Last Updated: 2020-08-01

This guide will help you run the Grouparoo application on your local machine. At the end of this guide there are links to instructions on how to run Grouparoo on various production-ready platforms.

Grouparoo is a node.js application written in TypeScript. Grouparoo relies on a Postgres database and Redis cache. Grouparoo is distributed though NPM.

This guide has 3 options for you to install Grouparoo:

  • Deploy to Heroku
  • Run locally with Docker & Docker Compose
  • Run Locally with Node.js

Deploy to Heroku

The simplest way to see Grouparoo in action is to deploy it to Heroku for free:

Deploy to Heroku

Run locally with Docker & Docker Compose

Assuming you have Docker installed:

# in a new directory
curl -L --output docker-compose.yml
docker-compose up

Run Locally with Node.js

Step 1: Install Runtime and Databases

Grouparoo is a node.js application and requires Node.js version 12 or higher. You can download Node.js from their website or through the package manager for your operating system. The same is true for Postgres and Redis.

We also need to create a database within Postgres for Grouparoo to use. Let's use one called grouparoo_development.


# Install Homebrew ( if you don't have it
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

brew install node # Install Node.JS

brew install redis # Install Redis
brew services start redis # Start Redis

brew install postgresql # Install Postgres
brew services start postgresql # Start Postgres
createdb grouparoo_development # Create a database for Grouparoo

On Linux/Ubuntu:

# Install NVM
curl -o- | bash
nvm install v12 # install v12 of node.js
nvm use v12 # use v12 of node.js

sudo apt install redis-server # Install Redis

sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-contrib # Install Postgres
createdb grouparoo_development # Create a database for Grouparoo

Step 2: Generate package.json and .env

In a new directory, run the following command to generate the files Grouparoo needs:

npx grouparoo generate
npm start

This will create a package.json and .env files like these:


  "name": "my-grouparoo-project",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "private": true,
  "dependencies": {
    "@grouparoo/core": "latest",
    "@grouparoo/mysql": "latest",
    "@grouparoo/postgres": "latest",
    "@grouparoo/mailchimp": "latest",
    "@grouparoo/csv": "latest"
  "scripts": {
    "prepare": "cd node_modules/@grouparoo/core && npm run prepare",
    "start": "cd node_modules/@grouparoo/core && ./api/bin/start",
    "dev": "cd node_modules/@grouparoo/core && ./api/bin/dev"
  "grouparoo": {
    "plugins": [

There are some environment variables needed by Grouparoo that need to be set by your host/docker image. These variables tell Grouparoo how to connect to your database, which URL to use, etc. In development, we can also load these variables from a .env file that lives alongside your package.json. At minimum, you will need to set the following variables:



Note: the .env file only works when running in NODE_ENV=development. On your server, you should set up these same environment variables.

A note on SERVER_TOKEN: This should be a random string that will be used to identify Grouparoo servers to each-other in the same cluster. It will not be used to authenticate users, but rather authorize servers to make requests against each other. SERVER_TOKEN is not a replacement for setting unique, per-application database credentials and isolated runtime environments.

npm install will not succeed without these environment variables being set.

Only these 2 files are needed to make an "app" for Grouparoo to run. There is an example in the app-example directory.

Step 3: Install Dependencies

Run npm install to install dependencies. This will also run npm prepare which will compile the typescript application and build the web components. npx grouparoo generate will do this automatically for you.

Step 4: Start the Server

Run npm start to start the server and visit http://localhost:3000 to get started. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your account and first team.

Starting the Grouparoo application will also migrate your database and generally configure things as-needed.

Deploying to Production Environments

Now that you've tried Grouparoo locally, it's time to deploy it! An example application which can be copied and deployed via Docker or Heroku is available at

First, learn more about Grouparoo's Deployment Topology and how to secure your Grouparoo cluster.

Then find the deployment Guide for your environment: