Debian and Arch Linux installation


This guide targets Debian 10 (Buster), which is the latest version available, as well as Arch Linux.

Cache setup (Redis)

Funkwhale requires a cache server:

  • to make the whole system faster, by caching network requests or database queries;

  • to handle asynchronous tasks such as music import.

On Debian-like distributions, a redis package is available, and you can install it:

sudo apt-get install redis-server

On Arch Linux and its derivatives:

sudo pacman -S redis

This should be enough to have your redis server set up.

Install system dependencies

On Debian-like systems, you can install them using:

sudo apt-get update
# Install system dependencies
sudo apt-get install curl python3-pip python3-venv git unzip libldap2-dev libsasl2-dev gettext-base zlib1g-dev libffi-dev libssl-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev

# Funkwhale dependencies
sudo apt install build-essential ffmpeg libjpeg-dev libmagic-dev libpq-dev postgresql-client python3-dev make

On Arch Linux and its derivatives:

# Install system dependencies
sudo pacman -S curl python-pip python-virtualenv git unzip

# Funkwhale dependencies
sudo pacman -S curl file ffmpeg libjpeg-turbo libpqxx python libldap libsasl

External Authentication (LDAP)

LDAP support requires some additional dependencies to enable. On the OS level both libldap2-dev and libsasl2-dev are required, and the Python modules python-ldap and python-django-auth-ldap must be installed. These dependencies are all included in the requirements.* files so deploying with those will install these dependencies by default. However, they are not required unless LDAP support is explicitly enabled. See LDAP configuration for more details.

Installation structure

All Funkwhale-related files will be located under /srv/funkwhale apart from database files and a few configuration files. We will also have a dedicated funkwhale user to launch the processes we need and own those files.

You are free to use different values here, just remember to adapt those in the next steps.

Create the user and the directory:

sudo useradd -r -s /usr/sbin/nologin -d /srv/funkwhale -m funkwhale
cd /srv/funkwhale

Log in as the newly created user from now on:

sudo -u funkwhale -H bash

Now let’s setup our directory layout. Here is how it will look like:

├── config      # config / environment files
├── api         # api code of your instance
├── data        # persistent data, such as music files
├── front       # frontend files for the web user interface
└── virtualenv  # python dependencies for Funkwhale

Create the aforementioned directories:

mkdir -p config api data/static data/media data/music front

The virtualenv directory is a bit special and will be created separately.

Download the latest Funkwhale release

Funkwhale is splitted in two components:

  1. The API, which will handle music storage and user accounts;

  2. The frontend, that will simply connect to the API to interact with its data.

Those components are packaged in subsequent releases, such as 0.1, 0.2, etc. You can browse the changelog for a list of available releases and pick the one you want to install, usually the latest one should be okay.

In this guide, we will assume you want to install the latest version of Funkwhale, which is 1.2.10:

First, we will download the latest api release:

curl -L -o "api-|version|.zip" "|version|/download?job=build_api"
unzip "api-|version|.zip" -d extracted
mv extracted/api/* api/
rm -rf extracted

Then we will download the frontend files:

curl -L -o "front-|version|.zip" "|version|/download?job=build_front"
unzip "front-|version|.zip" -d extracted
mv extracted/front .
rm -rf extracted


You can also choose to get the code directly from the git repo. In this case, run:

cd /srv

rm -r funkwhale
git clone -b stable funkwhale
cd funkwhale

The above clone command uses the stable branch instead of the default develop branch, as stable is stable and more suited for production setups.

You’ll also need to re-create the folders we make earlier:

mkdir -p config data/static data/media data/music front

You will still need to get the frontend files as specified before, because we’re not going to build them.

You can leave the ZIP archives in the directory, this will help you know which version you’ve installed next time you want to upgrade your installation.

Python dependencies

Go back to the base directory:

cd /srv/funkwhale

To avoid collisions with other software on your system, Python dependencies will be installed in a dedicated virtualenv.

First, create the virtualenv:

python3 -m venv /srv/funkwhale/virtualenv

This will result in a virtualenv directory being created in /srv/funkwhale/virtualenv.

