Scripting with Beacon

Beacon is a scripting companion to apnscp that provides a simple interface to interacting with more than 2,000 commands exposed in apnscp. If apnscp can do it so can you, minus a pretty interface of course! Beacon may also be downloaded from our github repo.

Getting Started

Beacon requires an API key for authentication. Visit Dev > API Keys within apnscp to create your API key. On first use, specify --key to set the key:

beacon exec --key=AAAA-BBBB-CCCC-DDDD common_get_web_server_name

If everything went as expected, your domain will be printed out.

Once the key is set, you can skip –key=… unless you change the key again, in which case specify –key=… and –set to overwrite the key. If you’re running Beacon on your desktop to interact with apnscp, use –key=… in conjunction with –endpoint= Your endpoint URI is provided in Dev > API Keys.

Command Format

Each Beacon command consists of the imperative, exec, followed by the module name + method name, both in lowercase and delimited by an underscore. For example, to check system load average, which is exposed as “get_load” in the “Common” module, it is formatted as common_get_load:

beacon exec common_get_load

Which will return an array of three elements, 1, 5 and 15-minute load averages.


Parameters, if necessary, follow command invocation. Primitives are simply passed as-is observing shell special characters and variable interpolation rules. When working with booleans, use “0” instead of “false”. Omitted parameters must be explicitly specified with an empty string (“”). Arrays may either be formatted with or without its numeric indices. Hash keys precede the value. Arrays and hashes are enclosed with “[]”, infinitely nested, and hash keys are postfixed with a colon.

Primitive examples

beacon exec sql_create_mysql_database test
beacon exec common_get_service_value siteinfo admin_user
beacon exec file_chown /var/www/myfile.txt myadmin 1

Array/hash examples

beacon exec file_set_acls /var/www/ myotheruser rwx [recursive:1]
beacon exec sql_create_mysql_database foobar
beacon exec wordpress_update_themes "" [avada,twentyseventeen]

Interpreting Responses

By default, Beacon presents itself in human-readable format with print_r. Use --format=json to output the result as JSON and as bash-friendly arrays, --format=bash:

$ beacon exec --format=json common_get_load
$ beacon exec --format=bash common_get_load

(['1']='0.47' ['5']='0.81' ['15']='0.94')

No trailing EOL marker is included in the actual output for ease of parsing.


Chaining is the real magic in Beacon. By mixing shell data types and Beacon, it’s easy to store output and work with it.

Checking if all WordPress domains are current

Iterate over all domains. Check each domain if WordPress is current, update if not.

# () also works in lieu of declare -a... declare -a DOMAINS=$(beacon exec  --format=bash aliases_list_aliases) for domain in ${DOMAINS[@]} ; do     STATUS=$(beacon eval wordpress_is_current $domain)     if [$STATUS == 0]; then continue ; fi     beacon wordpress_update $domain  done

Create an addon domain, then install WordPress or Drupal onto it

Creates a new addon domain, then installs WordPress, Drupal, or any web app. “${n,,}” takes the parameter and converts to lowercase in bash v4+ using case modifiers.

function newdomain {
    beacon exec aliases_add_shared_domain $domain $path
    beacon exec aliases_synchronize_changes
    beacon exec ${app}_install $domain 


Sometimes the publicized name isn’t too clear. Use show for code introspection. Introspection fetches code from our GitHub repository and uses reflection to get an accurate representation.

beacon show common_get_load

 * array get_load (void)
 * @privilege PRIVILEGE_ALL
 * @return array returns an assoc array of the 1, 5, and 15 minute
 * load averages; indicies of 1,5,15
public function get_load()
        $fp = fopen('/proc/loadavg', 'r');
        $loadData = fgets($fp);
        $loadData = array_slice(explode(" ", $loadData), 0, 3);
        return array_combine(array(1, 5, 15), $loadData);

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