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Start by retrieving the code by cloning the repository:

git clone && cd mobilizon


This requires to have an account on Framagit, our self-hosted Gitlab code forge. You may use the following URI instead of anonymous access: git://, but you won't be able to push any changes that way.

git clone && cd mobilizon

Run Mobilizon:

  • with Docker and Docker Compose (Recommended)
  • without Docker and Docker Compose (This involves more work on your part, use Docker and Docker Compose if you can)

With Docker

  • Copy .env.template to .env and tweak it to your likening
  • Install Make
  • Install Docker and Docker Compose for your system.
    Note: Podman versions ≥ 3 should work as well with the docker-compose command (instead of docker compose).
  • Run make setup to build, then make to launch a database container and an API container.
  • Follow the progress of the build with make logs.
  • Access localhost:4000 in your browser once the containers are fully built and launched.
  • Stop everything with make stop

Mix tasks

For instance creating an admin user

docker compose exec api mix "" --admin --password "mypassword"

All other Mix commands (from Mobilizon and dependencies) are available in the same way. For instance to generate a new migration:

docker compose exec api mix ecto.gen.migration MyMigrationModuleName
Then once it's written
docker compose exec api mix ecto.migrate
(or the shortcut version make migrate)

If you need to execute the iex while running, you can launch the database container on it's own:

docker compose start postgres
And then run the API container with iex:
docker compose run --service-ports --rm api iex -S mix phx.server

Without Docker


Install system dependencies

You may follow the same guide as for installing dependencies in source mode.

  • Elixir (and Erlang)
  • PostgreSQL ≥ 11 with PostGIS
  • Install NodeJS (we guarantee support for the latest LTS)
  • cmake, inotify-tools, ImageMagick, webp and basic build tools

Configure the database

Make sure the service is running.

Create a postgres user with database creation capabilities. For instance:

sudo -i -u postgres
createuser -d -P mobilizon
Set mobilizon as the password, then exit.

Install Mobilizon dependencies

  • Fetch backend Elixir dependencies with mix deps.get (you may need to accept prompts)
  • Compile Mobilizon dependencies with mix deps.compile (this can take a while and you may need to accept prompts)
  • Fetch front-end dependencies with npm i
  • Compile front-end with npm run build (this can take a while)


  • Create your database with mix ecto.create
  • Creating extensions on the database requires a PostgreSQL user with superuser capacities. For instance:

    sudo -i -u postgres
    psql mobilizon_dev
    create extension if not exists postgis;
    create extension if not exists unaccent;
    create extension if not exists pg_trgm;
    And finally exit both psql and the postgres system user.

  • Run database migrations: mix ecto.migrate

  • Generate configuration mix mobilizon.instance gen. Answer the following for these questions:
    • domain: localhost
    • database host: localhost (default)
    • database name: mobilizon_dev
    • database username: mobilizon (default)
    • database password: mobilizon (or whatever you've chosen before)

The rest can be left to default is possible or be set to whatever you prefer.


To make sure URLs are generated properly, edit config/runtime.exs and add , port: 4000 behind url: [host: "localhost".

Generate first user

Generate your first user with the mix task

mix --admin

You should have a similar output:

A user has been created with the following information:
  - email:
  - password: r/EKpKr5o7ngQY+r
  - Role: user
The user will be prompted to create a new profile after login for the first time.

Start the server

Start Phoenix endpoint with mix phx.server. The client development server will also automatically be launched and will reload on file change. Now you can visit localhost:4000 in your browser and see the website (server and client) in action.

If you want to access iex while the server is running, you can use this command to launch the server:

iex -S mix phx.server


Issues with argon2 when creating users.

This is because you installed deps through Docker and are now using Mobilizon without it, or the other way around. Just rm -r deps/argon2_elixir and trigger mix deps.get again.

Last update: December 5, 2023