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Getting Docker Up and Running

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.


If you can't use the docker and docker-compose commands at all, make sure Docker is running on the host you are connected to and your current user has the permission to use it. The following guides explain how to install Docker:

Docker Compose

Linux distributions may require you to install the docker-compose command separately, for example by running sudo apt install docker-compose in a terminal or using a graphical software package manager.

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.

Viewing Logs

Run this command to display the last 100 log messages (omit --tail=100 to see all):

docker-compose logs --tail=100

To enable debug mode, set PHOTOPRISM_DEBUG to true in the environment: section of the photoprism service (or use the --debug flag when running the photoprism command directly):

      PHOTOPRISM_DEBUG: "true"

Then restart all services for the changes to take effect. 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:

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 the docker-compose command in the same directory. Config files for other apps or instances should be placed in separate folders.

Adding Swap

Note that high-resolution panoramic images may require additional swap space and/or physical memory above the recommended minimum.


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.


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.


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 (RedHat/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 (RedHat/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.

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.

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.