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How to install GlitchTip without Docker

2021-01-29 (last changed on 2022-05-01) by Lukas Winkler

You like the error tracking sentry.io provides, you want to self-host it, but the setup takes up too many resources? Then https://glitchtip.com/ might be something for you. It is a FOSS reimplementation of the sentry backend with most important features. You can install it using docker following their guide, but if you like me like to install things from stretch without docker, then this guide might be for you.


While I am using gunicorn and systemd services, there are many other ways to deploy a django application and this guide might still help as an inspiration.

This whole guide is more of a documentation of the way I set it up than a definitive guide on the one way to set up GlitchTip.

This guide was tested on 29-01-2021 on Debian stable using git hash 7d9de2949a5a38a8d1f98eeac0774db09be06e66

Basic Setup

Download Code

Create a Virtualenv

If you use virtualenvwrapper something like mkvirtualenv --python=python3 glitchtip might work, otherwise you can create it with something like python3 -m venv /path/to/new/virtual/environment. Activate it (workon glitchtip or source /path/to/new/virtual/environment/bin/activate).

Install dependencies

cd code
poetry install
poetry remove uWSGI
poetry add gunicorn

Create Linux user

sudo adduser glitchtip --disabled-login

Create PostgreSQL user and database

sudo -u postgres createuser glitchtip
sudo -u postgres createdb -O glitchtip glitchtip

Create runtime directory

(this is just a directory where the glitchtip user has write permission and can place all kinds of files)

cd /srv/server/glitchtip
mkdir runtime

Set up backend

Create environment variable file

cd /srv/server/glitchtip
nano env

Don’t forget to set the SECRET_KEY to a secret random string. This example assumes you have an SMTP server running on localhost and want to use Redis table 13.

Check glitchtip.com/documentation/install#configuration for more information about these options.


Database migration

All of the following commands assume they are run as glitchtip user, using the python binary from the virtualenv (/path/to/new/virtual/environment/bin/python) and have the above environment variables loaded.

One way to do this is to run

sudo -u glitchtip bash
export $(cat ../env | xargs) # repeat after editing env
/srv/venv/glitchtip/bin/python manage.py THECOMMAND`

For the database migration run

python manage.py migrate

If you get any connection errors, check the DATABASE_URL above and if your PostgreSQL user exists.

Set up Frontend

Compile frontend

cd /srv/server/glitchtip
git clone https://gitlab.com/glitchtip/glitchtip-frontend.git frontend
cd frontend
npm install
npm run build-prod

This should create a dist directory with the frontend.

Now go back to the backend and create a symlink:

cd ../code
ln -s ../frontend/dist/glitchtip-frontend/ dist

Afterwards create a code/static and code/media directory and change the owner to glitchtip. Finally run

python manage.py collectstatic

Quick test

You should now be able to run

python manage.py runserver

And access glitchtip using the returned URL (assuming there is no firewall blocking that port. When in doubt forward the port using SSH.

Set up Gunicorn

Create a config file

cd /srv/server/glitchtip
nano gunicorn.py
pidfile = "/srv/server/glitchtip/runtime/pid"
bind = "unix:/srv/server/glitchtip/runtime/socket"
proc_name = "glitchtip"
worker_tmp_dir = "/dev/shm"
workers = 3

Check the gunicorn docs for more options and recommendations about the amount of workers.

Create a gunicorn service

sudoedit /etc/systemd/system/glitchtip.service
Description=glitchtip daemon

ExecStart=/srv/venv/glitchtip/bin/gunicorn glitchtip.wsgi --config /srv/server/glitchtip/gunicorn.py
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID
ExecStop=/bin/kill -s TERM $MAINPID

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start glitchtip
sudo journalctl -u glitchtip
sudo systemctl enable glitchtip

Set up Nginx

This depends a lot on your general Nginx setup, but there should be nothing special about this config file apart from redirecting API requests to gunicorn and static files to the /static/ directory.

sudoedit /etc/nginx/sites-available/glitchtip
server {
        listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
        listen 443 ssl http2;
        server_name bugs.example.com;
        access_log /var/log/nginx/bugs.example.com.access.log;
        error_log /var/log/nginx/bugs.example.com.error.log;

        ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/bugs.example.com/fullchain.pem;
        ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/bugs.example.com/privkey.pem;

        add_header Strict-Transport-Security max-age=15768000;

        location ~ /\.git {
                deny all;

        location / {
                alias /srv/server/glitchtip/code/static/;
                try_files $uri $uri/index.html /index.html;
                expires 1h;
                add_header Pragma public;
                add_header Cache-Control "public";
        location /media/ {
                alias /srv/server/glitchtip/code/media/;

        location ~ ^/(api|admin|_health|rest-auth)/ {
                proxy_pass         http://unix:/srv/server/glitchtip/runtime/socket;
                proxy_redirect     off;
                proxy_set_header   Host                 $host;
                proxy_set_header   X-Real-IP            $remote_addr;
                proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-For      $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
                proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-Proto    $scheme;
cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled
sudo ln -s ../sites-available/glitchtip
sudo nginx -t && sudo service nginx reload

Now you should be able to use GlitchTip without issues in your browser (create a user and afterwards log in). But to complete the setup we also need to set up celery.

Set up Celery

Set up Beat

sudoedit /etc/systemd/system/glitchtip-celery-beat.service
Description=glitchtip celery beat

ExecStart=/srv/venv/glitchtip/bin/celery -A glitchtip beat -l info --pidfile=/srv/server/glitchtip/    runtime/celery-beat-pid --logfile=/srv/server/glitchtip/runtime/beat.log -s /srv/server/glitchtip/     runtime/celerybeat-schedule


Set up one Worker

sudoedit /etc/systemd/system/glitchtip-celery-worker.service
Description=glitchtip celery worker

ExecStart=/srv/venv/glitchtip/bin/celery -A glitchtip worker -l info --pidfile=/srv/server/glitchtip/  runtime/celery-worker-pid --logfile=/srv/server/glitchtip/runtime/worker.log


start services

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start glitchtip-celery-worker.service
sudo journalctl -u glitchtip-celery-worker
sudo systemctl start glitchtip-celery-beat.service
sudo journalctl -u glitchtip-celery-beat

sudo systemctl enable glitchtip-celery-worker.service
sudo systemctl enable glitchtip-celery-beat.service
You have any feedback or ideas to improve this? Contact me on Social Media or per E-Mail. You can find my other projects at lw1.at.