How to deploy Etherpad on DreamCompute

Etherpad is a web application that lets you collaborate with others in a text editor, much like an open source Google Docs alternative.

Setting up a server

The first step to deploying Etherpad is to launch a server to run it on. For example in this tutorial, an Ubuntu Xenial server is used. Read How to launch an instance using the DreamCompute dashboard for information on how to do this. You also need to expose port 8080 to incoming traffic, as that is blocked by default. Read How to configure access and security for DreamCompute instances for information on how to do this

Installing dependencies


Deploying Etherpad as a service (as done in this article) requires you to have root permissions. In order to start a root shell type sudo su -.

Once you have your server up and running the next step is to install all of Etherpad’s dependencies:

[root@server]# apt-get install gzip git curl python libssl-dev pkg-config \
[root@server]# apt-get install nodejs npm

Next you must symlink /usr/bin/nodejs to /usr/bin/node because Etherpad will try to use that path. Most Linux distributions install nodejs in /usr/bin/node. This step is only necessary on Ubuntu servers since it doesn’t install nodejs in /usr/bin/node because of another package.

[root@server]# ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Installing Etherpad

Now that all the dependencies are installed the next step is to download Etherpad and run it. To clone Etherpad using git, run:

[root@server]# git clone git:// /srv/etherpad-lite



Now comes the configuration of Etherpad. By default it runs on port 9001. Change it to run on port 8080 by editing /srv/etherpad-lite/settings.json:

"port" : 9001,

should be changed to:

"port" : 8080,


Read How to configure access and security for DreamCompute instances for information on how to open port 8080 to traffic


By default Etherpad uses dirtyDB to store its data, but it’s recommended you use something else in a production environment and only use dirtyDB for testing. This tutorial uses MySQL to store data, but Etherpad supports other databases such as PostgreSQL and SQLite.

If you don’t have MySQL running, follow this. Once you have that running, connect to MySQL and create a database for Etherpad to use:

[root@server]# mysql -u root -p
Enter password:
mysql> CREATE DATABASE etherpad

Finally edit settings.json and delete the configuration for dirtyDB:

"dbSettings" : {
               "filename" : "var/dirty.db"

And add the configuration for MySQL:

"dbType" : "mysql",
"dbSettings" : {
                 "user"    : "etherpad",
                 "host"    : "localhost",
                 "password": "ETHERPAD USER PASSWORD",
                 "database": "etherpad",
                 "charset" : "utf8mb4"

Your configuration may be a bit different depending on how you have MySQL configured, adjust the values accordingly.

Creating a systemd service

The best way to run Etherpad is to create a systemd service for it and create a user for it to run as. To create a systemd service copy the following into /etc/systemd/system/etherpad-lite.service.

Description=etherpad-lite (real-time collaborative document editing)



Next we need to create the user for etherpad-lite to run as.

[root@server]# adduser --system --home=/srv/etherpad-lite --group etherpad-lite

Now there is an etherpad-lite user, change the permissions of /srv/etherpad-lite so that it has access to the directory.

[root@server]# chown -R etherpad-lite:etherpad-lite /srv/etherpad-lite

Starting Etherpad

Finally start the service and set it to start at boot

[root@server]# systemctl enable etherpad-lite
[root@server]# systemctl start etherpad-lite

Etherpad is now running. Confirm it works by going to http://IP:8080. Make sure to replace “IP” with the IP address of your server.


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Article last updated .