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This guide walks you through getting GoToSocial up and running using the official container images we publish. In this case we'll be using the Docker runtime directly through Docker Compose together with SQLite as the database.

You can also run GoToSocial using a container orchestration system such as Kubernetes or Nomad, but that is beyond the scope of this guide.

Create a Working Directory

You need a working directory in which your docker-compose file will be located, and a directory for GoToSocial to store data in, so create these directories with the following command:

mkdir -p ~/gotosocial/data

Now change to the working directory you created:

cd ~/gotosocial

Get the latest docker-compose.yaml

Use wget to download the latest docker-compose.yaml example, which we'll customize for our needs:


Edit the docker-compose.yaml

Because GoToSocial can be configured using Environment Variables, we can skip mounting a config.yaml file into the container, to make our configuration simpler. We just need to edit the docker-compose.yaml file to change a few things.

First open the docker-compose.yaml file in your editor of choice. For example:

nano docker-compose.yaml


If desired, update the GoToSocial Docker image tag to the version of GtS you want to use:

  • latest: the default. This points to the latest stable release of GoToSocial.
  • snapshot: points to whatever code is currently on the main branch. Not guaranteed to be stable, and may often be broken. Use with caution.
  • vX.Y.Z: release tag. This points to a specific, stable, release of GoToSocial.


Both the latest and snapshot tags are moving tags, whereas the vX.Y.Z tags are immutable. The result of pulling a moving tag might change from day to day. latest on one system might not be the same latest on a different system. It's recommended to use the vX.Y.Z tags instead so you always know exactly which version of GoToSocial you're running. The list of releases can be found right here, with the newest release at the top.


Change the GTS_HOST environment variable to the domain you are running GoToSocial on.

To ensure that your GoToSocial server displays the correct time on posts and in logs, you can set the timezone of the server by editing the TZ environment variable.

  1. Remove the # before TZ: UTC in the environment section.
  2. Change the UTC part to your timezone identifier. For a list of these identifiers, see

For example, if you are running your server in Minsk, you would set TZ: Europe/Minsk, Japan would be TZ: Japan, Dubai would be TZ: Asia/Dubai, etc.

If you don't set this, the default UTC will be used.

User (optional / probably not necessary)

By default, Dockerized GoToSocial runs with Linux user/group 1000:1000, which is fine in most cases. If you want to run as a different user/group, you should change the user field in the docker-compose.yaml accordingly.

For example, let's say you created the ~/gotosocial/data directory for a user with id 1001, and group id 1001. If you now try to run GoToSocial without changing the user field, it will get a permissions error trying to open its database file in the directory. In this case, you would have to change the user field of the docker compose file to 1001:1001.

LetsEncrypt (optional)

If you want to use LetsEncrypt for TLS certificates (https), you should also:

  1. Change the value of GTS_LETSENCRYPT_ENABLED to "true".
  2. Remove the # before - "80:80" in the ports section.
  3. (Optional) Set GTS_LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL_ADDRESS to a valid email address to receive certificate expiry warnings etc.

Optional configuration

There are many other configuration options documented in the config.yaml file, which you can use to further customize the behavior of your GoToSocial instance. These use sensible defaults where possible, so you don't necessarily need to make any changes to them right now, but here are a few you may be interested in:

  • GTS_INSTANCE_LANGUAGES: array of BCP47 language tags which determines the preferred languages of your instance.
  • GTS_MEDIA_REMOTE_CACHE_DAYS: number of days to keep remote media cached in storage.
  • GTS_SMTP_*: settings to allow your GoToSocial instance to connect to an email server and send notification emails.

If you decide to set/change any of these variables later on, be sure to restart your GoToSocial instance after making the changes.


For help translating variable names from the config.yaml file to environment variables, refer to the configuration section.

Start GoToSocial

With those small changes out of the way, you can now start GoToSocial with the following command:

docker-compose up -d

After running this command, you should get an output like:

Creating network "gotosocial_gotosocial" with the default driver
Creating gotosocial ... done

If you want to follow the logs of GoToSocial, you can use:

docker logs -f gotosocial

If everything is OK, you should see something similar to the following:

time=2022-04-19T09:48:35Z level=info msg=connected to SQLITE database
time=2022-04-19T09:48:35Z level=info msg=MIGRATED DATABASE TO group #1 (20211113114307, 20220214175650, 20220305130328, 20220315160814) func=doMigration
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=instance account CREATED with id 01EXX0TJ9PPPXF2C4N2MMMVK50
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=created instance instance with id 01PQT31C7BZJ1Q2Z4BMEV90ZCV
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=media manager cron logger: start[]
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=media manager cron logger: schedule[now 2022-04-19 09:48:36.096127852 +0000 UTC entry 1 next 2022-04-20 00:00:00 +0000 UTC]
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=started media manager remote cache cleanup job: will run next at 2022-04-20 00:00:00 +0000 UTC
time=2022-04-19T09:48:36Z level=info msg=listening on

Create your first User

Now that GoToSocial is running, you should create at least a user for yourself. How to do so is documented in our Creating users guide.


GoToSocial should now be running on your machine! To verify this, open your browser navigate to whatever you set as your GTS_HOST value. You should see the GoToSocial landing page. Well done!

(Optional) Reverse Proxy

If you want to run other webservers on port 443 or want to add an additional layer of security you might want to use a reverse proxy. We have guides available for a couple of popular open source options and will gladly take pull requests to add more.