Self-Hosting Analytics with Plausible

I was recently looking for a cheap way to move a few sites off of Google Analytics and began looking into various options, both cloud-hosted and self-hosted.

Available Options

Unfortunately most cloud-hosted options (that aren't google analytics) are relatively pricy for what are essentially low traffic sites. After a bit of evalution the best options seemed to be:

I ruled out the cloud hosted options for now, mostly because I wanted to be able to try a few of these out quickly, without giving out any payment information.

Matamo's hosting requirements seemed larger than I wanted to go, and the additional features it has over the other's seem more like clutter for my use cases.

That left me with Fathom & Plausible.

Ruling out Fathom

I got Fathom up and running quick enough (they have 1-click digital ocean droplet), but after setting it up, but it seemed to have a few major flaws:

  • The analytics dashboard was completely public, with no UI I could find to:
    • Restrict it.
    • Sign in.
  • I passed through the initial setup, but I couldn't find how to see my siteID or script location again.

This was enough friction that I tore down the instance and figured I'd give Plausible a shot.

Installing Plausible

I followed the self-hosted tutorial provided by Plausible, but I ran into a couple minor issues while following it so I figured I'd write this post outlining the whole process.

Creating the Server

I opted to use Digital Ocean for my hosting as I've used them for a few different projects before. You should be able to use any other hosting provider as long as they support.

I created a new project, and setup a droplet with the following configuration:

  • 1 vCPU
  • 1GB RAM / 25 GB Disk
  • Droplet - Docker 19.x on Ubuntu 20.04 from the Marketplace.
  • IPv6 & monitoring enabled.
  • Attached my SSH key to the droplet.

Once the droplet was spun up, I ssh'd into it.


Installing Plausible

cd /srv
git clone plausible
cd plausible

# Generate a random key.
openssl rand -base64 64

# Edit the plausible config
nano plausible-conf.env



Starting and accessing Plausible

By default Plausible starts up on port 8000. It's expected that you will use some kind of reverse proxy. I opted to use cloudflare as my reverse proxy and handle https.

Here I:

  • Update Plausible to run on port 80.
  • Configure my DNS (run through cloudflare) to point to the droplet.
  • Block access on port 80 to go only go through cloudflare.

Update Plausible to run on port 80


# Before
      - 8000:8000

# After
      - 80:8000

Configuring DNS

  • Go to cloudflare DNS.
  • Add 2 records.

Only allowing access through Cloudflare

I configured UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) with some additional rules following this guide.

Starting up the Server

I made a small script to startup the server.


cd /srv/plausible
docker-compose up --detached

Running this scripts starts up the server.

Creating a SystemD service that runs on startup

In the event of a restart I want the droplet to be able to start up the server automatically.

To do that I created a SystemD service.


Description=Plausible Analytics

ExecStart=/usr/bin/env /srv/


Then I enabled the service.

# Will run on startup
systemctl enable plausible

# Manually run it
systemctl start plausible