Frequently Asked Questions


Can I run BlaB! WS on my shared hosting account?

You can run the client only and not the websocket server. You need a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with root access in order to install the websocket server or you can host the websocket server on our servers for $10/mo.


Does BlaB! WS support SSL?

The client is a PHP/MySQL app - you only need your Apache/Nginx web server to be configured with SSL. You cannot link directly an SSL certificate to blabws-server. However, if your Apache/Nginx web server is configured with SSL you can easily make it act as a websocket proxy - in that way all communications go through standard 80/443 ports without a dedicated websocket port left open. The procedure is very easy and described in detail in our how-to-install guides.


Can I install BlaB! WS client on one host and install and run the websocket server on another?

Yes, as long as blabws-server is not behind an Apache websocket proxy. Use Nginx instead.


I have a Windows / BSD / Linux based VPS, can I install BlaB! WS?

blabws-server supports Debian 8 Jessie+ Ubuntu 16.04+ CentOS 7+. In fact blabws-server should run without any problems on any Linux OS, however, older versions of Apache/Nginx do not have a proper websocket proxy. BlaB! WS client can be installed on any host with Apache/Nginx, PHP & MySQL - no matter the OS.


Can I install BlaB! WS on a Raspberry Pi?

Yes. We provide blabws-server for ARM7 processors. Note that blabws-server for ARM7 is a 32-bit program just like the current Raspbian Stretch is a 32-bit platform. In order to run blabws-server on a 64-bit ARM OS you will have to enable multiarch-support - Google for details.


Is it safe to turn PHP shell_exec on?

By default PHP shell_exec function is enabled when you install PHP on Ubuntu, Debian and CentOS. PHP shell_exec allows shell commands to be executed via PHP. With a self-hosted blabws-server BlaB! WS client needs shell_exec to start/stop blabws-server from the Admin CP. These commands are hardcoded and do not depend on user input so you are safe as far as BlaB! WS is concerned.


Can anyone connect to my websocket server? What does ACCESSKEY do?

No. blabws-server accepts connections from BlaB! WS client only. The browser of the user should provide a valid token - UserID-UserName-TimeStamp-CheckSum where CheckSum is a sha256 hash of UserID-UserName-TimeStamp-ACCESSKEY. The token is valid for 10 seconds only. It's impossible to reverse sha256 and extract your ACCESSKEY in order to fake a valid token.


I am getting Error 403 in AdminCP, what do I do?

Error 403 Forbidden when saving settings in AdminCP is caused by security software installed on your web host and apparently misconfigured. It detects specific keywords in a POST request and does not allow this request to go to PHP/MySQL (AdminCP). It is likely to see the same 403 error again and again when adjusting settings in AdminCP.

The only solution: You should ask your hosting provider how to disable this security software for the chat folder with a .htaccess file or for the whole website and instructions how to do it.

We provide a workaround from v20.09 on. The content of any text box / textarea in AdminCP that can trigger the security software is base64 encoded on submit.


How do I ban someone and where do I see banned users?

Click on one's name in chat, then click on the ⚡ icon. In the additional menu you kick out with the first ⚡, ban with the first crossed ⚡ and ban user + IP address with the second crossed ⚡. A list of banned users and options to unban or lengthen ban is to be found in AdminCP » Log.


On mobile I have to re-enable sounds every time I enter the chat, why?

Mobile browsers do not play audio and video automatically without interaction. That's why on mobile sound notifications are always disabled and you have to re-enable them on every session. We provide two Android apps and a template which allows you to build your own mobile app and enable proper sound notifications using the PhoneGap media plugin (see Android apps).


What does version XX.XX mean?

It's similar to Ubuntu versioning. 17.06 means released in June 2017, 20.082 means August 2020 revision 2.


Can I show who is online on my front page?

See Widgets in the menu on the left.


What about those large letters that appear in the middle of the chat space?

This is called room background - dynamically generated SVG image with the name of the current room. You can adjust font, size, opacity or disable it entirely from AdminCP » Rooms.


What is UTF8SCAN?

There is a popular method to register someone else's username using mixed alphabets and this can't be done by accident: John is not Jоhn (CTRL+F and search this page for John). UTF8SCAN allows specific unicode subsets and does not allow mixed subsets and numeric only usernames.


Why SVG and not PNG/GIF/JPG images like everybody else?

Almost all smartphones and tablets and a large part of the computer displays these days have pixel ratio x2, x3 or even x4. A raster image: GIF, JPG or PNG should be 2, 3 or 4 times larger to look sharp and proper on such a screen. A solution is to use srcset (what is srcset?) and have four files for each actual image. SVG images are not affected, they are relatively small, look excellent and are supported by all major browsers.


Page updated: 2020-09-17