Production installation on an existing server
Here are some tips for installing the latest release of Zulip on a production server running Debian or Ubuntu. The Zulip installation scripts assume that it has carte blanche to overwrite your configuration files in /etc, so we recommend against installing it on a server running other nginx or django apps.
But if you do, here are some things you can do that may make it possible to retain your existing site. However, this is NOT recommended, and you may break your server. Make sure you have backups and a provisioning script ready to go to wipe and restore your existing services if (when) your server goes down.
These instructions are only for experts. If you’re not an experienced Linux sysadmin, you will have a much better experience if you get a dedicated VM to install Zulip on instead (or use zulip.com).
Copy your existing nginx configuration to a backup and then merge the one created by Zulip into it:
sudo cp /etc/nginx/nginx.conf /etc/nginx.conf.before-zulip-install
sudo curl -fL -o /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.zulip \
sudo meld /etc/nginx/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.zulip # be sure to merge to the right
Since the file in Zulip is an ERB Puppet
you will also need to replace any
<%= ... %> sections with
appropriate content. For instance
<%= @ca_crt %> should be replaced
/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt on Debian and Ubuntu
After the Zulip installation completes, then you can overwrite (or merge) your new nginx.conf with the installed one:
$ sudo meld /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.zulip /etc/nginx/nginx.conf # be sure to merge to the right
$ sudo service nginx restart
Zulip’s Puppet configuration will change the ownership of
/var/log/nginx so that the
zulip user can access it. Depending on
your configuration, this may or may not cause problems.
Depending on how you have configured
nginx for your other services,
you may need to add a
server_name for the Zulip
server block in
If you have a Puppet server running on your server, you will get an error message about not being able to connect to the client during the install process:
puppet-agent: Could not request certificate: Failed to open TCP connection to puppet:8140
So you’ll need to shut down any Puppet servers.
$ sudo service puppet-agent stop
$ sudo service puppet stop
Zulip expects to install PostgreSQL 12, and find that listening on
port 5432; any other version of PostgreSQL that is detected at install
time will cause the install to abort. If you already have PostgreSQL
installed, you can pass
--postgresql-version= to the installer to
have it use that version. It will replace the package with the latest
from the PostgreSQL apt repository, but existing data will be
If you have an existing PostgreSQL database, note that Zulip will use
main as its database name; make sure you’re not using
Memcached, Redis, and RabbitMQ
Zulip will, by default, configure these services for its use. The configuration we use is pretty basic, but if you’re using them for something else, you’ll want to make sure the configurations are compatible.
No uninstall process
We don’t provide a convenient way to uninstall a Zulip server.
No support, but contributions welcome!
Most of the limitations are things we’d accept a pull request to fix; we welcome contributions to shrink this list of gotchas. Chat with us in the chat.zulip.org community if you’re interested in helping!