Project architecture

The project relies on the following components and services to work:

  • A web application server (Python/Django/Gunicorn)
  • A PostgreSQL database to store application data
  • A redis server to store cache and tasks data
  • A celery worker to run asynchronouse tasks (such as music import)
  • A celery scheduler to run recurrent tasks
  • A ntp-synced clock to ensure federation is working seamlessly


The synced clock is needed for federation purpose, to assess the validity of incoming requests.

Hardware requirements

Funkwhale is not especially CPU hungry. On a dockerized instance with 2 CPUs and a few active users, the memory footprint is around ~500Mb:

CONTAINER                   MEM USAGE
funkwhale_api_1             202.1 MiB
funkwhale_celerybeat_1      96.52 MiB
funkwhale_celeryworker_1    168.7 MiB
funkwhale_postgres_1        22.73 MiB
funkwhale_redis_1           1.496 MiB

Some users have reported running Funkwhale on Raspberry Pis with a memory consumption of less than 350MiB.

Thus, Funkwhale should run fine on commodity hardware, small hosting boxes and Raspberry Pi. We lack real-world exemples of such deployments, so don’t hesitate do give us your feedback (either positive or negative).

Check out Optimizing your Funkwhale instance for advices on how to tune your instance on small configurations.

Software requirements

Software requirements will vary depending of your installation method. For Docker-based installations, the only requirement will be an Nginx reverse-proxy that will expose your instance to the outside world.

If you plan to install your Funkwhale instance without Docker, most of the dependencies should be available in your distribution’s repositories.


Funkwhale works only with Pyhon >= 3.5, as we need support for async/await. Older versions of Python are not supported.

Available installation methods

Docker is the recommended and easiest way to setup your Funkwhale instance. We also maintain an installation guide for Debian 9 and Arch Linux.

Funkwhale packages are available for the following platforms:

Running Funkwhale on the develop branch

Traditionnal deployments are done using specific releases. However, you may want to benefits from the latest change available, or the help detect bugs before they are included in actual releases.

To do that, you’ll need to run your instance on the develop branch, which contains all the unreleased changes and features of the next version.

Please take into account that the develop branch may be unstable and will contain bugs that may affect the well being of your instance. If you are comfortable with that, you need to backup at least your database before pulling latest changes from the develop branch.

Otherwise, the deployment process is similar to deploying with releases. You simply need to use export FUNKWHALE_VERSION=develop in the installation and upgrade process instead of a real version number, as we build artifacts on the development branch the same way we do for releases.

Frontend setup


You do not need to do this if you are deploying using Docker, as frontend files are already included in the docker image.

Files for the web frontend are purely static and can simply be downloaded, unzipped and served from any webserver:

cd /srv/funkwhale
curl -L -o ""

Reverse proxy

In order to make Funkwhale accessible from outside your server and to play nicely with other applications on your machine, you should configure a reverse proxy.


Ensure you have a recent version of nginx on your server. On Debian-like system, you would have to run the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nginx

On Arch Linux and its derivatives:

sudo pacman -S nginx

To avoid configuration errors at this level, we will generate an nginx configuration using your .env file. This will ensure your reverse-proxy configuration always match the application configuration and make upgrade/maintenance easier.

On docker deployments, run the following commands:

# download the needed files
curl -L -o /etc/nginx/funkwhale_proxy.conf ""
curl -L -o /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.template ""

# create a final nginx configuration using the template based on your environment
set -a && source /srv/funkwhale/.env && set +a
envsubst "`env | awk -F = '{printf \" $%s\", $$1}'`" \
    < /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.template \
    > /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.conf

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

On non-docker deployments, run the following commands:

# download the needed files
curl -L -o /etc/nginx/funkwhale_proxy.conf ""
curl -L -o /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.template ""

# create a final nginx configuration using the template based on your environment
set -a && source /srv/funkwhale/config/.env && set +a
envsubst "`env | awk -F = '{printf \" $%s\", $$1}'`" \
    < /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.template \
    > /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.conf

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/


The resulting file should not contain any variable such as ${FUNKWHALE_HOSTNAME}. You can check that using this command:

grep '${' /etc/nginx/sites-available/funkwhale.conf


You can freely adapt the resulting file to your own needs, as we cannot cover every use case with a single template, especially when it’s related to SSL configuration.

Finally, enable the resulting configuration:

Check the configuration is valid with nginx -t then reload your nginx server with systemctl restart nginx.


If you plan to use to in-place import, ensure the alias value in the _protected/music location matches your MUSIC_DIRECTORY_SERVE_PATH env var.



These instructions are for Debian only. For Arch Linux please refer to the Arch Linux wiki.

Ensure you have a recent version of Apache2 installed on your server. You’ll also need the following dependencies:

sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-xsendfile

Then, download our sample virtualhost file:

curl -L -o /etc/apache2/sites-available/funkwhale.conf ""
ln -s /etc/apache2/sites-available/funkwhale.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/

You can tweak the configuration file according to your setup, especially the TLS configuration. Otherwise, defaults, should work if you followed the installation guide.

Check the configuration is valid with apache2ctl configtest, and once you’re done, load the new configuration with service apache2 restart.

About internal locations

Music (and other static) files are never served by the app itself, but by the reverse proxy. This is needed because a webserver is way more efficient at serving files than a Python process.

However, we do want to ensure users have the right to access music files, and it can’t be done at the proxy’s level. To tackle this issue, we use nginx’s internal directive.

When the API receives a request on its music serving endpoint, it will check that the user making the request can access the file. Then, it will return an empty response with a X-Accel-Redirect header. This header will contain the path to the file to serve to the user, and will be picked by nginx, but never sent back to the client.

Using this technique, we can ensure music files are covered by the authentication and permission policy of your instance, while keeping as much as performance as possible.