Switching a from-source install to OTP releases

What are OTP releases?

OTP releases are as close as you can get to binary releases with Erlang/Elixir. The release is self-contained, and provides everything needed to boot it, it is easily administered via the provided shell script to open up a remote console, start/stop/restart the release, start in the background, send remote commands, and more.

Can I still run the develop branch if I decide to use them?

Yes, we produce builds for every commit in develop. However develop is considered unstable, please don't use it in production because of faster access to new features, unless you need them as an app developer.

Why would one want to switch?

Benefits of OTP releases over from-source installs include: * Less space used. OTP releases come without source code, build tools, have docs and debug symbols stripped from the compiled bytecode and do not cointain tests, docs, revision history. * Minimal system dependencies. Excluding the database and reverse proxy, only curl, unzip and ncurses are needed to download and run the release. Because Erlang runtime and Elixir are shipped with Pleroma, one can use the latest BEAM optimizations and Pleroma features, without having to worry about outdated system repos or a missing erlang-* package. * Potentially less bugs and better performance. This extends on the previous point, because we have control over exactly what gets shipped, we can tweak the VM arguments and forget about weird bugs due to Erlang/Elixir version mismatches. * Faster and less bug-prone mix tasks. On a from-source install one has to wait untill a new Pleroma node is started for each mix task and they execute outside of the instance context (for example if a user was deleted via a mix task, the instance will have no knowledge of that and continue to display status count and follows before the cache expires). Mix tasks in OTP releases are executed by calling into a running instance via RPC, which solves both of these problems.

Sounds great, how do I switch?

Currently we support Linux machines with GNU (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu) or musl (e.g. Alpine) libc and x86_64, aarch64 or armv7l CPUs. If you are unsure, check the Detecting flavour section in OTP install guide. If your platform is supported, proceed with the guide, if not check the My platform is not supported section.

I don't think it is worth the effort, can I stay on a from-source install?

Yes, currently there are no plans to deprecate them.

My platform is not supported

If you think your platform is a popular choice for running Pleroma instances, or has the potential to become one, you can file an issue on our Gitlab. If not, guides on how to build and update releases by yourself will be available soon.


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

The system needs to have curl and unzip installed for downloading and unpacking release builds.


apt install curl unzip
apk add curl unzip

Moving content out of the application directory

When using OTP releases the application directory changes with every version so it would be a bother to keep content there (and also dangerous unless --no-rm option is used when updating). Fortunately almost all paths in Pleroma are configurable, so it is possible to move them out of there.

Pleroma should be stopped before proceeding.

Moving uploads/custom public files directory

# Create uploads directory and set proper permissions (skip if using a remote uploader)
# Note: It does not have to be `/var/lib/pleroma/uploads`, you can configure it to be something else later
mkdir -p /var/lib/pleroma/uploads
chown -R pleroma /var/lib/pleroma

# Create custom public files directory
# Note: It does not have to be `/var/lib/pleroma/static`, you can configure it to be something else later
mkdir -p /var/lib/pleroma/static
chown -R pleroma /var/lib/pleroma

# If you use the local uploader with default settings your uploads should be located in `~pleroma/uploads`
mv ~pleroma/uploads/* /var/lib/pleroma/uploads

# If you have created the custom public files directory with default settings it should be located in `~pleroma/instance/static`
mv ~pleroma/instance/static /var/lib/pleroma/static

Moving emoji

Assuming you have all emojis in subdirectories of priv/static/emoji moving them can be done with

mkdir /var/lib/pleroma/static/emoji
ls -d ~pleroma/priv/static/emoji/*/ | xargs -i sh -c 'mv "{}" "/var/lib/pleroma/static/emoji/$(basename {})"'

But, if for some reason you have custom emojis in the root directory you should copy the whole directory instead.

mv ~pleroma/priv/static/emoji /var/lib/pleroma/static/emoji
and then copy custom emojis to /var/lib/pleroma/static/emoji/custom.

This is needed because storing custom emojis in the root directory is deprecated, but if you just move them to /var/lib/pleroma/static/emoji/custom it will break emoji urls on old posts.

Note that globs have been replaced with pack_extensions, so if your emojis are not in png/gif you should modify the default value.

Moving the config

# Create the config directory
# The default path for Pleroma config is /etc/pleroma/config.exs
# but it can be set via PLEROMA_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
mkdir -p /etc/pleroma

# Move the config file
mv ~pleroma/config/prod.secret.exs /etc/pleroma/config.exs

# Change `use Mix.Config` at the top to `import Config`
$EDITOR /etc/pleroma/config.exs

Installing the release

Before proceeding, get the flavour from Detecting flavour section in OTP installation guide.

# Delete all files in pleroma user's directory
rm -r ~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
# Replace `stable` with `unstable` if you want to run the unstable branch
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "
curl 'https://git.pleroma.social/api/v4/projects/2/jobs/artifacts/stable/download?job=$FLAVOUR' -o /tmp/pleroma.zip
unzip /tmp/pleroma.zip -d /tmp/

# Move the release to the home directory and delete temporary files
su pleroma -s $SHELL -lc "
mv /tmp/release/* ~pleroma/
rmdir /tmp/release
rm /tmp/pleroma.zip

# 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 a system service

OTP releases have different service files than from-source installs so they need to be copied over again.

Warning: The service files assume pleroma user's home directory is /opt/pleroma, please make sure all paths fit your installation.


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

# Reload service files
systemctl daemon-reload

# Reenable pleroma to start on boot
systemctl reenable pleroma

# Start pleroma
systemctl start pleroma


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

# Start pleroma
rc-service pleroma start

Running mix tasks

Refer to Running mix tasks section from OTP release installation guide.


Refer to Updating section from OTP release installation guide.