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Installation from source

Important Notes

This guide is long because it covers many cases and includes all commands you need.

This installation guide was created for and tested on Debian/Ubuntu operating systems. Please read doc/install/ for hardware and operating system requirements.

This is the official installation guide to set up a production server. To set up a development installation or for many other installation options please see the getting started section of the readme.

The following steps have been known to work. Please use caution when you deviate from this guide. Make sure you don't violate any assumptions Huginn makes about its environment. For example many people run into permission problems because they change the location of directories or run services as the wrong user.

If you find a bug/error in this guide please submit a pull request.

If not stated otherwise all commands should be run as user with sudo permissions or as root.

When having problems during the installation please check the troubleshooting section.


The Huginn installation consists of setting up the following components:

  1. Packages / Dependencies
  2. Ruby
  3. System Users
  4. Database
  5. Huginn
  6. Nginx

1. Packages / Dependencies

sudo is not installed on Debian by default. Make sure your system is up-to-date and install it.

# run as root!
apt-get update -y
apt-get upgrade -y
apt-get install sudo -y

Note: During this installation some files will need to be edited manually. If you are familiar with vim set it as default editor with the commands below. If you are not familiar with vim please skip this and keep using the default editor.

# Install vim and set as default editor
sudo apt-get install -y vim
sudo update-alternatives --set editor /usr/bin/vim.basic

Import node.js repository (can be skipped on Ubuntu and Debian Jessie):

curl -sL | sudo bash -

Install the required packages (needed to compile Ruby and native extensions to Ruby gems):

sudo apt-get install -y runit build-essential git zlib1g-dev libyaml-dev libssl-dev libgdbm-dev libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev libffi-dev curl openssh-server checkinstall libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libicu-dev logrotate python-docutils pkg-config cmake nodejs graphviz

Debian Stretch

Since Debian Stretch, runit isn't started anymore automatically, but this gets handled by the init system. Additionally, Ruby requires the OpenSSL 1.0 development packages instead of 1.1. For a default installation use these packages:

 sudo apt-get install -y runit-systemd libssl1.0-dev

2. Ruby

The use of Ruby version managers such as RVM, rbenv or chruby with Huginn in production frequently leads to hard-to-diagnose problems. Version managers are not supported and we strongly advise everyone to follow the instructions below to use a system Ruby.

Remove the old Ruby versions if present:

sudo apt-get remove -y ruby1.8 ruby1.9

Download Ruby and compile it:

mkdir /tmp/ruby && cd /tmp/ruby
curl -L --progress | tar xj
cd ruby-2.5.1
./configure --disable-install-rdoc
make -j`nproc`
sudo make install

Install the bundler and foreman gems:

sudo gem install rake bundler foreman --no-ri --no-rdoc

3. System Users

Create a user for Huginn:

sudo adduser --disabled-login --gecos 'Huginn' huginn

4. Database

Install the database packages

sudo apt-get install -y mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev

# Pick a MySQL root password (can be anything), type it and press enter,
# retype the MySQL root password and press enter

For Debian Stretch, replace libmysqlclient-dev with default-libmysqlclient-dev. See the additional notes section for more information.

Check the installed MySQL version (remember if its >= 5.5.3 for the .env configuration done later):

mysql --version

Secure your installation

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Login to MySQL

mysql -u root -p

# Type the MySQL root password

Create a user for Huginn do not type the mysql>, this is part of the prompt. Change $password in the command below to a real password you pick

mysql> CREATE USER 'huginn'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '$password';

Ensure you can use the InnoDB engine which is necessary to support long indexes

mysql> SET default_storage_engine=INNODB;

# If this fails, check your MySQL config files (e.g. `/etc/mysql/*.cnf`, `/etc/mysql/conf.d/*`)
# for the setting "innodb = off"

Grant the Huginn user necessary permissions on the database

mysql> GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, CREATE, DROP, INDEX, ALTER, LOCK TABLES ON `huginn_production`.* TO 'huginn'@'localhost';

Quit the database session

mysql> \q

Try connecting to the new database with the new user

sudo -u huginn -H mysql -u huginn -p -D huginn_production

# Type the password you replaced $password with earlier

You should now see ERROR 1049 (42000): Unknown database 'huginn_production' which is fine because we will create the database later.

You are done installing the database and can go back to the rest of the installation.

