “guru” service to guide you through the creation and management of your e-commerce site.

      • Reliable — Shopify is one of the largest e-commerce solutions on the market. Because it requires a monthly subscription — plans currently start at $29 per month — you can count on Shopify’s rock-solid performance.
      • Integratable — It’s easy for DreamHost customers to integrate a Shopify store with your site. There’s also an app store where you can download add-ons that provide functionality such as social media, shipping, and accounting.
        Support — Shopify provides support through its comprehensive help center, where you can find everything from tutorials to troubleshooting guides. You also get access to 24/7 support via chat, email, or phone.

      Still wondering whether you should opt for WooCommerce or Shopify when building your e-commerce site? Wonder no more. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you parse out which platform might be more suitable for your website.

      Social Media

      Even a small business can have a large social media presence. The social tools below will allow you to expand your web presence all in one integrated interface. Be in several places at once? It’s every small business owner’s dream!

      5. HootSuite

      HootSuite integrates with Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Google+ Pages, LinkedIn, FourSquare, MySpace, YouTube, and WordPress. It allows you to schedule posts ahead of time, focusing on peak performance times for each platform.

      • Convenience — If you’re sick of switching between your social media profiles just to push out daily updates, then you’re going to love HootSuite. With HootSuite, you can manage all your social platforms from one location.
      • Collaboration — Many small businesses have several people creating content and posting across channels. If you don’t have a cohesive system, you’re setting yourself up for a social snafu. HootSuite gets everyone on the same page.
      • Reputation Management — HootSuite makes it possible to never miss a mention or complaint that your team needs to address.

      6. Buffer

      Buffer supports up to 25 social accounts, allowing you to post across all your platforms from one interface. Here are some of Buffer’s other top features.

      • Trends — Buffer has integrated analytics and insights, making it easier to tweak your social strategy based on data.
      • Scheduling — Buffer allows you to create a custom schedule for each day. You can do it daily, monthly, or annually — basically whenever it’s convenient.
      • Insights — You’ll never have to wonder when you should share your next Instagram pic or Facebook missive. Buffer keeps track of your followers so you know when it’s the optimal time to post.

      7. Everypost

      Everypost makes it easy to curate content from across the web, schedule your posts, and integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, and tumblr.

      • Analytics — You can social smarter with the analytics provided by Everypost. The dashboard is sleek and easy to use.
      • Curation — Everypost helps you curate content directly within the app — no switching around to find shareable content, design content, and post content.
      • Customization — You can maximize the potential of each post you create. This helps you reach all of your audience members, no matter what platform they are on.

      Marketing

      It’s not enough to build your website and forget it; you’ve got to be strategic about getting your brand out into the world — and in front of the eyes of your potential customers — as much as possible. Even if your business is a brick-and-mortar deal, promoting your website and digital offerings will usher local Googlers into your doors.

      8. HubSpot

      HubSpot offers a free marketing tool and WordPress plugin to help keep track of potential customers and assist you with lead conversion — that is, converting a casual browser into a committed buyer.

      • Capture — HubSpot makes it easy to grab website visitors’ email addresses by helping you create a pop-up invitation or another module. It can even pull and track information from any form submission on your website — no matter what tool or plugin.
      • Track — Along with keeping track of visitors’ email addresses and activity on your website (purchases, time spent on page, etc.), you’ll know which other websites your potential customers have visited.  
      • Convert — Analytics displayed on a simple dashboard will help you know what’s working for your site (and what isn’t) and how to target marketing emails to bring your customers back.
      • Simple — The HubSpot WordPress plugin is simple to use, even for the non-techie, and it plays nicely with other tools such as Shopify.

      Want to Keep It Simple?

      Obviously, there are several tools out there to help you effectively manage your online presence. But you don’t have to overwhelm yourself by investing in every option on the market! If you’re brand new to the web, use Remixer to get your website up quickly. Then you can add some of the other options on this list to build your brand online.



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      How To Send Web Push Notifications from Django Applications


      The author selected the Open Internet/Free Speech Fund to receive a donation as part of the Write for DOnations program.

      Introduction

      The web is constantly evolving, and it can now achieve functionalities that were formerly only available on native mobile devices. The introduction of JavaScript service workers gave the web newfound abilities to do things like background syncing, offline caching, and sending push notifications.

      Push notifications allow users to opt-in to receive updates to mobile and web applications. They also enable users to re-engage with existing applications using customized and relevant content.

      In this tutorial, you’ll set up a Django application on Ubuntu 18.04 that sends push notifications whenever there’s an activity that requires the user to visit the application. To create these notifications, you will use the Django-Webpush package and set up and register a service worker to display notifications to the client. The working application with notifications will look like this:

      Web push final

      Prerequisites

      Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:

      Step 1 — Installing Django-Webpush and Getting Vapid Keys

      Django-Webpush is a package that enables developers to integrate and send web push notifications in Django applications. We’ll use this package to trigger and send push notifications from our application. In this step, you will install Django-Webpush and obtain the Voluntary Application Server Identification (VAPID) keys that are necessary for identifying your server and ensuring the uniqueness of each request.

