Dub.co Thumbnail

You can self-host Dub.co on your own servers and cloud infrastructure for greater control over your data and design. This guide will walk you through the entire process of setting up Dub.co on your own servers.

Prerequisites

Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

You’ll also need a custom domain that you will be using for your Dub.co instance, with an optional custom short domain for your links.

In this guide, we’ll use acme.com as a placeholder for your custom domain, and ac.me as a placeholder for your custom short domain.

Step 1: Local setup

First, you’ll need to clone the Dub.co repo and install the dependencies.

1

Clone the repo

First, clone the Dub repo into a public GitHub repository. If you are planning to distribute the code, make sure to keep the source code public to comply with our AGPLv3 license.

Terminal Terminal
git clone https://github.com/dubinc/dub.git
2

Install dependencies

Run the following command to install the dependencies:

Terminal
pnpm i
3

Remove unnecessary files

Delete the apps/docs directory since it’s not needed for self-hosting:

Terminal
rm -rf apps/docs

Delete the apps/web/vercel.json file since cron jobs are not required for the self-hosted version:

Terminal
rm apps/web/vercel.json
4

Set up environment variables

Convert the .env.example file to .env. You can start filling in the first few environment variables:

Terminal
# The domain that your app will be hosted on
NEXT_PUBLIC_APP_DOMAIN=acme.com
# The short domain that your app will be using (could be the same as the above)
NEXT_PUBLIC_APP_SHORT_DOMAIN=ac.me
# The ID of the Vercel team that your app will be deployed to: https://vercel.com/docs/accounts/create-a-team#find-your-team-id
TEAM_ID_VERCEL=
# The unique access token for your Vercel account: https://vercel.com/guides/how-do-i-use-a-vercel-api-access-token
AUTH_BEARER_TOKEN=

You will fill in the remaining environment variables in the following steps.

Step 2: Set up Tinybird Clickhouse database

Next, you’ll need to set up the Tinybird Clickhouse database. This will be used to store time-series click events data.

1

Create Tinybird Workspace

In your Tinybird account, create a new Workspace.

Copy your admin Auth Token. Paste this token as the TINYBIRD_API_KEY environment variable in your .env file.

2

Install Tinybird CLI and authenticate

In your newly-cloned Dub.co repo, navigate to the packages/tinybird directory.

Install the Tinybird CLI with pip install tinybird-cli (requires Python >= 3.8).

Run tb auth and paste your admin Auth Token.

3

Publish Tinybird datasource and endpoints

Run tb push to publish the datasource and endpoints in the packages/tinybird directory. You should see the following output (truncated for brevity):

Terminal
$ tb push

** Processing ./datasources/click_events.datasource
** Processing ./endpoints/clicks.pipe
...
** Building dependencies
** Running 'click_events'
** 'click_events' created
** Running 'device'
** => Test endpoint at https://api.us-east.tinybird.co/v0/pipes/device.json
** Token device_endpoint_read_8888 not found, creating one
** => Test endpoint with:
** $ curl https://api.us-east.tinybird.co/v0/pipes/device.json?token=p.ey...NWeaoTLM
** 'device' created
...
4

Set up Tinybird API base URL

You will then need to update your Tinybird API base URL to match the region of your database.

From the previous step, take note of the Test endpoint URL. It should look something like this:

Terminal
Test endpoint at https://api.us-east.tinybird.co/v0/pipes/device.json

Copy the base URL and paste it as the TINYBIRD_API_URL environment variable in your .env file.

Terminal
TINYBIRD_API_URL=https://api.us-east.tinybird.co

Step 3: Set up Upstash Redis database

Next, you’ll need to set up the Upstash Redis database. This will be used to cache link metadata and serve link redirects.

1

Create Upstash database

In your Upstash account, create a new database.

For better performance & read times, we recommend setting up a global database with several read regions.

Upstash Redis database
2

Set up Upstash environment variables

Once your database is created, copy the UPSTASH_REDIS_REST_URL and UPSTASH_REDIS_REST_TOKEN from the REST API section into your .env file.

Upstash Redis tokens

Navigate to the QStash tab and copy the QSTASH_TOKEN, QSTASH_CURRENT_SIGNING_KEY, and QSTASH_NEXT_SIGNING_KEY from the Request Builder section into your .env file.

Upstash QStash tokens

Step 4: Set up PlanetScale MySQL database

Next, you’ll need to set up a PlanetScale-compatible MySQL database. This will be used to store user data and link metadata.

PlanetScale recently removed their free tier, so you’ll need to pay for this option. A cheaper alternative is to use a MySQL database on Railway ($5/month).

For local development, we recommend using a local MySQL database with PlanetScale simulator (100% free).

1

Create PlanetScale database

In your PlanetScale account, create a new database.

Once your database is created, you’ll be prompted to select your language or Framework. Select Prisma.

PlanetScale choose framework

2

Set up PlanetScale environment variables

Then, you’ll have to create a new password for your database. Once the password is created, scroll down to the Add credentials to .env section and copy the DATABASE_URL into your .env file.

PlanetScale add credentials

3

Generate Prisma client and create database tables

In your Dub.co codebase, navigate to apps/web/prisma/schema.prisma and replace all the columns in the DefaultDomains model to the normalized version of your custom short domain (removing the . character).

