Please note that you must use Apache if you intend to use SSO using Shibboleth. If that’s not the case because you do not use SSO at all or use e.g. OAuth, OIDC or SAML without Shibboleth, we recommend using nginx.

1. Install Packages

PostgreSQL and nginx are installed from their upstream repos to get much more recent versions.

apt install -y lsb-release wget curl gnupg
echo "deb $(lsb_release -cs)-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list
echo "deb$(lsb_release -is | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]')/ $(lsb_release -cs) nginx" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nginx.list
wget --quiet -O - | apt-key add -
wget --quiet -O - | apt-key add -
apt update
apt install -y --install-recommends postgresql-13 libpq-dev nginx libxslt1-dev libxml2-dev libffi-dev libpcre3-dev libyaml-dev libssl-dev zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev xz-utils liblzma-dev uuid-dev build-essential redis-server

If you use Debian, run this command:

apt install -y libjpeg62-turbo-dev

If you use Ubuntu, run this instead:

apt install -y libjpeg-turbo8-dev zlib1g-dev

Afterwards, make sure the services you just installed are running:

systemctl start postgresql.service redis-server.service

2. Create a Database

Let’s create a user and database for indico and enable the necessary Postgres extensions (which can only be done by the Postgres superuser).

su - postgres -c 'createuser indico'
su - postgres -c 'createdb -O indico indico'
su - postgres -c 'psql indico -c "CREATE EXTENSION unaccent; CREATE EXTENSION pg_trgm;"'


Do not forget to setup a cronjob that creates regular database backups once you start using Indico in production!

3. Configure uWSGI & nginx

The default uWSGI and nginx configuration files should work fine in most cases.

cat > /etc/uwsgi-indico.ini <<'EOF'
uid = indico
gid = nginx
umask = 027

processes = 4
enable-threads = true
chmod-socket = 770
chown-socket = indico:nginx
socket = /opt/indico/web/uwsgi.sock
stats = /opt/indico/web/uwsgi-stats.sock
protocol = uwsgi

master = true
auto-procname = true
procname-prefix-spaced = indico
disable-logging = true

single-interpreter = true

touch-reload = /opt/indico/web/indico.wsgi
wsgi-file = /opt/indico/web/indico.wsgi
virtualenv = /opt/indico/.venv

vacuum = true
buffer-size = 20480
memory-report = true
max-requests = 2500
harakiri = 900
harakiri-verbose = true
reload-on-rss = 2048
evil-reload-on-rss = 8192

We also need a systemd unit to start uWSGI.

cat > /etc/systemd/system/indico-uwsgi.service <<'EOF'
Description=Indico uWSGI

ExecStart=/opt/indico/.venv/bin/uwsgi --ini /etc/uwsgi-indico.ini
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID



Replace YOURHOSTNAME in the next file with the hostname on which your Indico instance should be available, e.g.

cat > /etc/nginx/conf.d/indico.conf <<'EOF'
server {
  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  server_name YOURHOSTNAME;
  return 301 https://$server_name$request_uri;

server {
  listen       *:443 ssl http2;
  listen       [::]:443 ssl http2 default ipv6only=on;
  server_name  YOURHOSTNAME;

  ssl_certificate           /etc/ssl/indico/indico.crt;
  ssl_certificate_key       /etc/ssl/indico/indico.key;
  ssl_dhparam               /etc/ssl/indico/ffdhe2048;

  ssl_session_timeout       1d;
  ssl_session_cache         shared:SSL:10m;
  ssl_session_tickets       off;
  ssl_protocols             TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
  ssl_prefer_server_ciphers off;

  access_log            /opt/indico/log/nginx/access.log combined;
  error_log             /opt/indico/log/nginx/error.log;

  if ($host != $server_name) {
    rewrite ^/(.*) https://$server_name/$1 permanent;

  location /.xsf/indico/ {
    alias /opt/indico/;

  location ~ ^/(images|fonts)(.*)/(.+?)(__v[0-9a-f]+)?\.([^.]+)$ {
    alias /opt/indico/web/static/$1$2/$3.$5;
    access_log off;

  location ~ ^/(css|dist|images|fonts)/(.*)$ {
    alias /opt/indico/web/static/$1/$2;
    access_log off;

  location /robots.txt {
    alias /opt/indico/web/static/robots.txt;
    access_log off;

  location / {
    root /var/empty/nginx;
    include /etc/nginx/uwsgi_params;
    uwsgi_pass unix:/opt/indico/web/uwsgi.sock;
    uwsgi_param UWSGI_SCHEME $scheme;
    uwsgi_read_timeout 15m;
    uwsgi_buffers 32 32k;
    uwsgi_busy_buffers_size 128k;
    uwsgi_hide_header X-Sendfile;
    client_max_body_size 1G;

4. Create a TLS Certificate

First, create the folders for the certificate/key and set restrictive permissions on them:

mkdir /etc/ssl/indico
chown root:root /etc/ssl/indico/
chmod 700 /etc/ssl/indico

We also use a strong set of pre-generated DH params (ffdhe2048 from RFC7919) as suggested in Mozilla’s TLS config recommendations:

cat > /etc/ssl/indico/ffdhe2048 <<'EOF'

If you are just trying out Indico you can simply use a self-signed certificate (your browser will show a warning which you will have to confirm when accessing your Indico instance for the first time).


