Self-host Iframely APIs

The source-code of Iframely parsers engine is hosted on GitHub. It’s a Node.js library and server published under MIT license. You can start self-hosting any time, as APIs are nearly identical (except the hosted version requires API key and can output the HTML of smart iFrames).

Here are the instructions to get your instance of APIs up and running.

Stay Secure — host on dedicated domain

It is highly recommended that you install the parsers on a dedicated domain.

There are few cases, when rendering of embed content is required by the server, for example the articles. Even though Iframely tries to detect and eliminate any insecure code of 3rd parties, for cross-domain security of your application, it will be wiser to keep render endpoints under different domain and allow your main domain in CORS settings (see config options below).

Initial installation

Node.js version 12. Install it from pre-built installer for your platform or from any of the package managers.

cd <your servers dir>
git clone
cd iframely
npm install

It will also install all the package dependencies.

If you see error ../lib/kerberos.h:5:27: fatal error: gssapi/gssapi.h: No such file or directory during npm install then try to install libkrb5-dev:

sudo apt-get install libkrb5-dev

Configure Iframely

Please create your local config file and adjust settings. This local config file will be ignored when you pull new versions from Git later on.

cp config.local.js.SAMPLE config.local.js
vi config.local.js

If you support various environment configs and pass it as NODE_ENV, create config files that match your environments. For example, config.develop.js.

Edit the sample config file as you need. Follow the comments put in config.local.js.SAMPLE for particular settings. You may also override any values from main config.js in your local config.

There are also some provider-specific values that are required for some domain plugins to work (e.g. Google API key for maps and YouTube). Please, enter your own application keys and secret tokens where applicable.

Readability parser to get the HTML of the articles is optional and is turned off by default as it affects the processing time of the URLs. If need be, you can also fine-tune API response time by disabling image size detection.

Configure cache storage

Iframely has built-in cache with support of Memcached, Redis and Node.js in-memory cache module.

In your local config file, define caching parameters:

CACHE_ENGINE: 'memcached',
CACHE_TTL: 0, // In milliseconds. 0 for 'never expire' to let cache engine decide itself when to evict the record

Valid cache engine values are no-cache, node-cache (default), redis and memcached. For Redis and Memcached, the connection options are also required. See sample config file.

Run server

Starting the server is simple. From Iframely home directory:

node server

To run server in cluster mode, use

node cluster

We highly recommend using PM2 or Forever process managers. It makes stopping and restarting of the servers so much easier:


npm install forever -g
forever start -a -l iframely.log --killSignal=SIGTERM cluster.js
forever logs 0 -fifo


npm install pm2 -g
pm2 start pm2.json
pm2 logs

If you use ‘node cluster’ or Forever you can do graceful server restart without aborting active user connections. Just send SIGUSR2 signal to cluster.js process:

pkill -USR2 iframely-c

Graceful reload with PM2:

pm2 reload iframely

For production deployments, we recommend the cluster mode. It will properly utilize the CPU if you are on multiple cores. Plus, as with any Node.js memory buffers, it is beneficial for performance to periodically restart the running processes.

Add required locations to your reverse proxy

Depending on your setup, you may need to configure these paths in your reverse proxy settings to point to Iframely’s Node.js instance:

/iframely           -- main API endpoint with get params
/oembed             -- oEmbed API endpoint
/r/.+               -- static files (including iframely.js client library)
/debug              -- optional debugger UI, if you write your own domain plugins
/reader.js          -- API endpoint with get params - proxies script to render article
/render             -- API endpoint with get params - prexies custom widgets if required
/meta-mappings      -- optional API endpoint with available unified meta
/supported-plugins-re.json - the list of regexps for plugins

Your self-hosted endpoints

You can now access your self-hosted API on your domain as /iframely?url= and /oembed?url= with any optional query-string parameters supported by open-source version.

Update Iframely

Please, keep Iframely up-to-date as we keep adding features or releasing fixes.

Custom domain plugins may be returning invalid data if your Iframely instance is obsolete. The domain plugins are error-prone due to dependencies to 3rd parties. Domain plugins do break from time to time. Keeping Iframely up-to-date is important.

To update Iframely package to its latest version run from Iframely home directory:

git pull

and restart your server afterwards. If you use Forever, run for example:

forever restartall

or in case of PM2:

pm2 reload iframely

If you fork, make sure to merge from the upstream for the newer versions.


The Docker container will:

  • Run locally on your machine
  • Run forever start cluster.js by default
  • Run forever start <args> if command line arguments are supplied
  • Gracefully shutdown when receiving SIGTERM from docker stop
docker build -t iframely:latest .
docker run -it -p 8061:8061 -v $PWD/config.local.js:/iframely/config.local.js --name iframely iframely:latest
docker stop iframely

Ignore any build warnings from NPM on OSX (Darwin).

A longer documentation with docker build instructions (tags/forked repo) for upload to docker hub is available here:

Ansible + Vagrant

If you use Ansible for deployments a role + playbook is available in ansible-docker-iframely. This role utilizes docker hub for image retrieval. Feel free to modify it to your like.

  • You can run tests and setups yourself with the vagrant file in the dir and run
vagrant up