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Switching a from-source install to OTP releases

Packaged (OTP) installation vs Manual (from-source) installations

There is multiple ways to install Pleroma.

Distro-provided packages
This is the recommended method, where you can get the strongest compatibility guarantees and the best dependency-management
Pleroma-provided OTP binaries
Intended as fallback for Alpine/Debian-compatible systems lacking a proper Pleroma package, they are heavier than proper distro packages as they also contain Erlang/Elixir and can break after system updates
Manual from-source installation
Needs build-dependencies to be installed and manual updates+rebuilds. Allows for easier source-customisations.

In this guide we cover how you can migrate from a from source installation to one using OTP releases.


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

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

apk add curl unzip
apt install 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 `amd64-musl` the command will be
export FLAVOUR="amd64-musl"

# Clone the release build into a temporary directory and unpack it
# Replace `stable` with `unstable` if you want to run the unstable branch
sudo -Hu pleroma "
curl '$FLAVOUR' -o /tmp/
unzip /tmp/ -d /tmp/

# Move the release to the home directory and delete temporary files
sudo -Hu pleroma "
mv /tmp/release/* ~pleroma/
rmdir /tmp/release
rm /tmp/

# Start the instance to verify that everything is working as expected
sudo -Hu pleroma "./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
sudo -Hu pleroma "./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 -f ~pleroma/installation/init.d/pleroma /etc/init.d/pleroma

# Start pleroma
rc-service pleroma start
# 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

Running mix tasks

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


Refer to Updating section from OTP release installation guide.