July 28, 2019

Exposing Home Assistant to the world

Exposing Home Assistant to the world

This is the second post in a series of posts about Home Assistant and Alexa. In my previous post - Home Automation with Home Assistant and Alexa I discussed how to wire up your Raspberry Pi with the open source IOT platform Home Assistant to work with Alexa. This post will cover:

  1. Upgrading Hass.io to take advantage of the new ADD-ON STORE
  2. Adding DNS and port forwarding to make Home Assistant publicly accessible
Upgrade Hass.io
  • Visit the Hassio Installation site to download the current Hass.io image.
  • Once you flash the image onto your micro sd (from your computer) and boot up your Pi, it can take up to 20 minutes to get rocking.
  • After a successful boot, you can visit: http://hassio.local:8123/ to get started and follow the onscreen instructions.
Add the SSH Server Add-On
  • In order to make changes via SSH to your PI you will want to add the SSH Server add on
  • To do this, while on your hassio dashboard click on the Hass.io icon in the mid-left-hand side panel
  • Then click on the ADD-ON STORE and the select SSH Server and click Install
  • Follow the steps there to configure (you will need to create an SSH Key) and SSH into your Rasberry PI
  • If you have issues connecting make sure you have started the SSH server from the SSH Server details page (see image below)
  • This piece must be completed before the DNS piece as this is needed to finish setting up DNS below

Image Link

A few helpful commands

  • To SSH into your pi: ssh root@hassio.local (Home Assistant exists at /config directory)
  • hassio help will list all of your commands
  • hassio host reboot - reboot your pi

We will be using Duck DNS for our domain and Let's Encrypt for our certs. One of the main reasons I updated to the new Hass.io image is because the new version has anADD-ON STORE that includes a Duck DNS plugin with built-in Let's Encrypt support.

  • To install, navigate to the ADD-ON STORE again and select the Duck DNS add-on and click install (this set-up refers to version 1.8)
  • Update the configuration in the add-on to include your Duck DNS token, your domain(s) and set the accept_terms to true. By setting this to true this is what will start generating your certs.
  "lets_encrypt": {
    "accept_terms": true,
    "certfile": "fullchain.pem",
    "keyfile": "privkey.pem"
  "token": "<YOUR-TOKEN>",
  "domains": [
  "seconds": 300

* Then SSH into your PI and add the following to the `/config/configuration.yaml` file: 
# Example configuration.yaml entry for the HTTP component
  base_url: https://example.duckdns.org:8123
  ssl_certificate: /ssl/fullchain.pem
  ssl_key: /ssl/privkey.pem

![Image Link](http://res.cloudinary.com/thefinleycode/image/fetch/http://res.cloudinary.com/thefinleycode/image/upload/v1564300164/DuckDNS_Hassio.png)

Reference article: [Effortless Encryption](https://www.home-assistant.io/blog/2017/09/27/effortless-encryption-with-lets-encrypt-and-duckdns/)

##### Last Step - Port forwarding
If you are using port 8123 you will need to configure port forwarding

* Login into your router and locate Port Forwarding sometimes called virtual server. You can use this website [port forward](https://portforward.com/) to locate your router and follow the instructions on how add forwarding
* Choose the port you specified in your configuration to forward
* You can test your port has been forwarded using a [Port Forwarding Tester](https://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/open-ports/)

######Navigate to your https://example.duckdns.org:8123 address and Woollahh!!**

![Image Link](https://media.giphy.com/media/OHZ1gSUThmEso/giphy.gif)

####Shout Outs

* [Shane Henning](https://www.linkedin.com/in/shane-henning-1a6909a9/) for the inspiration