Before installing Vocata, it is useful to meet a few prerequisites. For the rest of this chapter, we will make the following assumptions:

  • Debian 12 (bookworm) host

  • NGINX reverse proxy

  • certbot for certificate retrieval

  • as the single local prefix to manage

Server / VM requirements

  • 1 GiB of RAM or more (depending on the instance size)

  • 4 GiB of disk space or more (depending on the instance size)

  • Python 3.11 or newer (Debian GNU/Linux 12 (bookworm) recommended)

Auxiliary services

  • PostgreSQL 12 or newer recommended

    • SQLite technically works, but is single-threaded

  • Reverse proxy for HTTPS (NGINX recommended)

Network / domain / reachability requirements

  • At least one domain name for a local prefix

    • A/AAA records pointing to the Vocata server (IPv4 and IPv6 dual-stack recommended)

  • SSL certificate for HTTPS (Let’s Encrypt recommended)


Using pip (from PyPI)

Vocata can be installed from the Python Package Index [PyPI]. It is recommended to use a Python virtual environment for this setup.

apt install python3-virtualenv
mkdir /opt/vocata
python3 -m virtualenv /opt/vocata/venv
/opt/vocata/venv/bin/pip install "vocata[server,cli,postgresql]"  # or leave out postgresql

To start Vocata using systemd, a service unit like the following can be placed in /etc/systemd/system/vocata.service:

Description=Vocata ActivityPub Server



For the rest of the chapter, if the vocata or vocatactl commands are used, remember to call it as /opt/vocata/venv/bin/vocata.

Using docker-compose


Setting up auxiliary services


Basic/global configuration

The server can be configured using either a configuration file in /etc/vocata.toml (or several files in /etc/vocata.d/), or using environment variables.

In configuration files, use the TOML syntax. To use environment variables, translate the config keys into variable names of the form VOC_group__subgroup__name (for a key

For an example configuration file, the default configuration, and the documentation of the keys, see the default_settings.toml file shipped with Vocata.