      Make sure you are in the ~/djangopush project directory that you created in the prerequisites:

      Activate your virtual environment:

      • source my_env/bin/activate

      Upgrade your version of pip to ensure it's up-to-date:

      • pip install --upgrade pip

      Install Django-Webpush:

      • pip install django-webpush

      After installing the package, add it to the list of applications in your settings.py file. First open settings.py:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      Add webpush to the list of INSTALLED_APPS:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      
      INSTALLED_APPS = [
          ...,
          'webpush',
      ]
      ...
      

      Save the file and exit your editor.

      Run migrations on the application to apply the changes you've made to your database schema:

      The output will look like this, indicating a successful migration:

      Output

      Operations to perform: Apply all migrations: admin, auth, contenttypes, sessions, webpush Running migrations: Applying webpush.0001_initial... OK

      The next step in setting up web push notifications is getting VAPID keys. These keys identify the application server and can be used to reduce the secrecy for push subscription URLs, since they restrict subscriptions to a specific server.

      To obtain VAPID keys, navigate to the wep-push-codelab web application. Here, you'll be given automatically generated keys. Copy the private and public keys.

      Next, create a new entry in settings.py for your VAPID information. First, open the file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      Next, add a new directive called WEBPUSH_SETTINGS with your VAPID public and private keys and your email below AUTH_PASSWORD_VALIDATORS:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      
      AUTH_PASSWORD_VALIDATORS = [
          ...
      ]
      
      WEBPUSH_SETTINGS = {
         "VAPID_PUBLIC_KEY": "your_vapid_public_key",
         "VAPID_PRIVATE_KEY": "your_vapid_private_key",
         "VAPID_ADMIN_EMAIL": "admin@example.com"
      }
      
      # Internationalization
      # https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/2.0/topics/i18n/
      
      ...
      

      Don't forget to replace the placeholder values your_vapid_public_key, your_vapid_private_key, and admin@example.com with your own information. Your email address is how you will be notified if the push server experiences any issues.

      Next, we'll set up views that will display the application's home page and trigger push notifications to subscribed users.

      Step 2 — Setting Up Views

      In this step, we'll setup a basic home view with the HttpResponse response object for our home page, along with a send_push view. Views are functions that return response objects from web requests. The send_push view will use the Django-Webpush library to send push notifications that contain the data entered by a user on the home page.

      Navigate to the ~/djangopush/djangopush folder:

      • cd ~/djangopush/djangopush

      Running ls inside the folder will show you the project's main files:

      Output

      /__init__.py /settings.py /urls.py /wsgi.py

      The files in this folder are auto-generated by the django-admin utility that you used to create your project in the prerequisites. The settings.py file contains project-wide configurations like installed applications and the static root folder. The urls.py file contains the URL configurations for the project. This is where you will set up routes to match your created views.

      Create a new file inside the ~/djangopush/djangopush directory called views.py, which will contain the views for your project:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      The first view we'll make is the home view, which will display the home page where users can send push notifications. Add the following code to the file:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      from django.http.response import HttpResponse
      from django.views.decorators.http import require_GET
      
      @require_GET
      def home(request):
          return HttpResponse('<h1>Home Page<h1>')
      

      The home view is decorated by the require_GET decorator, which restricts the view to GET requests only. A view typically returns a response for every request made to it. This view returns a simple HTML tag as a response.

      The next view we'll create is send_push, which will handle sent push notifications using the django-webpush package. It will be restricted to POST requests only and will be exempted from Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection. Doing this will allow you to test the view using Postman or any other RESTful service. In production, however, you should remove this decorator to avoid leaving your views vulnerable to CSRF.

      To create the send_push view, first add the following imports to enable JSON responses and access the send_user_notification function in the webpush library:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      from django.http.response import JsonResponse, HttpResponse
      from django.views.decorators.http import require_GET, require_POST
      from django.shortcuts import get_object_or_404
      from django.contrib.auth.models import User
      from django.views.decorators.csrf import csrf_exempt
      from webpush import send_user_notification
      import json
      

      Next, add the require_POST decorator, which will use the request body sent by the user to create and trigger a push notification:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      @require_GET
      def home(request):
          ...
      
      
      @require_POST
      @csrf_exempt
      def send_push(request):
          try:
              body = request.body
              data = json.loads(body)
      
              if 'head' not in data or 'body' not in data or 'id' not in data:
                  return JsonResponse(status=400, data={"message": "Invalid data format"})
      
              user_id = data['id']
              user = get_object_or_404(User, pk=user_id)
              payload = {'head': data['head'], 'body': data['body']}
              send_user_notification(user=user, payload=payload, ttl=1000)
      
              return JsonResponse(status=200, data={"message": "Web push successful"})
          except TypeError:
              return JsonResponse(status=500, data={"message": "An error occurred"})
      

      We are using two decorators for the send_push view: the require_POST decorator, which restricts the view to POST requests only, and the csrf_exempt decorator, which exempts the view from CSRF protection.

