Following on from my last post on joining the indieweb… Back in February, I implemented Webmentions on my website. I took a roll-my-own approach, borrowing from an idea by superkuh. It's a semi-automated solution which listens for webmentions using nginx. When (if) one is received, an email is generated that tells me about this, allowing me to validate it's a genuine comment.

Technically, nginx logs the body of POST requests in its logfile. In the main configuration file `/etc/nginx/nginx.conf`, I've added

# Defined for Webmention logging support of
log_format postdata '$time_local,$remote_addr,"$http_user_agent",$request_body';

In the configuration for, the following lines enable logging webmention requests:

[[!format  sh """
# use proxying to self to get the HTTP post variables.
    location = /webmention {
        limit_req zone=webmention;
        client_max_body_size 7k;
        if ($request_method = POST) {
                access_log /var/log/nginx/postdata.log postdata;
                proxy_pass $scheme://;
        return 204 $scheme://$host/serviceup.html;
    location /logsink {
        #return 200;
        # use 204 instead of 200 so no 0 byte file is sent to browsers from HTTP forms.
        return 204;

Before the `server` section in there, I'm reducing the risk of abuse by rate limiting requests:

limit_req_zone  $server_name  zone=webmention:1m   rate=2r/s;

The logfile is being monitored by a service calling a shell script:

# Service starts on boot in /etc/systemd/system/webmention.service
inotifywait -s -m $WEBMENTION_LOG --format "%e %w%f" --event modify|
while read CHANGED;
    echo "$CHANGED"
    logger "Webmention received"
    tail -n1 $WEBMENTION_LOG | /usr/bin/mail -a'From: niihau webmention service <webmaster@email.address>' -s 'Webmention received' $TO

This uses `inotifywait`, which is part of inotify-tools. Unfortunately, `logrotate` will remove the log file on a regular basis, which is done in 3 steps. The first 2 steps results in a MODIFY event, before a DELETE event is created. That results in 2 emails being sent every time logs are rotated if using the above script. I've not tried to ignore these yet - checking for `logrotate` running at the time an event is triggered could be a solution.

The systemd service is defined in `/etc/systemd/system/webmention.service`:

Description=Service to monitor nginx log for webmentions



Announcing I'm accepting webmentions is as simple as putting the endpoint in the header of the blog:

<link rel="webmention" href="">

Clearly federating conversation as the final level of joining the indieweb is quite a bit more complicated than achieving 'level 2' status on