Before you install Pixelfed, you will need to setup a webserver with the required dependencies:

  • A PHP-FPM server
  • An SQL database server
  • An HTTPS server
  • Composer, for PHP dependency management
  • Git, for fetching updates
  • Redis, for in-memory caching and background task queueing
  • GD, for image processing
  • JPEGOptim, for optimizing JPG
  • OptiPNG, for lossless PNG
  • PNGQuant, for lossy PNG
  • ffmpeg, for generating video thumbnails

Shared Hosting

At this stage, it’s not possible to install Pixelfed by downloading a ZIP file and uploading the files to your web server. This is because Composer needs to run on the command line.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a VPS. Some shared hosts give you SSH access, through which you should be able to install Composer and Pixelfed just fine.

PHP-FPM [link]

You can check your currently installed version of PHP-FPM by running php-fpm -v. Make sure you are running PHP >= 8.1.

You can check your currently loaded extensions by running php-fpm -m. Modules are usually enabled by editing your PHP configuration file and uncommenting the appropriate lines under the “Dynamic extensions” section. Make sure the following extensions are installed and loaded:

  • bcmath
  • ctype
  • curl
  • exif
  • gd
  • iconv
  • intl
  • json
  • mbstring
  • openssl
  • redis
  • tokenizer
  • xml
  • zip

Additionally, you will need to enable extensions for database drivers:

  • For MySQL or MariaDB: enable pdo_mysql and mysqli
  • For PostgreSQL: enable pdo_pgsql and pgsql

Finally, make sure to set the desired upload limits for your PHP processes. You will want to check the following:

  • post_max_size (default 8M, set this around or slightly greater than your desired post size limit)
  • file_uploads (default On, which it needs to be)
  • upload_max_filesize (default 2M, set this <= post_max_size)
  • max_file_uploads (default 20, but make sure it is >= your desired attachment limit)
  • max_execution_time (default 30, consider raising this to 600 or more so that longer tasks aren’t interrupted)

Instagram imports

Instagram imports are also affected by these settings. If you enable imports, you will want to raise post_max_size to the maximum size you expect an Instagram archive to be, upload_max_filesize to the maximum size you expect individual Instagram photos to be, and max_file_uploads to the maximum number of photos (not posts) you’d expect an Instagram archive to contain.

Database [link]

You can choose one of three supported database drivers for Laravel 9, the framework used by Pixelfed:

  • MySQL (5.7+)
  • MariaDB (10.3+)
  • PostgreSQL (10+)

You will need to create a database and grant permission to an SQL user identified by a password. To do this with MySQL or MariaDB, do the following:

sudo mysql -u root -p

You can then create a database and grant privileges to your SQL user. The following SQL commands will create a database named pixelfed and allow it to be managed by a user pixelfed with password strong_password:

1create database pixelfed;
2grant all privileges on pixelfed.* to 'pixelfed'@'localhost' identified by 'strong_password';
3flush privileges;

To do this with PostgreSQL instead, do the following:

sudo -u postgres psql

Once in the psql shell, do the following:


Changing database drivers

If you decide to change database drivers later, please run a backup first! You can do this with php artisan backup:run --only-db

HTTP Web server [link]

The following web servers are officially supported:

  • Apache (with mod_rewrite enabled)
  • nginx

Pixelfed uses HTTPS URIs, so you will need to have HTTPS set up at the perimeter of your network before you proxy requests internally.

Creating a dedicated app-user and using UNIX sockets (optional) [link]

For added security, you may want to create a dedicated user specifically for running Pixelfed. To do this:

useradd -rU -s /bin/bash pixelfed

Configuring PHP-FPM pool and socket [link]

cd /etc/php/php-fpm.d/
cp www.conf pixelfed.conf
$EDITOR pixelfed.conf

Where to define custom PHP-FPM pools

The exact directory you should cd to will vary according to your distribution:

  • Arch Linux uses /etc/php/php-fpm.d
  • Debian and Ubuntu use /etc/php/8.1/fpm/pool.d/ (dependent on PHP version)
  • For other distributions, check your php-fpm.conf to see where exactly you can define *.conf with include=

Make the following changes to the PHP-FPM pool:

; use the username of the app-user as the pool name, e.g. pixelfed
user = pixelfed
group = pixelfed
; to use a tcp socket, e.g. if running php-fpm on a different machine than your app:
;    (note that the port 9001 is used, since php-fpm defaults to running on port 9000;)
;    (however, the port can be whatever you want)
; listen =;
;    but it's better to use a socket if you're running locally on the same machine:
listen = /run/php-fpm/pixelfed.sock
listen.owner = http = http
listen.mode = 0660
; [...]

Configuring Redis socket [link]

Edit redis.conf and edit the following lines:

port 6379                           # change this to "port 0" to disable network packets
unixsocket /run/redis/redis.sock    # 
unixsocketperm 770                  # give permission to "redis" user and group

Where to find redis.conf

The exact location will vary according to your distribution:

  • Arch Linux uses /etc/redis.conf
  • Debian and Ubuntu use /etc/redis/redis.conf
  • For other distributions, check your documentation