      This view expects POST data and does the following: it gets the body of the request and, using the json package, deserializes the JSON document to a Python object using json.loads. json.loads takes a structured JSON document and converts it to a Python object.

      The view expects the request body object to have three properties:

      • head: The title of the push notification.
      • body: The body of the notification.
      • id: The id of the request user.

      If any of the required properties are missing, the view will return a JSONResponse with a 404 "Not Found" status. If the user with the given primary key exists, the view will return the user with the matching primary key using the get_object_or_404 function from the django.shortcuts library. If the user doesn't exist, the function will return a 404 error.

      The view also makes use of the send_user_notification function from the webpush library. This function takes three parameters:

      • User: The recipient of the push notification.
      • payload: The notification information, which includes the notification head and body.
      • ttl: The maximum time in seconds that the notification should be stored if the user is offline.

      If no errors occur, the view returns a JSONResponse with a 200 "Success" status and a data object. If a KeyError occurs, the view will return a 500 "Internal Server Error" status. A KeyError occurs when the requested key of an object doesn't exist.

      In the next step, we'll create corresponding URL routes to match the views we've created.

      Step 3 — Mapping URLs to Views

      Django makes it possible to create URLs that connect to views with a Python module called a URLconf. This module maps URL path expressions to Python functions (your views). Usually, a URL configuration file is auto-generated when you create a project. In this step, you will update this file to include new routes for the views you created in the previous step, along with the URLs for the django-webpush app, which will provide endpoints to subscribe users to push notifications.

      For more information about views, please see How To Create Django Views.

      Open urls.py:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      The file will look like this:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      
      """untitled URL Configuration
      
      The `urlpatterns` list routes URLs to views. For more information please see:
          https://docs.djangoproject.com/en/2.1/topics/http/urls/
      Examples:
      Function views
          1. Add an import:  from my_app import views
          2. Add a URL to urlpatterns:  path('', views.home, name='home')
      Class-based views
          1. Add an import:  from other_app.views import Home
          2. Add a URL to urlpatterns:  path('', Home.as_view(), name='home')
      Including another URLconf
          1. Import the include() function: from django.urls import include, path
          2. Add a URL to urlpatterns:  path('blog/', include('blog.urls'))
      """
      from django.contrib import admin
      from django.urls import path
      
      urlpatterns = [
          path('admin/', admin.site.urls),
      ]
      

      The next step is to map the views you've created to URLs. First, add the include import to ensure that all of the routes for the Django-Webpush library will be added to your project:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      
      """webpushdjango URL Configuration
      ...
      """
      from django.contrib import admin
      from django.urls import path, include
      

      Next, import the views you created in the last step and update the urlpatterns list to map your views:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      
      """webpushdjango URL Configuration
      ...
      """
      from django.contrib import admin
      from django.urls import path, include
      
      from .views import home, send_push
      
      urlpatterns = [
                        path('admin/', admin.site.urls),
                        path('', home),
                        path('send_push', send_push),
                        path('webpush/', include('webpush.urls')),
                    ]
      

      Here, the urlpatterns list registers the URLs for the django-webpush package and maps your views to the URLs /send_push and /home.

      Let's test the /home view to be sure that it's working as intended. Make sure you're in the root directory of the project:

      Start your server by running the following command:

      • python manage.py runserver your_server_ip:8000

      Navigate to http://your_server_ip:8000. You should see the following home page:

      Initial Home Page view

      At this point, you can kill the server with CTRL+C, and we will move on to creating templates and rendering them in our views using the render function.

      Step 4 — Creating Templates

      Django’s template engine allows you to define the user-facing layers of your application with templates, which are similar to HTML files. In this step, you will create and render a template for the home view.

      Create a folder called templates in your project's root directory:

      • mkdir ~/djangopush/templates

      If you run ls in the root folder of your project at this point, the output will look like this:

      Output

      /djangopush /templates db.sqlite3 manage.py /my_env

      Create a file called home.html in the templates folder:

      • nano ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      Add the following code to the file to create a form where users can enter information to create push notifications:

      {% load static %}
      <!DOCTYPE html>
      <html lang="en">
      <head>
          <meta charset="UTF-8">
          <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
          <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
          <meta name="vapid-key" content="{{ vapid_key }}">
          {% if user.id %}
              <meta name="user_id" content="{{ user.id }}">
          {% endif %}
          <title>Web Push</title>
          <link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans:400,700" rel="stylesheet">
      </head>
      
      <body>
      <div>
          <form id="send-push__form">
              <h3 class="header">Send a push notification</h3>
              <p class="error"></p>
              <input type="text" name="head" placeholder="Header: Your favorite airline 😍">
              <textarea name="body" id="" cols="30" rows="10" placeholder="Body: Your flight has been cancelled 😱😱😱"></textarea>
              <button>Send Me</button>
          </form>
      </div>
      </body>
      </html>
      

      The body of the file includes a form with two fields: an input element will hold the head/title of the notification and a textarea element will hold the notification body.

