tl;dr: Want vnStat on RasPlex? Check out rasplex-vnstat!

I love vnStat for monitoring network traffic on my servers. I wanted to use it on my Raspberry Pis running RasPlex, but the underlying LibreELEC distribution does not allow installing software with apt-get and does not include the necessary libraries to compile it from source.

I realized that I could compile it from another Raspberry Pi and copy the binaries/configs to the RasPlex box. Once I worked out the paths that would be needed to run it on RasPlex, this was pretty easy to setup.

On a second Raspberry Pi — in this case a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B+ — I used the following process to compile vnStat:

We’re going to be working in root owned paths, so get a root shell:

sudo -i

RasPlex lets user data be written to /storage/. Let’s create the directories necessary to run a local installation of vnStat:

mkdir -p /storage/local/{src,bin,sbin,etc,run,var/{lib,log}/vnstat}

Now download the vnStat source:

cd /storage/local/src

And compile it:

tar -vzxf vnstat-1.18.tar.gz
./configure --prefix=/storage/local --sysconfdir=/storage/local/etc

Install it:

cp vnstat /storage/local/bin
cp vnstatd /storage/local/sbin

Configure it:

sed 's|^DatabaseDir.*$|DatabaseDir "/storage/local/var/lib/vnstat"|;s|^LogFile.*$|LogFile "/storage/local/var/log/vnstat/vnstat.log"|;s|^PidFile.*$|PidFile "/storage/local/run/vnstat/"|' cfg/vnstat.conf > /storage/local/etc/vnstat.conf

If you are using WiFi instead of wired ethernet, update vnstat.conf to configure the default interface:

sed -i 's|^Interface "eth0"$|Interface "wlan0"|' /storage/local/etc/vnstat.conf

Now we can package this installation and copy it to the RasPlex box:

tar -vzcf rasplex-vnstat.tar.gz {bin,sbin,etc,run/vnstat,var/{log,lib}/vnstat}
scp rasplex-vnstat.tar.gz root@rasplexip:

SSH into the RasPlex box to install rasplex-vnstat.tar.gz. Create the necessary directories:

mkdir /storage/local
mv rasplex-vnstat.tar.gz /storage/local
cd /local/storage

Extract the tarball:

tar -vzxf rasplex-vnstat.tar.gz

Since /storage/local/bin is not in PATH, we can update ~/.profile to add it:

echo 'export PATH="/storage/local/bin:/storage/local/sbin:$PATH"' >> /storage/.profile

Test that it works:

source /storage/.profile
vnstat --help

vnStat will look for a configuration at ~/.vnstatrc, we can symlink it to the vnstat.conf file generated above:

ln -s /storage/local/etc/vnstat.conf /storage/.vnstatrc

We need to ensure that vnstatd is started to collect traffic stats. I used a simple crontab to do this. This will create or update the crontab on RasPlex do check that vnstatd is running every 5 minutes and start it if necessary:

( crontab -l 2> /dev/null | grep -v vnstatd; echo '*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/pgrep vnstatd >/dev/null || /storage/local/sbin/vnstatd -d > /dev/null' ) | crontab -

Either wait ~5 minutes until pgrep vnstatd starts, or start it manually:

vnstatd -d

Done! Now you can run vnstat to view your traffic. Hope it helps someone!