Run Overview on your own system
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We recommend the public Overview server. But we also support users who want to run Overview on their own machines. You'll want to do this if you need greater security, larger document sets, or custom modifications.

You'll need to use a command line to follow these instructions. Don't worry: we'll guide you carefully. Copy/paste each command, and all should be fine. Any errors? File an issue on GitHub.

Please note that Overview is licensed under AGPL 3.0. If you want to modify the code to run a custom server, please contact for a license. We can also do custom development work for you.



Installation: Linux

We've tested in Ubuntu Linux 15.10 (Vivid); other distributions should work just as well.

  1. Open the "Terminal" program.
  2. Install dependencies. On Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install git
  3. Install docker-compose. You'll need version 1.17 or higher. On Ubuntu: sudo pip install docker-compose
  4. Make yourself a member of the docker group. Run sudo usermod -a -G docker $USER and then log out (of your entire desktop environment) and log back in. Reopen your terminal and type groups; make sure you're in the docker group.
  5. Copy/paste this command into the terminal and press Enter: curl | sh

You may need to install a few things to get pip; sudo apt-get install python-setuptools python-dev build-essential sudo easy_install pip.

If you get the error ERROR: Couldn't connect to Docker daemon at http+docker://localunixsocket - is it running? you probably need to log out and back in again, so that the newly updated environment variables can take effect.

If all goes well, you'll see progress bars. Grab a coffee; in a few minutes, return to see Overview's URL on the screen. (It's http://localhost:9000/.)

Installation: Mac OS X

  1. Install Docker for Mac.
  2. Give Docker more resources (see below).
  3. Install git, from
  4. Open Mac OS's Terminal.
  5. Copy/paste this command into the terminal and press Enter: curl | sh

If all goes well, you'll see progress bars. Grab a coffee; in a few minutes, return to see Overview's URL on the screen. (It's http://localhost:9000/.)

Installation: Windows 10

  1. Install Docker for Windows.
  2. Give Docker more resources (see below).
  3. Install Git for Windows.
  4. Open Git Bash. (We'll call this "the terminal" from now on.)
  5. Copy/paste this command into the terminal and press Enter: curl | sh

If all goes well, you'll see progress bars. Grab a coffee; in a few minutes, return to see Overview's URL on the screen. (It's http://localhost:9000/.)

Giving Overview enough resources (on OS X and Windows)

Linux users should skip this section, but Windows and Mac users probably need it.

On OS X and Windows, Overview runs in Docker's "virtual machine". The virtual machine restricts the amount of memory and number of processors Overview can use.

We recommend you give Overview at least 3GB of memory.

Here's how to give the Docker virtual machine more memory:

  1. Stop overview-local.
  2. Open Docker's "Settings".
  3. Go to "Advanced".
  4. Set memory to 3Gb.
  5. Click "Apply".


Starting Overview

When you want to start Overview, run ~/overview-local/start in a terminal.That curl | sh command you used to install Overview stored some files on your computer to make future startups much quicker.

On Windows and Mac, if you see this error

ERROR: Couldn't connect to Docker daemon - you might need to run `docker-machine start default`.

it means the Docker Virtual Machine got shut down, so you need to start it again by running these commands

docker-machine start default
eval "$(docker-machine env default)"

then run start again.

Stopping Overview

Overview uses lots of memory, and that can make your computer a bit sluggish. Open a terminal and run ~/overview-local/stop to shut it down.

Enabling multi-user mode

Overview-local runs by default in single user mode, meaning there is only one user and no logins. To enable logins and multiple users, add the following line to ~/overview-local/config/overview.env


The default user and password is You should change the password immediately. You can create new user accounts through the Admin menu when logged in. The registration form on the front page will by default print confirmation and password reset emails to the console, unless you configure an SMTP server.

See also configuration below.

Enabling SSL and public access

Normally, overview-local only listens on the "localhost" network interface. That means other computers won't have access to your files (unless you have bizarre firewall rules or a virus).

If you want to create a publicly-visible Overview service, add lines like these to ~/overview-local/config/overview.env.


Make OV_DOMAIN_NAME a DNS name you control.

(You should also configure an SMTP server.)

Now run ./start.

This tells Overview to listen for connections from anywhere on ports 80 and 443. In short, it makes your computer a web server.

