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Important settings you may want to change first

absolutely set these in .env before start the instance for the first time:

  • NEODB_SECRET_KEY - 50 characters of random string, no white space
  • NEODB_SITE_NAME - the name of your site
  • NEODB_SITE_DOMAIN - the domain name of your site

NEODB_SECRET_KEY and NEODB_SITE_DOMAIN must not be changed later.

if you are doing debug or development:

  • NEODB_DEBUG - True will turn on debug for both neodb and takahe, turn off relay, and reveal self as debug mode in nodeinfo (so peers won't try to run fedi search on this node)
  • NEODB_IMAGE - the docker image to use, neodb/neodb:edge for the main branch

Settings for customization

  • NEODB_PREFERRED_LANGUAGES - preferred languages when importing titles from 3rd party sites like TMDB and Steam, comma-separated list of ISO-639-1 two-letter codes, en,zh by default. It can includes languages with no UI translations yet, e.g. if set to ja,en,zh, NeoDB scraper will fetch catalog metadata in three languages if they are available from third party sites, Japanese users (= whose browser language set to ja-JP) will see English UI with Japanese metadata.
  • NEODB_DISCOVER_FILTER_LANGUAGE - False by default; when set to True, /discover/ will only show items with languages match one of NEODB_PREFERRED_LANGUAGES.
  • NEODB_DISCOVER_SHOW_LOCAL_ONLY - False by default; when set to True, only show items marked by local users rather than entire network on /discover/
  • NEODB_DISCOVER_UPDATE_INTERVAL - minutes between each update for popular items on /discover/
  • NEODB_SITE_LINKS - a list of title and links to show in the footer, comma separated, e.g. Feedback=,ToS=/pages/rules/
  • NEODB_INVITE_ONLY - False by default, set to True to require invite code(generated by neodb-manage invite --create) to register
  • NEODB_ENABLE_LOCAL_ONLY - False by default, set to True to allow user to post marks as "local public"
  • NEODB_LOGIN_MASTODON_WHITELIST - a list of Mastodon instances to allow login from, comma separated
  • NEODB_ADMIN_USERNAMES - a list of usernames to be admin, comma separated, server restart is required to apply this setting after these users are registered.
  • NEODB_EMAIL_FROM - the email address to send email from
  • NEODB_EMAIL_URL - email sender configuration, e.g.
    • smtp://<username>:<password>@<host>:<port>
    • smtp+tls://<username>:<password>@<host>:<port>
    • smtp+ssl://<username>:<password>@<host>:<port>
    • anymail://<anymail_backend_name>?<anymail_args>, to send email via email service providers, see anymail doc
  • DISCORD_WEBHOOKS - Discord channel to send notification about user submitted suggestion and changes, e.g. suggest=,audit=

Settings for Federation

  • NEODB_SEARCH_PEERS is empty by default, which means NeoDB will search all known peers running production version of NeoDB when user look for items. This can be set to a comma-separated list of host names, so that NeoDB will only search those servers; or search no other peers if set to just -.

  • NEODB_DISABLE_DEFAULT_RELAY is set to False by default, the server will send and receive public posts from is open sourced and operated by NeoDB developers, it works like most ActivityPub relays except it only relays between NeoDB instances, it helps public information like catalogs and trends flow between NeoDB instances. You may set it to True if you don't want to relay public posts with other NeoDB instances.

Settings for external item sources

  • SPOTIFY_API_KEY - base64('CLIENT_ID:SECRET'), see spotify doc
  • TMDB_API_V3_KEY - API v3 key from TMDB
  • GOOGLE_API_KEY - API key for Google Books
  • DISCOGS_API_KEY - personal access token from Discogs

Other maintenance tasks

Add alias to your shell for easier access

alias neodb-manage='docker-compose --profile production run shell neodb-manage'

Multiple instances on one server

It's possible to run multiple clusters in one host server with docker compose, as long as NEODB_SITE_DOMAIN, NEODB_PORT and NEODB_DATA are different.

Scaling up

For high-traffic instance, spin up these configurations to a higher number, as long as the host server can handle them:


Further scaling up with multiple nodes (e.g. via Kubernetes) is beyond the scope of this document, but consider run db/redis/typesense separately, and then duplicate web/worker/stator containers as long as connections and mounts are properly configured; migration only runs once when start or upgrade, it should be kept that way.