      In the head section of the file, there are two meta tags that will hold the VAPID public key and the user's id. These two variables are required to register a user and send them push notifications. The user's id is required here because you'll be sending AJAX requests to the server and the id will be used to identify the user. If the current user is a registered user, then the template will create a meta tag with their id as the content.

      The next step is to tell Django where to find your templates. To do this, you will edit settings.py and update the TEMPLATES list.

      Open the settings.py file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      Add the following to the DIRS list to specify the path to the templates directory:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      TEMPLATES = [
          {
              'BACKEND': 'django.template.backends.django.DjangoTemplates',
              'DIRS': [os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'templates')],
              'APP_DIRS': True,
              'OPTIONS': {
                  'context_processors': [
                      ...
                  ],
              },
          },
      ]
      ...
      

      Next, in your views.py file, update the home view to render the home.html template. Open the file:

      • nano ~/djangpush/djangopush/views.py

      First, add some additional imports, including the settings configuration, which contains all of the project's settings from the settings.py file, and the render function from django.shortcuts:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      ...
      from django.shortcuts import render, get_object_or_404
      ...
      import json
      from django.conf import settings
      
      ...
      

      Next, remove the initial code you added to the home view and add the following, which specifies how the template you just created will be rendered:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/views.py

      ...
      
      @require_GET
      def home(request):
         webpush_settings = getattr(settings, 'WEBPUSH_SETTINGS', {})
         vapid_key = webpush_settings.get('VAPID_PUBLIC_KEY')
         user = request.user
         return render(request, 'home.html', {user: user, 'vapid_key': vapid_key})
      

      The code assigns the following variables:

      • webpush_settings: This is assigned the value of the WEBPUSH_SETTINGS attribute from the settings configuration.
      • vapid_key: This gets the VAPID_PUBLIC_KEY value from the webpush_settings object to send to the client. This public key is checked against the private key to ensure that the client with the public key is permitted to receive push messages from the server.
      • user: This variable comes from the incoming request. Whenever a user makes a request to the server, the details for that user are stored in the user field.

      The render function will return an HTML file and a context object containing the current user and the server's vapid public key. It takes three parameters here: the request, the template to be rendered, and the object that contains the variables that will be used in the template.

      With our template created and the home view updated, we can move on to configuring Django to serve our static files.

      Step 5 — Serving Static Files

      Web applications include CSS, JavaScript, and other image files that Django refers to as “static files”. Django allows you to collect all of the static files from each application in your project into a single location from which they are served. This solution is called django.contrib.staticfiles. In this step, we'll update our settings to tell Django where our static files will be stored.

      Open settings.py:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      In settings.py, first ensure that the STATIC_URL has been defined:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      STATIC_URL = '/static/'
      

      Next, add a list of directories called STATICFILES_DIRS where Django will look for static files:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      STATIC_URL = '/static/'
      STATICFILES_DIRS = [
          os.path.join(BASE_DIR, "static"),
      ]
      

      You can now add the STATIC_URL to the list of paths defined in your urls.py file.

      Open the file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      Add the following code, which will import the static url configuration and update the urlpatterns list. The helper function here uses the STATIC_URL and STATIC_ROOT properties we provided in the settings.py file to serve the project's static files:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      
      ...
      from django.conf import settings
      from django.conf.urls.static import static
      
      urlpatterns = [
          ...
      ]  + static(settings.STATIC_URL, document_root=settings.STATIC_ROOT)
      

      With our static files settings configured, we can move on to styling the application's home page.

      Step 6 — Styling the Home Page

      After setting up your application to serve static files, you can create an external stylesheet and link it to the home.html file to style the home page. All of your static files will be stored in a static directory in the root folder of your project.

      Create a static folder and a css folder within the static folder:

      • mkdir -p ~/djangopush/static/css

      Open a css file called styles.css inside the css folder:

      • nano ~/djangopush/static/css/styles.css

      Add the following styles for the home page:

      ~/djangopush/static/css/styles.css

      
      body {
          height: 100%;
          background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87);
          font-family: 'PT Sans', sans-serif;
      }
      
      div {
          height: 100%;
          display: flex;
          align-items: center;
          justify-content: center;
      }
      
      form {
          display: flex;
          flex-direction: column;
          align-items: center;
          justify-content: center;
          width: 35%;
          margin: 10% auto;
      }
      
      form > h3 {
          font-size: 17px;
          font-weight: bold;
          margin: 15px 0;
          color: orangered;
          text-transform: uppercase;
      }
      
      form > .error {
          margin: 0;
          font-size: 15px;
          font-weight: normal;
          color: orange;
          opacity: 0.7;
      }
      
      form > input, form > textarea {
          border: 3px solid orangered;
          box-shadow: unset;
          padding: 13px 12px;
          margin: 12px auto;
          width: 80%;
          font-size: 13px;
          font-weight: 500;
      }
      
      form > input:focus, form > textarea:focus {
          border: 3px solid orangered;
          box-shadow: 0 2px 3px 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2);
          outline: unset;
      }
      
      form > button {
          justify-self: center;
          padding: 12px 25px;
          border-radius: 0;
          text-transform: uppercase;
          font-weight: 600;
          background: orangered;
          color: white;
          border: none;
          font-size: 14px;
          letter-spacing: -0.1px;
          cursor: pointer;
      }
      
      form > button:disabled {
          background: dimgrey;
          cursor: not-allowed;
      }
      

