Install Cells on CentOS/RHEL

Created on 2023/03/06, cells, installation

This guide explains how to configure Cells on a Red-Hat-Enterprise-Linux-like system. It contains strongly opinionated choices and best practices. It guides you through the steps required for a production-ready and reasonnably secured server. For a simple test on a RHEL-like server, you can skim through our quick start page instead.


Deploy a self-contained Pydio Cells instance on a web-facing RHEL-like Linux server,
exposed at https://<your-fqdn> using a Let's Encrypt certificate.


  • CPU/Memory: 4GB RAM, 2 CPU
  • Storage: 100GB SSD hard drive
  • Operating System:
    • RHEL 7, 8 or 9, Rocky Linux 8 or 9, CentOS and Scientific Linux 7.
    • An admin user with sudo rights that can connect to the server via SSH
    • Note: The present guide uses a Rocky Linux 9 server. You might have to adapt some commands if you use a different version or flavour.
  • Networking:
    • One Network Interface Controller connected to the internet
    • A registered domain that points toward the public IP of your server: if you already know your IP address, it is a good idea to already add a A Record in your provider DNS so that the record has been already propagated when we need it.


Dedicated user and file system layout

We recommend to run Pydio Cells with a dedicated pydio user with no sudo permission.

As admin user on your server:

# Create pydio user with a home directory
sudo useradd -m -s /bin/bash pydio

# Create necessary folders
sudo mkdir -p /opt/pydio/bin /var/cells/certs
sudo chown -R pydio:pydio /opt/pydio /var/cells

# Add system-wide ENV var
sudo tee -a /etc/profile.d/ << EOF
export CELLS_WORKING_DIR=/var/cells
sudo chmod 0755 /etc/profile.d/


Login as user pydio and make sure that the environment variables are correctly set:

sysadmin@server:~$ sudo su - pydio 
pydio@server:~$ echo $CELLS_WORKING_DIR
pydio@server:~$ exit


On Rocky Linux 9.2, default MariaDB package is 10.5 that works well for Cells. So simply do:

sudo yum install mariadb-server
sudo systemctl enable --now mariadb

# Run the script to secure your install
sudo mysql_secure_installation

# Open MySQL CLI to create your database and a dedicated user
sudo mysql -u root -p

Start a MySQL prompt and create the database and the dedicated pydio user.

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON cells.* to 'pydio'@'localhost';


Check the service is running and that the user pydio is correctly created:

sudo systemctl status mariadb
mysql -u pydio -p

Retrieve binary

# As pydio user
sudo su - pydio 

# Download correct binary
# or for Cells Enterprise
# distribId=cells-enterprise 
wget -O /opt/pydio/bin/cells -v${distribId}/release/{latest}/linux-amd64/${distribId}

# Make it executable
chmod a+x /opt/pydio/bin/cells

# As sysadmin user 
# Add permissions to bind to default HTTP ports
sudo setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' /opt/pydio/bin/cells

# Declare the cells commands system wide
sudo ln -s /opt/pydio/bin/cells /usr/local/bin/cells


Call the command version as user pydio:

sudo su - pydio 
cells version


Configure the server

Call the command configure as user pydio:

sudo su - pydio 
cells configure

If you choose Browser install at the first prompt, you can access the configuration wizard at https://<YOUR PUBLIC IP>:8080 after accepting the self-signed certificate. (Ensure the port 8080 is free and not blocked by a firewall).

You can alternatively finalise the configuration from the command line by answering a few questions.


If you used the browser install, you can login in the web browser as user admin

First insure your firewall does not block the port 8080:

sudo firewall-cmd --add-port=8080/tcp

If you have done the CLI install, you first need to start the server:

sudo su - pydio 
cells start

Connect and login at https://<YOUR PUBLIC IP>:8080

At this stage, we start the server in foreground mode. It is important that you always stop the server using the CTRL + C shortcut before calling the start command again.

Declare site and generate Let's Encrypt Certificate

At this point, we assume that:

  • your A record has been propagated: verify with ping <YOUR_FQDN> from your local workstation
  • both port 80 and 443 are free and not blocked by any firewall sudo netstat -tulpn

Create a site:

sudo su - pydio 
cells configure sites
  • Choose "Create a new site"
  • Choose 443 as the port to bind to
  • Enter your FQDN as the address to bind to
  • Choose "Automagically generate certificate with Let's Encrypt"
  • Enter your Email, Accept Let's Encrypt EULA
  • In a first pass, if you have a complicated network setup, you might want to choose to use the staging entrypoint for Let's Encrypt: it has much more generous limitations and let you try/error while fixing glitches in your network setup without getting black-listed.
  • Redirect default HTTP port towards HTTPS
  • Double check and save.


# Restart your server
sudo su - pydio 
cells start

Connect to your web site at https://<YOUR_FQDN>. A valid certificate is now used.

Stop your server once again before performing the finalisation steps.


Run your server as a service with systemd

Create a configuration file sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/cells.service with the following:

Description=Pydio Cells

ExecStart=/opt/pydio/bin/cells start

# Add environment variables


Reload systemd daemon, enable and start cells:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable --now cells


# you can check the system logs to insure everything seems OK
sudo journalctl -fu cells -S -1h

Connect to your certified web site at https://<YOUR_FQDN>.

You are now good to go. Happy file sharing!


Main tips

With Cells running as a service, you can access the logs in different ways:

# Pydio file logs
tail -200f /var/cells/logs/pydio.log
# Some of the microservices have their own log files, check:
ls -lsah /var/cells/logs/

# Check systemd files
journalctl -fu cells -S -1h

Time-out while trying to reach the web UI

If the server is started and you get timeout errors while trying to connect to the web UI, it is generally a sign that the connection to the declared port is blocked by a firewall. Check both on your OS and on the admin console of your machine provider.

SELinux is enforced

If, after a successful installation and when you try to navigate to the main application page with your browser, you land on a blank page with following message:

Access denied.

ensure you have modified SELinux to be in permissive mode.

Non standard DB install

If the default MariaDB package shipped with your OS does not meet your needs, you can install a more recent version from official MariaDB repository. Typically to get version 10.4 on Centos7:

# Add MariaDB 10.4 CentOS repository list
# See
sudo mkdir -p /etc/yum.repos.d
sudo tee /etc/yum.repos.d/MariaDB.repo << EOF
name = MariaDB
baseurl =

# Install and start the server
sudo yum install MariaDB-server
sudo systemctl enable --now mariadb