Funkwhale package and deployment for NixOS
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Funkwhale on NixOS

An example of how to deploy Funkwhale with NixOS and NixOps.

This uses the Funkwhale package and module for NixOS, of which I am the maintainer. If you want to take a look, they are defined at the following path in NixOS packages repository:

Prepare local environment

  1. Install Nix
curl | sh

Logout an login again to have the correct environment variables.

  1. Get this repository
git clone
cd funkwhale-nixos
  1. Bootstrap an environment with Funkwhale packages and the nixops deployment tool (the Funkwhale packages are not yet merged in the official NixOS repository, meanwhile the maintainer repository is configured in shell.nix) :
nix-env -i nixops

The nix-shell command takes some time to complete.

Set up deployment target

Here are instructions to set up the deployment depending on the targeted server.

You may want to test a local deployment on a virtual machine first, see the following Virtualbox section.


Make sure VirtualBox is installed.

The vboxnet0 network has to exist - you can add it in the VirtualBox general settings under Networks - Host-only Networks if necessary.

Then create the deployment configuration with :

nixops create ./deploy/logical.nix ./deploy/physical/virtualbox.nix -d funkwhale

Amazon Web Services

Set up an account on AWS. Copy your AWS access key and private key in ~/.ac2-keys, it should look like this :

youraccesskey yoursecretkey

On the AWS console, change settings for the default security group and allow ssh, http/https inbound outbound.

Set the accessKey and region parameters in the ./deploy/physical/ec2.nix file.

Then create the deployment configuration with :

nixops create ./deploy/logical.nix ./deploy/physical/ec2.nix -d funkwhale

Hetzner Cloud

Here is a video of the process , or you can follow the instructions below.

  1. Server creation
  • Go to and create an account if you don't have one
  • Create a new project
  • Add a server on this project, choose the defaults : ubuntu 18.04, small instance, create & buy
  • once the server is created, go to its page select mount an ISO image, choose "NixOS" and mount.
  • Connect via ssh with the password sent by mail at the server creation. You will be asked to change this password. So do it and disconnect.
  • copy your public ssh key to the server (you can create one by doing ssh-keygen) : ssh-copy-id root@XX.XX.XX.XX.
  • connect again, you should be able to do so without entering your password. Then reboot to boot on the NixOS ISO image and start the installer.
  1. NixOS installation

On the Hetzner dashboard, open the console (top right button next to the lock ). Wait for the NixOS image to boot, you will be directly connected as root. If your keyboard is not qwerty, you can change the keyboard layout with loadkeys, for a french azerty keyboard, type loadkeys fr.

First we copy our public key in a safe place, we will need it later

mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
cp /mnt/root/.ssh/authorized_keys /root/
unmount /mnt

We follow the instructions from legacy Boot (MBR), and a 2GiB swap partition :

Create a MBR partition table, add root and swap partitions : lauch parted /dev/sda and inside parted type :

mklabel msdos
mkpart primary 1MiB -2GiB
mkpart primary linux-swap -2GiB 100%

Initialize partitions

 mkfs.ext4 -L nixos /dev/sda1
 mkswap -L swap /dev/sda2

Configure nixos system

mount /dev/disk/by-label/nixos /mnt
swapon /dev/sda2
nixos-generate-config --root /mnt
cat ./authorized_keys >> /mnt/etc/nixos/configuration.nix # copy our ssh key to the conf file
nano /mnt/etc/nixos/configuration.nix

In configuration.nix :

  • uncomment the boot.loader.grub.device = "/dev/sda"; # or "nodev" for efi only line
  • you can change your language and keyboard layout in the i18n section
  • add the following lines before the closing bracket, replacing sh-rsa xxxxx you@desktop by your public key that we copied at the end of the file the step before with the cat command (and remove that last line after that, the file should end with the closing bracket ) :
 users.users.root.openssh.authorizedKeys.keys = [
   "sh-rsa xxxxxx  you@desktop"

 networking.firewall.allowedTCPPorts = [ 22 ];
 services.openssh.enable = true;

And the last step :


Wait for installation, enter a new root password when prompted. Before rebooting, go to the Hetzner console and unmount the NixOS ISO image. Then you can reboot

  1. Deployment configuration

After rebooting your server, ensure that you are able to connect to it via ssh without needing password :

ssh root@XX.XX.XX.XX

If it works, you can copy its configuration to your local machine :

cd deploy/hetzner
scp root@XX.XX.XX.XX:/etc/nixos/configuration.nix .
scp root@XX.XX.XX.XX:/etc/nixos/hardware-configuration.nix .
cd ../..

Edit physical/nixos-hetzner.nix file and set your server IP adress in the deployment.targetHost line.

Edit the main configuration.nix file and replace funkwhale.local by the domain name you want, you will need to associate this domain to the IP adress of your server (or you can edit your local /etc/hosts file to test it)

Then create the deployment configuration with :

nixops create ./deploy/logical.nix ./deploy/physical/nixos-hetzner.nix -d funkwhale




nixops deploy -d funkwhale

If you get an error Exception: unable to activate new configuration related to virtualbox.service, you can force deployment like this:

nixops deploy --force-reboot -d funkwhale

Get the IP adress of the server :

nixops info -d funkwhale

Edit your /etc/hosts file and associate the configured domain name with the IP adress : funkwhale.localhost funkwhale.local

Create a Funkwhale admin user

make superuser

You should be able to login on http://funkwhale.local/login with the created account.

Other commands

Connect on the machine with

nixops ssh -d funkwhale funkwhale