Vichan is libre imageboard software written in PHP. It's a simple, minimalist social media solution, similar to popular sites like 4chan and lolcow.farm.

Initial Setup

This guide runs you through the initial setup process for Vichan. This is a very barebones install, with no index page. The additional functionality seen on most popular board sites can be replicated utilizing "Themes".


  • Debian 10 or newer

  • NGINX installed

  • php-fpm installed

  • Ports 80 and 443 port-forwarded on your router/modem

  • Your own domain/subdomain with an A DNS entry set to the public IPv4 address of your server

  • Basic UNIX knowledge

Here are the additional packages required for Vichan to function properly:

apt install php-bcmath php-gd php-pdo php-mbstring php-mysql mariadb-server composer

Installing Vichan with Composer

Vichan can be cloned from Github to a directory, where it will be served from:

git clone https://github.com/vichan-devel/vichan.git /var/www/YOUR_DOMAIN

You can then utilize composer to install the PHP scripts needed by Vichan:

cd /var/www/YOUR_DOMAIN
composer install

Database setup

Vichan requires a MySQL database to function properly. This can be easily setup by running the following commands:

Enter the MySQL prompt:


Create the Vichan user...


Create the Vichan database, and grant the Vichan user the permissions...

use vichan_db;
GRANT ALL ON vichan_db.* TO 'vichan'@'localhost';

Make sure to remember the Vichan user's username and password!

Webserver setup

For Vichan to be served over a specific domain (with TLS), a specific LEMP configuration is required. This guide will utilize NGINX:

server {
        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80;

        root /var/www/YOUR_DOMAIN;
        index index.html;
        server_name YOUR_DOMAIN;
        location / {
            try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
        location ~ \.php$ {
            include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
            fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;

HTTPS with Certbot

You can then utilize the certbot tool to get and setup the appropriate TLS certificate:

certbot --nginx -d YOUR_DOMAIN

This will automatically reconfigure your site's NGINX file to use port 443 with HTTPS.

Web setup

The recommended way of setting up Vichan, similarly to MediaWiki, is through the web installer.

Firstly, ensure that the PHP FastCGI Process Manager is started:

systemctl start php-fpm

Then, simply navigate to https://YOUR_DOMAIN/install.php and go through the required setup steps. Make sure to enter the correct database information, including the MySQL username, password and database you plan to use for Vichan.

Congratulations! You've performed a base install of Vichan!