      With the stylesheet created, you can link it to the home.html file using static template tags. Open the home.html file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      Update the head section to include a link to the external stylesheet:

      ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      
      {% load static %}
      <!DOCTYPE html>
      <html lang="en">
      
      <head>
          ...
          <link href="http://www.digitalocean.com/{% static"/css/styles.css' %}" rel="stylesheet">
      </head>
      <body>
          ...
      </body>
      </html>
      

      Make sure that you are in your main project directory and start your server again to inspect your work:

      • cd ~/djangopush
      • python manage.py runserver your_server_ip:8000

      When you visit http://your_server_ip:8000, it should look like this:

      Home page view
      Again, you can kill the server with CTRL+C.

      Now that you have successfully created the home.html page and styled it, you can subscribe users to push notifications whenever they visit the home page.

      Step 7 — Registering a Service Worker and Subscribing Users to Push Notifications

      Web push notifications can notify users when there are updates to applications they are subscribed to or prompt them to re-engage with applications they have used in the past. They rely on two technologies, the push API and the notifications API. Both technologies rely on the presence of a service worker.

      A push is invoked when the server provides information to the service worker and the service worker uses the notifications API to display this information.

      We'll subscribe our users to the push and then we'll send the information from the subscription to the server to register them.

      In the static directory, create a folder called js:

      • mkdir ~/djangopush/static/js

      Create a file called registerSw.js:

      • nano ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      Add the following code, which checks if service workers are supported on the user's browser before attempting to register a service worker:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      
      const registerSw = async () => {
          if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {
              const reg = await navigator.serviceWorker.register('sw.js');
              initialiseState(reg)
      
          } else {
              showNotAllowed("You can't send push notifications ☹️😢")
          }
      };
      

      First, the registerSw function checks if the browser supports service workers before registering them. After registration, it calls the initializeState function with the registration data. If service workers are not supported in the browser, it calls the showNotAllowed function.

      Next, add the following code below the registerSw function to check if a user is eligible to receive push notifications before attempting to subscribe them:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      
      ...
      
      const initialiseState = (reg) => {
          if (!reg.showNotification) {
              showNotAllowed('Showing notifications isn't supported ☹️😢');
              return
          }
          if (Notification.permission === 'denied') {
              showNotAllowed('You prevented us from showing notifications ☹️🤔');
              return
          }
          if (!'PushManager' in window) {
              showNotAllowed("Push isn't allowed in your browser 🤔");
              return
          }
          subscribe(reg);
      }
      
      const showNotAllowed = (message) => {
          const button = document.querySelector('form>button');
          button.innerHTML = `${message}`;
          button.setAttribute('disabled', 'true');
      };
      

      The initializeState function checks the following:

      • Whether or not the user has enabled notifications, using the value of reg.showNotification.
      • Whether or not the user has granted the application permission to display notifications.
      • Whether or not the browser supports the PushManager API.
        If any of these checks fail, the showNotAllowed function is called and the subscription is aborted.

      The showNotAllowed function displays a message on the button and disables it if a user is ineligible to receive notifications. It also displays appropriate messages if a user has restricted the application from displaying notifications or if the browser doesn't support push notifications.

      Once we ensure that a user is eligible to receive push notifications, the next step is to subscribe them using pushManager. Add the following code below the showNotAllowed function:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      
      ...
      
      function urlB64ToUint8Array(base64String) {
          const padding = '='.repeat((4 - base64String.length % 4) % 4);
          const base64 = (base64String + padding)
              .replace(/-/g, '+')
              .replace(/_/g, '/');
      
          const rawData = window.atob(base64);
          const outputArray = new Uint8Array(rawData.length);
          const outputData = outputArray.map((output, index) => rawData.charCodeAt(index));
      
          return outputData;
      }
      
      const subscribe = async (reg) => {
          const subscription = await reg.pushManager.getSubscription();
          if (subscription) {
              sendSubData(subscription);
              return;
          }
      
          const vapidMeta = document.querySelector('meta[name="vapid-key"]');
          const key = vapidMeta.content;
          const options = {
              userVisibleOnly: true,
              // if key exists, create applicationServerKey property
              ...(key && {applicationServerKey: urlB64ToUint8Array(key)})
          };
      
          const sub = await reg.pushManager.subscribe(options);
          sendSubData(sub)
      };
      

      Calling the pushManager.getSubscription function returns the data for an active subscription. When an active subscription exists, the sendSubData function is called with the subscription info passed in as a parameter.

