Skip to content



  • A Linux machine (amd64 or arm64) with root access.
  • A domain name (or subdomain) for the Mobilizon server, e.g.
  • An SMTP server to deliver emails


We tested this guide with Debian Bullseye. Installing the precompiled release on other and older distributions may not work due to various issues. It is advised to consider building Mobilizon from source if you have trouble installing it on other configurations.


Mobilizon only requires the PostgreSQL database engine and a few libraries:

  • curl (to download the release build archive)
  • tar (to extract the release from the archive)
  • PostgreSQL and PostGIS
  • nginx (other reverse proxies may work but we only support this one)
  • certbot (for Let's Encrypt certificates, but any ACME client could work)
  • ImageMagick to process uploaded pictures
  • file to get MIME information about files
sudo apt install curl tar postgresql postgresql-contrib nginx certbot imagemagick file
sudo apt install --install-recommends postgis

Initialize database cluster

Make sure PostgreSQL is setup properly before continuing. Some distributions set up the database cluster automatically, but others don't, so make sure to check out your distribution documentation on the topic first.

For instance on ArchLinux you need to do:

sudo -iu postgres
initdb -D /var/lib/postgres/data

The following dependencies are optional, but will be used to optimize your users uploaded pictures if available:

sudo apt install gifsicle jpegoptim optipng pngquant


We're going to use a dedicated mobilizon user:


We are going to install Mobilizon into /opt/mobilizon. You may want to install it somewhere else, like /usr/local/lib/mobilizon. In that case, make sure you adapt the paths in the following instructions.

sudo adduser --group --system --shell /bin/false --home /opt/mobilizon mobilizon

Download and install release


To get the latest package URL, you should go to our release page and copy the URL from the latest tar.gz package matching your system (distribution and architecture).

The URL redirects to the latest stable release package available for the latest version of Debian, but you shouldn't use it it you want to get a beta version or a different version.


The build behind targets architecture amd64. If you need arm or arm64, you'll find links to builds for these architectures on the release page.

  • Download the latest release build and unzip it:
    curl -L '' -o /tmp/mobilizon.tar.gz
    tar xzf /tmp/mobilizon.tar.gz -C /tmp/
  • Move the release to the install folder:

    mv /tmp/mobilizon /opt/
    rm /tmp/mobilizon.tar.gz

  • Set the proper owner to /opt/mobilizon

    chown -R mobilizon:mobilizon /opt/mobilizon

  • Create config directory

    mkdir -p /etc/mobilizon
    chown -R mobilizon /etc/mobilizon

  • Create directories for user uploads and the GeoIP database

    mkdir -p /var/lib/mobilizon/uploads /var/lib/mobilizon/uploads/exports/csv /var/lib/mobilizon/data
    chown -R mobilizon /var/lib/mobilizon


Mobilizon provides a command line tool to generate configuration

cd /opt/mobilizon
sudo -u mobilizon ./bin/mobilizon_ctl instance gen  --output /etc/mobilizon/config.exs --output-psql /tmp/setup_db.psql

This will ask you questions about your setup and your instance to generate a config.exs file in the /etc/mobilizon/ folder, and a /tmp/setup_db.psql file to setup the database.

Database setup

The setup_db.psql file contains SQL instructions to create a PostgreSQL user and database with the chosen credentials and add the required extensions to the Mobilizon database.

sudo -u postgres psql -f /tmp/setup_db.psql

It should output something like:

You are now connected to database "mobilizon_prod" as user "postgres".

If is successeds, we can remove the file:

sudo rm /tmp/setup_db.psql

Database Migration

Run database migrations:

sudo -u mobilizon ./bin/mobilizon_ctl migrate

You will have to do this again after most updates.


If some migrations fail, it probably means you're not using a recent enough version of PostgreSQL, or that you haven't installed the required extensions.



Copy the support/systemd/mobilizon-release.service to /etc/systemd/system/mobilizon.service.

sudo cp support/systemd/mobilizon-release.service /etc/systemd/system/mobilizon.service

Reload Systemd to detect your new file

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

And enable the service

sudo systemctl enable --now mobilizon.service

It will run Mobilizon and enable startup on boot. You can follow the logs with

sudo journalctl -fu mobilizon.service

You should see something like this:

Running Mobilizon.Web.Endpoint with cowboy 2.8.0 at :::4000 (http)
Access Mobilizon.Web.Endpoint at

The Mobilizon server runs on port 4000 on the local interface only, so you need to add a reverse-proxy.

Reverse proxy


Copy the file from support/nginx/mobilizon.conf to /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf.

sudo cp support/nginx/mobilizon-release.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf

Then symlink the file into the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Edit the file /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf and adapt it to your own configuration.

Test the configuration with sudo nginx -t and reload nginx with sudo systemctl reload nginx.

Let's Encrypt

The nginx configuration template handles the HTTP-01 challenge with the webroot plugin:

sudo mkdir /var/www/certbot

Run certbot with (don't forget to adapt the command)

sudo certbot certonly --rsa-key-size 4096 --webroot -w /var/www/certbot/ --email --agree-tos --text --renew-hook "/usr/sbin/nginx -s reload" -d

Then adapt the nginx configuration /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf by uncommenting certificate paths and removing obsolete blocks.

Finish by testing the configuration with sudo nginx -t and reloading nginx with sudo systemctl reload nginx.

You should now be able to load inside your browser.

Creating your first user

Create a new Mobilizon user with the role admin:

 sudo -u mobilizon ./bin/mobilizon_ctl "" --admin --password "Y0urP4ssw0rd"


Don't forget to prefix the command with an empty space so that the chosen password isn't kept in your shell history.


You can ignore the --password option and Mobilizon will generate one for you.

See the full documentation for this command.

You may now login with your credentials and discover Mobilizon. Feel free to explore configuration documentation as well.

Suggested tasks

Configure emails

The default Mobilizon configuration assumes a local SMTP server is available on the same server. To tweak this for your own setup, see this page.

Configure 3rd-party auth

Mobilizon can use LDAP or OAuth-based login providers (Facebook, Google, etc.) to help register or login users. Configuration can be found here.

Configure geocoders

This will allow the address autocomplete field to provide addresses when editing an event. The default value uses OpenStreetMap's Nominatim provider but you can change it to the provider of your choice.


When using the default OpenStreetMap's Nominatim provider, autocomplete is disabled and using the service implies that you accept their Usage Policy.

Geolocation databases

Mobilizon can use geolocation from MMDB format data from sources like MaxMind GeoIP databases or databases. This allows showing events happening near the user's location.

You will need to download the City database and put it into /var/lib/mobilizon/geo/GeoLite2-City.mmdb. You may also customize the location with the following setting:

config :geolix,
  databases: [
      id: :city,
      adapter: Geolix.Adapter.MMDB2,
      source: "/var/lib/mobilizon/geo/GeoLite2-City.mmdb"
  • Download the database file and rename it to GeoLite2-City.mmdb.

  • Create the GeoIP directory

    mkdir -p /var/lib/mobilizon/geo

  • Move the database inside the folder

    mv GeoLite2-City.mmdb /var/lib/mobilizon/geo/

  • Make sure the GeoIP database has the proper owner. Mobilizon only needs read access to this GeoIP database file.

    chown -R mobilizon:mobilizon /var/lib/mobilizon/geo

Finish by restarting the mobilizon service.

Mobilizon will only show a warning at startup if the database is missing, but it isn't required.

Last update: December 5, 2023