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Deploy Seafile with Docker

Getting started

Install docker

Use the official installation guide for your OS to install Docker.

Download and modify docker-compose.yml

Download docker-compose.yml sample file to your host. Then modify the file according to your environment. The following fields are needed to be modified:

  • The password of MySQL root (MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD and DB_ROOT_PASSWD)
  • The volume directory of MySQL data (volumes)
  • The volume directory of Seafile data (volumes).

Start Seafile server

Start Seafile server with the following command

docker compose up -d

Wait for a few minutes for the first time initialization, then visit to open Seafile Web UI.

NOTE: You should run the above command in a directory with the docker-compose.yml.

More configuration options

Custom admin username and password

The default admin account is and the password is asecret. You can use a different password by setting the container's environment variables in the docker-compose.yml: e.g.


        - SEAFILE_ADMIN_PASSWORD=a_very_secret_password

Let's encrypt SSL certificate

If you set SEAFILE_SERVER_LETSENCRYPT to true, the container would request a letsencrypt-signed SSL certificate for you automatically.


        - "80:80"
        - "443:443"

If you want to use your own SSL certificate and the volume directory of Seafile data is /opt/seafile-data:

  • create a folder /opt/seafile-data/ssl, and put your certificate and private key under the ssl directory.
  • Assume your site name is, then your certificate must have the name, and the private key must have the name

If you got the following error when SEAFILE_SERVER_LETSENCRYPT=true is set:

subprocess.CalledProcessError: Command '/scripts/ /shared/ssl' returned non-zero exit status 128.

In /scripts/ (script in seafile container), git clone git:// has to be replaced with git clone https://.

Then restart the container:

docker compose restart

Since version 9.0.6, we use acme (not acme-tiny) to get certificate and fix this error.

Since version 10.0.x, if you want to use a reverse proxy and apply for a certificate outside docker, you can use FORCE_HTTPS_IN_CONF to force write https://<your_host> in the configuration file.


        - FORCE_HTTPS_IN_CONF=true

Modify Seafile server configurations

The config files are under shared/seafile/conf. You can modify the configurations according to Seafile manual

After modification, you need to restart the container:

docker compose restart

Find logs

To view Seafile docker logs, please use the following command

docker compose logs -f

The Seafile logs are under shared/logs/seafile in the docker, or /opt/seafile-data/logs/seafile in the server that run the docker.

The system logs are under shared/logs/var-log, or /opt/seafile-data/logs/var-log in the server that run the docker.

Add a new admin

Ensure the container is running, then enter this command:

docker exec -it seafile /opt/seafile/seafile-server-latest/

Enter the username and password according to the prompts. You now have a new admin account.

Seafile directory structure


Placeholder spot for shared volumes. You may elect to store certain persistent information outside of a container, in our case we keep various log files and upload directory outside. This allows you to rebuild containers easily without losing important information.

  • /shared/seafile: This is the directory for seafile server configuration and data.
  • /shared/logs: This is the directory for logs.
  • /shared/logs/var-log: This is the directory that would be mounted as /var/log inside the container. For example, you can find the nginx logs in shared/logs/var-log/nginx/.
  • /shared/logs/seafile: This is the directory that would contain the log files of seafile server processes. For example, you can find seaf-server logs in shared/logs/seafile/seafile.log.
  • /shared/ssl: This is directory for certificate, which does not exist by default.
  • /shared/bootstrap.conf: This file does not exist by default. You can create it by your self, and write the configuration of files similar to the samples folder.