Now you need the rest of the world to see your web server. The instructions vary greatly depending on your network. You may need to involve system administrators or your Internet service provider.

Here's an example setup that would work on some home networks.

Let's pretend you already control a DNS domain named via an online hosting service and you are connecting to the Internet via an ISP that provides stable IP addresses, leaves ports 80 and 443 open, and supplied a router you can log into.

  1. Find your public IP address. (Search online for "What is my IP".)
  2. Register A, AAAA, CNAME records with your DNS hosting service, pointing all of them to your IP address. (If your DNS hosting service allows ALIAS records, those are a great way to only type in your IP address once.) You'll need,,,,, and
  3. Make incoming traffic on ports 80 and 443 reach your computer. Log in to your router and go to the "port forwarding" section. Add an entry for port 80 and an entry for port 443, and point both at your computer. (You'll need your network-internal IP address -- something like -- and not your public IP address.)
  4. Browse to You should see your documents.

Debug by running ./tail-logs and reading the overview-proxy messages. It will prompt, one step at a time, to register DNS records and ensure traffic is routed correctly. Once overview-proxy says "SSL is enabled" for a URL, that means a web server on the Internet accessed Overview on port 80.

Having routing problems? Sorry: in general, we can't help you solve them. One common mistake is that your computer can't access itself at the DNS address you gave, but computers on the rest of the Internet can.

Upgrading Overview

Does Overview have some new features you want? Open a terminal and do this:

  1. ~/overview-local/stop
  2. ~/overview-local/update
  3. ~/overview-local/start

The update command pulls down any changed docker images from Docker Hub. If you are wondering how to update the docker images please see Overview Docker.

Be aware that the start command also updates the overview-local code locally.

Backing up Overview's data

You can copy all Overview's data into a single file.

Run ~/overview-local/backup backup.tar.gz. This will create a file called backup.tar.gz in the overview-local directory. (It will always be in that directory.) Store it somewhere safe.

Watch out! The backup may be corrupt if you run this command while Overview is running. We cannot recover from a corrupt backup. Play it safe: stop Overview before you back up.

The first time you run the backup, you'll see a lot of messages about pulling Docker images. That'll just happen the one time; every other invocation will be silent.

Restoring Overview from a backup

After you've installed Overview and tested that it works, you can wipe all its data and replace it with a backup's data.

Place your backup file (let's call it backup.tar.gz) in the ~/overview-local directory. (It must be in that directory.)

Now run: ~/overview-local/restore-from-backup backup.tar.gz.

This command will stop Overview and wipe all its data.

Overview backups are forward-compatible with newer versions of Overview for one year. In other words: if you keep Overview up to date (by running update), you will be able to restore from any backup that is less than one year old. (Don't take that to mean a two-year-old backup is worthless. You can restore and re-backup your data with interim versions of Overview to bring it up to date. We haven't written instructions for this task.)


If you want Overview gone forever, open a terminal and run these commands:

~/overview-local/stop                  # stop Overview
rm -rf ~/overview-local                # remove Overview-related commands
docker rm -v overview-blob-storage     # delete PDFs and uploaded files
docker rm -v overview-database-data    # delete database
docker rm -v overview-searchindex-data # delete search index
docker rmi $(docker images -f dangling=true -q) # free disk space


If Overview isn't running correctly, we'd love for you to file an issue on our Issues page. Please open a terminal and run ~/overview-local/dump-logs as well; show us those logs so we'll know what Overview was thinking when it failed you.

If you're curious, you can run ~/overview-local/tail-logs and watch Overview's log messages as they appear, while you use Overview in a browser window.


We set default options in overview-local/config/overview.defaults.env. DO NOT EDIT overview.defaults.env. Instead, copy/paste the variables you want to edit into overview-local/config/overview.env alongside it, and edit there.

Configuration options are documented here

Cannot pull with rebase: You have unstaged changes.

Did you try editing overview.defaults.env (or any other file)? That would break Overview in a future version, and it's unnecessary. Copy the contents of overview.defaults.env into overview.env, then run git reset --hard.

If that doesn't solve your problem, please add an issue to this project.

Microsoft Edge says "Hmm, we can't reach this page."

We are aware of this issue: it affects lots of projects that use our technology. We know of no workaround at present. Use any other web browser -- even Internet Explorer, which also comes pre-installed on your Windows computer -- and Overview will work fine.