5. Huginn

Clone the Source

# We'll install Huginn into the home directory of the user "huginn"
cd /home/huginn

# Clone Huginn repository
sudo -u huginn -H git clone -b master huginn

# Go to Huginn installation folder
cd /home/huginn/huginn

# Copy the example Huginn config
sudo -u huginn -H cp .env.example .env

# Create the log/, tmp/pids/ and tmp/sockets/ directories
sudo -u huginn mkdir -p log tmp/pids tmp/sockets

# Make sure Huginn can write to the log/ and tmp/ directories
sudo chown -R huginn log/ tmp/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX,go-w log/ tmp/

# Make sure permissions are set correctly
sudo chmod -R u+rwX,go-w log/
sudo chmod -R u+rwX tmp/
sudo -u huginn -H chmod o-rwx .env

# Copy the example Unicorn config
sudo -u huginn -H cp config/unicorn.rb.example config/unicorn.rb

Configure it

# Update Huginn config file and follow the instructions
sudo -u huginn -H editor .env

If you are using a local MySQL server the database configuration should look like this (use the password of the huginn MySQL user you created earlier):


# MySQL only: If you are running a MySQL server >=5.5.3, you should
# set DATABASE_ENCODING to utf8mb4 instead of utf8 so that the
# database can hold 4-byte UTF-8 characters like emoji.

Important: Uncomment the RAILS_ENV setting to run Huginn in the production rails environment


Change the Unicorn config if needed, the has a section explaining the suggested amount of unicorn workers:

# Increase the amount of workers if you expect to have a high load instance.
# 2 are enough for most use cases, if the server has less then 2GB of RAM
# decrease the worker amount to 1
sudo -u huginn -H editor config/unicorn.rb

Important Note: Make sure to edit both .env and unicorn.rb to match your setup.

Note: If you want to use HTTPS, which is what we recommend, see Using HTTPS for the additional steps.

Note: For configuration changes after finishing the initial installation you have to re-export (see Install Init Script) the init script every time you change .env, unicorn.rb or your Procfile!

Install Gems

Note: As of bundler 1.5.2, you can invoke bundle install -jN (where N the number of your processor cores) and enjoy parallel gem installation with measurable difference in completion time (~60% faster). Check the number of your cores with nproc. For more information check this post. First make sure you have bundler >= 1.5.2 (run bundle -v) as it addresses some issues that were fixed in 1.5.2.

sudo -u huginn -H bundle install --deployment --without development test

Initialize Database

# Create the database
sudo -u huginn -H bundle exec rake db:create RAILS_ENV=production

# Migrate to the latest version
sudo -u huginn -H bundle exec rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production

# Create admin user and example agents using the default admin/password login
sudo -u huginn -H bundle exec rake db:seed RAILS_ENV=production SEED_USERNAME=admin SEED_PASSWORD=password

When done you see See the Huginn Wiki for more Agent examples!

Note: This will create an initial user, you can change the username and password by supplying it in environmental variables SEED_USERNAME and SEED_PASSWORD as seen above. If you don't change the password (and it is set to the default one) please wait with exposing Huginn to the public internet until the installation is done and you've logged into the server and changed your password.

Compile Assets

sudo -u huginn -H bundle exec rake assets:precompile RAILS_ENV=production

Install Init Script

Huginn uses foreman to generate the init scripts based on a Procfile

Edit the Procfile and choose one of the suggested versions for production

sudo -u huginn -H editor Procfile

Comment out (disable) these two lines

web: bundle exec rails server -p ${PORT-3000} -b ${IP-}
jobs: bundle exec rails runner bin/threaded.rb

Enable (remove the comment) from these lines or those

# web: bundle exec unicorn -c config/unicorn.rb
# jobs: bundle exec rails runner bin/threaded.rb

Export the init scripts:

sudo bundle exec rake production:export

Note: You have to re-export the init script every time you change the configuration in .env or your Procfile!

Setup Logrotate

sudo cp deployment/logrotate/huginn /etc/logrotate.d/huginn

Ensure Your Huginn Instance Is Running

sudo bundle exec rake production:status

6. Nginx

Note: Nginx is the officially supported web server for Huginn. If you cannot or do not want to use Nginx as your web server, the wiki has a page on how to configure apache.


sudo apt-get install -y nginx

Site Configuration

Copy the example site config:

sudo cp deployment/nginx/huginn /etc/nginx/sites-available/huginn
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/huginn /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/huginn

Make sure to edit the config file to match your setup, if you are running multiple nginx sites remove the default_server argument from the listen directives:

# Change YOUR_SERVER_FQDN to the fully-qualified
# domain name of your host serving Huginn.
sudo editor /etc/nginx/sites-available/huginn

Remove the default nginx site, if huginn is the only enabled nginx site:

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Note: If you want to use HTTPS, which is what we recommend, replace the huginn Nginx config with huginn-ssl. See Using HTTPS for HTTPS configuration details.