      When no active subscription exists, the VAPID public key, which is Base64 URL-safe encoded, is converted to a Uint8Array using the urlB64ToUint8Array function. pushManager.subscribe is then called with the VAPID public key and the userVisible value as options. You can read more about the available options here.

      After successfully subscribing a user, the next step is to send the subscription data to the server. The data will be sent to the webpush/save_information endpoint provided by the django-webpush package. Add the following code below the subscribe function:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      
      ...
      
      const sendSubData = async (subscription) => {
          const browser = navigator.userAgent.match(/(firefox|msie|chrome|safari|trident)/ig)[0].toLowerCase();
          const data = {
              status_type: 'subscribe',
              subscription: subscription.toJSON(),
              browser: browser,
          };
      
          const res = await fetch('/webpush/save_information', {
              method: 'POST',
              body: JSON.stringify(data),
              headers: {
                  'content-type': 'application/json'
              },
              credentials: "include"
          });
      
          handleResponse(res);
      };
      
      const handleResponse = (res) => {
          console.log(res.status);
      };
      
      registerSw();
      

      The save_information endpoint requires information about the status of the subscription (subscribe and unsubscribe), the subscription data, and the browser. Finally, we call the registerSw() function to begin the process of subscribing the user.

      The completed file looks like this:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/registerSw.js

      
      const registerSw = async () => {
          if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {
              const reg = await navigator.serviceWorker.register('sw.js');
              initialiseState(reg)
      
          } else {
              showNotAllowed("You can't send push notifications ☹️😢")
          }
      };
      
      const initialiseState = (reg) => {
          if (!reg.showNotification) {
              showNotAllowed('Showing notifications isn't supported ☹️😢');
              return
          }
          if (Notification.permission === 'denied') {
              showNotAllowed('You prevented us from showing notifications ☹️🤔');
              return
          }
          if (!'PushManager' in window) {
              showNotAllowed("Push isn't allowed in your browser 🤔");
              return
          }
          subscribe(reg);
      }
      
      const showNotAllowed = (message) => {
          const button = document.querySelector('form>button');
          button.innerHTML = `${message}`;
          button.setAttribute('disabled', 'true');
      };
      
      function urlB64ToUint8Array(base64String) {
          const padding = '='.repeat((4 - base64String.length % 4) % 4);
          const base64 = (base64String + padding)
              .replace(/-/g, '+')
              .replace(/_/g, '/');
      
          const rawData = window.atob(base64);
          const outputArray = new Uint8Array(rawData.length);
          const outputData = outputArray.map((output, index) => rawData.charCodeAt(index));
      
          return outputData;
      }
      
      const subscribe = async (reg) => {
          const subscription = await reg.pushManager.getSubscription();
          if (subscription) {
              sendSubData(subscription);
              return;
          }
      
          const vapidMeta = document.querySelector('meta[name="vapid-key"]');
          const key = vapidMeta.content;
          const options = {
              userVisibleOnly: true,
              // if key exists, create applicationServerKey property
              ...(key && {applicationServerKey: urlB64ToUint8Array(key)})
          };
      
          const sub = await reg.pushManager.subscribe(options);
          sendSubData(sub)
      };
      
      const sendSubData = async (subscription) => {
          const browser = navigator.userAgent.match(/(firefox|msie|chrome|safari|trident)/ig)[0].toLowerCase();
          const data = {
              status_type: 'subscribe',
              subscription: subscription.toJSON(),
              browser: browser,
          };
      
          const res = await fetch('/webpush/save_information', {
              method: 'POST',
              body: JSON.stringify(data),
              headers: {
                  'content-type': 'application/json'
              },
              credentials: "include"
          });
      
          handleResponse(res);
      };
      
      const handleResponse = (res) => {
          console.log(res.status);
      };
      
      registerSw();
      

      Next, add a script tag for the registerSw.js file in home.html. Open the file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      Add the script tag before the closing tag of the body element:

      ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      
      {% load static %}
      <!DOCTYPE html>
      <html lang="en">
      
      <head>
         ...
      </head>
      <body>
         ...
         <script src="https://www.digitalocean.com/{% static"/js/registerSw.js' %}"></script>
      </body>
      </html>
      

      Because a service worker doesn't yet exist, if you left your application running or tried to start it again, you would see an error message. Let's fix this by creating a service worker.

      Step 8 — Creating a Service Worker

      To display a push notification, you'll need an active service worker installed on your application's home page. We'll create a service worker that listens for push events and displays the messages when ready.

      Because we want the scope of the service worker to be the entire domain, we will need to install it in the application's root. You can read more about the process in this article outlining how to register a service worker. Our approach will be to create a sw.js file in the templates folder, which we will then register as a view.