Backup and recovery


We assume your seafile volumns path is in /opt/seafile-data. And you want to backup to /opt/seafile-backup directory. You can create a layout similar to the following in /opt/seafile-backup directory:

---- databases/  MySQL contains database backup files
---- data/  Seafile contains backups of the data directory

The data files to be backed up:

/opt/seafile-data/seafile/conf  # configuration files
/opt/seafile-data/seafile/seafile-data # data of seafile
/opt/seafile-data/seafile/seahub-data # data of seahub



  1. Backup the databases;
  2. Backup the seafile data directory;

Backup Order: Database First or Data Directory First

backing up Database:

# It's recommended to backup the database to a separate file each time. Don't overwrite older database backups for at least a week.
cd /opt/seafile-backup/databases
docker exec -it seafile-mysql mysqldump  -uroot --opt ccnet_db > ccnet_db.sql
docker exec -it seafile-mysql mysqldump  -uroot --opt seafile_db > seafile_db.sql
docker exec -it seafile-mysql mysqldump  -uroot --opt seahub_db > seahub_db.sql

Backing up Seafile library data:

To directly copy the whole data directory
cp -R /opt/seafile-data/seafile /opt/seafile-backup/data/
cd /opt/seafile-backup/data && rm -rf ccnet
Use rsync to do incremental backup
rsync -az /opt/seafile-data/seafile /opt/seafile-backup/data/
cd /opt/seafile-backup/data && rm -rf ccnet


Restore the databases:

docker cp /opt/seafile-backup/databases/ccnet_db.sql seafile-mysql:/tmp/ccnet_db.sql
docker cp /opt/seafile-backup/databases/seafile_db.sql seafile-mysql:/tmp/seafile_db.sql
docker cp /opt/seafile-backup/databases/seahub_db.sql seafile-mysql:/tmp/seahub_db.sql

docker exec -it seafile-mysql /bin/sh -c "mysql -uroot ccnet_db < /tmp/ccnet_db.sql"
docker exec -it seafile-mysql /bin/sh -c "mysql -uroot seafile_db < /tmp/seafile_db.sql"
docker exec -it seafile-mysql /bin/sh -c "mysql -uroot seahub_db < /tmp/seahub_db.sql"

Restore the seafile data:

cp -R /opt/seafile-backup/data/* /opt/seafile-data/seafile/

Garbage collection

When files are deleted, the blocks comprising those files are not immediately removed as there may be other files that reference those blocks (due to the magic of deduplication). To remove them, Seafile requires a 'garbage collection' process to be run, which detects which blocks no longer used and purges them. (NOTE: for technical reasons, the GC process does not guarantee that every single orphan block will be deleted.)

The required scripts can be found in the /scripts folder of the docker container. To perform garbage collection, simply run docker exec seafile /scripts/ For the community edition, this process will stop the seafile server, but it is a relatively quick process and the seafile server will start automatically once the process has finished. The Professional supports an online garbage collection.

Run Seafile as non root user inside docker

Since version 10.0, you can use run seafile as non root user in docker. (NOTE: Programs such as my_init, Nginx are still run as root inside docker.)

First add the NON_ROOT=true to the docker-compose.yml.

        - NON_ROOT=true

Then create a seafile user on the host. (NOTE: Do not change the uid and gid.)

groupadd --gid 8000 seafile

useradd --home-dir /home/seafile --create-home --uid 8000 --gid 8000 --shell /bin/sh --skel /dev/null seafile

Restarting the container run Seafile use seafile user. (NOTE: Later when do maintenance, other scripts in docker also required to run as seafile user, e.g. su seafile -c ./

docker compose down
docker compose up -d


You can run docker commands like "docker exec" to find errors.

docker exec -it seafile /bin/bash

LetsEncrypt SSL certificate is about to expire.

If the certificate is not renewed automatically, you can execute the following command to manually renew the certificate.

/scripts/ /shared/ssl/ <your-seafile-domain>

eg: /scripts/ /shared/ssl/

SEAFILE_SERVER_LETSENCRYPT=false change to true.

If you want to change to https after using http, first backup and move the seafile.nginx.conf.

mv /opt/seafile/shared/nginx/conf/seafile.nginx.conf /opt/seafile/shared/nginx/conf/seafile.nginx.conf.bak

Starting the new container will automatically apply a certificate.

docker compose down
docker compose up -d

You need to manually change http to https in other configuration files, SERVICE_URL and FILE_SERVER_ROOT in the system admin page also need to be modified.

If you have modified the old seafile.nginx.conf, now you can modify the new seafile.nginx.conf as you want. Then execute the following command to make the nginx configuration take effect.

docker exec seafile nginx -s reload