Manual installation

This page describes how to install FixMyStreet patform manually. You can use this if you're used to setting up web applications — but the other installation options may be easier:

Note that this is just one of four ways to install FixMyStreet (the other ways are easier!).

Manual installation

If you prefer to set up each required component of FixMyStreet yourself, proceed with the instructions below.

1. Get the code

Fetch the latest version from GitHub:

$ mkdir FixMyStreet
$ cd FixMyStreet
$ git clone --recursive
$ cd fixmystreet
If you're running an old version of git, prior to 1.6.5, you'll have to clone and then run git submodule update --init separately.

2. Install prerequisite packages

a. Debian / Linux

If you’re using Debian or Ubuntu, then the packages to install required dependencies are listed in conf/packages.generic. To install all of them you can run e.g.:

$ sudo xargs -a conf/packages.generic apt-get install

A similar list of packages should work for other Debian-based distributions. (Please let us know if you would like to contribute such a package list or instructions for other distributions.)

b. Mac OS X

Install either MacPorts or HomeBrew (you might well have one already), and then use the command below to install a few packages that FixMyStreet needs, for which it’s much simpler to install via a packaging system.

i. MacPorts
$ port install gettext p5-locale-gettext p5-perlmagick jhead postgresql91-server
ii. HomeBrew
$ brew install gettext perlmagick jhead postgresql
$ brew link gettext --force
gettext needs to be linked for the Locale::gettext Perl module to install; you can unlink gettext once everything is installed.

c. Other

You need Perl 5.8, ImageMagick with the perl bindings, and gettext. If you’re expecting a lot of traffic it’s recommended that you install memcached:

3. Install prerequisite Perl modules

FixMyStreet uses a number of CPAN modules; to install them, run:

$ bin/install_perl_modules

This should tell you what it is installing as it goes. It takes some time, so feel free to continue with further steps whilst it’s running.

It is possible you may need to install some source packages to allow some of the included modules to be built, including expat (libexpat1-dev), postgresql (postgresql-server-dev-8.4), or the GMP math library (libgmp3-dev).

4. Generate CSS

There is a script, bin/make_css, that converts our SCSS files to CSS files. So let’s run that:

$ bin/make_css

5. Create a new PostgreSQL database

The default settings assume the database is called fms and the user the same. You can change these if you like. Using the defaults, create a user and database using the following (do not worry if the CREATE LANGUAGE step gives an error that it already exists, it might well do depending on how your PostgreSQL was installed):

$ sudo -u postgres psql
postgres=# CREATE USER fms WITH PASSWORD 'somepassword';
postgres=# CREATE DATABASE fms WITH OWNER fms;
postgres=# \c fms
postgres=# CREATE LANGUAGE plpgsql;
postgres=# \q

You should be able to connect to the database with psql -U fms fms – if not, you will need to investigate how to allow access to your PostgreSQL database.

5b. Install database schema

Now you can use the provided schema migration script to create the required tables, triggers, and initial data. Run the following:

$ bin/update-schema --commit

6. Set up config

The settings for FixMyStreet are defined in conf/general.yml using the YAML markup language. There are some defaults in conf/general.yml-example which you should copy to conf/general.yml:

$ cp conf/general.yml-example conf/general.yml

The bare minimum of settings you will need to fill in or update are:

  • FMS_DB_PASS – this is the password for the database. (Also obviously change any other database settings you did differently here.)
  • BASE_URL – for using the development server, set to 'http://localhost:3000/'. This is the URL of the homepage of your FixMyStreet installation.
  • MAPIT_URL – for the development server, set to 'http://localhost:3000/fakemapit/'. This would be the URL of a MapIt installation, as and when you use one.

Some others you might want to look at, though the defaults are enough for it to run:

  • EMAIL_DOMAIN – the email domain that emails will be sent from
  • CONTACT_EMAIL – the email address to be used on the site for the contact us form.
  • DO_NOT_REPLY_EMAIL – the email address to be used on the site for e.g. confirmation emails.
  • STAGING_SITE – if this is 1 then all email (alerts and reports) will be sent to the contact email address. Use this for development sites.
  • UPLOAD_DIR – this is the location where images will be stored when they are uploaded. It should be accessible by and writeable by the FixMyStreet process.
  • GEO_CACHE – this is the location where Geolocation data will be cached. It should be accessible by and writeable by the FixMyStreet process.

If you are using Bing or Google maps you should also set one of BING_MAPS_API_KEY or GOOGLE_MAPS_API_KEY.

7. Set up some required data

You need to generate the data used for the /reports page (this is run by the crontab, but to have it working from the start, we can run the script manually). Also, if you wish to use other languages, you will need to generate .mo files for them.

$ bin/update-all-reports
$ commonlib/bin/gettext-makemo FixMyStreet

8. Run

The development server can now hopefully be run with:

$ script/server

The server will be accessible as http://localhost:3000/. You can run with -r in order for the server to automatically restart when you update the code.

Post-install: Things you might want to change

Next Steps

Tile server

You will also need a tile server to serve up map tiles. FixMyStreet can currently use tile servers such as Bing, OpenStreetMap and Google, defaulting to OpenStreetMap.


Finally, you will need a geolocation service to turn addresses into longitude and latitudes. FixMyStreet currently includes code to use Bing, Google, and OpenStreetMap geolocation services, again defaulting to OpenStreetMap.

Cron jobs

There is an example crontab in conf/crontab-example. You can use that as a base for your own user crontab.


For production use of FixMyStreet, we suggest you use Apache or nginx, and FastCGI. It should also be possible to run it using Plack/PSGI, if that is preferable.


There is an example Apache vhost configuration file in conf/apache-vhost.conf.example and conf/httpd.conf-example, which contain a sample configuration and the required redirect rules.

The sample configuration will need the following modules enabled:

  • mod_rewrite
  • mod_proxy
  • mod_expires
  • mod_fastcgi

For most Linux distributions you should be able to install these using the distribution’s packaging system.


There is an example nginx configuration in conf/nginx.conf.example. With nginx, you need to run the FastCGI service separately - the conf/sysvinit.example file is an example script you could use to run it as a daemon. And you will need to install a FastCGI process manager:

$ apt-get install libfcgi-procmanager-perl

Check it’s working

At this point you should be able to restart the webserver and see your FixMyStreet installation at the configured URL.

You can run the unit tests by running the following command in the fixmystreet directory:

$ bin/run-tests t

The master branch of the repository should always be passing all tests for our developers and on mySociety’s servers.


See some troubleshooting hints if something’s not working for you.

When you’ve finished

Please see the instructions for updating your code once it’s installed.

If you want to know which bits of FixMyStreet are in which directory, see this summary of the directory structure.