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HomeAssistant is an extremely popular self-hosted platform for integrating with an impressively large selection of smart home devices. HomeAssistant allows users to create rules called “Automations” that trigger on various conditions and execute actions. HomeAssistant consists of two components, “SupervisorD” (which is typically run in a docker container) and the web interface itself. For those looking for a turnkey solution, HomeAssistant provides a VMware OVA of a prebuilt “appliance” called HassOS. HassOS has a lot of advantages, and is the easiest for new users to deploy. Unfortunately, HassOS also has some limitations. Troubleshooting of custom plugins not officially part of HomeAssistant is much easier with Operating System level access. Luckily, HomeAssistant allows for the installation of its packages on Debian, an operating system considered a direct ancestor of Ubuntu, but which still has quite a following today.

Prerequisites

On your Debian 10 machine, we will follow all prerequisites required for the famous “Kanga-Who” script, repeated for your convenience here:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y
apt-get install -y software-properties-common apparmor-utils apt-transport-https avahi-daemon ca-certificates curl dbus jq network-manager git nginx yamllint
systemctl disable ModemManager
systemctl stop ModemManager

Mkdir /installation
Cd /installation
wget get.docker.com
Mv index.html install.sh
Chmod +x install.sh
home assistant

Docker takes approximately 2-3 minutes to install.

Installing Home Assistant

Next, issue the following to include /usr/sbin in your shell’s PATH. Otherwise, AppArmor will not be available to the supervisord installer script and it will fail.

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/sbin
git clone https://github.com/home-assistant/supervised-installer.git
cd supervisord-installer
chmod +x installer.sh
./installer.sh

You will be prompted to continue
Enter “y” and hit enter.

install home assistant

Once complete, the terminal will display the following:

install home assistant

Visiting the HomeAssistant URL will yield the following after a moment or two:

prepare home assistant

Once loaded, you will need to set your username and password before continuing:

create home assistant account

Home Assistant also needs a time zone so that things can be displayed properly in your local time:

setup home assistant

At this point, Home Assistant is available, but not secured behind HTTPS. In

home assistant dashboard

Securing Home Assistant

First, we will create a folder to house our SSL/TLS certificates.

Set ownership to the folder to your web server’s user:

chown -R www-data:www-data /etc/nginx/ssl

and lock down permissions so that only the owner can work with these sensitive files:

chmod 700 /etc/nginx/ssl

Generate a private key, and a CSR so that a certificate can be signed by a publicly trusted CA. Checkout SSLTrust.com.au for multiple SSL certificate options at different price points!

openssl req -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout certificate.key -out MYCSR.csr

Once you have your certificate response, rename it to “certificate.crt” and place it in /etc/nginx/ssl along with your private key.

Next, generate your DHParam file. This will take a bit of time to complete. This will be used in order to insure perfect-forward secrecy on your connection:

openssl dhparam -out /etc/nginx/ssl/dhparams.pem 2048

Edit configuration.yaml in order to trust proxied connections

Vi /usr/share/hassio/homeassistant/configuration.yaml

At the end, add the section as follows:

http:
  use_x_forwarded_for: true
  trusted_proxies: 127.0.0.1

YAML files can be cumbersome, as white space matters like in python. Using yamllint, lets make sure we didn’t clobber the file.

Yamllint /usr/share/hassio/homeassistant/configuration.yaml

The errors in the screenshot below can be safely ignored – they are present even before making edits!

secure homeassistant

You must restart HomeAssistant for this configuration to take effect. I recommend rebooting for good measure.

Next, create a file at /etc/nginx/sites-available named homeassistant

Touch /etc/nginx/sites-available/homeassistant

And populate it with the following contents:

map $http_upgrade $connection_upgrade {
    default upgrade;
    ''      close;
}

server {
    # Update this line to be your domain
    server_name example.com;

    # These shouldn't need to be changed
    listen [::]:80 default_server ipv6only=off;
    return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
}

server {
    # Update this line to be your domain
    server_name example.com;

    # Ensure these lines point to your SSL certificate and key
    ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/certificate.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key  /etc/nginx/ssl/certificate.key;

    # Ensure this line points to your dhparams file
    ssl_dhparam /etc/nginx/ssl/dhparams.pem;

    # These shouldn't need to be changed
    listen [::]:443 ssl default_server ipv6only=off; # if your nginx version is >= 1.9.5 you can also add the "http2" flag here
    add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains";
    # ssl on; # Uncomment if you are using nginx < 1.15.0
    ssl_protocols TLSv1.2;
    ssl_ciphers "EECDH+AESGCM:EDH+AESGCM:AES256+EECDH:AES256+EDH:!aNULL:!eNULL:!EXPORT:!DES:!MD5:!PSK:!RC4";
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
    ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;

    proxy_buffering off;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8123;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_redirect http:// https://;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade;
    }
}

Issue the following to make your nginx configuration active:

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

remove your default site:

rm default

and restart nginx

systemctl restart nginx

Congratulations! HomeAssistant should now be available secured behind an NGINX reverse proxy at whatever address you used in your certificate. Make sure to create the required DNS entry to access your site!

homeassistant secure ssl https


Author: Jeremy Schatten
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