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


We advise to make sure your webserver is secure enough. For instance you can require authentication through SSH keys and not passwords, install Fail2Ban to block repeated login attempts and block unused ports by installing and configuring a firewall.


Mobilizon requires Elixir, NodeJS and PostgreSQL among other things. Prefer to install Elixir and NodeJS from their official repositories instead of your distribution's packages (more on that below).

Recommended versions:

  • Elixir 1.15+
  • NodeJS 20+
  • PostgreSQL 13+

Upgrade system

Just to be sure your system is up-to-date before doing anything else:

sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade

Basic tools

We begin by making sure some basic tools are installed:

sudo apt install build-essential curl unzip openssl git cmake file
sudo pacman -S base-devel curl unzip openssl git cmake file

Web server

We only officially support nginx.

sudo apt install nginx

HTTPS Certificates

Then we need to install certbot, a tool to ask for free Let's Encrypt HTTPS certificates.

sudo apt install certbot

You can use certbot with web server plugins or manually. See Certbot's documentation.


We install the latest NodeJS version by adding NodeSource repos and installing NodeJS:

Head over to this page and follow the instructions for Node.js v20.x.


Unless stated otherwise, Mobilizon always supports only the latest LTS version of NodeJS.


NodeSource repos only gives updates for a specific version of NodeJS (it doesn't upgrade itself to a new major version). When a new major version of NodeJS is released, you need to remove the old repo and add the new one.

Erlang and Elixir

The packages from Debian or Ubuntu are badly packaged and often out of date, so we need to add one final source repository.

Follow the instructions for your system on this page to install the Erlang and Elixir packages.

For Debian/Ubuntu, to get the latest Erlang/Elixir versions, you should install the Erlang Solutions repo and then the Erlang and Elixir packages. It should come down to the following steps:

Add the following content to /etc/apt/sources.list.d/erlang-solutions.list :

deb {{oscodename}} contrib
deb {{oscodename}} contrib

Where {{oscodename}} stands for the codename of the Debian/Ubuntu release in use.

Download and import the repository GPG key :

apt-key add GPG-KEY-pmanager.asc
rm GPG-KEY-pmanager.asc

Install Erlang & Elixir packages :

apt update
apt install esl-erlang
apt install elixir


The Erlang package also wants to install an add-on for Emacs for some reason (but it doesn't install Emacs). If you see a warning, nothing to worry about.

ASDF package manager

Another popular option to install Erlang and Elixir is through the ASDF package manager, which will install Elixir only locally, without making system changes. Think of it as a similar tool to nvm or rvm for NodeJS or Ruby.

You'll need to install both Erlang and Elixir ASDF plugins. However, it currently requires to configure and compile Erlang itself, which may be cumbersome.

PostgreSQL and PostGIS

Mobilizon uses the PostgreSQL database, and the PostgreSQL Postgis extension to store geographical data into PostgreSQL.

sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-contrib
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

After that we can enable and start the PostgreSQL service.

sudo systemctl --now enable postgresql


We need the following tools to handle and optimize pictures that are uploaded on Mobilizon.

sudo apt install imagemagick webp

The following packages are optional, Mobilizon can run without them, but if found they will be used to optimize user's pictures so that they are lighter.

sudo apt install gifsicle jpegoptim optipng pngquant

Once finished, let's head back to the install guide.

Arch Linux

Run the following command to install all at once:

sudo pacman -S nodejs postgresql openssl git wget unzip base-devel nginx elixir postgis imagemagick file libwebp

Now that dependencies are installed, before running Mobilizon you should start PostgreSQL:

sudo systemctl --now enable postgresql

Once finished, let's head back to the install guide.

Other distributions

Feel free to update this file in a merge request!


We're going to use a dedicated mobilizon user with /home/mobilizon home:

sudo adduser --shell /bin/false mobilizon
sudo pw useradd -n mobilizon -d /home/mobilizon -s /usr/local/bin/bash -m 
sudo passwd mobilizon

Then let's connect as this user:

sudo -i -u mobilizon

Let's start by cloning the repository in a directory named live:

git clone live && cd live

Then pick the latest release (you can get the number version from For instance if the version is 1.0.6:

git checkout 1.0.6

Installing dependencies

Install Elixir dependencies

mix deps.get


When asked for Shall I install Hex? or Shall I install rebar3?, hit the enter key to confirm.

Then compile these dependencies and Mobilizon (this can take a few minutes, and can output all kinds of warnings, such as depreciation issues)

MIX_ENV=prod mix compile

Install the Javascript dependencies

npm install

Finally, we can build the front-end (this can take a few seconds).


Building front-end can consume up to 2048MB of RAM by default. If it's too much or not sufficient for your setup, you can adjust the maximum memory used by prefixing the command with the following option:


npm run build

Create a digest of the static assets

MIX_ENV=prod mix phx.digest


Mobilizon provides a command line tool to generate configuration

MIX_ENV=prod mix mobilizon.instance gen

This will ask you questions about your setup and your instance to generate a runtime.exs file in the config/ folder, and a 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.

Exit running as the mobilizon user (as it shouldn't have root/sudo rights) and execute in the /home/mobilizon/live directory:

sudo -u postgres psql -f setup_db.psql

It should output something like:

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

Let's get back to our mobilizon user:

sudo -i -u mobilizon
cd live


When it's done, don't forget to remove the setup_db.psql file.

Database Migration

Run database migrations:

MIX_ENV=prod mix ecto.migrate


Note the MIX_ENV=prod environment variable prefix in front of the command. You will have to use it for each mix command from now on.

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.


The default uploads directory is set to /var/lib/mobilizon/uploads, so we need to create it. The location can be changed with the following configuration:

config :mobilizon, Mobilizon.Web.Upload.Uploader.Local, uploads: "/var/lib/mobilizon/uploads"

Other directories created below can have their path changed as well.

  • Create the media directory and other needed directories

    mkdir -p /var/lib/mobilizon/uploads /var/lib/mobilizon/uploads/exports/csv /var/lib/mobilizon/sitemap /var/lib/mobilizon/timezones /var/lib/mobilizon/geo

  • Make sure the uploaded files have the proper owner. Mobilizon needs write access to this folder.

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


We can quit using the mobilizon user again.


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

sudo cp support/systemd/mobilizon-source.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-source.conf to /etc/nginx/sites-available/mobilizon.conf.

sudo cp support/nginx/mobilizon-source.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

Login back as the mobilizon system user:

sudo -i -u mobilizon
cd live

Create a new user:

 MIX_ENV=prod mix "" --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 priv/data/GeoLite2-City.mmdb. 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: January 4, 2024