Test Configuration

Validate your huginn or huginn-ssl Nginx config file with the following command:

sudo nginx -t

You should receive syntax is okay and test is successful messages. If you receive errors check your huginn or huginn-ssl Nginx config file for typos, etc. as indicated in the error message given.


sudo service nginx restart


Initial Login

Visit YOUR_SERVER in your web browser for your first Huginn login. The setup has created a default admin account for you. You can use it to log in:

admin (or your SEED_USERNAME)
password (or your SEED_PASSWORD)

Enjoy! ⭐️ 🎆

You can use cd /home/huginn/huginn && sudo bundle exec rake production:start and cd /home/huginn/huginn && sudo bundle exec rake production:stop to start and stop Huginn.

Be sure to read the section about how to update your Huginn installation as well! You can also use Capistrano to keep your installation up to date.

Note: We also recommend applying standard security practices to your server, including installing a firewall (ufw is good on Ubuntu and also available for Debian).

Advanced Setup Tips


To use Huginn with HTTPS:

  1. In .env:
    1. Set the FORCE_SSL option to true.
  2. Use the huginn-ssl Nginx example config instead of the huginn config:
    1. sudo cp deployment/nginx/huginn-ssl /etc/nginx/sites-available/huginn
    2. Update YOUR_SERVER_FQDN.
    3. Update ssl_certificate and ssl_certificate_key.
    4. Review the configuration file and consider applying other security and performance enhancing features.

Restart Nginx, export the init script and restart Huginn:

cd /home/huginn/huginn
sudo service nginx restart
sudo bundle exec rake production:export

Using a self-signed certificate is discouraged, but if you must use it follow the normal directions. Then generate the certificate:

sudo mkdir -p /etc/nginx/ssl/
cd /etc/nginx/ssl/
sudo openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -x509 -nodes -days 3560 -out huginn.crt -keyout huginn.key
sudo chmod o-r huginn.key


If something went wrong during the installation please make sure you followed the instructions and did not miss a step.

When your Huginn instance still is not working first run the self check:

cd /home/huginn/huginn
sudo bundle exec rake production:check

We are sorry when you are still having issues, now please check the various log files for error messages:

Nginx error log /var/log/nginx/huginn_error.log

This file should be empty, it is the first place to look because nginx is the first application handling the request your are sending to Huginn.

Common problems:

  • connect() to unix:/home/huginn/huginn/tmp/sockets/unicorn.socket failed: The Unicorn application server is not running, ensure you uncommented one of the example configuration below the PRODUCTION label in your Profile and the unicorn config file (/home/huginn/huginn/config/unicorn.rb) exists.
  • 138 open() "/home/huginn/huginn/public/..." failed (13: Permission denied): The /home/huginn/huginn/public directory needs to be readable by the nginx user (which is per default www-data)

Unicorn log /home/huginn/huginn/log/unicorn.log

Should only contain HTTP request log entries like: - - [18/Aug/2015:21:15:12 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.0" 200 - 0.0110

If you see ruby exception backtraces or other error messages the problem could be one of the following:

  • The configuration file /home/huginn/huginn/config/unicorn.rb does not exist
  • Gem dependencies where not installed

Rails Application log /home/huginn/huginn/log/production.log

This file is pretty verbose, you want to look at it if you are getting the We're sorry, but something went wrong. error message when using Huginn. This is an example backtrace that can help you or other huginn developers locate the issue:

NoMethodError (undefined method `name' for nil:NilClass):
  app/controllers/jobs_controller.rb:6:in `index'
  config/initializers/silence_worker_status_logger.rb:5:in `call_with_silence_worker_status'

Runit/Background Worker logs /home/huginn/huginn/log/*/current

Those files will contain error messages or backtraces if one of your agent is not performing as they should. The easiest way to debug an Agent is to watch all your log files for changes and trigger the agent to run via the Huginn web interface.

The log file location depends your Procfile configuration, this command will give you a list of the available logs:

ls -al /home/huginn/huginn/log/*/current

When you want to monitor the background processes you can easily watch all the files for changes:

tail -f /home/huginn/huginn/log/*/current

Still having problems? 😿

You probably found an error message or exception backtrace you could not resolve. Please create a new issue and include as much information as you could gather about the problem your are experiencing.

Additional notes

Debian Stretch switched from MySQL to MariaDB. All packages with mysql in the name are just wrappers around the MariaDB ones, with some containing some compatibility symlinks. Huginn should also work fine with the MariaDB packages directly, although to keep the installation instructions more compact, they still use the MySQL packages.