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Paperbase is an open source document organizer featuring fulltext search, automatic OCR for scanned documents, tagging (soon), Import-by-Email functionality (soon). It differs from many other document management systems in that it lets you organize your documents using plain file system directories. This prevents vendor lock-in and doesn't prevent other applications from accessing/editing files (e.g. you could use it together with Nextcloud).

Paperbase screenshot

Install using Docker

Docker is the preferred and easiest way to set up your own Paperbase instance.


  • Docker
  • Docker Compose
  • Ports 80 and 443 accessible (443 is optional if you don't need HTTPS e.g. in your local network)


The Docker Compose stack comes with the Træfik reverse proxy included and set up by default. It automatically generates certificates for HTTPS through Let's Encrypt. If you don't want HTTPS, or already have a running Træfik instance, you need to edit docker-compose.yml accordingly.


Download the production docker-compose.yml and .env files to an empty directory somewhere on your server.

wget -O .env
wget -O docker-compose.yml
  1. In .env, set MEILISEARCH_KEY, APP_KEY, and DB_PASSWORD to random, 32 chars long strings.
  2. Set LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL to the email address you want to use for Let's Encrypt (see why).
  3. Set PAPERBASE_DOMAIN to the domain your instance will run on, or the IP address if running in your local network (make sure to disable HTTPS in that case).

Next, run docker-compose up -d to start the stack. After the stack has done booting, you should be able to open Paperbase in your browser.

Finally, create a user by running the command docker-compose exec app php artisan user:create.

Disabling HTTPS

To disable HTTPS, remove the according command arguments and port bindings in your docker-compose.yml (see comments in that file).