      Create the file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/templates/sw.js

      Add the following code, which tells the service worker to listen for push events:

      ~/djangopush/templates/sw.js

      
      // Register event listener for the 'push' event.
      self.addEventListener('push', function (event) {
          // Retrieve the textual payload from event.data (a PushMessageData object).
          // Other formats are supported (ArrayBuffer, Blob, JSON), check out the documentation
          // on https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/PushMessageData.
          const eventInfo = event.data.text();
          const data = JSON.parse(eventInfo);
          const head = data.head || 'New Notification 🕺🕺';
          const body = data.body || 'This is default content. Your notification didn't have one 🙄🙄';
      
          // Keep the service worker alive until the notification is created.
          event.waitUntil(
              self.registration.showNotification(head, {
                  body: body,
                  icon: 'https://i.imgur.com/MZM3K5w.png'
              })
          );
      });
      

      The service worker listens for a push event. In the callback function, the event data is converted to text. We use default title and body strings if the event data doesn't have them. The showNotification function takes the notification title, the header of the notification to be displayed, and an options object as parameters. The options object contains several properties to configure the visual options of a notification.

      For your service worker to work for the entirety of your domain, you will need to install it in the root of the application. We'll use TemplateView to allow the service worker access to the whole domain.

      Open the urls.py file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      Add a new import statement and path in the urlpatterns list to create a class-based view:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/urls.py

      ...
      from django.views.generic import TemplateView
      
      urlpatterns = [
                        ...,
                        path('sw.js', TemplateView.as_view(template_name='sw.js', content_type='application/x-javascript'))
                    ] + static(settings.STATIC_URL, document_root=settings.STATIC_ROOT)
      

      Class-based views like TemplateView allow you to create flexible, reusable views. In this case, the TemplateView.as_view method creates a path for the service worker by passing the recently created service worker as a template and application/x-javascript as the content_type of the template.

      You have now created a service worker and registered it as a route. Next, you'll set up the form on the home page to send push notifications.

      Step 9 — Sending Push Notifications

      Using the form on the home page, users should be able to send push notifications while your server is running. You can also send push notifications using any RESTful service like Postman. When the user sends push notifications from the form on the home page, the data will include a head and body, as well as the id of the receiving user. The data should be structured in the following manner:

      {
          head: "Title of the notification",
          body: "Notification body",
          id: "User's id"
      }
      

      To listen for the submit event of the form and send the data entered by the user to the server, we will create a file called site.js in the ~/djangopush/static/js directory.

      Open the file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/static/js/site.js

      First, add a submit event listener to the form that will enable you to get the values of the form inputs and the user id stored in the meta tag of your template:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/site.js

      
      const pushForm = document.getElementById('send-push__form');
      const errorMsg = document.querySelector('.error');
      
      pushForm.addEventListener('submit', async function (e) {
          e.preventDefault();
          const input = this[0];
          const textarea = this[1];
          const button = this[2];
          errorMsg.innerText = '';
      
          const head = input.value;
          const body = textarea.value;
          const meta = document.querySelector('meta[name="user_id"]');
          const id = meta ? meta.content : null;
          ...
          // TODO: make an AJAX request to send notification
      });
      

      The pushForm function gets the input, textarea, and button inside the form. It also gets the information from the meta tag, including the name attribute user_id and the user's id stored in the content attribute of the tag. With this information, it can send a POST request to the /send_push endpoint on the server.

      To send requests to the server, we'll use the native Fetch API. We're using Fetch here because it is supported by most browsers and doesn't require external libraries to function. Below the code you've added, update the pushForm function to include the code for sending AJAX requests:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/site.js

      const pushForm = document.getElementById('send-push__form');
      const errorMsg = document.querySelector('.error');
      
      pushForm.addEventListener('submit', async function (e) {
           ...
          const id = meta ? meta.content : null;
      
           if (head && body && id) {
              button.innerText = 'Sending...';
              button.disabled = true;
      
              const res = await fetch('/send_push', {
                  method: 'POST',
                  body: JSON.stringify({head, body, id}),
                  headers: {
                      'content-type': 'application/json'
                  }
              });
              if (res.status === 200) {
                  button.innerText = 'Send another 😃!';
                  button.disabled = false;
                  input.value = '';
                  textarea.value = '';
              } else {
                  errorMsg.innerText = res.message;
                  button.innerText = 'Something broke 😢..  Try again?';
                  button.disabled = false;
              }
          }
          else {
              let error;
              if (!head || !body){
                  error = 'Please ensure you complete the form 🙏🏾'
              }
              else if (!id){
                  error = "Are you sure you're logged in? 🤔. Make sure! 👍🏼"
              }
              errorMsg.innerText = error;
          }
      });
      

      If the three required parameters head, body, and id are present, we send the request and disable the submit button temporarily.