In the rest of this guide, we’ll need to activate this environment to ensure dependencies are installed within it, and not directly on your host system. This is done with the following command:

source /srv/funkwhale/virtualenv/bin/activate

Finally, install the python dependencies:

pip install wheel
pip install -r api/requirements.txt


Further commands involving python should always be run after you activated the virtualenv, as described earlier, otherwise those commands will raise errors

Environment file

You can now start to configure Funkwhale. The main way to achieve that is by adding an environment file that will host settings that are relevant to your installation.

Download the sample environment file:

curl -L -o config/.env ""


if you used git to get the latest version of the code earlier, you can instead do:

cp /srv/funkwhale/deploy/ /srv/funkwhale/config/.env

Generate a secret key for Django:

openssl rand -base64 45

You can then edit the file: the file is heavily commented, and the most relevant configuration options are mentioned at the top of the file.

chmod 600 /srv/funkwhale/config/.env  # reduce permissions on the .env file since it contains sensitive data
nano /srv/funkwhale/config/.env

Paste the secret key you generated earlier at the entry DJANGO_SECRET_KEY and populate the DATABASE_URL and CACHE_URL values based on how you configured your PostgreSQL and Redis servers in.

Database setup

Funkwhale requires a PostgreSQL database to work properly. Please refer to the PostgreSQL documentation for installation instructions specific to your os.

On Debian-like systems, you would install the database server like this:

sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib

On Arch Linux and its derivatives:

sudo pacman -S postgresql

On Arch Linux, you’ll also need to initialize the database. See the Arch Linux wiki.

The remaining steps are heavily inspired from this Digital Ocean guide.

Open a database shell:

sudo -u postgres psql

Create the project database and user:

CREATE USER funkwhale;


It’s important that you use utf-8 encoding for your database, otherwise you’ll end up with errors and crashes later on when dealing with music metadata that contains non-ascii chars.

Assuming you already have created your funkwhale user, you should now be able to open a postgresql shell:

sudo -u funkwhale -H psql

Unless you give a superuser access to the database user, you should also enable some extensions on your database server, as those are required for Funkwhale to work properly:

sudo -u postgres psql funkwhale -c 'CREATE EXTENSION "unaccent";'
sudo -u postgres psql funkwhale -c 'CREATE EXTENSION "citext";'

Now that the database has been created, import the initial database structure using the virtualenv created before:

python api/ migrate

This will create the required tables and rows.


You can safely execute this command any time you want, this will only run unapplied migrations.


You may sometimes get the following warning while applying migrations:

"Your models have changes that are not yet reflected in a migration, and so won't be applied."

This is a warning, not an error, and it can be safely ignored. Never run the makemigrations command yourself.

Create an admin account

Using the virtualenv created before, create your first user account:

python api/ createsuperuser

If you ever want to change a user’s password from the command line, just run:

python api/ changepassword <user>

Collect static files

Static files are the static assets used by the API server (icon PNGs, CSS, etc.). We need to collect them explicitly, so they can be served by the webserver:

python api/ collectstatic

This should populate the directory you choose for the STATIC_ROOT variable in your .env file.

Systemd unit file


All the command lines below should be executed as root.

Systemd offers a convenient way to manage your Funkwhale instance if you’re not using docker. We’ll see how to setup systemd to properly start a Funkwhale instance.

First, download the sample unitfiles:

sudo curl -L -o "/etc/systemd/system/" ""
sudo curl -L -o "/etc/systemd/system/funkwhale-server.service" ""
sudo curl -L -o "/etc/systemd/system/funkwhale-worker.service" ""
sudo curl -L -o "/etc/systemd/system/funkwhale-beat.service" ""

This will download three unitfiles:

  • funkwhale-server.service to launch the Funkwhale web server;

  • funkwhale-worker.service to launch the Funkwhale task worker;

  • funkwhale-beat.service to launch the Funkwhale task beat (this is for recurring tasks);

  • to easily stop and start all of the services at once.

You can of course review and edit them to suit your deployment scenario if needed, but the defaults should be fine.

Once the files are downloaded, reload systemd:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

And start the services:

sudo systemctl start

To ensure all Funkwhale processes are started automatically after a reboot, run:

sudo systemctl enable funkwhale-server
sudo systemctl enable funkwhale-worker
sudo systemctl enable funkwhale-beat

You can check the statuses of all processes like this:

sudo systemctl status funkwhale-\*

Reverse proxy setup

See Reverse proxy.