Note: This post has been updated with a new FreePBX in a Cloud instance for Europe.
Since making freely available Voxilla’s “pre-built” Asterisk installation for Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) (Asterisk on the Cloud With a Click), we’ve received many requests for a version that includes a graphical administration front end for the well-regarded open-source PBX.
Answering the demand, we settled on FreePBX, itself an open-source Asterisk GUI developed under the guidance of internet and SIP phone services provider Bandwidth.com, because it is itself becoming very popular in the Asterisk world and, though tricky to install (requiring some knowledge of Linux and the installation of large external packages), it is very easy to use once it’s running correctly.
To make it as easy as possible, we built an Amazon machine instance (AMI) with FreePBX, some custom modules, and Webmin (a web based server administration tool). What we came up with is an installation of FreePBX that is usable in three easy steps:
- Start the AMI;
- Retrieve the FreePBX interface passwords from SSH;
- Securely access the FreePBX web interface.
The default FreePBX configuration assumes that FreePBX is running on a secured network (LAN) behind a firewall. The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), ufortunately, does not provide such an environment. In this build, we secure Free PBX for use in the cloud, Apache and Webmin redirect http traffic to https, and the FreePBX Administration interface requires authentication.
Free PBX, Webmin and MySQL use a number of usernames and passwords. To protect against default password exploits, Voxilla’s FreePBX in a Cloud is designed to randomly generate new passwords for key administrative controls each time you launch a new instance of the AMI. We do this in order to ensure that all instances of this AMI in use have different sets of security credentials. Otherwise, unless you take the complex steps required to secure FreePBX manually, others would have access to your installation if they know the default passwords.
In addition to the stock modules that ship with FreePBX, we made three new custom modules and included them in the AMI:
- Amazon Web Services – adds menu links to Amazon Web Services tools;
- Webmin – adds a menu link to the Webmin management interface;
- Voxilla – adds menu links to Voxilla’s Forum and tools where ample assistance for running FreePX and Asterisk on the Amazon cloud is avaliable.
The FreePBX in a cloud AMI provides an easy way to get Asterisk up and running without having to dig through configuration files.
For the United States:
AMI ID: ami-e8c22581
AMI ID: ami-7a58730e
Release notes for this AMI are available in the Voxilla Forum.