Standard Setup Guide for Self-Hosted

This guide is for setting up Hudu with a free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate that will renew automatically for you. If you are looking to use a custom SSL certificate, you may want to read this article for alternative options: Getting Started with Hudu Self-Hosted.

    This standard, LetsEncrypt method, is Hudu's recommended setup method for self-hosting.



In order to self-host Hudu, you will need:

  • Server with at least 4GB memory and at least 1 CPU (as long as there is no contention), with Ubuntu (18.04, 20.04, or 22.04) as the OS.
  • SMTP server for sending outgoing mail.
  • An A record pointed to the Public IP of the instance. Usually something like or
  • Ports 443 and 80 opened externally (required for LetsEncrypt).



Video Instructions

Would you prefer a video walk-through of the setup? Here is a video from one of our great partners.

   Please note! In the video, he utilizes DigitalOcean for the setup; if you'd like to use a different hosted managed service provider, you may need to modify some steps.



  • Test that ports 443 and 80 are opened for your publicly accessible A record.
    • Enter your URL to this tool. If both ports aren't showing as open, then you will need to fix that first.
  • SSH into the server you are wishing to host Hudu on.
  • Install Docker CE on the server. Setup instructions can be found here. Do not use SNAP to install Docker - this will cause issues later on.
  • Create a blank directory named hudu2 on the home directory. On Ubuntu, you can do this by typing:
    mkdir ~/hudu2
    Move into the directory. On Ubuntu:
    cd ~/hudu2
  • Place a file named docker-compose.yml in the directory. The contents can be found here.
  • Place a file named .env in the directory. The contents need to be generated with our config generator: here.

    It is critical that you store an exact copy of the .env file in a secure location. Your encryption and secure keys are located in this file, and you can lose access to passwords and more if this file is lost.

  • When both files are residing within the directory, run the command: sudo docker compose up -d to start your Hudu instance.
  • Wait for the command to execute. You will know it is done when you can visit your domain and see a page referring to SWAG (the name of the SSL Cert Tool we use).
  • You will now need to set up an SSL certificate for your instance. Type sudo docker compose down to shut down your instance.
  • Navigate to /var/www/hudu2/config/nginx/site-confs/. With Ubuntu, you can do this by typing: cd /var/www/hudu2/config/nginx/site-confs/
  • Edit the file named default.conf and replace ALL of the contents with this file named defaulthere.
  • Navigate back to the hudu2 folder. On Ubuntu: cd ~/hudu2
  • Start the instance again: sudo docker compose up -d
  • Your Hudu should now be up and running! Visit your domain to confirm. If you see a Hudu sign-up screen, it's successful. Head to the Hudu HQ Billing Portal for a license key.


  • If you don't see this screen, contact support, and please provide logs: sudo docker compose logs 


Reaching "SWAG" page / can't reach login page

Answer: This typically means that the default NGINX file didn't get replaced, or you didn't restart the server after changing it out with cd ~/hudu2 && sudo docker-compose down && sudo docker-compose up -d

Notes: If this DOES NOT resolve the issue:

  • Delete the default.conf file and use the mv command (mv default default.conf) to move the contents of the default file to the default.conf file.
  • You should end up with the defaulf.conf and default.conf.sample files in that folder.
    • You will then cd ~/hudu2 && sudo docker-compose down && docker-compose up -d to take it down and back up again.
    • After a few minutes, it should work by browsing to the URL.
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