      The completed file looks like this:

      ~/djangopush/static/js/site.js

      const pushForm = document.getElementById('send-push__form');
      const errorMsg = document.querySelector('.error');
      
      pushForm.addEventListener('submit', async function (e) {
          e.preventDefault();
          const input = this[0];
          const textarea = this[1];
          const button = this[2];
          errorMsg.innerText = '';
      
          const head = input.value;
          const body = textarea.value;
          const meta = document.querySelector('meta[name="user_id"]');
          const id = meta ? meta.content : null;
      
          if (head && body && id) {
              button.innerText = 'Sending...';
              button.disabled = true;
      
              const res = await fetch('/send_push', {
                  method: 'POST',
                  body: JSON.stringify({head, body, id}),
                  headers: {
                      'content-type': 'application/json'
                  }
              });
              if (res.status === 200) {
                  button.innerText = 'Send another 😃!';
                  button.disabled = false;
                  input.value = '';
                  textarea.value = '';
              } else {
                  errorMsg.innerText = res.message;
                  button.innerText = 'Something broke 😢..  Try again?';
                  button.disabled = false;
              }
          }
          else {
              let error;
              if (!head || !body){
                  error = 'Please ensure you complete the form 🙏🏾'
              }
              else if (!id){
                  error = "Are you sure you're logged in? 🤔. Make sure! 👍🏼"
              }
              errorMsg.innerText = error;
          }    
      });
      

      Finally, add the site.js file to home.html:

      • nano ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      Add the script tag:

      ~/djangopush/templates/home.html

      
      {% load static %}
      <!DOCTYPE html>
      <html lang="en">
      
      <head>
         ...
      </head>
      <body>
         ...
         <script src="https://www.digitalocean.com/{% static"/js/site.js' %}"></script>
      </body>
      </html>
      

      At this point, if you left your application running or tried to start it again, you would see an error, since service workers can only function in secure domains or on localhost. In the next step we'll use ngrok to create a secure tunnel to our web server.

      Step 10 — Creating a Secure Tunnel to Test the Application

      Service workers require secure connections to function on any site except localhost since they can allow connections to be hijacked and responses to be filtered and fabricated. For this reason, we'll create a secure tunnel for our server with ngrok.

      Open a second terminal window and ensure you're in your home directory:

      If you started with a clean 18.04 server in the prerequisites, then you will need to install unzip:

      • sudo apt update && sudo apt install unzip

      Download ngrok:

      • wget https://bin.equinox.io/c/4VmDzA7iaHb/ngrok-stable-linux-amd64.zip
      • unzip ngrok-stable-linux-amd64.zip

      Move ngrok to /usr/local/bin, so that you will have access to the ngrok command from the terminal:

      • sudo mv ngrok /usr/local/bin

      In your first terminal window, make sure that you are in your project directory and start your server:

      • cd ~/djangopush
      • python manage.py runserver your_server_ip:8000

      You will need to do this before creating a secure tunnel for your application.

      In your second terminal window, navigate to your project folder, and activate your virtual environment:

      • cd ~/djangopush
      • source my_env/bin/activate

      Create the secure tunnel to your application:

      • ngrok http your_server_ip:8000

      You will see the following output, which includes information about your secure ngrok URL:

      Output

      ngrok by @inconshreveable (Ctrl+C to quit) Session Status online Session Expires 7 hours, 59 minutes Version 2.2.8 Region United States (us) Web Interface http://127.0.0.1:4040 Forwarding http://ngrok_secure_url -> 203.0.113.0:8000 Forwarding https://ngrok_secure_url -> 203.0.113.0:8000 Connections ttl opn rt1 rt5 p50 p90 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

      Copy the ngrok_secure_url from the console output. You will need to add it to the list of ALLOWED_HOSTS in your settings.py file.

      Open another terminal window, navigate to your project folder, and activate your virtual environment:

      • cd ~/djangopush
      • source my_env/bin/activate

      Open the settings.py file:

      • nano ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      Update the list of ALLOWED_HOSTS with the ngrok secure tunnel:

      ~/djangopush/djangopush/settings.py

      ...
      
      ALLOWED_HOSTS = ['your_server_ip', 'ngrok_secure_url']
      ...
      
      

      Navigate to the secure admin page to log in: https://ngrok_secure_url/admin/. You will see a screen that looks like this:

      ngrok admin login

      Enter your Django admin user information on this screen. This should be the same information you entered when you logged into the admin interface in the prerequisite steps. You are now ready to send push notifications.

      Visit https://ngrok_secure_url in your browser. You will see a prompt asking for permission to display notifications. Click the Allow button to let your browser display push notifications:

      push notifications request

      Submitting a filled form will display a notification similar to this:

      screenshot of notification

      Note: Be sure that your server is running before attempting to send notifications.

      If you received notifications then your application is working as expected.

      You have created a web application that triggers push notifications on the server and, with the help of service workers, receives and displays notifications. You also went through the steps of obtaining the VAPID keys that are required to send push notifications from an application server.

      Conclusion

      In this tutorial, you've learned how to subscribe users to push notifications, install service workers, and display push notifications using the notifications API.

      You can go even further by configuring the notifications to open specific areas of your application when clicked. The source code for this tutorial can be found here.



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