Running Autopush


To run Autopush, you will need to run at least one connection node, one endpoint node, and a local DynamoDB server or AWS DynamoDB. The prior section on Autopush architecture documented these components and their relation to each other.

The recommended way to run the latest development or tagged Autopush release is to use docker. Autopush has docker images built automatically for every tagged release and when code is merged to master.

If you want to run the latest Autopush code from source then you should follow the Developing Autopush instructions.

The instructions below assume that you want to run Autopush with a local DynamoDB server for testing or local verification. The docker containers can be run on separate hosts as well, or with AWS DynamoDB instead.


These instructions will yield a locally running Autopush setup with the connection node listening on localhost port 8080, with the endpoint node listening on localhost port 8082. Make sure these ports are available on localhost before running, or change the configuration to have the Autopush daemons use other ports.

  1. Install docker

  2. Install docker-compose

  3. Create a directory for your docker and Autopush configuration:

    $ mkdir autopush-config
    $ cd autopush-config
  4. Fetch the latest docker-compose.yml file:

    $ curl -O
  5. Fetch the latest boto-compose.cfg file:

    $ curl -O

The boto-compose.cfg file will be mounted inside the Autopush docker containers when running to point Autopush at the locally running DynamoDB


The docker images used take approximately 1.5 GB of disk-space, make sure you have appropriate free-space before proceeding.

Generate a Crypto-Key

As the Cryptography section notes, you will need a CRYPTO_KEY to run both of the Autopush daemons. To generate one with the docker image:

$ docker run -t -i ~/autopush autokey
Key = hkclU1V37Dnp-0DMF9HLe_40Nnr8kDTYVbo2yxuylzk=

Store the key for later use (including the trailing =).

Start Autopush

Once you’ve completed the setup and have a crypto key, you can run a local Autopush with a single command:

$ CRYPTO_KEY=hkclU1V37Dnp-0DMF9HLe_40Nnr8kDTYVbo2yxuylzk= docker-compose up

docker-compose will start up three containers, two for each Autopush daemon, and a third for DynamoDB.

By default, the following services will be exposed:

ws://localhost:8080/ - websocket server

http://localhost:8082/ - HTTP Endpoint Server (See the HTTP API)

You could set the CRYPTO_KEY as an environment variable, or setup a more thorough configuration using config files as documented below.

The load-tester can be run against it or you can run Firefox with the local Autopush per the Firefox Testing docs.


Autopush can be configured in three ways; by option flags, by environment variables, and by configuration files. Autopush uses three configuration files. These files use standard ini formatting similar to the following:

# A comment description

Options can either have values or act as boolean flags. If the option is a flag it is either True if enabled, or False if disabled. The configuration files are usually richly commented, and you’re encouraged to read them to learn how to set up your installation of autopush.

Please note: any line that does not begin with a # or ; is considered an option line. if an unexpected option is present in a configuration file, the application will fail to start.

Configuration files can be located in:

  • in the /etc/ directory
  • in the configs subdirectory
  • in the $HOME or current directory (prefixed by a period ‘.’)

The three configuration files are:

  • autopush_connection.ini - contains options for use by the websocket handler. This file’s path can be specified by the --config-connection option.
  • autopush_shared.ini - contains options shared between the connection and endpoint handler. This file’s path can be specified by the --config-shared option.
  • autopush_endpoint.ini - contains options for the HTTP handlers This file’s path can be specified by the --config-endpoint option.

Sample Configurations

Three sample configurations, a base config, and a config for each Autopush daemon can be found at

These can be downloaded and modified as desired.

Config Files with Docker

To use a configuration file with docker, ensure the config files are accessible to the user running docker-compose. Then you will need to update the docker-compose.yml to use the config files and make them available to the appropriate docker containers.

Mounting a config file to be available in a docker container is fairly simple, for instance, to mount a local file autopush_connection.ini into a container as /etc/autopush_connection.ini, update the autopush section of the docker-compose.yml to be:

  - ./boto-compose.cfg:/etc/boto.cfg:ro
  - ./autopush_connection.ini:/etc/autopush_connection.ini

Autopush automatically searches for a configuration file at this location so nothing else is needed.

Notes on GCM/FCM support

Autopush is capable of routing messages over Google Cloud Messaging/Firebase Cloud Messaging for android devices. You will need to set up a valid GCM / FCM account. Once you have an account open the Google Developer Console:

  • create a new project. Record the Project Number as “SENDER_ID”. You will need this value for your android application.
  • create a new Auth Credential Key for your project. This is available under APIs & Auth >> Credentials of the Google Developer Console. Store this value as gcm_apikey or fcm_apikey (as appropriate) in .autopush_endpoint server configuration file.
  • add gcm_enabled to the .autopush_shared server configuration file to enable GCM routing.
  • add fcm_enabled to the .autopush_shared server configuration file to enable FCM routing.

Additional notes on using the GCM/FCM bridge are available on the wiki.