UniFi Controller

From Alpine Linux


This guide explains how to install the generic Unix UniFi Controller, as available from Ubiquiti Networks. At the time of writing this, a native Alpine Linux package is not available.

Furthermore, this guide uses the incredibly reliable and efficient s6 supervision suite to start and control the UniFi Controller.

A summarized schematic of what will be installed on the filesystem.

The choice of /srv for the UniFi Controller's root directory is based on the fact that it contains both run-time and configuration data, so installing to /usr/local, /opt or /home didn't seem appropriate. Feel free to adjust the steps below, replacing /srv/unifi with wherever you would prefer to install the UniFi Controller software.

   |-- unifi
   |   `-- log
   |-- srv
   |   `-- unifi
   |       |-- bin
   |       |-- conf
   |       |-- data
   |       |-- dl
   |       |-- lib
   |       |-- logs
   |       |-- run
   |       `-- webapps
   |-- run
   |   `-- openrc
   |          `-- s6-scan
   |              `-- unifi --> /etc/unifi
    `-- var
        `-- log
            `-- unifi

Prerequisite Packages


Install openjdk8-jre from the community repository.

Edit /etc/apk/repositories and uncomment the appropriate community repository for your Alpine version:


Update the package cache.

apk update

Install the package.

apk add openjdk8-jre


Install MongoDB

apk add mongodb


Install s6

apk add s6 which is a service supervision suite, for reliably and efficiently starting, stopping and keeping services running.

The below shows a schematic process tree of how the UniFi Controller will be started and supervised by s6. The controller is written in Java, hence the Java process and it in turn, launches a dedicated instance of MongoDB to store its configuration and run-time data.

`-- s6-svscan
    `-- s6-supervise
        |-- s6-log
        `-- java
            `-- mongod

Install UniFi Controller

Create the unifi user and group.

adduser -D -H -h /srv/unifi unifi

Change to the parent folder within which you wish to install the UniFi Controller.

cd /srv

Download the generic unix archive of the VERSION you wish to install.

wget http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/VERSION/UniFi.unix.zip

Unpack the archive.

unzip UniFi.unix.zip

Rename the unpacked directory.

mv UniFi unifi

Change ownership.

chown -R unifi:unifi unifi

Lock down permissions.

chmod o-rwx unifi

Change into the UniFi bin directory.

cd /srv/unifi/bin

Remove the existing file.

rm mongod

Create a symlink to /usr/bin/mongod

ln -s /usr/bin/mongod

Configure Service Management

Create UniFi Service Directory and Files

Create an s6 service directory for UniFi.

mkdir -p /etc/unifi/log

Add the run script, using your favourite editor.

vim /etc/unifi/run

Copy and paste the following into it.



exec 2>&1


if [ -d $base ]; then
    cd $base
    chown -R $user:$group .
    version=`head -1 webapps/ROOT/app-unifi/.version`
    echo "Starting UniFi Controller $version"
    exec s6-setuidgid $user java -jar lib/ace.jar start
    echo "Missing $base ... aborting"
    touch down

Ensure that the run script is executable:

chmod 755 /etc/unifi/run

Add the log/run script, using your favourite editor.

vim /etc/unifi/log/run

Copy and paste the following into it.



exec s6-setuidgid $log_user s6-log -b n20 s1000000 t /var/log/unifi

Ensure that the log/run script is executable:

chmod 755 /etc/unifi/log/run

Create log User and Directory

Create the log user and group.

adduser -D -H -h /var/log log

Create the /var/log/unifi directory

mkdir -p /var/log/unifi

Update the directory ownership.

chown log:log /var/log/unifi

Lock down the permissions.

chmod 750 /var/log/unifi

Create the OpenRC Service Script

Open the script file using your favourite editor.

vim /etc/init.d/unifi

Paste the following into it.



depend() {
	need net s6-svscan
	after firewall

start_pre() {
        if [ ! -L "${RC_SVCDIR}/s6-scan/${name}" ]; then
	        ln -s "/etc/${name}" "${RC_SVCDIR}/s6-scan/${name}"

Ensure that the script is executable.

chmod 755 /etc/init.d/unifi

Start the UniFi Controller Service

rc-service unifi start

Configure the UniFi Controller Service to start on boot

rc-update add unifi boot

Simple Backup Script

Create /usr/local/bin/unifi-backup using your favourite editor.

Note: This script assumes the use of s6-svc to control unifi. I will modify it in time, to use rc-service instead.

Paste the following into the file.




if s6-svok $service_dir; then
    if s6-svstat -o up,ready $service_dir | grep -q true; then
        echo 'Stopping the UniFi Controller'
        s6-svc -d $service_dir
        sleep 3
    echo 'Warning: The UniFi Controller is not supervised'
    exit 1

if s6-svstat -o up $service_dir | grep -q false; then
    echo 'Success: The UniFi Controller was stopped'
    echo 'Error: The UniFi Controller is still running'
    exit 1

stamp=`date +%Y-%m-%d_%H%M%S`

mkdir -p $backup_dir
cd $backup_dir
mkdir "data-$stamp"

echo "Backing up to /srv/backup/unifi/data-$stamp.tar.gz"

if rsync -az /srv/unifi/data/ "data-$stamp"; then
    echo '* rsync succeeded'
    if tar czf "data-$stamp.tar.gz" "data-$stamp"; then
        echo '* tar succeeded'
        rm -rf "data-$stamp"
        echo 'Backup succeeded'
        echo 'Backup failed: tar failed'
	exit 1

if [ "$start_state" == 'up' ]; then
    echo 'Starting the UniFi Controller'
    s6-svc -u $service_dir
    sleep 5
    s6-svstat $service_dir