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Server Configuration

Using the default Docker image, all necessary configuration can be made from the browser. However, depending on the deployment, it can be necessary to customize the server configuration.

This page lists all methods to change the configuration and all existing configuration options.

Configuration file vs. environment variables

For the settings, you can either use a configuration file or environment variables.

When you use the Docker Compose based setup, you can include a configuration file by adding the following list item under the volumes: key in the grampsweb: block:

      - /path/to/config.cfg:/app/config/config.cfg
where /path/to/config.cfg is the path to the config file in your server's file system (the right-hand side refers to the path in the container and must not be changed).

When using environment variables,

  • prefix every setting name with GRAMPSWEB_ to obtain the name of the environment variable
  • Use double underscores for nested dictionary settings, e.g GRAMPSWEB_THUMBNAIL_CACHE_CONFIG__CACHE_DEFAULT_TIMEOUT will set the value of the THUMBNAIL_CACHE_CONFIG['CACHE_DEFAULT_TIMEOUT'] config option

Existing configuration settings

The following configuration options exist.

Required settings

Key Description
TREE The name of the family tree database to use. Show available trees with gramps -l. If a tree with this name does not exist, a new empty one will be created.
SECRET_KEY The secret key for flask. The secret must not be shared publicly. Changing it will invalidate all access tokens


You can generate a secure secret key e.g. with the command

python3 -c "import secrets;print(secrets.token_urlsafe(32))"

Optional settings

Key Description
MEDIA_BASE_DIR Path to use as base directory for media files, overriding the media base directory set in Gramps. When using S3, must have the form s3://<bucket_name>
SEARCH_INDEX_DIR Path for the full-text search index. Defaults to indexdir relative to the path where the script is run
STATIC_PATH Path to serve static files from (e.g. a static web frontend)
BASE_URL Base URL where the API can be reached (e.g. This is necessary e.g. to build correct passwort reset links
CORS_ORIGINS Origins where CORS requests are allowed from. By default, all are disallowed. Use "*" to allow requests from any domain.
EMAIL_HOST SMTP server host (e.g. for sending password reset e-mails)
EMAIL_PORT SMTP server port. defaults to 465
EMAIL_HOST_USER SMTP server username
EMAIL_USE_TLS Boolean, whether to use TLS for sending e-mails. Defaults to True. When using STARTTLS, set this to False and use a port different from 25.
DEFAULT_FROM_EMAIL "From" address for automated e-mails
THUMBNAIL_CACHE_CONFIG Dictionary with settings for the thumbnail cache. See Flask-Caching for possible settings.
CELERY_CONFIG Settings for the Celery background task queue. See Celery for possible settings.
REPORT_DIR Temporary directory where the output of running Gramps reports will be stored
EXPORT_DIR Temporary directory where the output of exporting the Gramps database will be stored


When using environment variables for configuration, boolean options like EMAIL_USE_TLS must be either the string true or false (case senitive!).

Settings only for PostgreSQL backend database

This is required if you've configured your Gramps database to work with the PostgreSQL addon.

Key Description
POSTGRES_USER The user name for the database connection
POSTGRES_PASSWORD The password for the database user

Settings relevant for hosting multiple trees

The following settings are relevant when hosting multiple trees.

Key Description
MEDIA_PREFIX_TREE Boolean, whether or not to use a separate subfolder for the media files of each tree. Defaults to False, but strongly recommend to use True in a multi-tree setup
NEW_DB_BACKEND The database backend to use for newly created family trees. Must be one of sqlite, postgresql, or sharedpostgresql. Defaults to sqlite.

Example configuration file

A minimal configuration file for production could look like this:

TREE="My Family Tree"
SECRET_KEY="..."  # your secret key
EMAIL_HOST_PASSWORD="..." # your SMTP password