Install and Deploy

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    This article will walk you through the procedure to install and deploy Bitwarden to your own server. Bitwarden can be installed and deployed on Linux, macOS, and Windows machines.

    System Specifications

    Use the following table to check the Minimum and Recommended specifications when deploying Bitwarden to your own server:

      Minimum Recommended
    Processor x64, 1.4GHz x64, 2GHz dual core
    Memory 2GB RAM 4GB RAM
    Storage 10GB 25GB
    Docker Version Engine 19+ and Compose 1.24+ Engine 19+ and Compose 1.24+

    If you are looking for a quality provider with affordable prices, we recommend:

    Digital Ocean


    The following is a summary of the Installation Procedure in this article. Links in this section will jump to detailed Installation Procedure sections:

    1. Configure your Domain. Set DNS records for a domain name pointing to your machine, and open ports 80 and 443 on the machine.
    2. Install Docker and Docker Compose on your machine, and complete the optional Docker Post-Installation.
    3. Retrieve an installation id and key from for use in installation.

      For more information, see What are my installation id and installation key used for?.

    4. Install Bitwarden on your machine.
    5. Configure your Environment by adjusting settings in ./bwdata/env/global.override.env.

      At a minimum, configure the globalSettings__mail__smtp... variables to setup an email server for inviting and verifying users.

    6. Start your instance.
    7. Test your installation by opening your configured domain in a Web Browser.

    Installation Procedure

    Configure your Domain

    By default, Bitwarden will be served through ports 80 (http) and 443 (https) on the host machine. Open these ports so that Bitwarden can be accessed from within and/or outside of the network. You may opt to choose different ports during installation.


    If you’re using Windows Firewall, Docker Desktop for Windows will not automatically add an exception for itself in Windows Firewall. Add exceptions for TCP ports 80 and 443 (or chosen alternative ports) to prevent some errors.

    Bitwarden recommends configuring a domain name with DNS records that point to your host machine (for example,, especially if you are serving Bitwarden over the internet.

    Install Docker and Docker Compose

    Bitwarden will be deployed and run on your machine using an array of Docker containers. Bitwarden can be run with any Docker Edition or plan. Evaluate which edition is best for your installation.

    Deployment of containers is orchestrated using Docker Compose. Some Docker installations, including Windows and macOS, come with Docker Compose already installed.

    Install Docker and Docker Compose on your machine before proceeding with installation. Refer to the following Docker documentation for help:

    Docker Post-Installation (Linux Only)

    Bitwarden recommends configuring your Linux server with a dedicated bitwarden service account, from which to install and run Bitwarden. Doing so will isolate your bitwarden instance from other applications running on your server.

    These steps are Bitwarden-recommended best practices, but are not required. For more information, see Docker’s Post-installation steps for Linux documentation.

    1. Create a bitwarden user:

      sudo adduser bitwarden
    2. Set password for bitwarden user (strong password):

      sudo passwd bitwarden
    3. Create a docker group (if it doesn’t already exist):

      sudo groupadd docker
    4. Add the bitwarden user to the docker group:

      sudo usermod -aG docker bitwarden
    5. Create a bitwarden directory:

      sudo mkdir /opt/bitwarden
    6. Set permissions for the /opt/bitwarden directory:

      sudo chmod -R 700 /opt/bitwarden
    7. Set the bitwarden user ownership of the /opt/bitwarden directory:

      sudo chown -R bitwarden:bitwarden /opt/bitwarden

    Install Bitwarden

    Bitwarden provides a shell script for easy installation on Linux and macOS (Bash), or Windows (PowerShell). Complete the following steps to install Bitwarden using the shell script:

    (Linux Only) If you’ve completed the Docker Post-Installation steps, do so as the bitwarden user from the /opt/bitwarden directory.

