I run 3 radio stations—with no cap on listeners, bandwidth, or bitrate; with access over port 80 and SSL—for only €12 a month.
You can too if the linux command line doesn’t completely scare you off. Also, my stations only shuffle music, I don’t do live sets. It is definitely possible, but I won’t cover it here.
You’ll most likely need a VPS with unlimited bandwidth. Also, if you plan to broadcast the same stream using multiple bitrates or codecs, you’ll need a decent CPU because Liquidsoap only uses one CPU core per instance. (There may be some ways around this limitation, but I am currently doing fine running 3 different stations, each at 2 different bit rates. I’m using the 4-core VPS at Scaleway (C2S), so each station is using 1 core for its Liquidsoap instance, and the CPU load on each core is always under 50%.)
Choose a VPS provider (I use Scaleway) and spin up a new VPS running the latest stable Debian or Ubuntu OS. They should all have some help on getting started, logging in for the first time, etc.
If you haven’t already, go to your domain registrar and point the domain (or subdomain) to the IP of your new VPS.
SSH into the VPS and check for updates:
apt update && apt -y upgrade
Create a user, such as “radio” and add to the sudo group for root privileges:
adduser radio adduser radio sudo
Exit and log back in as your new user.
Additional info can be found at wiki.winamp.com/wiki/SHOUTcast_Broadcaster.
mkdir ~/sc cd ~/sc wget http://download.nullsoft.com/shoutcast/tools/sc_serv2_linux_x64-latest.tar.gz tar -xvf sc_serv2_linux_x64-latest.tar.gz rm -f sc_serv2_linux_x64-latest.tar.gz
You could use the setup script:
chmod u+x setup.sh ./setup.sh
Then point your browser to the IP of you VPS plus the port, e.g. http://220.127.116.11:8000/setup
Or just copy the basic config example and start editing it:
cp examples/sc_serv_basic.conf shoutcast.conf nano shoutcast.conf
Here is my config file:
logfile=logs/sc_serv.log w3clog=logs/sc_w3c.log banfile=control/sc_serv.ban ripfile=control/sc_serv.rip maxuser=2000 songhistory=25 portbase=80 password=password-used-by-sources adminpassword=password-for-admin-interface streamid_1=1 streampath_1=/station1-128 streamauthhash_1=yourAuthHashFromRmo.shoutcast.com streamid_2=2 streampath_2=/station1-256 streamauthhash_2=yourAuthHashFromRmo.shoutcast.com streamid_3=3 streampath_3=/station2-128 streamauthhash_3=secondAuthHashFromRmo.shoutcast.com streamid_4=4 streampath_4=/station2-256 streamauthhash_4=secondAuthHashFromRmo.shoutcast.com
I am using port 80 because of some listeners behind firewalls. Because 80 is special, I have to start Shoutcast as root. We’re logged in with the radio user, so use sudo:
sudo ~/sc/sc_serv daemon ~/sc/shoutcast.conf
The daemon option will keep sc_serv running in the background.
Get some Music
mkdir ~/music cd ~/music
Begin uploading music with an SFTP client, such as Cyberduck.
If you happen to be moving from an existing radio host, and all your music is already on their server, you can transfer directly using
sudo apt install ncftp ncftpget -RTvu 'username' server.oldhost.com ~/music/ /media
(Replace /media with the path to your music folder on the old host. /media is the normal folder for CentovaCast setups. ~/music/ is where you’re moving the music TO on your VPS.)
This will probably take a long time, and you don’t want to ncftp process to stop if your connection drops, so it is best to use
screen for this.
Screen will allow it to continue in the background.
screen and you’ll get a new prompt. Start the ncftp command, and then leave the screen instance with control + a then d (for detach). You can return to the screen by typing
Liquidsoap recommends the OPAM installation method. For additional options, see liquidsoap.fm/download.html.
Be sure to login as the radio user for the Liquidsoap install. When using OPAM to install Liquidsoap, it will only run for the user who installed it.
sudo apt install opam
When using OPAM for the first time, you should run
and answer y (for yes) to the question it asks about whether you want OPAM to modify some configuration files (this will put the directory where Liquidsoap in your path).
Install dependencies and then liquidsoap:
opam install depext opam depext taglib mad lame vorbis cry liquidsoap opam install taglib mad lame vorbis cry liquidsoap
Liquidsoap is extremely flexible and there’s a lot to learn if you want to dig into the docs. I’m just going to walk through my config file.
