Help with installing ODK Central on company server

I want to install ODK Central on my own server. I have looked for information about it in the forums and on the official page, but the information is unclear to carry out this work. The documentation is mostly oriented to ODK Cloud or DigitalOcean. Previously I had ODK aggregate, which worked for me for a long time with enviable stability. Now I want to update the system. I use Ubuntu server 20.04 with Tomcat 9. Could someone indicate a website where they describe the process in more detail please.

The apologies of the case.

Hi @olmanf! The core team can help with self-hosting installs. Email for pricing.

You can also post at and offer to pay someone for help.

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Sorry for the inconvenience.

I did not know that open source software had restrictions and the knowledge of the community was closed.

Thank you very much for the message.

There are no restrictions and the ODK team has generously made all their work available under very permissive open source licenses such as Apache 2.0. They also maintain extensive user documentation. The documentation includes several installation options. It is not the job of open source maintainers to support users in every single possible use-case.

Have you tried any part of the installation process already? If you share details on steps you tried and then ask specific questions about problems you had, then you are more likely to get an answer on the forum. People who contribute on the forum are all doing it as volunteers. The forum is a strong community because people both ask for help and give support and contribute to discussions about the future of the project. If the different way you are trying to install the software is not yet documented, then you could contribute by engaging with the community figure it out and then documenting the solution. When you searched on the forums did you find posts about something similar to what you would like to do? You could politely ask those people for more details.


Hi danbjoseph. Thank you for your comment and observations.
I do not want to be controversial. I know ODK is a great tool.
I participate in various communities for other open source topics and I always try to contribute.
I was just curious that all the threads consulted reached the same ODK Cloud or DigitalOcean recommendation. This greatly reduces the possibilities and pigeonholes the solution to payment in the cloud. And many of us do not have that possibility. Strange that this happens, as in previous versions of ODK Aggregate, it was very versatile for locally managed machines with few resources.
Anyway, I'll keep looking and testing options to run ODK locally. And if I find the solution to my problem, I will gladly share it.

Thank you for your time, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

@olmanf I really appreciate your feedback and wanted to share my perspective.

I hear you that it's not so easy to host ODK Central locally, but that is a tradeoff we have to make to ensure that ODK software is maintainable by our small team and secure for our users.

Aggregate was created more than 10 years ago and the technological landscape has changed a lot since then. Modern software stacks do more and that requires that self-hosters have more technical expertise.

To be clear, you don't have to host on ODK Cloud, but that is certainly the easiest option (and the one that helps us continue to make ODK). The next easiest is DigitalOcean (or Vultr or Linode or AWS or GCloud). The next easiest is to install ODK on your own local servers with a fully-qualified domain name. You can get one for free at,

I should note that the vast majority of Central users host on low-cost infrastructure that they control and find success by following our documentation and getting help from the very kind volunteers on this forum.

As far as resources, Central uses less CPU/RAM than Aggregate and provides a lot more functionality. And as the Central team likes to point out, because it was not easy to do, it uses less resources than is available on the average smartphone.

Ultimately, we've made the choices we made because we believe our approach serves the majority of our users and ensures that ODK software will be around for another 10 or 20 years with enviable stability.

Sometimes those choices won't resonate with everyone, and that's OK. The beauty of open-source is that you can take the source code (even Aggregate!) and adjust it to suit your needs or try compatible open-source alternatives like NEMO or KoBo or CommCare.

I encourage you to try an install of Central on your local server. When you get stuck, ask specific questions on the forum, and community volunteers can help you be successful.


Thanks again for the responses and comments.

I understand what you mention about the limitations of ODK Aggregate.

I applaud the effort made by the developer group. My respect and admiration for all of you.

But also, the concern remained in the air.

In the same way I will continue exploring the options and if I find positive results I will share them.


Hi @olmanf

I would like to reiterate what @danbjoseph and @yanokwa have already stated, you can install ODK Central on your own server. Please follow the Digital Ocean install instructions and replace DO with your own server (most of the steps remain the same). From the documentation you can start from this section: Installing elsewhere

You will need a basic understanding of DNS, Docker and Docker compose to be able to install and run ODK Central.

Thanks for your comments again.

One more thing which I would like to add is if you will use Digital Ocean for ODK Cloud installation, I can help you with the installation process If you want any help feel free to ping me.