    1. Download the Bitwarden installation script ( to your machine:


      curl -Lso \
          && chmod 700


      Invoke-RestMethod -OutFile bitwarden.ps1 `
    2. Run the installer script. A ./bwdata directory will be created relative to the location of


      ./ install


      .\bitwarden.ps1 -install
    3. Complete the prompts in the installer:

      • Enter the domain name for your Bitwarden instance:

        Typically, this value should be the configured DNS record.

      • Do you want to use Let’s Encrypt to generate a free SSL certificate? (y/n):

        Specify y to generate a trusted SSL certificate using Let’s Encrypt. You will be prompted to enter an email address for expiration reminders from Let’s Encrypt. For more information, see Certificate Options.

        Alternatively, specify n and use the Do you have a SSL certificate to use? option.

      • Enter your installation id:

        Retrieve an installation id using a valid email at For more information, see What are my installation id and installation key used for?.

      • Enter your installation key:

        Retrieve an installation key using a valid email at For more information, see What are my installation id and installation key used for?.

      • Do you have a SSL certificate to use? (y/n):

        If you already have your own SSL certificate, specify y and place the necessary files in the .bwdata/ssl/your.domain directory. You will be asked whether it is a trusted SSL certificate (y/n). For more information, see Certificate Options.

        Alternatively, specify n and use the self-signed SSL certificate? option, which is only recommended for testing purposes.

      • Do you want to generate a self-signed SSL certificate? (y/n):

        Specify y to have Bitwarden generate a self-signed certificate for you. This option is only recommended for testing. For more information, see Certificate Options.

        If you specify n, your instance will not use an SSL certificate and you will be required to front your installation with a HTTPS proxy, or else Bitwarden applications will not function properly.

    Configure your Environment

    Configuring your environment involves two procedures; Installation Configuration and Environment Variable Configuration. The degree to which you will be required to configure your environment will depend on your unique needs.

    Installation Configuration

    The Bitwarden installation script uses settings in ./bwdata/config.yml to generate the necessary assets for installation. Some installation scenarios (e.g. installations behind a proxy with alternate ports) may require adjustments to config.yml that were not provided during standard installation.

    Edit config.yml as necessary, and apply changes using one of the following commands:


    ./ rebuild


    .\bitwarden.ps1 -rebuild

    Environment Variables

    Some features of Bitwarden are not configured by the installer. Configure these settings by editing the environment file, located at ./bwdata/env/global.override.env.

    At a minimum, you should replace the values for:


    Replacing globalSettings__mail__smtp...= placeholders will configure the SMTP Mail Server settings that will be used to verify new users and send invitations.

    Adding an email address to adminSettings__admins= will provision access to the Admin Portal.

    After editing global.override.env, run one of the following commands to apply your changes:


    ./ restart


    .\bitwarden.ps1 -restart

    For more information about configuring Environment Variables, see Configure Environment Variables.

    Start Bitwarden

    Once you’ve completed all previous steps, start your Bitwarden instance:


    ./ start


    .\bitwarden.ps1 -start

    The first time you start Bitwarden it may take some time as it downloads all of the images from Docker Hub.

    Verify that all containers are running correctly:

    docker ps

    Congratulations! Bitwarden is now up and running at Visit the web vault in your web browser to confirm that it’s working.

    You may now register a new account and log in. You will need to have configured smtp environment variables (see Environment Variables) in order to verify the email for your new account.

    Script Commands Reference

    The Bitwarden installation script ( or bitwarden.ps1) has the following commands available:


    PowerShell users will run the commands with a prefixed - (switch). For example .\bitwarden.ps1 -start.

    Command Description
    install Start the installer.
    start Start all containers.
    restart Restart all containers (same as start).
    stop Stop all containers.
    update Update all containers and the database.
    updatedb Update/initialize the database.
    updateself Update this main script.
    updateconf Update all containers without restarting the running instance.
    renewcert Renew certificates.
    rebuild Rebuild generated installation assets from config.yml.
    help List all commands.