Liquidsoap configs end in .liq, so let’s make one for the first station:
mkdir -p ~/liquidsoap/logs nano ~/liquidsoap/station1.liq
And here’s my config:
# run in the background set("init.daemon",true) # set the location for the pid file which the daemon creates set("init.daemon.pidfile.path","~/liquidsoap/<script>.pid") # set a log file location # (<script> will be filled in automatically with the name of this file) set("log.file.path","~/liquidsoap/logs/<script>.log") # TuneIn AIR API function # see http://tunein.com/broadcasters/api/ # This handles sending live metatdata updates to tunein.com, if you use that # Replace with your partner id, partner key, and station id def send_meta(m) = partnerId = "?partnerId=xxxxxxx" partnerKey = "&partnerKey=xxxxxxx" id = "&id=s111111" api_server = "http://air.radiotime.com/Playing.ashx" title = "&title=" ^ url.encode(m["title"]) artist = "&artist=" ^ url.encode(m["artist"]) album = "&album=" ^ url.encode(m["album"]) uri =( api_server ^ partnerId ^ partnerKey ^ id ^ artist ^ title ^ album ) ignore(http.get(uri)) end # end TuneIn code, remove if not using. # This creates the main playlist by pulling all media in the path (including subfolders) # the "watch" mode refreshes the playlist any time a new file is added # song order is randomized by default standard = playlist(reload_mode="watch","/home/radio/music/station1") radio = standard # add crossfade radio = crossfade(start_next=10.0,fade_out=0.5,fade_in=0.5,radio) # make the source "infallible" by adding silence if the source does fail radio = mksafe(radio) # Send Meta to TuneIn AIR API # also remove this line if not using radio = on_metadata(send_meta, radio) # Stream it out # Mostly self-explanitory values # the password is what we set in shoutcast.conf (the "password" not the "adminpassword") # the icy_id corresponds to the "stream_id" in shoutcast.conf output.shoutcast(%mp3(bitrate=128), port = 80, password = 'pwdFrompwdFromShoutcast.conf', name = "Ambient Sleeping Pill", url = "https://ambientsleepingpill.com", genre = "Ambient", icy_id = 1, radio) output.shoutcast(%mp3(bitrate=256), port = 80, password = 'pwdFromShoutcast.conf', name = "Ambient Sleeping Pill", url = "https://ambientsleepingpill.com", genre = "Ambient", icy_id = 2, radio)
Once you save the .liq file, you can start it up:
At this point the station should be up and running. If you visit your domain or IP in a browser, you should see the shoutcast summary page with the connected source, metadata, and a play button! If not, check on both the liquidsoap logs and the shoutcast logs for some clues.
It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to encrypt connections to the radio stream, and probably adds some overhead, but I wanted to stream my radio on my home page which has SSL (to take advantage of http/2 speed and because Google likes https sites).
One of Shoutcast’s many weaknesses compared to Icecast is lack of SSL support. Still, it’s really easy to enable SSL using
You’ll need an SSL certificate. You can issue a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt using
sudo apt install stunnel certbot
Issue the certificate:
sudo certbot certonly --standalone
sudo nano /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf
In this example config, I am using the standard SSL port 443 and connecting to port 80. You can use a different port for SSL if you want. If you did not use port 80 for Shoutcast, be sure to change that to match what you did use.
Replace radio.example.com with the domain you entered during the certbot install. You can check the path is correct by listing the contents of the live directory (
[shoutcast] accept=443 connect=80 cert = /etc/letsencrypt/live/radio.example.com/fullchain.pem key = /etc/letsencrypt/live/radio.example.com/privkey.pem
Now fire up stunnel:
Go ahead and test it by visiting https://radio.example.com. You should see a nice green lock or whatever in the URL bar.
Let’s Encrypt certificates expire every 90 days, so you should set up a cron job to renew them.
First, do a dry run of the renewal command to make sure it is working properly.
Because we are not running a web server, certbot has to spin up a temporary web server to handle the challenge-response authentication. (That’s what the
--standalone option did during install.) If you used the standard port 443 for stunnel, it will block certbot from starting a web server on that port as well. To get around it, you need to stop stunnel, and restart it after the renewal. The
post-hook options allow you to issue commands before and after renewal:
sudo certbot renew --pre-hook "killall stunnel4" --post-hook "stunnel4" --dry-run
If the dry run succeeds, add the command to
crontab. Remove the
--dry-run option and add the quiet option
sudo crontab -e
In my case, I am setting it to run at 5 am on the first of every month:
0 5 1 * * certbot renew --pre-hook "killall stunnel4" --post-hook "stunnel4" -q
You can run additional stations by making additional .liq files and starting them up. If you are encoding each station to multiple bitrates and/or codecs, I’d recommend only one station per CPU core. Obviously CPUs vary, so be sure to monitor the system load and upgrade your VPS if needed.
You might want to make a little bash script to help you start everything up if you ever need to restart:
Fill in your config files:
sudo stunnel4 sudo sc/sc_serv daemon sc/shoutcast.conf liquidsoap /liquidsoap/station1.liq liquidsoap /liquidsoap/station2.liq liquidsoap /liquidsoap/station3.liq
Make the script executable:
chmod u+x start.sh
Now you can run it like
./start.sh after a system reboot and everything will be up and running.
There shouldn’t be much maintenance to do, but you should definitely keep an eye on the system load and memory usage for a while.
sudo apt install htop
and run it:
Here you can keep an eye on the CPU usage (you will see meters at the top, one for each core) and the memory. If any of these is staying above 70% or so I would be worried that the system could crash.
The “Load average” shows 3 numbers. The first is an average for the past 1 minute, the second is the past 5 minutes, and the third is 15. The number corresponds to the number of CPU cores you have. I have 4 cores, so if the average was 4, I’d be at 100% usage and should be concerned. For reference, my 15-minute is always hovering around 1 so the system doesn’t have much stress running 3 stations with 2 bitrates each.
I like to use “Tree” view (F5 or just click on “Tree”). If you ever need to stop one of the processes just select it and click “Kill” (F9).
Exit htop with q.
Those are just some hints, but read up on htop on your own.
Reloading Config Changes
If you ever change the config for Shoutcast, you can reload the config from the admin web interface—no restart required.
Unfortunately, Liquidsoap needs to be restarted if you change the .liq configs. You can use htop to kill the correct Liquidsoap instance and then restart it.