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Getting Docker Up and Running

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If you cannot use the docker and docker compose (or docker-compose) commands, make sure Docker is running on the host you are connected to and your current user has permission to use it. The following instructions explain how to install Docker:

Alternatively, Podman is supported as a drop-in replacement for Docker on Red Hat-compatible Linux distributions like RHEL, CentOS, Fedora, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux.

Ubuntu Linux

If you are using Ubuntu Linux, you can run this script to install the latest Docker version, including the Compose Plugin, on your server in one step:

bash <(curl -s

Docker Compose

The examples in our guides now use the new docker compose command by default. However, if your Docker version does not yet support the Compose Plugin, you can still use the standalone docker-compose command.

On some Linux distributions, you may need to install an additional package. To do so, you can use a graphical software package manager or run the following command in a terminal to install the Compose Plugin for Docker on Ubuntu and Debian:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install docker-compose-plugin

If that does not work, this will install the legacy docker-compose command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install docker-compose

Running the following commands will add a docker-compose alias for the new Compose plugin so that older scripts don't break:

echo 'docker compose "$@"' | sudo tee /bin/docker-compose
sudo chmod +x /bin/docker-compose

Podman Compose

On Red Hat-compatible Linux distributions like RHEL, CentOS, Fedora, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux, you can use Podman and Podman Compose as direct replacements for Docker and Docker Compose. The following installs the podman and podman-compose commands if they are not already installed:

sudo dnf update -y
sudo dnf install epel-release -y
sudo dnf install netavark aardvark-dns podman podman-docker podman-compose -y
sudo systemctl start podman
sudo systemctl enable podman
podman --version

We also provide a setup script that conveniently installs Podman and downloads the default configuration to a directory of your choice:

mkdir -p /opt/photoprism
cd /opt/photoprism
curl -sSf | bash

Please keep in mind to replace the docker and docker compose commands with podman and podman-compose when following the examples in our documentation.

Using Docker

Cannot Connect

If you see the error message "Cannot connect to the Docker daemon", it means that Docker is not installed or not running yet. Before you try anything else, it may help to simply restart your computer.

On many Linux distributions, this command will start the Docker daemon manually if needed:

sudo systemctl start docker.service

On other operating systems, start Docker Desktop and enable the "Start Docker Desktop when you log in" option in its settings.

Connection Aborted

If you see the error message "Connection aborted" or "Connection denied", it usually means that your current user does not have permission to use Docker.

On Linux, this command grants permission by adding a user to the docker group (relogin for changes to take effect):

sudo usermod -aG docker [username]

Alternatively, you can prefix the docker and docker-compose commands with sudo when not running as root, for example:

sudo docker compose stop
sudo docker compose up -d

Note that this will point the home directory shortcut ~ to /root in the volumes: section of your docker-compose.yml.

IPTables Firewall

On Linux, Docker manipulates the iptables rules to provide network isolation. This does have some implications for what you need to do if you want to have your own policies in addition to the rules Docker manages.

Learn more ›

Viewing Logs

You can run this command to watch the Docker service logs, including the last 100 messages (omit --tail=100 to see them all, and -f to output only the last logs without watching them):

docker compose logs -f --tail=100 

A good way to troubleshoot configuration issues is to increase the log level. To enable trace log mode, set PHOTOPRISM_LOG_LEVEL to "trace" in the environment: section of the photoprism service (or use the --trace flag when running the photoprism command directly):


Now restart all services for your changes to take effect:

docker compose stop
docker compose up -d

It can also 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 (re)starting:

docker compose stop
docker compose up

If you see no errors or no logs at all, you may have started the server on a different host and/or port. There could also be an issue with your browser, browser plugins, firewall settings, or other tools you may have installed.

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

Adding Swap

Note that indexing RAW images and high-resolution panoramas may require additional swap space and/or physical memory above the recommended minimum. We recommend not to set a hard memory limit, unless you are familiar with memory management and understand the implications.


Open a terminal and run this command to check if your server has swap configured.

swapon --show

Example output:

/swapfile file  64G  88M   -2

This means you have 64 GB of swap and don't need to add more. Learn how much you need.

Otherwise, run these commands to permanently add 4 GB of swap (or more depending on how much physical memory you have):

sudo -i
fallocate -l 4G /swapfile
chmod 600 /swapfile
mkswap /swapfile
swapon /swapfile
echo '/swapfile none swap sw 0 0' | tee -a /etc/fstab

You can skip sudo -i if you are already logged in as root.


Open a terminal on your Raspberry Pi and run the following command to verify if it has swap configured:

swapon --show

Example output:

/swapfile file  100M  0B   -2

If no swap has been configured or the command only shows 100 MB, open /etc/dphys-swapfile with a text editor, search for CONF_SWAPSIZE=100 and increase the value to 2048 if your device has 4 GB of physical memory, and 4096 otherwise:

sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile

Then restart for the changes to take effect:

sudo reboot

In addition, you can reduce memory usage and improve stability by setting PHOTOPRISM_WORKERS to 1 in your docker-compose.yml file to limit the number of indexing workers.


It is important to 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 make sure you configure at least 4 GB of swap space. Docker Desktop uses dynamic memory allocation with WSL 2, meaning you do not need to change any memory-related settings (depending on which version of Windows and Docker you are using).


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.

Kernel Security

We recommend disabling Linux kernel security modules like SELinux (Red Hat/Fedora) on private servers, especially if you have no experience configuring them.

