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Hosting FAQs

This article contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Self-hosting.


Q: What platforms can I host on?

A: Bitwarden is a cross-platform application that is deployed using Docker Linux containers. This means that Bitwarden can be hosted on Linux, macOS, and Windows machines.

You can read more about Docker and container technologies at Docker's Website.

Q: How should I achieve High Availability?

A: High availability can be achieved by configuring multiple instances of the containers into a Docker Swarm and/or by pointing the database connection string that the containers reference to any MSSQL database or cluster. Then you would probably want to load balance the NGINX containers or however you choose to handle the front-end.

Q: Do I need to whitelist any URLs?

A: In order to allow the server to push notifications to Bitwarden clients, you'll need to allow the following URLs through your firewall:




You don't have to use push notifications if whitelisting these URLs won't work for your environment.

Q: How do I backup and restore my self-hosted instance?

A: Bitwarden takes automated nightly backups of the bitwarden-mssql database container in order to protect your stored credentials. For help with manual backups, or help restoring a backup, see Backup your Hosted Data.

Q: What are my installation id and installation key used for?

A: Installation ids keys are used when installing Bitwarden on-premises in order to:

  • Register your installation and contain email so that we can contact you for important security updates.

  • Authenticate to push relay servers for push notifications to Bitwarden client applications.

  • Validate licensing of paid features.

Retrieve an installation id and key from

You should not share your installation id or installation key across multiple Bitwarden installations. They should be treated as secrets.

Q: How do I change the name of my server?

A: Configure the url: in the ./bwdata/config.yml with your new server name and the run the ./ rebuild command to rebuild bwdata assets.

Check that your server name or FQDN has been proliferated to all globalSettings_baseServiceUri__* variables in ./bwdata/env/global.override.env, and that your certificate contains a Subject Alternative Name (SAN) with the new server FQDN

If you are using Let's Encrypt certificate, you'll need to Manually Update Your Certificate.

Q: Why does the Admin Portal show an update available when update and updateself show I'm on the latest version?

A: The System Administrator Portal will show an available update as soon as we release our cloud server, however as mentioned in the Release Notes, self-hosted server updates typically are made available a few days following cloud. Please wait a few days and try updating your instance again.

SMTP Configuration

Q: How do I set up an SMTP Mail Server?

A: Connect your self-hosted instance to an existing SMTP Mail Server by editing all globalSettings__mail__smtp__* values in ./bwdata/env/global.overide.env. For more information, see Configure Environment Variables.

If you don't yet have an existing SMTP Mail Server from which you can relay emails, consider services like Mailgun or SparkPost, or use Gmail an SMTP Mail Server.

Q: How do I use Gmail as an SMTP Mail Server?

A: Configure the following variables in ./bwdata/env/global.override.env:


Whether you're a Workspace Admin or personal user of Gmail, you'll need to enable SMTP relay from within Google. For more information, see Google's Documentation.

If you're using Two-step Authentication for your Gmail account, you'll need to generate an app-specific password for use with Bitwarden and update the globalSettings__mail__smtp__password= field in ./bwdata/env/global.override.env.

Advanced Configuration

How do I use custom server ports?

A: To use custom ports, instead of 80 and 443, edit the http_port= and https_port= values in ./bwdata/config.yml and run ./ rebuild to rebuild your server assets.

Check that the custom port values have been proliferated to ./bwdata/env/global.override.env.

Q: How do I add Bitwarden to system boot?

A: Before adding Bitwarden to system boot, complete Docker Post-Installation to setup a dedicated bitwarden service account.

Then, complete the following steps:

  1. Create a Bitwarden service file:

    sudo vi bitwarden.service
    ExecStart=<your-install-directory>/ start
    ExecStop=<your-install-directory>/ stop
  2. Copy the Bitwarden service file to systemd:

    sudo cp bitwarden.service /etc/systemd/system/bitwarden.service
  3. Set permissions on the Bitwarden service file under systemd:

    sudo chmod 644 /etc/systemd/system/bitwarden.service
  4. Optionally, reload for testing:

    systemctl daemon-reload
  5. Add the service to start with system boot:

    sudo systemctl enable bitwarden.service



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