Self-hosting Guide #

This guide explains how to get your own Penpot instance, running on a machine you control, to test it, use it by you or your team, or even customize and extend it any way you like.

If you need more context you can look at the post about self-hosting in Penpot community.

There is absolutely no difference between our SaaS offer for Penpot and your self-hosted Penpot platform!

There are two main options for creating a Penpot instance:

  1. Using the platform of our partner Elestio.
  2. Using Docker tool.

The recommended way is to use Elestio, since it's simpler, fully automatic and still greatly flexible. Use Docker if you already know the tool, if need full control of the process or have extra requirements and do not want to depend on any external provider, or need to do any special customization.

Or you can try other options, offered by Penpot community.

Install with Elestio #

This section explains how to get Penpot up and running using Elestio.

This platform offers a fully managed service for on-premise instances of a selection of open-source software! This means you can deploy a dedicated instance of Penpot in just 3 minutes. You’ll be relieved of the need to worry about DNS configuration, SMTP, backups, SSL certificates, OS & Penpot upgrades, and much more.

It uses the same Docker configuration as the other installation option, below, so all customization options are the same.

Get an Elestio account #

Skip this section if you already have an Elestio account.

To create your Elestio account click here. You can choose to deploy on any one of five leading cloud providers or on-premise.

Deploy Penpot using Elestio #

Now you can Create your service in “Services”:

  1. Look for Penpot.
  2. Select a Service Cloud Provider.
  3. Select Service Cloud Region.
  4. Select Service Plan (for a team of 20 you should be fine with 2GB RAM).
  5. Select Elestio Service Support.
  6. Provide Service Name (this will show in the URL of your instance) & Admin email (used to create the admin account).
  7. Select Advanced Configuration options (you can also do this later).
  8. Hit “Create Service” on the bottom right.

It will take a couple of minutes to get the instance launched. When the status turns to “Service is running” you are ready to get started.

By clicking on the Service you go to all the details and configuration options.

In Network/CNAME you can find the URL of your instance. Copy and paste this into a browser and start using Penpot.

Configure Penpot with Elestio #

If you want to make changes to your Penpot setup click on the “Update config” button in Software. Here you can see the “Docker compose” used to create the instance. In “ENV” top middle left you can make configuration changes that will be reflected in the Docker compose.

In this file, a “#” at the start of the line means it is text and not considered part of the configuration. This means you will need to delete it to get some of the configuration options to work. Once you made all your changes hit “Update & restart”. After a couple of minutes, your changes will be active.

You can find all configuration options in the Configuration section.

Get in contact with us through if you have any questions or need help.

Update Penpot #

Elestio will update your instance automatically to the latest release unless you don't want this. In that case you need to “Disable auto updates” in Software auto updates.

Install with Docker #

This section details everything you need to know to get Penpot up and running in production environments using Docker. For this, we provide a series of Dockerfiles and a docker-compose file that orchestrate all.

Install Docker #

Skip this section if you already have docker installed, up and running.

Currently, Docker comes into two different flavours:

Docker Desktop #

This is the only option to have Docker in a Windows or MacOS. Recently it's also available for Linux, in the most popular distributions (Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora).

You can install it following the official guide.

Docker Desktop has a graphical control panel (GUI) to manage the service and view the containers, images and volumes. But need the command line (Terminal in Linux and Mac, or PowerShell in Windows) to build and run the containers, and execute other operations.

It already includes docker compose utility, needed by Penpot.

Docker Engine #

This is the classic and default Docker setup for Linux machines, and the only option for a Linux VPS without graphical interface.

You can install it following the official guide.

And you also need the docker compose (V2) plugin. You can use the old docker-compose tool, but all the documentation supposes you are using the V2.

You can easily check which version of docker compose you have. If you can execute docker compose command, then you have V2. If you need to write docker-compose (with a -) for it to work, you have the old version.

Start Penpot #

As first step you will need to obtain the docker-compose.yaml file. You can download it from Penpot repository.



curl -o docker-compose.yaml

Then simply launch composer:

docker compose -p penpot -f docker-compose.yaml up -d

At the end it will start listening on http://localhost:9001

Stop Penpot #

If you want to stop running Penpot, just type

docker compose -p penpot -f docker-compose.yaml down

Configure Penpot with Docker #

The configuration is defined using environment variables in the docker-compose.yaml file. The default downloaded file already comes with the essential variables already set, and other ones commented out with some explanations.

Create users using CLI #

By default (or when disable-email-verification flag is used), the email verification process is completly disabled for new registrations but it is highly recommended enabling email verification or disabling registration if you are going to expose your penpot instance to the internet.

If you have registration disabled, you can create additional profiles using the command line interface:

docker exec -ti penpot-penpot-backend-1 python3 create-profile

NOTE: the exact container name depends on your docker version and platform. For example it could be penpot-penpot-backend-1 or penpot_penpot-backend-1. You can check the correct name executing docker ps.

NOTE: This script only will works when you properly have the enable-prepl-server flag set on backend (is set by default on the latest docker-compose.yaml file)

You can find all configuration options in the Configuration section.

Update Penpot #

To get the latest version of Penpot in your local installation, you just need to execute:

docker compose -f docker-compose.yaml pull

This will fetch the latest images. When you do docker compose up again, the containers will be recreated with the latest version.

Important: Upgrade from version 1.x to 2.0

The migration to version 2.0, due to the incorporation of the new v2 components, includes an additional process that runs automatically as soon as the application starts. If your on-premises Penpot instance contains a significant amount of data (such as hundreds of penpot files, especially those utilizing SVG components and assets extensively), this process may take a few minutes.

In some cases, such as when the script encounters an error, it may be convenient to run the process manually. To do this, you can disable the automatic migration process using the disable-v2-migration flag in PENPOT_FLAGS environment variable. You can then execute the migration process manually with the following command:

docker exec -ti <container-name-or-id> ./ app.migrations.v2

Backup Penpot #

Penpot uses Docker volumes to store all persistent data. This allows you to delete and recreate containers whenever you want without losing information.

This also means you need to do regular backups of the contents of the volumes. You cannot directly copy the contents of the volume data folder. Docker provides you a volume backup procedure, that uses a temporary container to mount one or more volumes, and copy their data to an archive file stored outside of the container.

If you use Docker Desktop, there is an extension that may ease the backup process.

If you use the default docker compose file, there are two volumes used: one for the Postgres database and another one for the assets uploaded by your users (images and svg clips). There may be more volumes if you enable other features, as explained in the file itself.

Unofficial self-host options #

There are some other options, NOT SUPPORTED BY PENPOT: