How to Install Mailtrain Newsletter Application on Ubuntu 16.04

Published on: Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 11:13 am EST

Mailtrain is an open-source self hosted newsletter app built on Node.js and MySQL/MariaDB. Mailtrain's source is on GitHub. This guide will show you how to install Mailtrain on a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Vultr instance.


  • Software Requirements:
    • Node.js v7 or greater
    • MySQL v5.5
    • Nginx
    • Redis (optional)
  • Hardware Requirements:
    • 1 vCPU
    • 1024 MB RAM

Check the Ubuntu version.

lsb_release -ds
# Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS

Create a new non-root user account with sudo access and switch to it.

adduser johndoe --gecos "John Doe"
usermod -aG sudo johndoe
su - johndoe

NOTE: Replace johndoe with your username.

Set up the timezone.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata

Ensure that your system is up to date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install build-essential and unzip.

sudo apt install -y build-essential unzip

Install Node.js and NPM

Install Node.js by utilizing the NodeSource APT repository.

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt install -y nodejs

Check the Node.js and npm versions.

node -v && npm -v
# v8.11.1
# 5.6.0

Install MySQL

Install MySQL.

sudo apt install -y mysql-server

Check the version.

mysql --version

Run the mysql_secure installation script to improve MySQL security.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Connect to the MySQL shell as the root user.

mysql -u root -p
# Enter password:

Create an empty MySQL database and user, and remember the credentials.

GRANT ALL ON dbname.* TO 'username' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

Install Nginx

Install Nginx.

sudo apt install -y nginx

Check the version.

sudo nginx -v

Configure Nginx as an HTTP or HTTPS (if you use SSL) reverse proxy for Mailtrain application. Run sudo vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/mailtrain.conf and add the following configuration.

server {

    listen [::]:80;
    listen 80;


    charset utf-8;
    client_max_body_size 50M;

    location / {
        proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
        proxy_next_upstream error timeout http_502 http_503 http_504;


Activate the new mailtrain.conf configuration by linking the file to the sites-enabled directory.

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/mailtrain.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Test the configuration.

sudo nginx -t

Reload Nginx.

sudo systemctl reload nginx.service

Install Mailtrain

Create an empty document root folder where Mailtrain should be installed.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/mailtrain

Navigate to the document root folder.

cd /var/www/mailtrain

Change ownership of the /var/www/mailtrain folder to user johndoe.

sudo chown -R johndoe:johndoe /var/www/mailtrain

Download and unzip Mailtrain.

mv mailtrain-master/* . && mv mailtrain-master/.* .
rmdir mailtrain-master

Run npm install --production in the Mailtrain folder to install required dependencies.

Copy config/default.toml as config/production.toml and update MySQL and any other settings in it.

cp config/default.toml config/production.toml
vim config/production.toml

Run the server.

NODE_ENV=production npm start

Installation is complete. Login with the username admin and the password test. Once logged in, update the user information and password via the Mailtrain web interface.