Installing on Linux using OTP releases


  • A machine running Linux with GNU (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu) or musl (e.g. Alpine) libc and x86_64, aarch64 or armv7l CPU, you have root access to. If you are not sure if it's compatible see Detecting flavour section below
  • A (sub)domain pointed to the machine

You will be running commands as root. If you aren't root already, please elevate your priviledges by executing sudo su/su.

While in theory OTP releases are possbile to install on any compatible machine, for the sake of simplicity this guide focuses only on Debian/Ubuntu/Alpine.

Detecting flavour

Paste the following into the shell:

arch="$(uname -m)";if [ "$arch" = "x86_64" ];then arch="amd64";elif [ "$arch" = "armv7l" ];then arch="arm";elif [ "$arch" = "aarch64" ];then arch="arm64";else echo "Unsupported arch: $arch">&2;fi;if getconf GNU_LIBC_VERSION>/dev/null;then libc_postfix="";elif [ "$(ldd 2>&1|head -c 9)" = "musl libc" ];then libc_postfix="-musl";elif [ "$(find /lib/libc.musl*|wc -l)" ];then libc_postfix="-musl";else echo "Unsupported libc">&2;fi;echo "$arch$libc_postfix"

If your platform is supported the output will contain the flavour string, you will need it later. If not, this just means that we don't build releases for your platform, you can still try installing from source.

Installing the required packages

Other than things bundled in the OTP release Pleroma depends on:

  • curl (to download the release build)
  • unzip (needed to unpack release builds)
  • ncurses (ERTS won't run without it)
  • PostgreSQL (also utilizes extensions in postgresql-contrib)
  • nginx (could be swapped with another reverse proxy but this guide covers only it)
  • certbot (for Let's Encrypt certificates, could be swapped with another ACME client, but this guide covers only it)


apt install curl unzip libncurses5 postgresql postgresql-contrib nginx certbot


echo "" >> /etc/apk/repositories
apk update
apk add curl unzip ncurses postgresql postgresql-contrib nginx certbot


Configuring PostgreSQL

(Optional) Installing RUM indexes

RUM indexes are an alternative indexing scheme that is not included in PostgreSQL by default. You can read more about them on the Configuration page. They are completely optional and most of the time are not worth it, especially if you are running a single user instance (unless you absolutely need ordered search results).

Debian/Ubuntu (available only on Buster/19.04):

apt install postgresql-11-rum


apk add git build-base postgresql-dev
git clone /tmp/rum
cd /tmp/rum
make USE_PGXS=1
make USE_PGXS=1 install
rm -r /tmp/rum

(Optional) Performance configuration

For optimal performance, you may use PGTune, don't forget to restart postgresql after editing the configuration


systemctl restart postgresql


rc-service postgresql restart

Installing Pleroma

# Create the Pleroma user
adduser --system --shell  /bin/false --home /opt/pleroma pleroma

# Set the flavour environment variable to the string you got in Detecting flavour section. 
# For example if the flavour is `arm64-musl` the command will be
export FLAVOUR="arm64-musl"

# Clone the release build into a temporary directory and unpack it
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "
curl '$FLAVOUR' -o /tmp/
unzip /tmp/ -d /tmp/

# Move the release to the home directory and delete temporary files
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "
mv /tmp/release/* /opt/pleroma
rmdir /tmp/release
rm /tmp/
# Create uploads directory and set proper permissions (skip if planning to use a remote uploader)
# Note: It does not have to be `/var/lib/pleroma/uploads`, the config generator will ask about the upload directory later

mkdir -p /var/lib/pleroma/uploads
chown -R pleroma /var/lib/pleroma

# Create custom public files directory (custom emojis, frontend bundle overrides, robots.txt, etc.)
# Note: It does not have to be `/var/lib/pleroma/static`, the config generator will ask about the custom public files directory later
mkdir -p /var/lib/pleroma/static
chown -R pleroma /var/lib/pleroma

# Create a config directory
mkdir -p /etc/pleroma
chown -R pleroma /etc/pleroma

# Run the config generator
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl instance gen --output /etc/pleroma/config.exs --output-psql /tmp/setup_db.psql"

# Create the postgres database
su postgres -s $SHELL -lc "psql -f /tmp/setup_db.psql"

# Create the database schema
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate"

# If you have installed RUM indexes uncommend and run
# su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate --migrations-path priv/repo/optional_migrations/rum_indexing/"

