install and configure pleroma on ubuntu

How to Install and Configure Pleroma on Ubuntu

Pleroma is an open-source social networking platform. This free and lightweight federated server is compatible with Mastodon and other ActivityPub implementations. In this article, you will learn How to Install and Configure Pleroma on Ubuntu. Pleroma consists of two components a backend (Pleroma) and Pleroma-FE which is a user-facing fronted. While Pleroma instances are deployed, you can deploy your own one. Let’s see the essential options you must provide before going through the required steps of installing and configuring Pleroma on Ubuntu.

Prerequisites to Install and Configure Pleroma on Ubuntu

To let this guide work correctly, provide the below considerations and go on.

  • A system running Ubuntu.
  • A non-root user with sudo privileges.

Install Pleroma on Ubuntu Step by step

Pleroma is a part of the Fediverse, a federated network of instances that can communicate using a common protocol. As we mentioned, you can have your account on Pleroma. It is easy to install Pleroma on your Ubuntu server. However, one single account on one instance can talk to the entire Fediverse network.

Stay with us with this article to review all the required steps to install and configure Pleroma on Ubuntu.

Step 1. Update Your System 

As always, we start with updating. It is reasonable to make sure that everything is updated. So, run:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade

Now, you are ready to have the packages and dependencies in one step before the Pleroma installation.

$ sudo apt install wget curl gnupg2 ca-certificates lsb-release gnupg zip libncurses5 libmagic-dev -y

Step 2. Configure Firewall

As you know, Ubuntu comes with an Uncomplicated Firewall (ufw) by default. Use the command below to check if the firewall is running to start configuring it.

$ sudo ufw status

If you see the status is inactive, continue with allowing the SSH port to enable the firewall.

$ sudo ufw allow OpenSSH

Also, you can allow HTTP and HTTPS ports as well. So, type:

$ sudo ufw allow 80
$ sudo ufw allow 443

To enable the firewall, run:

$ sudo ufw enable

Then, you will see that the Firewall is active and enabled on system startup. Again, you can check the status of the firewall again:

$ sudo ufw status

You will see an output like the below which means the firewall is configured properly.

configure firewall

Step 3. Install PostgreSQL 

In this step, you will install PostgreSQL. So, you need to add the official PostgreSQL repository to the Ubuntu sources list by running the following command:

 $ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -cs)-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'

And to add the repository’s GPG key, use:

 $ wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Finally, you can update the system packages list.

$ sudo apt update

Step 4. Install Nginx

In this step, Nginx will be installed. According to that the Nginx is pre-installed on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt install nginx

Step 5. Install Pleroma

In this part, you can install Pleroma on Ubuntu. Firstly, a Pleroma user will be created without login capabilities. Running the following command will also create the home directory for it at /opt/pleroma.

$ sudo adduser --system --shell  /bin/false --home /opt/pleroma pleroma

To switch to the Pleroma user, switch to the root user first.

$ sudo su
$ su pleroma -s $SHELL -l

To download Pleroma use the command below. You can do this in a temporary location.

$ curl "" -o /tmp/

And unzip the archive:

$ unzip /tmp/ -d /tmp/

To install Pleroma:

$ mv /tmp/release/* /opt/pleroma

Now, you can delete the temporary files:

$ rm -rf /tmp/ /tmp/release

Next, switch to the root user:

$ exit

To Create directories for the uploads and public files, type:

$ mkdir -p /var/lib/pleroma/{uploads,static}

Here, you can create the directory for the Pleroma configuration:

$ mkdir -p /etc/pleroma

And then, change the ownership of Pleroma directories to the Pleroma user.

$ chown -R pleroma /var/lib/pleroma /etc/pleroma

How to Configure Pleroma on Ubuntu

You are in the middle of learning How to install and configure Pleroma on Ubuntu. Once the Pleroma is installed on your Ubuntu server, you can start configuring it. To do this, create an Admin user. So, use the command below to create an administrative user and switch to the Pleroma user.

$ su pleroma -s /bin/bash -l

Then, use the command below to generate the configuration file for the Pleroma instance:

$ ./bin/pleroma_ctl instance gen --output /etc/pleroma/config.exs --output-psql /tmp/setup_db.psql

Note: Ignore the warning stating that says the configuration file could not be found and go on.

When you are asked about setting up Pleroma, choose the set of options that meets your needs. As you know, you must choose a strong password for your database when you are prompted.

To configure your instance from Administration Panel, select y when you are asked to store the configuration in the database.

At this time, switch to the default PostgreSQL user which was created when PostgreSQL was installed.

$ exit
$ su postgres -s /bin/bash -l

Then, you can create the database using the SQL file provided by Pleroma.

$ psql -f /tmp/setup_db.psql

To switch back to the Pleroma user, type:

$ exit
$ su pleroma -s /bin/bash -l

Running the command below will initialize the database you just created.

$ ./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate

And finally, you can exit the Root user.

$ exit

How to Install SSL using Let’s Encrypt

To continue configuring Pleroma on Ubuntu, an SSL certificate must be installed. To do this download the Cerbot tool. Since Certbot’s official repository has been deprecated, you can use Snaped package installer to install Cerbot. Ubuntu comes with Snaped pre-installed.

Use the following commands to make sure that Snaped is up-to-date.

$ snap install core 
$ snap refresh core

To remove any old versions of Certbot:

$ apt remove certbot

And to Install Certbot, type:

$ snap install --classic certbot

Ensure that the Cerbot command can be run by creating a symbolic link to the /usr/bin directory.