Do not forget to replace YOURHOSTNAME with the same value you used above

openssl req -x509 -nodes -newkey rsa:4096 -subj /CN=YOURHOSTNAME -keyout /etc/ssl/indico/indico.key -out /etc/ssl/indico/indico.crt

While a self-signed certificate works for testing, it is not suitable for a production system. You can either buy a certificate from any commercial certification authority or get a free one from Let’s Encrypt.


There’s an optional step later in this guide to get a certificate from Let’s Encrypt. We can’t do it right now since the nginx config references a directory yet to be created, which prevents nginx from starting.

5. Install Indico

Celery runs as a background daemon. Add a systemd unit file for it:

cat > /etc/systemd/system/indico-celery.service <<'EOF'
Description=Indico Celery

ExecStart=/opt/indico/.venv/bin/indico celery worker -B


systemctl daemon-reload

Now create a user that will be used to run Indico and switch to it:

useradd -rm -g nginx -d /opt/indico -s /bin/bash indico
su - indico

The first thing to do is installing pyenv - we use it to install the latest Python version as not all Linux distributions include it and like this Indico can benefit from the latest Python features.

curl -L | bash

cat >> ~/.bashrc <<'EOF'
export PATH="/opt/indico/.pyenv/bin:$PATH"
eval "$(pyenv init --path)"
eval "$(pyenv init -)"

source ~/.bashrc

You are now ready to install Python 3.9:

Run pyenv install --list | egrep '^\s*3\.9\.' to check for the latest available version and then install it and set it as the active Python version (replace x in both lines).

pyenv install 3.9.x
pyenv global 3.9.x

This may take a while since pyenv needs to compile the specified Python version. Once done, you may want to use python -V to confirm that you are indeed using the version you just installed.

You are now ready to install Indico:

python -m venv --upgrade-deps --prompt indico ~/.venv
source ~/.venv/bin/activate
echo 'source ~/.venv/bin/activate' >> ~/.bashrc
pip install wheel
pip install uwsgi
pip install indico

6. Configure Indico

Once Indico is installed, you can run the configuration wizard. You can keep the defaults for most options, but make sure to use https://YOURHOSTNAME when prompted for the Indico URL. Also specify valid email addresses when asked and enter a valid SMTP server Indico can use to send emails. When asked for the default timezone make sure this is the main time zone used in your Indico instance.

indico setup wizard

Now finish setting up the directory structure and permissions:

mkdir ~/log/nginx
chmod go-rwx ~/* ~/.[^.]*
chmod 710 ~/ ~/archive ~/cache ~/log ~/tmp
chmod 750 ~/web ~/.venv
chmod g+w ~/log/nginx
echo -e "\nSTATIC_FILE_METHOD = ('xaccelredirect', {'/opt/indico': '/.xsf/indico'})" >> ~/etc/indico.conf

7. Create database schema

Finally, you can create the database schema and switch back to root:

indico db prepare

8. Launch Indico

You can now start Indico and set it up to start automatically when the server is rebooted:

systemctl restart nginx.service indico-celery.service indico-uwsgi.service
systemctl enable nginx.service postgresql.service redis-server.service indico-celery.service indico-uwsgi.service

9. Optional: Get a Certificate from Let’s Encrypt


You need to use at least Debian 9 (Stretch) to use certbot. If you are still using Debian 8 (Jessie), consider updating or install certbot from backports.

If you use Ubuntu, install the certbot PPA:

apt install -y software-properties-common
add-apt-repository -y ppa:certbot/certbot
apt update

To avoid ugly TLS warnings in your browsers, the easiest option is to get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt. We also enable the cronjob to renew it automatically:

apt install -y python-certbot-nginx
certbot --nginx --rsa-key-size 4096 --no-redirect --staple-ocsp -d YOURHOSTNAME
rm -rf /etc/ssl/indico
systemctl start certbot.timer
systemctl enable certbot.timer

10. Create an Indico user

Access https://YOURHOSTNAME in your browser and follow the steps displayed there to create your initial user.

11. Install TeXLive

Follow the LaTeX install guide to install TeXLive so Indico can generate PDF files in various places.