How to install the Passbolt Team Password Manager on Ubuntu 18.04

Passbolt is a powerful, web-based password manager that can be employed by individuals and teams.

Padlock as a symbol of information safety

Image: Jack Wallen

If you have teams that need to work with a single password manager, you're in luck, as there is a community edition of Passbolt that can be installed on Linux. Passbolt CE is a free, open source, self-hosted, extensible, OpenPGP based password manager that makes it easy for individuals or teams to make use of a web-based tool to house passwords.

I want to walk you through the process of installing Passbolt on Ubuntu Server 18.04. The installation takes a bit of time, but the end result is well worth the effort.

SEE: Information security policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

What you need

The only things you need are:

  • Working Ubuntu Server 18.04 instance.
  • User account with sudo privileges.
  • About 30-60 minutes of time.

Let's install.

Install the Universe repo

The first thing that must be done is the installation of the Universe repository. To do this, open a terminal window and issue the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt-get update

Download and run the installer script

Next, we must download and run the installer script. This script will take care of much of the installation for you. However, there are a few questions to answer during this installation. To download and run the installer, issue the following commands:

cd /tmp
wget -O passbolt-ce-installer-ubuntu-18.04.tar.gz https://www.passbolt.com/ce/download/installers/ubuntu/latest
wget -O passbolt-installer-checksum https://www.passbolt.com/ce/download/installers/ubuntu/latest-checksum
sha512sum -c passbolt-installer-checksum
tar -xzf passbolt-ce-installer-ubuntu-18.04.tar.gz
sudo ./passbolt_ce_ubuntu_installer.sh

The first question is if you want to install MariaDB (Figure A). Unless you will connect Passbolt to a remote database server, type 1 and hit Enter.

Figure A

Figure A

Okaying the installation of the MariaDB database server.


You will then be asked to set a password for the root database user and then create a new database user for Passbolt. For this, type passbolt, and hit Enter (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Creating the MariaDB user, passbolt.


You will most likely be asked to install Haveged (to collect entropy). Type 1 and hit Enter (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Installing Haveged, so your system can collect enough entropy for the installation.


Next, you'll be asked to set a hostname (Figure D). Either type your system hostname or an IP address.

Figure D

Figure D

Adding your hostname for Passbolt.


At this point, the installation will start and will take some time to complete. Step away from the machine and find something else to do. When you come back. Passbolt will inform you it's time to point a browser to either your domain or IP address (whichever you set as the hostname). Do that, and you can finish up the installation, via the web-based tool (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

The web-based Passbolt configuration tool.


Click the Start the Wizard button and then, when prompted, click Start Configuration. The steps in the configuration are:

  • Database
  • Server keys
  • Email server configuration (SMTP server is needed to send alerts)
  • Options (allow public registration, full base URL, force SSL)
  • Create admin user
  • Installation

Once you've completed that, you will then be prompted to install a browser plugin. Why? According to Passbolt:

Passbolt requires a browser add-on to guarantee that your secret key and your passphrase are never accessible to any website (including passbolt.com itself). This is also the only way to guarantee that the core cryptographic libraries cannot be tampered with.

Once you have that add-on installed, you'll be walked through the process of setting up your individual keys and passphrase (Figure F).

Figure F

Figure F

Setting up your passbolt user keys and passphrase from within the Firefox addon.


Congratulations. Passbolt is ready to serve as your on-premise, web-based password manager.

Also see

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.