Go to the project page on GitHub and download the latest release. There are multiple options available.

  • Download the docker-compose files if you want to pull paperless from Docker Hub.

  • Download the archive and extract it if you want to build the docker image yourself or want to install paperless without docker.


In contrast to paperless, the recommended way to get and update paperless-ng is not to pull the entire git repository. Paperless-ng includes artifacts that need to be compiled, and that’s already done for you in the release.

Overview of Paperless-ng

Compared to paperless, paperless-ng works a little different under the hood and has more moving parts that work together. While this increases the complexity of the system, it also brings many benefits.

Paperless consists of the following components:

  • The webserver: This is pretty much the same as in paperless. It serves the administration pages, the API, and the new frontend. This is the main tool you’ll be using to interact with paperless. You may start the webserver with

    $ cd /path/to/paperless/src/
    $ pipenv run gunicorn -c /usr/src/paperless/ -b paperless.wsgi

    or by any other means such as Apache mod_wsgi.

  • The consumer: This is what watches your consumption folder for documents. However, the consumer itself does not consume really consume your documents anymore. It rather notifies a task processor that a new file is ready for consumption. I suppose it should be named differently. This also used to check your emails, but that’s now gone elsewhere as well.

    Start the consumer with the management command document_consumer:

    $ cd /path/to/paperless/src/
    $ pipenv run python3 document_consumer
  • The task processor: Paperless relies on Django Q for doing much of the heavy lifting. This is a task queue that accepts tasks from multiple sources and processes tasks in parallel. It also comes with a scheduler that executes certain commands periodically.

    This task processor is responsible for:

    • Consuming documents. When the consumer finds new documents, it notifies the task processor to start a consumption task.

    • Consuming emails. It periodically checks your configured accounts for new mails and produces consumption tasks for any documents it finds.

    • The task processor also performs the consumption of any documents you upload through the web interface.

    • Maintain the search index and the automatic matching algorithm. These are things that paperless needs to do from time to time in order to operate properly.

    This allows paperless to process multiple documents from your consumption folder in parallel! On a modern multicore system, consumption with full ocr is blazing fast.

    The task processor comes with a built-in admin interface that you can use to see whenever any of the tasks fail and inspect the errors.

    You may start the task processor by executing:

    $ cd /path/to/paperless/src/
    $ pipenv run python3 qcluster
  • A redis message broker: This is a really lightweight service that is responsible for getting the tasks from the webserver and consumer to the task scheduler. These run in different processes (maybe even on different machines!), and therefore, this is necessary.

  • A database server. Paperless supports PostgreSQL and sqlite for storing its data. However, with the added concurrency, it is strongly advised to use PostgreSQL, as sqlite has its limits in that regard.


You can go multiple routes with setting up and running Paperless:

The docker route is quick & easy. This is the recommended route. This configures all the stuff from above automatically so that it just works and uses sensible defaults for all configuration options.

The bare metal route is more complicated to setup but makes it easier should you want to contribute some code back. You need to configure and run the above mentioned components yourself.

Docker Route

  1. Install Docker and docker-compose. 1


    If you want to use the included docker-compose.*.yml file, you need to have at least Docker version 17.09.0 and docker-compose version 1.17.0.

    See the Docker installation guide on how to install the current version of Docker for your operating system or Linux distribution of choice. To get an up-to-date version of docker-compose, follow the docker-compose installation guide if your package repository doesn’t include it.

  2. Copy either docker-compose.sqlite.yml or docker-compose.postgres.yml to docker-compose.yml, depending on which database backend you want to use.


    For new installations, it is recommended to use postgresql as the database backend. This is due to the increased amount of concurrency in paperless-ng.

  1. Modify docker-compose.yml to your preferences. You should change the path to the consumption directory in this file. Find the line that specifies where to mount the consumption directory:

    - ./consume:/usr/src/paperless/consume

    Replace the part BEFORE the colon with a local directory of your choice:

    - /home/jonaswinkler/paperless-inbox:/usr/src/paperless/consume

    Don’t change the part after the colon or paperless wont find your documents.

  2. Modify docker-compose.env, following the comments in the file. The most important change is to set USERMAP_UID and USERMAP_GID to the uid and gid of your user on the host system. This ensures that both the docker container and you on the host machine have write access to the consumption directory. If your UID and GID on the host system is 1000 (the default for the first normal user on most systems), it will work out of the box without any modifications.


    You can use any settings from the file paperless.conf in this file. Have a look at Configuration to see whats available.

  3. Run docker-compose up -d. This will create and start the necessary containers. This will also build the image of paperless if you grabbed the source archive.

  4. To be able to login, you will need a super user. To create it, execute the following command:

    $ docker-compose run --rm webserver createsuperuser

    This will prompt you to set a username, an optional e-mail address and finally a password.

  5. The default docker-compose.yml exports the webserver on your local port 8000. If you haven’t adapted this, you should now be able to visit your Paperless instance at You can login with the user and password you just created.


You of course don’t have to use docker-compose, but it simplifies deployment immensely. If you know your way around Docker, feel free to tinker around without using compose!

Bare Metal Route


TBD. User docker for now.

Migration to paperless-ng

At its core, paperless-ng is still paperless and fully compatible. However, some things have changed under the hood, so you need to adapt your setup depending on how you installed paperless. The important things to keep in mind are as follows.

  • Read the changelog and take note of breaking changes.

  • It is recommended to use postgresql as the database now. If you want to continue using SQLite, which is the default of paperless, use docker-compose.sqlite.yml. See Moving data from sqlite to postgresql for details on how to move your data from sqlite to postgres.

  • The task scheduler of paperless, which is used to execute periodic tasks such as email checking and maintenance, requires a redis message broker instance. The docker-compose route takes care of that.

  • The layout of the folder structure for your documents and data remains the same, so you can just plug your old docker volumes into paperless-ng and expect it to find everything where it should be.

Migration to paperless-ng is then performed in a few simple steps:

  1. Stop paperless.

    $ cd /path/to/current/paperless
    $ docker-compose down
  2. Do a backup for two purposes: If something goes wrong, you still have your data. Second, if you don’t like paperless-ng, you can switch back to paperless.

  3. Download the latest release of paperless-ng. You can either go with the docker-compose files or use the archive to build the image yourself. You can either replace your current paperless folder or put paperless-ng in a different location.


    Make sure you also download the .env file. This will set the project name for docker compose to paperless and then it will automatically reuse your existing paperless volumes.

  4. Adjust docker-compose.yml and docker-compose.env to your needs. See docker route for details on which edits are required.

  5. Start paperless-ng.

    $ docker-compose up

    If you see everything working (you should see some migrations getting applied, for instance), you can gracefully stop paperless-ng with Ctrl-C and then start paperless-ng as usual with

    $ docker-compose up -d

    This will run paperless in the background and automatically start it on system boot.

  6. Paperless installed a permanent redirect to admin/ in your browser. This redirect is still in place and prevents access to the new UI. Clear everything related to paperless in your browsers data in order to fix this issue.

Moving data from sqlite to postgresql