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Configuration Overview

GoToSocial aims to be as configurable as possible, to fit lots of different use cases.

We try to provide sensible defaults wherever possible, but you can't run a GoToSocial instance without managing some configuration.

Configuration Methods

There are three different methods for configuring a GoToSocial instance, which can be combined depending on your setup.

Configuration File

The easiest way to configure GoToSocial is to pass a configuration file to to the gotosocial server start command, for example:

gotosocial --config-path ./config.yaml server start

The command expects a file in YAML or JSON format.

An example configuration file, with an explanation of each of the config fields, with default and example values, can be found here. This example file is also included in release downloads.

It's recommended to create your own configuration file with only the settings you need to change for your installation. This ensures you don't have to reconcile changes to defaults or adding/updating/removing settings from your configuration file that you haven't changed away from the defaults on every release.

Mounting in container

It can be necessary to have a config.yaml in a container, as some settings aren't easily managed with environment variables or command line flags.

To do so, create a config.yaml on the host, mount it in the container and then tell GoToSocial to pickup the configuration file. The latter can be done by either setting the command the container is run with to --config-path /path/inside/container/to/config.yaml or using the GTS_CONFIG_PATH environment variable.

For a compose file, you can amend the configuration like so:

    command: ["--config-path", "/gotosocial/config.yaml"]
      - type: bind
        source: /path/on/the/host/to/config.yaml
        target: /gotosocial/config.yaml
        read_only: true

Or, for the environment variable:

      GTS_CONFIG_PATH: /gotosocial/config.yaml
      - type: bind
        source: /path/on/the/host/to/config.yaml
        target: /gotosocial/config.yaml
        read_only: true

For the Docker or Podman command line, pass a mount specification.

Then when using docker run or podman run, pass --config-path /gotosocial/config.yaml as the command, for example:

podman run \
    --mount type=bind,source=/path/on/the/host/to/config.yaml,destination=/gotosocial/config.yaml,readonly \ \
    --config-path /gotosocial/config.yaml

Using the GTS_CONFIG_PATH environment variable instead:

podman run \
    --mount type=bind,source=/path/on/the/host/to/config.yaml,destination=/gotosocial/config.yaml,readonly \
    --env 'GTS_CONFIG_PATH=/gotosocial/config.yaml' \

Environment Variables

You can also configure GoToSocial by setting environment variables. These environment variables follow the format:

  1. Prepend GTS_ to the config flag.
  2. Uppercase-all.
  3. Replace dash (-) with underscore (_).

So for example, instead of setting media-image-max-size to 2097152 in your config.yaml, you could set the environment variable:


If you're in doubt about any of the names of these environment variables, just check the --help for the subcommand you're using.

Environment variable arrays

If you need to use an environment variable to set a configuration option that accepts an array, provide each value in a comma-separated list.

For example, instance-languages may be set in the config.yaml file as an array like so: ["nl", "de", "fr", "en"]. To set the same values as an environment variable, use: GTS_INSTANCE_LANGUAGES="nl,de,fr,en"

Command Line Flags

Finally, you can set configuration values using command-line flags, which you pass directly when you're running a gotosocial command. For example, instead of setting media-image-max-size in your config.yaml, or with an environment variable, you can pass the value directly through the command line:

gotosocial server start --media-image-max-size 2097152 

If you're in doubt about which flags are available, check gotosocial --help.


The above configuration methods override each other in the order in which they were listed.

command line flags > environment variables > config file

That is, if you set media-image-max-size to 2097152 in your config file, but then ALSO set the environment variable GTS_MEDIA_MAX_IMAGE_SIZE=9999999, then the final value will be 9999999, because environment variables have a higher priority than values set in config.yaml.

Command line flags have the highest priority, so if you set --media-image-max-size 13121312, then the final value will be 13121312 regardless of what you've set elsewhere.

This means in cases where you want to just try changing one thing, but don't want to edit your config file, you can temporarily use an environment variable or a command line flag to set that one thing.

Default Values

Reasonable default values are provided for most of the configuration parameters, except in cases where a custom value is absolutely required.

See the example config file for the default values, or run gotosocial --help.