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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.

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:

wget https://dl.photoprism.app/docker/docker-compose.yml

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.

Download our docker-compose.yml example for the Raspberry Pi 3 / 4 and other ARM64-based devices (right click and Save Link As... or use wget) to a folder of your choice, and change the configuration as needed:

wget https://dl.photoprism.app/docker/arm64/docker-compose.yml

Mostly the same installation instructions as for regular Linux servers apply. Commands may have to be prefixed with sudo when not running as root. Ensure your device meets the requirements and has at least 4 GB of swap configured before you continue.

Download our docker-compose.yml example for older ARMv7-based devices (right click and Save Link As... or use wget) to a folder of your choice, and change the configuration as needed:

wget https://dl.photoprism.app/docker/armv7/docker-compose.yml

Mostly the same installation instructions as for regular Linux servers apply. Commands may have to be prefixed with sudo when not running as root. Ensure your device meets the requirements and has at least 4 GB of swap configured before you continue.

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

https://dl.photoprism.app/docker/windows/docker-compose.yml

Windows Pro users should disable the WSL 2 based engine in Docker Settings > General so that they can mount drives other than C:. This will enable Hyper-V, which Microsoft doesn't offer to its Windows Home customers. Docker Desktop uses dynamic memory allocation with WSL 2. It is important to explicitly increase the Docker memory limit to 4 GB or more when using Hyper-V. The default of 2 GB can reduce indexing performance and cause unexpected restarts. Also, ensure that you configure at least 4 GB of swap space.

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

https://dl.photoprism.app/docker/macos/docker-compose.yml

It is important to increase the Docker memory limit to 4 GB or more, as the default of 2 GB can reduce indexing performance and cause unexpected restarts. Also, ensure that you configure at least 4 GB of swap space.

Always change PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD so that the app starts with a secure initial password. Never use easy-to-guess passwords or default values like insecure on publicly accessible servers. There is no default in case no password was provided. A minimum length of 8 characters is required.

Database

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, an SD card, or a shared network folder.

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.

Volumes

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

/photoprism/originals

The originals folder contains your original photo and video files.

~/Pictures will be mounted by default, where ~ is a shortcut for your home directory:

volumes:
  # "/host/folder:/photoprism/folder"  # example
  - "~/Pictures:/photoprism/originals"

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

volumes:
  - "/home/username/Pictures:/photoprism/originals"
  - "/example/friends:/photoprism/originals/friends"
  - "/mnt/photos:/photoprism/originals/media"

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

volumes:
  - "D:/Example/Pictures:/photoprism/originals"

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

/photoprism/storage

Cache, session, thumbnail and sidecar files are created in the storage 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 storage folder to be inside the originals folder unless the name starts with a . to indicate that it is hidden
  • we recommend placing the storage folder on a local SSD drive for best performance
  • mounting symbolic links or using them inside the storage 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.

/photoprism/import

You may optionally mount an import folder from which files can be transferred to the originals folder in a structured way that avoids duplicates. Imported files receive a canonical filename and will be organized by year and month.

You can safely skip this. Adding files via Web Upload and WebDAV remains possible, unless read-only mode is enabled or the features have been disabled.

Step 2: Start the server

Open a terminal and change to the folder in which the docker-compose.yml file has been saved.1 Run this command to start the application and database services in the background:

docker-compose up -d

Now open the Web UI by navigating to http://localhost:2342/. You should see a login screen. Sign in with the user admin and the initial password configured via PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD. 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.

It is not possible to change the password via PHOTOPRISM_ADMIN_PASSWORD after the app has been started for the first time. You may run docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism passwd in a terminal to change an existing password. You can also reset your database for a clean start.

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

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 Library and click Start to start indexing your pictures.

While indexing, JPEG sidecar files may be created for originals in other formats such as RAW and HEIF. This is required for image classification, facial recognition, and for displaying them in a Web browser. Sidecar and thumbnail files will be added to the storage folder, so that your originals folder won't be modified.

Your photos and videos will successively become visible in search results and other parts of the user interface. Open the Logs tab in Library to watch the indexer working.

Of course, you can continue using your favorite tools for processing RAW files, editing metadata, or importing new shots. Go to Library and click Start to update the index after files have been changed, added, or removed. This can also be automated using CLI commands and a scheduler.

Easy, isn't it?

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Troubleshooting

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

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

You are welcome to ask for help in our community chat. Sponsors receive direct technical support via email. Before submitting a support request, try to determine the cause of your problem.

Command-Line Interface

photoprism help lists all commands and config options available in the current version:

docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism help

Use the --help flag to see a detailed command description, for example:

docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism backup --help

Prefixing commands with docker-compose exec [service name] runs them inside an app container. If this fails with no container found, make sure the app has been started, its service name is the same, and you are in the folder in which the docker-compose.yml file has been saved.

PhotoPrism's command-line interface is well suited for job automation using a scheduler.

Examples

Action Command
Start Services docker-compose up -d
Stop Services docker-compose stop
Download Updates docker-compose pull
Uninstall docker-compose rm -s -v
View Logs docker-compose logs --tail=100 -f
Display Config Values docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism show config
Repeat Failed Migrations docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism migrations run --failed
Reset Database docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism reset
Backup Database docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism backup -a -i
Restore Database docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism restore -a -i
Change Admin Password docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism passwd
Show User Management Commands docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism users help
Show Facial Recognition Commands docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism faces help
Index Faces docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism faces index
Reset People & Faces docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism faces reset -f
Transcode Videos to AVC docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism convert
Regenerate Thumbnails docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism thumbs -f
Update Index docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism index --cleanup
Import Files docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism import [path]

Complete Rescan

docker-compose exec photoprism photoprism index -f rescans all originals, including already indexed and unchanged files. This may be necessary after major upgrades and after migrations of the database schema, especially if search results are missing or incorrect. Note you can also start a rescan from the user interface by navigating to Library > Index, checking "Full Rescan" and then clicking "Start".


  1. The default Docker Compose config filename is docker-compose.yml. For simplicity, it doesn't need to be specified when running the docker-compose command in the same directory. Config files for other apps or instances should be placed in separate folders.