Debian and Arch Linux installation


This guide targets Debian 9 (Stretch), which is the latest Debian, as well as Arch Linux.

External dependencies

The guides will focus on installing Funkwhale-specific components and dependencies. However, Funkwhale requires a few external dependencies for which documentation is outside of this document scope.

Install system dependencies

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

sudo apt-get update
# Install dependencies
sudo apt-get install curl python3-pip python3-venv git unzip libldap2-dev libsasl2-dev
# Funkwhale dependencies
sudo apt install build-essential ffmpeg libjpeg-dev libmagic-dev libpq-dev postgresql-client python3-dev

On Arch Linux and its derivatives:

# Install 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


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/bin/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 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’ll assume you want to install the latest version of Funkwhale, which is 0.18.2:

First, we’ll download the latest api release.

curl -L -o "" ""
unzip "" -d extracted
mv extracted/api/* api/
rm -rf extracted

Then we’ll download the frontend files:

curl -L -o "" ""
unzip "" -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 master funkwhale cd funkwhale

The above clone command uses the master branch instead of the default develop branch, as master 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.

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 external dependencies.

Database setup

You should now be able to import the initial database structure:

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

You can then 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

See Systemd configuration.

Reverse proxy setup

See reverse-proxy.