$ ln -s /snap/bin/certbot /usr/bin/certbot

Now, stop the Nginx service.

$ systemctl stop nginx

To generate an SSL certificate:

$ certbot certonly --standalone --preferred-challenges http -d

In this way, a certificate to the ‘’ /etc/letsencrypt/live/ ‘’ directory will be downloaded on your server.

Next, use the command below to create a challenge web root directory for Let’s Encrypt auto-renewal.

$ mkdir -p /var/lib/letsencrypt

To renew SSL and run and check it every day to renew it (If needed), create a Cron Job. So, create the file /etc/cron.daily/certbot-renew and open it for editing.

$ nano /etc/cron.daily/certbot-renew

Paste the code below.

certbot renew --cert-name --webroot -w /var/lib/letsencrypt/ --post-hook "systemctl reload nginx"

To save the file, press Ctrl + X and enter Y when you are prompted. Then, change the permissions on the task file to make it executable.

$ chmod +x /etc/cron.daily/certbot-renew

Configure Nginx

Since Pleroma ships with a default Nginx configuration file, you can run the following command to install it. In this way, Nginx will be moved to the /etc/nginx/sites-available directory.

$ mv /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.nginx /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.conf
$ sed -i 's/example\.tld/' /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.conf

Keep in mind to replace all occurrences of ‘’example.tld’’ with your domain.

To start editing, open the configuration file.

$ nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.conf

Then, uncomment the location ~ /\.well-known/acme-challenge block to view a server block configuration like the below:

configure nginx

Again, save the file by pressing Ctrl + X, and enter Y when you are prompted. To enable the Pleroma Nginx configuration, create a symlink:

$ ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/pleroma.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/pleroma.conf

Now, enable the Nginx server to start at boot time.

$ systemctl enable nginx

Now, you can start the Nginx server.

$ systemctl start nginx

Then, run the command below to install the Pleroma systemd service unit file provided in the distribution.

$ mv /opt/pleroma/installation/pleroma.service /etc/systemd/system/pleroma.service

Finally, use the following commands to enable and start the Pleroma service.

$ systemctl enable pleroma
$ systemctl start pleroma

To visit Pleroma, open in your favorite web browser.

How to Configure Pleroma by creating an Admin user

So far, you reviewed how to install and configure Pleroma on Ubuntu. You can also use the following command to create an administrative user. But first, switch to the Pleroma user:

$ su pleroma -s /bin/bash -l

The command below will create an admin user. Do not forget to replace ‘’example’’ with your username, ‘’’’ with your email address, and ‘’password123’’ with your desired password which is highly recommended to be strong.

$ ./bin/pleroma_ctl user new example --password password123 --admin

When you are done, switch back to the root user.

$ exit

You will not be able to change settings from the Administration panel of Pleroma if you selected no when you were asked for storing configuration in the database. But you can change the settings by modifying the /etc/pleroma/config.exs file.

$ nano /etc/pleroma/config.exs

When editing the file is done, restart the Pleroma service and take your time to resume the service.

$ systemctl restart pleroma

Now, it is time to Update Pleroma. So, you need to download the new release. Use the command below to download it.

$ su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl update"

To stop Pleroma instance:

$ systemctl stop pleroma

Then, migrate the database by running the following command:

$ su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate"

Now, you can start the Pleroma instance:

$ systemctl start pleroma

You may guess that the next step is to Back up Pleroma. First, stop the Pleroma service.

$ systemctl stop pleroma

Then, switch to Pleroma’s directory.

$ cd /opt/pleroma

To back up the database, run:

$ sudo -Hu postgres pg_dump -d <pleroma_db> --format=custom -f </path/to/backup_location/pleroma.pgdump>

Copy the files pleroma.pgdump, config/prod.secret.exs, config/setup_db.sql, and the uploads folder to your backup destination.

Finally, start the Pleroma service again.

$ systemctl start pleroma

Anytime you need to Restore Pleroma, reinstall it and make sure the Pleroma service is not working. Copy the backed-up files back to their first location and run the command below to drop the existing database and user:

$ sudo -Hu postgres psql -c 'DROP DATABASE <pleroma_db>;';` `sudo -Hu postgres psql -c 'DROP USER <pleroma_db>;'

Use the following command to restore the database schema and Pleroma Postgres role with the backed-up setup_db.sql file.

$ sudo -Hu postgres psql -f config/setup_db.psql

To restore the Pleroma instance’s data, run:

$ sudo -Hu postgres pg_restore -d <pleroma_db> -v -1 </path/to/backup_location/pleroma.pgdump>

If you are moving to a newer version, you must migrate the database too. (If there are any migrations left to be performed)

$ su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "./bin/pleroma_ctl migrate"

Next, restart the Pleroma service.

$ systemctl restart pleroma

And finally, let Postgres plan the queries properly and generate the statistics.

$ sudo -Hu postgres vacuumdb --all --analyze-in-stages

You’re all set.


In this article, you reviewed all the required steps to install and configure Pleroma on Ubuntu. As we mentioned, it was really easy! In the case of following the above steps properly, you can smoothly install and configure Pleroma on your Ubuntu server without errors. If you are eager to explore fediverse, you just need to register your account on Pleroma to be able to log in to your Pleroma instance with your own username and password. If you encounter any problems, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our technical support team will try their best to solve your problems.

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