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Espial is an open-source, web-based bookmarking server.


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Espial is an open-source, web-based bookmarking server.

It allows mutiple accounts, but currently intended for self-host scenarios.

The bookmarks are stored in a sqlite3 database, for ease of deployment & maintenence.

The easist way for logged-in users to add bookmarks, is with the "bookmarklet", found on the Settings page.

Also, see the android app for adding bookmarks via an Android Share intent

demo server

log in — username: demo password: demo


Docker Setup


Server Setup (from source)

  1. Install the Stack executable here:

  2. Build executables

    stack build
  3. Create the database

    stack exec migration -- createdb --conn espial.sqlite3
  4. Create a user

    stack exec migration -- createuser --conn espial.sqlite3 --userName myusername --userPassword myuserpassword
  5. Import a pinboard bookmark file for a user (optional)

    stack exec migration -- importbookmarks --conn espial.sqlite3 --userName myusername --bookmarkFile sample-bookmarks.json
  6. Import a firefox bookmark file for a user (optional)

    stack exec migration -- importfirefoxbookmarks --conn espial.sqlite3 --userName myusername --bookmarkFile firefox-bookmarks.json
  7. Start a production server:

    stack exec espial


See config/settings.yml for changing default run-time parameters & environment variables.

  • config/settings.yml is embedded into the app executable when compiled, so after changing config/settings.yml, run stack build again to apply the new settings.
  • config/settings.yml values formatted like _env:ENV_VAR_NAME:default_value can be overridden by the specified environment variable.
  • Example
    • _env:PORT:3000
      • environment variable PORT
      • default app http port: 3000

SSL: use reverse proxy



  • Install the yesod command line tool: stack install yesod-bin --install-ghc

  • Start a development server:

    yesod devel


  • See purs/ folder

Import Bookmark file format (pinboard compatible format)

see sample-bookmarks.json, which contains a JSON array, each line containing a FileBookmark object.


[ {"href":"","description":"Forde's Tenth Rule, or, \"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and \u2764\ufe0f the State Machine\"","extended":"","time":"2018-02-26T22:57:20Z","shared":"yes","toread":"yes","tags":"raganwald"},
, {"href":"","description":"7.6. Flag reference \u2014 Glasgow Haskell Compiler 8.2.2 User's Guide","extended":"-fprint-expanded-synonyms","time":"2018-02-26T21:52:02Z","shared":"yes","toread":"no","tags":"ghc haskell"},