Install Etherpad Lite on Ubuntu and Debian

UPDATE: These docs are now out of date, you should use the official install documents provided by the Etherpad Foundation.

Installing Etherpad Lite on Debian/Ubuntu clean.

Part 1 – Installing prerequisites

apt-get install build-essential python libssl-dev git-core git libsqlite3-dev gzip curl
# you will be prompted to press Y

Part 2 – Installing nodeJS and NPM

mkdir ~/local
cd ~/local
tar -zxvf node-v0.6.11.tar.gz
cd node-v0.6.11
./configure --prefix=$HOME/local/node
make install
echo 'export PATH=$HOME/local/node/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.profile
echo 'export NODE_PATH=$HOME/local/node:$HOME/local/node/lib/node_modules' >> ~/.profile
source ~/.profile

Part 3 – Installing Etherpad Lite and running it

git clone git://
# You will be prompted to type Etherpad Lite rocks my socks.

You are now finished installing and Etherpad Lite should be running, you should be able to access it on http://localhost:9001

Only if you have an old version of Debian (Lenny) or Ubuntu then you will need to install sqllite from backports. To do open /etc/apt/sources.list and add:

deb lenny-backports main

Save and close the file then type

apt-get update
apt-get -t lenny-backports install libsqlite3-dev

You may need to rebuild your modules if you have an error, to do this do an rm -Rf node_modules and run the startup script ( again!

Want to run Etherpad Lite as a service? Follow this guide. Make sure you do a chown -R etherpad-lite on the etherpad-lite folder if you have run it as root or any other user before hand..

15 thoughts on “Install Etherpad Lite on Ubuntu and Debian

  1. Thank you so much!
    Struggled a bit on the 10.04 startup script using a non-root user but su helped.
    This one worked:
    #!/bin/sh# rao: own home-brewed script to launch etherpad on startup# Planetom aka 28 Dec 2011# This script being linked into runlevel script using# update-rc.d /etc/init.d/ default## Please note the -l option is critical for it acts as user logged in himself..# Command “man su” explains what it does more detailed.# The path may vary depending on your own installation.## Install howto from John McLear, thank you so much!# etherpad -l -c “cd /home/etherpad/local/node-v0.6.1/etherpad-lite;/home/etherpad/local/node-v0.6.1/etherpad-lite/bin/”

  2. My pleasure.  Hope you enjoy using Etherpad Lite, v1.1 has some really exciting things due so keep an eye on the Foundation for announcements!

  3. After  issuing a  ” bin/”
    It says
    “You shouldn’t start Etherpad-Lite as root!Please type ‘Etherpad Lite rocks my socks’ if you still want to start it as root”

    Is there any particular reason why?

  4. I’ve followed your instructions, and they work. Would you recommend using the latest version of Node.JS (currently 0.8.2) instead of 0.6.12? Any issues to be aware of? Thanks

  5. Updated install insructions, works on debian 6, Also installs as a non root user for more security.

    # apt-get install build-essential python libssl-dev git-core git libsqlite3-dev gzip curl openssl libssl-dev
    # useradd -m -d etherpad
    # su – etherpad
    $ mkdir local
    $ cd local
    $ git clone
    $ cd node
    $ git checkout v0.8.5
    $ ./configure –prefix=$HOME/local/node –openssl-libpath=/usr/lib/ssl
    $ make
    $ make install
    $ echo ‘export PATH=$HOME/local/node/bin:$PATH’ >> ~/.profile
    $ echo ‘export NODE_PATH=$HOME/local/node:$HOME/loc Mal/node/lib/node_modules’ >> ~/.profile
    $ source ~/.profile
    $ cd ..
    $ git
    $ etherpad-lite/bin/

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