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Installing Etherpad Light on Debian

It's actually called Etherpad Lite but i hate that spelling.

This will be a copy-paste of except for a few things taken from and workarounds when things do not go as planned.

See what Debian you are starting out with with vi /etc/debian_version. We had 6.0.2.

The etherpad user was created with password etherpad, full name Etherpad Lite, everything else as defaults of the adduser script.

The make command took 4 minutes, 48 seconds for me.

apt-get install build-essential python libssl-dev git-core git libsqlite3-dev gzip curl
# you will be prompted to press Y
sudo adduser etherpad
su etherpad
mkdir ~/local
cd ~/local
tar -zxvf node-v0.4.10.tar.gz
cd node-v0.4.10/
./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
curl | sh
# You will be prompted to type yes
# No instructions said to change directory but it seems cleaner.
cd ../
git clone 'git://'

Will wonders never cease; it worked. Agaric now has its own etherpad.

Temporary Re-run Commands

The above instructions kill it as soon as you close the terminal window which is running the session. To restart, for some strange reason the source command has to be re-run.

su etherpad
source ~/.profile

It seems the proper way is to run it as a service, however.

Etherpad Light as a Service

Presumably the two chowns are overkill.

sudo mkdir /var/log/etherpad-lite
sudo chown etherpad /var/log/etherpad-lite
sudo chown -R etherpad /var/log/etherpad-lite
sudo vi /etc/init.d/etherpad-lite
sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/etherpad-lite

The contents of my /etc/init.d/etherpad-lite file are taken directly from the etherpad-lite wiki how to deploy as a service page but here's the first section with the changed variables— my changes start at PATH:


# Provides:          etherpad-lite
# Required-Start:    $local_fs $remote_fs $network $syslog
# Required-Stop:     $local_fs $remote_fs $network $syslog
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: starts etherpad lite
# Description:       starts etherpad lite using start-stop-daemon

DESC="Etherpad Lite"

Now we can start Etherpad Light with this etc/init.d script that will be familiar to us from such services as Apache:

sudo /etc/init.d/etherpad-lite start

Restart Etherpad Lite

Lost connection with the EtherPad lite synchronization server. This may be due to a loss of network connectivity.

That helpful error message started recurring constantly, instant 99% of the time i attempted to edit any pad.

sudo /etc/init.d/etherpad-lite restart

That restart fixed it.


It seems to be open to the public on our test server.

Other basic follow-up which i haven't done:

Possibly see also:

Searched words: 
etherpad on debian see debian version restart etherpad lite


Thank you very much for

Thank you very much for posting this. I was missing the part where I was to add my etherpad lite path to the PATH variable and couldn't figure out why it was working ... I saw your post and now I'm running my own etherpad lite service. I'm stoked.

Reverse proxy on Apache2

Thanks lots for this comprehensive tutorial! I've managed to get Etherpad Light running on Debian 6 - the customized commands here are really helpful!

I have a query: I am trying to get reverse proxy running so that I need not access my ether pad light install on port 9001. To that end, I've created the following virtual host entry:


        <Proxy *>
                Order deny,allow
                Allow from all

        ProxyPass / http://localhost:9001/
        ProxyPassReverse / http://localhost:9001/

ServerSignature Off

But going to does not bring up my ether pad light instance :( Any advice? Thank you!

Repo has moved

The Etherpad Lite repo is now at

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