# Start the instance to verify that everything is working as expected
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma daemon"

# Wait for about 20 seconds and query the instance endpoint, if it shows your uri, name and email correctly, you are configured correctly
sleep 20 && curl http://localhost:4000/api/v1/instance

# Stop the instance
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma stop"

Setting up nginx and getting Let's Encrypt SSL certificaties

# Get a Let's Encrypt certificate
certbot certonly --standalone --preferred-challenges http -d yourinstance.tld

# Copy the Pleroma nginx configuration to the nginx folder
# The location of nginx configs is dependent on the distro

# For Debian/Ubuntu:
cp /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.nginx /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.nginx
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.nginx /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/pleroma.nginx
# For Alpine:
cp /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.nginx /etc/nginx/conf.d/pleroma.conf
# If your distro does not have either of those you can append
# `include /etc/nginx/pleroma.conf` to the end of the http section in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf and
cp /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.nginx /etc/nginx/pleroma.conf

# Edit the nginx config replacing example.tld with your (sub)domain
$EDITOR path-to-nginx-config

# Verify that the config is valid
nginx -t

# Start nginx
# For Debian/Ubuntu:
systemctl start nginx
# For Alpine:
rc-service nginx start

At this point if you open your (sub)domain in a browser you should see a 502 error, that's because pleroma is not started yet.

Setting up a system service


# Copy the service into a proper directory
cp /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.service /etc/systemd/system/pleroma.service

# Start pleroma and enable it on boot
systemctl start pleroma
systemctl enable pleroma


# Copy the service into a proper directory
cp /opt/pleroma/installation/init.d/pleroma /etc/init.d/pleroma

# Start pleroma and enable it on boot
rc-service pleroma start
rc-update add pleroma

If everything worked, you should see Pleroma-FE when visiting your domain. If that didn't happen, try reviewing the installation steps, starting Pleroma in the foreground and seeing if there are any errrors.

Still doesn't work? Feel free to contact us on #pleroma on freenode or via matrix at, you can also file an issue on our Gitlab

Post installation

Setting up auto-renew Let's Encrypt certificate

# Create the directory for webroot challenges
mkdir -p /var/lib/letsencrypt

# Uncomment the webroot method
$EDITOR path-to-nginx-config

# Verify that the config is valid
nginx -t


# Restart nginx
systemctl restart nginx

# Ensure the webroot menthod and post hook is working
certbot renew --cert-name yourinstance.tld --webroot -w /var/lib/letsencrypt/ --dry-run --post-hook 'systemctl nginx reload'

# Add it to the daily cron
echo '#!/bin/sh
certbot renew --cert-name yourinstance.tld --webroot -w /var/lib/letsencrypt/ --dry-run --post-hook "systemctl reload nginx"
' > /etc/cron.daily/renew-pleroma-cert
chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/renew-pleroma-cert

# If everything worked the output should contain /etc/cron.daily/renew-pleroma-cert
run-parts --test /etc/cron.daily


# Restart nginx
rc-service nginx restart

# Start the cron daemon and make it start on boot
rc-service crond start
rc-update add crond

# Ensure the webroot menthod and post hook is working
certbot renew --cert-name yourinstance.tld --webroot -w /var/lib/letsencrypt/ --dry-run --post-hook 'rc-service nginx reload'

# Add it to the daily cron
echo '#!/bin/sh
certbot renew --cert-name yourinstance.tld --webroot -w /var/lib/letsencrypt/ --dry-run --post-hook "rc-service nginx reload"
' > /etc/periodic/daily/renew-pleroma-cert
chmod +x /etc/periodic/daily/renew-pleroma-cert

# If everything worked this should output /etc/periodic/daily/renew-pleroma-cert
run-parts --test /etc/periodic/daily

Running mix tasks

Throughout the wiki and guides there is a lot of references to mix tasks. Since mix is a build tool, you can't just call mix pleroma.task, instead you should call pleroma_ctl stripping pleroma/ecto namespace.

So for example, if the task is mix pleroma.user set admin --admin, you should run it like this:

su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl user set admin --admin"


Generally, doing the following is enough:

# Download the new release
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl update"

# Migrate the database, you are advised to stop the instance before doing that
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate"

But you should always check the release notes/changelog in case there are config deprecations, special update steps, etc.

Further reading