For example, if your custom short domain is ac.me, your DefaultDomains model should look like this:

apps/web/prisma/schema.prisma
model DefaultDomains {
  id          String   @id @default(cuid())
  acme        Boolean  @default(true)
  projectId   String   @unique
  project     Project  @relation(fields: [projectId], references: [id], onDelete: Cascade)
}

In the terminal, navigate to the apps/web directory and run the following command to generate the Prisma client:

Terminal
npx prisma generate

Then, create the database tables with the following command:

Terminal
npx prisma db push

Step 5: Set up GitHub OAuth

Next, create a new GitHub App. This will allow you to sign in to Dub.co with your GitHub account.

Don’t forget to set the following Callback URLs:

  • https://app.acme.com/api/auth/callback/github
  • http://localhost:8888/api/auth/callback/github for local development.

Optional: Set the “Email addresses” account permission to read-only in order to access private email addresses on GitHub.

Once your GitHub App is created, copy the Client ID and Client Secret into your .env file as the GITHUB_CLIENT_ID and GITHUB_CLIENT_SECRET environment variables.

Step 6: Set up Cloudflare R2

Dub stores user-generated assets in either S3 or S3-compatible services like Cloudflare R2. These include:

We recommend using Cloudflare R2 for self-hosting Dub.co, as it’s a more cost-effective solution compared to AWS S3. Here’s how you can set it up:

1

Create R2 bucket

You’ll need to subscribe to the R2 service if you haven’t already.

In your Cloudflare account, create a new R2 bucket. We recommend giving your bucket a descriptive name (e.g. dubassets) and leaving the remaining settings as is.

Cloudflare R2 bucket

In your bucket settings, copy the S3 API value – you’ll need it in Step 3.

2

Set up access to R2

From the R2 main page, click Manage R2 API Tokens on the right-hand column.

Cloudflare manage API tokens

Then, click Create API Token.

Cloudflare R2 API token

Make sure to name your API token something relevant to the service that will be using the token.

Give it “Object Read & Write” permissions, and we recommend only applying ito to a single bucket.

You can leave the remaining settings (TTL, Client IP Address Filtering) as is, and click Create API Token.

After you create you token, copy the Access Key ID and Secret Access Key values – you’ll need them in the next step.

3

Set up R2 environment variables

Once you have your credentials, set them in your .env file:

.env
STORAGE_ACCESS_KEY_ID= // this is the Access Key ID value from Step 2
STORAGE_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY= // this is the Secret Access Key value from Step 2
STORAGE_ENDPOINT= // this is the S3 API value from Step 1
4

Set up R2 domain

In order for your images to be publically accessible in R2 you need to setup a domain. You can either use your own domain or an R2.dev subdomain.

To use your own domain, you’ll need to create a CNAME record in your DNS settings that points to your R2 bucket.

In you plan to use an R2.dev subdomain, make sure you “Allow Access”.

Then set the STORAGE_BASE_URL in your .env file to the domain you chose.

STORAGE_BASE_URL={URL your assets as available at} # https://static.example.com
Cloudflare R2 domain

Step 7: Set up Postmark (optional)

Note that if you want to use magic link sign-in, this is a required step.

Next, you’ll need to set up Postmark for transactional emails (e.g. magic link emails):

  1. Follow this guide to create a new API token.
  2. Copy the API key into your .env file as the POSTMARK_API_KEY environment variable.
  3. You’ll then need to set up DKIM records and for your domain to start working. You can follow this guide to learn how to do so.

Step 8: Set up Unsplash (optional)

Dub uses Unsplash’s API for the Custom Social Media Cards feature. You’ll need to set up an Unsplash application to get an access key.

Custom social media
cards

Check out Unsplash’s official documentation to learn how you can set up the UNSPLASH_ACCESS_KEY env var.

Step 9: Deploy to Vercel

Once you’ve set up all of the above services, you can now deploy your app to Vercel.

1

Deploy code to GitHub

If you haven’t already, push up your cloned repository to GitHub by running the following commands:

Terminal
git add .
git commit -m "Initial commit"
git push origin main
2

Create a new Vercel project

In your Vercel account, create a new project. Then, select your GitHub repository and click Import.

Make sure that your Framework Preset is set to Next.js and the Root Directory is set to apps/web.

Vercel Framework Preset and Root Directory

In the Environment Variables section, add all of the environment variables from your .env file by copying all of them and pasting it into the first input field. A few notes:

  • Remove the PROJECT_ID_VERCEL environment variable for now since we will only get the project ID after deploying the project.
  • Replace the NEXTAUTH_URL environment variable with the app domain that you will be using (e.g. https://app.acme.com).

Click on Deploy to deploy your project.

If you get a No Output Directory called "public" was found after the build completed error, make sure that your Vercel deployment settings to make sure that they match the following:

Vercel Deploy settings

3

Add required environment variables

Once the project deploys, retrieve your Vercel project ID and add it as the PROJECT_ID_VERCEL environment variable – both in your .env file and in your newly created Vercel project’s settings (under Settings > Environment Variables)

Add both the NEXT_PUBLIC_APP_DOMAIN and NEXT_PUBLIC_APP_SHORT_DOMAIN as domains in your Vercel project’s settings (under Settings > Domains). You can follow this guide to learn how to set up a custom domain on Vercel.

4

Redeploy your Vercel project

Go back to the Deployments page and redeploy your project.

Once the deployment is complete, you should be able to visit your app domain (e.g. https://app.acme.com) and see the following login page:

Whitelabeled Login

Caveats

This guide is meant to be a starting point for self-hosting Dub.co. It currently depends on the following services to work:

In the future, we plan to make it easier to self-host Dub.co by making these dependencies optional by swapping them out for native databases (e.g. mysql, redis, clickhouse, GeoLite2 etc.)

Also, Docker is currently not supported, but we have a few open issues and PRs for it.