How to deploy a self-hosted instance of the Passbolt password manager

A password manager can keep your sensitive information in-house. Here’s how to deploy Passbolt to your data center or cloud-hosted service.

A user typing a password.
Image: Song_about_summer/Adobe Stock

Passbolt is a password manager you can use for team collaboration, and it offers plenty of the features you’ve grown accustomed to having at your fingertips, such as a random password generator, team collaboration, folders, tags and user access control. This password manager is designed specifically for Agile and DevOps teams, and it’s application programming interface-centric and developer-first.

Why would you want to run a self-hosted instance of Passbolt?

If your project or organization needs to save sensitive information and you don’t want to trust it to third-party servers, you might want to run a self-hosted instance of Passbolt. If you’re comfortable using Docker, this is a surefire solution for protecting your passwords from breaches, such as what recently occurred to LastPass.

SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords don’t mix (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If Passbolt sounds like a password manager well-suited to your needs, learn how it can be deployed with the help of Docker.

What you’ll need to deploy Passbolt

To run the self-hosted version of Passbolt, you’ll need a server with an operating system that supports Docker. I’ll demonstrate with Ubuntu Server 22.04 and the latest version of Docker CE; for that, you’ll need a running instance of Ubuntu Server and a user with sudo privileges.

How to install Docker

First, add the official Docker GPG key with the command:

curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg

With the key in place, add the Docker repository with the command:

echo "deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/docker-archive-keyring.gpg] $(lsb_release -cs) stable" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null

Next, install the required dependencies with the command:

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg lsb-release -y

Update apt, and install Docker CE with the commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli -y

Make sure your user is still a member of the docker group with the command:

sudo usermod -aG docker $USER

Log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.

Download the Passbolt Docker Compose YAML file with:


Open that file for editing with the command:

nano docker-compose-ce.yaml

Go through that file and edit any entries you need. For example, you might change the APP_FULL_BASE_URL: line to reflect your server’s IP address or hostname. Once you’ve edited the file, save and close it. You can then start the containers with the command:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-ce.yaml up -d

Once the containers have started, you must then create your first admin user with the command:

docker-compose -f docker-compose-ce.yaml exec passbolt su -m -c "/usr/share/php/passbolt/bin/cake passbolt register_user -u EMAIL -f FIRSTNAME -l LASTNAME -r admin" -s /bin/sh www-data


  • EMAIL is your email address.
  • FIRSTNAME is your first name.
  • LASTNAME is your last name.

The above command will output an address like this:

Open your default web browser, which must be either Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Brave or Vivaldi, paste the output address and hit enter. Now, you can create a passphrase for your vault (Figure A), making sure it’s strong and unique.

Figure A

Creating a passphrase for a Passbolt vault.
Creating a passphrase for a Passbolt vault.

Click Next, save the recovery kit file to your local drive and click Next again. You will be required to pick a color and type three random characters (Figure B).

Figure B

Creating a security token for Passbolt.
Creating a security token for Passbolt.

Click Next, and you’ll find yourself on the Passbolt main window (Figure C), where you can start adding vault entries.

Figure C

The Passbolt self-hosted main window.
The Passbolt self-hosted main window.

Another security resource to use is TechRepublic Premium’s password management policy.

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