Invoice Ninja

Invoice Ninja is a free, open-source, self-hosted invoicing software with built-in support for recurring invoices, time-tracking and online payments.


Note

For this guide you should be familiar with the basic concepts of

License

Invoice Ninja is released under the AAL License. All relevant information can be found in the LICENSE file in the repository of the project. Please also review the Self-Hosting Terms of Service and Self-Hosting Data Privacy Addendum.

Prerequisites

We’re using PHP in the stable version 7.1:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ uberspace tools version show php
Using 'PHP' version: '7.1'
[isabell@stardust ~]$

You’ll need your MySQL credentials. Get them with my_print_defaults:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ my_print_defaults client
--default-character-set=utf8mb4
--user=isabell
--password=MySuperSecretPassword
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Your domain needs to be set up:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ uberspace web domain list
isabell.uber.space
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Installation

We will be installing Invoice Ninja using composer. cd to your DocumentRoot, download the latest release, and install the dependencies using composer:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd /var/www/virtual/$USER/
[isabell@stardust isabell]$ git clone https://github.com/invoiceninja/invoiceninja
Cloning into 'invoiceninja'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 71, done.
[…]
[isabell@stardust isabell]$ cd invoiceninja
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ composer install
Loading composer repositories with package information
Installing dependencies (including require-dev) from lock file
[…]
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Remove your empty DocumentRoot and create a new symbolic link to the invoiceninja/public directory.

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd /var/www/virtual/$USER/
[isabell@stardust isabell]$ rmdir html
[isabell@stardust isabell]$ ln -s /var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/public html
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Configuration

During the setup process you will be asked for database credentials. We suggest you use an additional database for Invoice Ninja to save your data. You have to create this database first using the following command.

[isabell@stardust ~]$ mysql -e "CREATE DATABASE ${USER}_invoiceninja"
[isabell@stardust ~]$

To finish the installation you need to point your browser to your domain (e.g. https://isabell.uber.space) and enter a few settings:

Application Settings

  1. URL: https://isabell.uber.space (default)
  2. HTTPS: Check Require to always generate https:// URLs

Database Connection

  1. Host: localhost (default)
  2. Database: isabell_invoiceninja (the name of the database you created)
  3. Username: isabell (your username)
  4. Password: your MySQL password from my_print_defaults client

Email Settings

  1. Driver: Mail (to send emails directly via the mail function in php)
  2. From Name: The “from”-name on emails sent by Invoice Ninja (e.g. Invoice Ninja)
  3. From Address: The email-address from which Invoice Ninja sends emails (e.g. ninja@isabell.uber.space)

If you select the Mail driver, you can ignore the Username, Host, Port, Encryption and Password fields.

User Details

  1. First Name: your first name
  2. Last Name: your last name
  3. Email: the email address for the initial administrator account
  4. Password: the password for the administrator account

After you save the settings, you will be redirected to the login for the admin panel.

Tuning

Sending recurring invoices and reminders

To automatically send recurring invoices and reminders we need to setup some cronjobs.

0 8 * * * /usr/bin/php /var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/artisan ninja:send-invoices
0 8 * * * /usr/bin/php /var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/artisan ninja:send-reminders

You can learn more about cronjobs in the uberspace manual cron article.

Sending emails in the background

Invoice Ninja sends emails in the current request by default, which can lead to slow response times. You can add a background service that takes care of sending the emails:

Add this to the .env file in the application directory:

QUEUE_DRIVER=database

After that you can add a new supervisord service with

/usr/bin/php /var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/artisan queue:work --daemon

as the command.

Attaching PDF invoices to emails

If you want to attach a PDF file of an invoice to the email a client is receiving, you will need phantomjs to generate the PDF. We are going to install phantomjs globally via npm:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ npm install -g phantomjs-prebuilt
[…]
[isabell@stardust ~]$

After phantomjs is installed you need to change some settings in the application. Edit the .env file in the root of the application folder (/var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/.env). Replace these lines:

PHANTOMJS_CLOUD_KEY=a-demo-key-with-low-quota-per-ip-address
PHANTOMJS_SECRET=<someRandomString>

with this:

PHANTOMJS_BIN_PATH=/home/$USER/bin/phantomjs

Now you only have to enable the correct option in the admin panel (https://isabell.uber.space/settings/email_settings)

Using the mobile apps

If you want to use the mobile apps for Invoice Ninja, you will need to add a secret key to the configuration file in the application directory (/var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja/.env).

You can generate the secret key with this command:

[isabell@stardust ~] < /dev/urandom tr -dc _A-Z-a-z-0-9 | head -c${1:-15};echo;
<randomSecret>
[isabell@stardust ~]$

And add it like this to the configuration file:

API_SECRET=<randomSecret>

Updates

Note

Check the Releases on Github regularly to stay informed about the newest version.

To update Invoice Ninja you can run the following commands in the root directory of the application. The --force arguments are needed to prevent warnings about the application running in production mode.

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd /var/www/virtual/$USER/invoiceninja
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ git pull
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ composer install
Loading composer repositories with package information
Installing dependencies (including require-dev) from lock file
[…]
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ php artisan optimize --force
Generating optimized class loader
The compiled services file has been removed.
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ php artisan migrate --force
[…]
[isabell@stardust invoiceninja]$ php artisan db:seed --class=UpdateSeeder --force
Running UpdateSeeder...
Seeding: CountriesSeeder
[…]
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Tested with Invoice Ninja v4.5.12, Uberspace 7.2.10.0

Written by: Till Deeke <hallo@tilldeeke.de>