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How to Install Apache Zeppelin on Ubuntu 16.04

Published on: Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 10:55 am EST
This article is a port of "How to Install Apache Zeppelin on CentOS 7" for Ubuntu 16.04

Apache Zeppelin is a web-based open source notebook and collaborative tool for interactive data ingestion, discovery, analytics and visualization. Zeppelin supports more than 20 languages including Apache Spark, SQL, R, Elasticsearch and many more. Apache Zeppelin allows you to create beautiful data-driven documents and see the results of your analytics.


  • A Vultr Ubuntu 16.04 server instance.
  • A sudo user.
  • A domain name pointed towards the server.

For this tutorial, we will use as the domain name pointed towards the Vultr instance. Please make sure to replace all occurrences of the example domain name with the actual one.

Update your base system using the guide How to Update Ubuntu 16.04. Once your system has been updated, proceed to install Java.

Install Java

Apache Zeppelin is written in Java, thus it requires JDK to work. Add the Ubuntu repository for Oracle Java 8.

sudo add-apt-repository --yes ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt update

Install Oracle Java.

sudo apt -y install oracle-java8-installer

Verify its version.

java -version

You will see the following output.

user@vultr:~$ java -version
java version "1.8.0_161"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_161-b12)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.161-b12, mixed mode)

Set the default path for the Java by installing the following package.

sudo apt -y install oracle-java8-set-default

You can verify if JAVA_HOME is set by running.


You will see.

user@vultr:~$ echo $JAVA_HOME

If you see no output at all, you will need to log out from the current shell and log back in.

Install Zeppelin

Apache Zeppelin ships all the dependencies along with the binary files, so we do not need to install anything else except Java. Download the Zeppelin binary on your system. You can always find the latest version of the application on Zeppelin download page.


Extract the archive.

sudo tar xf zeppelin-*-bin-all.tgz -C /opt

The above command will extract the archive to /opt/zeppelin-0.7.3-bin-all. Rename the directory for the sake of convenience.

sudo mv /opt/zeppelin-*-bin-all /opt/zeppelin

Apache Zeppelin is now installed. You can immediately start the application, but it will not be accessible to you, as it listens to localhost only. We will configure Apache Zeppelin as a service. We will also configure Nginx as a reverse proxy.

Configure Systemd

In this step, we will set up a Systemd unit file for the Zeppelin application. This will ensure that the application process is automatically started on system restart and failures.

For security reasons, create an unprivileged user for running the Zeppelin process.

sudo useradd -d /opt/zeppelin -s /bin/false zeppelin

Provide ownership of the files to the newly created Zeppelin user.

sudo chown -R zeppelin:zeppelin /opt/zeppelin

Create a new Systemd service unit file.

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/zeppelin.service

Populate the file with the following.

Description=Zeppelin service

ExecStart=/opt/zeppelin/bin/ start
ExecStop=/opt/zeppelin/bin/ stop
ExecReload=/opt/zeppelin/bin/ reload


Start the application.

sudo systemctl start zeppelin

Enable Zeppelin service to automatically start at boot time.

sudo systemctl enable zeppelin

To ensure that the service is running, you can run the following.

sudo systemctl status zeppelin

Configure Reverse Proxy

By default, the Zeppelin server listens to localhost on port 8080. We will use Nginx as a reverse proxy so that the application can be accessed via standard HTTP and HTTPS ports. We will also configure Nginx to use an SSL generated with Let's Encrypt free SSL CA.

Install Nginx.

sudo apt -y install nginx

Start Nginx and enable it to automatically start at boot time.

sudo systemctl start nginx
sudo systemctl enable nginx

Add the Certbot repository.

sudo add-apt-repository --yes ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update

Install Certbot, which is the client application for Let's Encrypt CA.

sudo apt -y install certbot

Note: To obtain certificates from Let's Encrypt CA, the domain for which the certificates are to be generated must be pointed towards the server. If not, make the necessary changes to the DNS records of the domain and wait for the DNS to propagate before making the certificate request again. Certbot checks the domain authority before providing the certificates.

Generate the SSL certificates.

sudo certbot certonly --webroot -w /var/www/html -d

The generated certificates are likely to be stored in /etc/letsencrypt/live/ The SSL certificate will be stored as fullchain.pem and private key will be stored as privkey.pem.

Let's Encrypt certificates expire in 90 days, hence it is recommended to set up auto-renewal of the certificates using Cron jobs.

Open the cron job file.

sudo crontab -e

Add the following line at the end of the file.

30 5 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew --quiet

The above cron job will run every day at 5:30 AM. If the certificate is due for expiration, it will automatically be renewed.

Create a new server block file for the Zeppelin site.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/zeppelin

Populate the file.

upstream zeppelin {
server {
    listen 80;
    return 301 https://$host$request_uri;

server {
    listen 443;

    ssl_certificate           /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
    ssl_certificate_key       /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

    ssl on;
    ssl_session_cache  builtin:1000  shared:SSL:10m;
    ssl_protocols  TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
    ssl_ciphers HIGH:!aNULL:!eNULL:!EXPORT:!CAMELLIA:!DES:!MD5:!PSK:!RC4;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;

    access_log  /var/log/nginx/zeppelin.access.log;

location / {
        proxy_pass http://zeppelin;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
        proxy_set_header X-NginX-Proxy true;
        proxy_redirect off;
location /ws {
    proxy_pass http://zeppelin/ws;
    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    proxy_set_header Upgrade websocket;
    proxy_set_header Connection upgrade;
    proxy_read_timeout 86400;

Activate the configuration file.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/zeppelin /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/zeppelin

Restart Nginx so that the changes can take effect.

sudo systemctl restart nginx zeppelin

Zeppelin is now accessible on the following address.

By default, there is no authentication enabled, so you can use the application directly.

Since the application is accessible to everyone, the notebooks you create are also accessible to everyone. It is very important to disable anonymous access and enable authentication so that only the authenticated users can access the application.

Disable Anonymous Access

To disable the default anonymous access, copy the configuration file template to its live location.

cd /opt/zeppelin
sudo cp conf/zeppelin-site.xml.template conf/zeppelin-site.xml

Edit the configuration file.

sudo nano conf/zeppelin-site.xml

Find the following lines in the file.


Change the value to false to disable the anonymous access.

Enable Shiro Authentication

Now that we have disabled the anonymous access, we need to enable some kind of authentication mechanism so that privileged users can log in. Apache Zeppelin uses Apache Shiro authentication. Copy the Shiro configuration file.

sudo cp conf/shiro.ini.template conf/shiro.ini

Edit the configuration file.

sudo nano conf/shiro.ini

Find the following lines in the file.


admin = password1, admin
user1 = password2, role1, role2
user2 = password3, role3
user3 = password4, role2

The list contains the username, password, and roles of the users. For now, we will only use admin and user1. Change the password of admin and user1 and disable the other users by commenting them. You can also change the username and roles of the users. To learn more about Apache Shiro users and roles, read the Shiro authorization guide.

Once you have changed the passwords, the code block should will like this.


admin = StrongPassword, admin
user1 = UserPassword, role1, role2
# user2 = password3, role3
# user3 = password4, role2

Now restart Zeppelin to apply the changes.

sudo systemctl restart zeppelin

You will see that the authentication has been enabled and you will be able to log in using the username and password set in the Shiro configuration file.

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