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Setup Using Docker Compose

With Docker Compose, you use a YAML file to configure all application services so you can easily start them with a single command. Before you proceed, make sure you have Docker installed on your system. It is available for Mac, Linux, and Windows.

You also could use the application without Docker or Docker compose

Docker is one way of using the application, it also possible to run it without Docker or Docker Compose.

Step 1 Configure

Download our docker-compose.yml example (right click and Save Link As... or use wget) to a folder of your choice, and change the configuration as needed:


Commands on Linux may have to be prefixed with sudo when not running as root. Note that this will point the home directory shortcut ~ to /root in the volumes: section of your docker-compose.yml. Kernel security modules such as AppArmor and SELinux have been reported to cause issues. Ensure that your server has at least 4 GB of swap configured so that indexing doesn't cause restarts when there are memory usage spikes.


Our example includes a pre-configured MariaDB database server. If you remove it and provide no other database server credentials, SQLite database files will be created in the storage folder. Local SSD storage is best for databases of any kind.

Never store database files on an unreliable device such as a USB flash drive, SD card, or shared network folder. These may also have unexpected file size limitations, which is especially problematic for databases that do not split data into smaller files.

It is not possible to change the password via MARIADB_PASSWORD after the database has been started for the first time. Choosing a secure password is not essential if you don't expose the database to other apps and hosts. To enable automatic schema updates after upgrading to a new major version, set MARIADB_AUTO_UPGRADE to a non-empty value in your docker-compose.yml.


Since the app is running inside a container, you have to explicitly mount the host folders you want to use. The app won't be able to see folders that have not been mounted. That's an important security feature.


The storageFolder folder contains your original photo and video files.

~/Pictures will be mounted by default, where ~ is a shortcut for your home directory: e.g. /home/username on Linux, /Users/username on Mac, or C:\Users\username on Windows.

# "/host/folder:/app/storageFolder" # example
- "~/Pictures:/app/storageFolder"

You may mount any folder accessible from the host instead, including network drives. Additional directories can be mounted as subfolders of /app/storageFolder:

- "/home/username/Pictures:/app/storageFolder"
- "/example/friends:/app/storageFolder/friends"
- "/mnt/photos:/app/storageFolder/media"

On Windows, prefix the host path with the drive letter and use / instead of \ as separator:

- "D:/Example/Pictures:/app/storageFolder"

If read-only mode is enabled, all features that require write permission to the originals/storageFolder folder are disabled, uploading and deleting files. Set app__ReadOnlyFolders__0 to "/" in docker-compose.yml for this. You can mount a folder with the :ro flag to make Docker block write operations as well.


Thumbnails files are created in the thumbnailTempFolder folder:

  • a storage folder mount must always be configured in your docker-compose.yml file so that you do not lose these files after a restart or upgrade
  • never configure the thumbnailTempFolder folder to be inside the thumbnailTempFolder folder unless the name starts with a . to indicate that it is hidden
  • we recommend placing the thumbnailTempFolder folder on a local SSD drive for best performance
  • mounting symbolic links or using them inside the thumbnailTempFolder folder is currently not supported

Should you later want to move your instance to another host, the easiest and most time-saving way is to copy the entire storage folder along with your originals and database.


At the moment we don't have a import folder for docker, but you can use the CLI to import files or use web upload

Import in a structured way that avoids duplicates:

  • imported files receive a canonical filename and will be organized by year and month
  • never configure the import folder to be inside the originals folder, as this will cause a loop by importing already indexed files

Step 2: Start the server

Open a terminal and change to the folder in which the docker-compose.yml file has been saved. Run this command to start the application and database services in the background:

docker compose up -d

Note that our guides now use the new docker compose command by default. If your server does not yet support it, you can still use docker-compose.

Now open the Web UI by navigating to http://localhost:6470/. You should see a registration screen. You may change it on the account settings page. Enabling public mode will disable authentication.

It can be helpful to keep Docker running in the foreground while debugging so that log messages are displayed directly. To do this, omit the -d parameter when restarting. Should the server already be running, or you see no errors, you may have started it on a different host and/or port. There could also be an [issue with your browser, ad blocker, or firewall settings.

The server port and other config options can be changed in docker-compose.yml at any time. Remember to restart the services for changes to take effect:

docker compose stop
docker compose up -d

Step 3: Index Your Library

Our First Steps 👣 tutorial guides you through the user interface and settings to ensure your library is indexed according to your individual preferences.

Ensure there is enough disk space available for creating thumbnails and verify filesystem permissions before starting to index: Files in the originals folder must be readable, while the storage folder including all subdirectories must be readable and writeable.

Open the Web UI, go to More and click Manual Sync to start indexing your pictures.

Easy, isn't it?


If your server runs out of memory, the index is frequently locked, or other system resources are running low:

  • Try reducing the number of workers by setting app__maxDegreesOfParallelism to a reasonably small value in docker-compose.yml, depending on the CPU performance and number of cores
  • Make sure your server has at least 4 GB of swap space so that indexing doesn't cause restarts when memory usage spikes; RAW image conversion and video transcoding are especially demanding
  • If you are using SQLite, switch to MariaDB, which is better optimized for high concurrency

Other issues? Our troubleshooting checklists help you quickly diagnose and solve them.