If you have working configuration rules for a particular Linux distribution, feel free to share the instructions with the community so that less experienced users can harden their installation without running into problems.

File Permissions

Errors such as "read-only file system", "error creating path", or "wrong permissions" indicate a filesystem permission problem:

  • Use a file manager, or the commands ls -alh, chmod, and chown on Unix-like operating systems, to check and change filesystem permissions so all files and folders are accessible
  • The app and database storage folders must be writable as well: Verify that the services have write permissions and that you have not mounted the folders read-only on your host or via Docker using the :ro flag
  • If you have configured specific user and group IDs for a service, make sure they match
  • If symbolic links are mounted or used within storage folders, replace them with actual paths
  • It may help to add the :z mount flag to volumes when using SELinux (Red Hat/Fedora)
  • When mounting folders that only root has access to, you may have to prefix the docker and docker-compose commands with sudo on Linux if you are not already logged in as root

An easy way to test for missing permissions is to (temporarily) remove restrictions and make the entire folder accessible to everyone:

sudo chmod -R a+rwX [folder]
Start a full rescan once all issues have been resolved, especially if it looks like thumbnails or pictures are missing.

Be very careful when changing permissions in shared hosting environments. If you are using PhotoPrism on corporate or university servers, we recommend that you ask your IT help desk for advice.

Overlay Volumes

Depending on overlay file system support, it is possible to mount additional host folders as sub folders of /photoprism/originals (or other storage folders), for example:

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

For this to work, you should have the cgroupfs-mount package installed, as shown in the installation script we provide. You may otherwise find that files added to the mounted folders are not visible on the host, and data loss may occur.

We recommend that you start with a simple configuration without overlay volume mounts or path placeholders like ~, and only move on to a more complex setup once this works.

Disk Space

In case the logs show "disk full", "quota exceeded", or "no space left" errors, either the disk containing the storage folder is full (get a new one or use a different disk) or a disk usage limit is configured, for example in the Docker, Kubernetes, or Virtual Machine configuration (remove or increase it):

  • on Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, the available disk space can be viewed by running df -h in a terminal
  • if you are using Kubernetes, Docker Desktop, Hyper-V, or a Virtual Machine, they have their own settings to adjust the size of storage, RAM, and swap
  • for details, refer to the corresponding documentation

Start a full rescan if necessary, for example, if it looks like thumbnails or pictures are missing.

Network Storage

Shared folders that have already been mounted on your host under a drive letter or path can be used with Docker containers like any other directory. As shown below, certain types of network storage can alternatively be mounted directly with Docker Compose.

Please note that the required system dependencies must be installed on your computer in order to mount NFS (Unix/Linux) and/or CIFS shares (Windows/Mac), e.g. the nfs-client and cifs-utils packages on Ubuntu Linux. Also make sure that your Docker version and operating system are up-to-date, and that the latest Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is installed if you have a Windows PC.

Never store database files, e.g. used by MariaDB or SQLite, on an unreliable device like a USB stick, SD card or network drive as this leads to poor performance and can also result in data loss.

Unix / NFS

Follow this docker-compose.yml example to mount Network File System (NFS) shares e.g. from Unix servers or NAS devices:

    # ...
      # Map named volume "originals"
      # to "/photoprism/originals":
      - "originals:/photoprism/originals"     
    # ...

# Specify named volumes:
      type: nfs
      # Authentication and other mounting options:
      o: "addr=,username=user,password=secret,soft,rw,nfsvers=4.1"
      # Mount this path:
      device: ":/mnt/example"

device should contain the path to the share on the NFS server, note the : at the beginning. In the above example, the share can be mounted as the named volume originals. You can also choose another name as long as it is consistent.

Driver-specific options can be set after the server address in o, see the nfs manual page. Here are some examples of commonly used options:

  • nfsvers=3, nfsvers=4, or nfsvers=4.1 to specify the NFS version
  • nolock (optional): Remote applications on the NFS server are not affected by lock files inside the Docker container (only other processes inside the container are affected by locks)
  • timeo=n (optional, default 600): The NFS client waits n tenths of a second before retrying an NFS request
  • soft (optional): The NFS client aborts an NFS request after retrans=n unsuccessful retries, otherwise it retries indefinitely
  • retrans=n (optional, default 2): Sets the number of retries for NFS requests, only relevant when using soft

When you are done, please restart all services for the changes to take effect.

Because some operating environments and file systems do not enforce character set encodings, NFS v4.1 supports the fs_charset_cap attribute, which indicates the UTF-8 capabilities to the client.


Follow this docker-compose.yml example to mount CIFS network shares, e.g. from Windows, NAS devices or Linux servers with Samba:

    # ...
      # Map named volume "originals"
      # to "/photoprism/originals":
      - "originals:/photoprism/originals"     
    # ...

# Specify named volumes:
      type: cifs
      o: "iocharset=utf8,username=user,password=secret,rw"
      device: "//host/folder"

Then restart all services for the changes to take effect. Note that related values must start at the same indentation level in YAML and that tabs are not allowed for indentation. We recommend using 2 spaces, but any number will do as long as it is consistent.

We kindly ask you not to report bugs via GitHub Issues unless you are certain to have found a fully reproducible and previously unreported issue that must be fixed directly in the app. Ask for technical support if you need help, it could be a local configuration problem, or a misunderstanding in how the software works.