Running a Mirror

F-Droid’s collection of apps and files are run on servers run by the core F-Droid contributors. Originally, this main repository was hosted only on, but as F-Droid grew alone was no longer able to handle the entire load. F-Droid now supports “mirror” servers that replicate a full copy of the repositories. Hosting a mirror involves running an HTTPS webserver that has a full copy of the repository synchronized using rsync.


There are two official F-Droid repository sections, the “repo” and the “archive”. It’s most important to mirror the “repo” since it is used much more than the “archive”.

The primary resources required by a mirror are disk space and upload bandwidth. Bandwidth requirements are reduced with each new mirror, but disk requirements grow at a reasonable rate. At time of writing (Mar 2019), the primary repository requires just over 60GB of disk space in 24K files, and the archive requires 300GB of disk space in 52K files. The amount of disk space required grows with every new app release.

There are three mirror servers which offer an rsync connection, make sure to select the mirror closest to your mirror server:

  • China: rsync -axv
  • Germany: rsync -axv
  • USA/Indiana: rsync -axv

You can find current information on disk space requirements by running the following in your terminal:

$ rsync -v --list-only


This guide assumes the use of Nginx with a deb-based distribution, and mirroring the primary repository plus the archive. Please adjust accordingly if you’re using alternatives or don’t intend to mirror the archive. Also substitute the examples paths and domains for your own.

For assistance with this process, feel free to reach out to us.

  1. Create appropriate directories
$ sudo mkdir -p /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/repo
$ sudo mkdir -p /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/archive
$ sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /var/www/fdroid
  1. Synchronize the repositories. These commands are best run in a terminal multiplexer (screen, tmux etc) as they will take some time to complete.
$ sudo -u www-data -E /usr/bin/rsync --links --delete --times --recursive --permissions --hard-links --sparse --delay-updates --temp-dir /tmp/ /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/repo/
$ sudo -u www-data -E /usr/bin/rsync --links --delete --times --recursive --permissions --hard-links --sparse --delay-updates --temp-dir /tmp/ /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/archive/
  1. Establish a cronjob to keep the repositories up to date

Create a cronjob file in /etc/cron.d

$ vi /etc/cron.d/fdroid

Fill the file with entries to update the repositories

*/5 * * * * www-data /usr/bin/rsync --links --delete --times --recursive --permissions --hard-links --sparse --delay-updates --temp-dir /tmp/ /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/repo/
*/5 * * * * www-data /usr/bin/rsync --links --delete --times --recursive --permissions --hard-links --sparse --delay-updates --temp-dir /tmp/ /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/archive/
  1. Configure your webserver

This is an example server block for nginx. If used, it should be copied to /etc/nginx/sites-available/ and symlinked to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled. Note that it is important that your URI be /fdroid/repo so that the app can automatically add your mirror.

server {
  listen [::]:80 ipv6only=off;

  server_name fdroidmirror.example;

  rewrite ^ https://fdroidmirror.example$request_uri permanent;

server {
  listen [::]:443 ssl http2 ipv6only=off;

  server_name fdroidmirror.example;

  root /var/www/fdroid/;

  # TODO:
  location /health {

  ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/fdroidmirror.example/fullchain.pem;
  ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/fdroidmirror.example/privkey.pem;

  # Insert here a TLS config from Mozilla SSL config generator
  1. Submit your mirror for inclusion
  • Fork the mirror monitor repo, add your mirror to the list in the README, and open a merge request.
  • Open an issue on the admin repo, including any pertinent information, requesting the inclusion of your mirror.
  • Once the core contributor team deems your mirror trustworthy and reliable, it will be accepted into the official list.

Other considerations

  • Forward emails from cronjob failures so you know if the synchronization fails
  • Set up monitoring on your mirror so you know if it goes down (ideally keyword on /var/www/fdroid/fdroid/repo/index.html)
  • Harden your SSH server config (disable password authentication, install fail2ban)
  • Enable unattended upgrades