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Audiobookshelf in Docker Swarm

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Audiobookshelf is a powerful audiobook / podcast streaming server, whose strength lies in its native app support on Android / iOS (Testflight required).

Audiobookshelf Screenshot

Features include:

  • Fully open-source, including the android & iOS app (in beta)
  • Stream all audio formats on the fly
  • Search and add podcasts to download episodes w/ auto-download
  • Multi-user support w/ custom permissions
  • Keeps progress per user and syncs across devices
  • Auto-detects library updates, no need to re-scan
  • Upload books and podcasts w/ bulk upload drag and drop folders
  • Backup your metadata + automated daily backups
  • Progressive Web App (PWA)
  • Chromecast support on the web app and android app
  • Fetch metadata and cover art from several sources
  • Basic ebook support and e-reader (experimental)
  • Merge your audio files into a single m4b w/ metadata and embedded cover (experimental)

The developers are actively making improvements (as evidenced by the audiobookserver github repo!), and welcome suggestions. There's even a Discord server!

Audiobookshelf requirements


Already deployed:


  • DNS entry for your auth host ("" is a good choice), pointed to your keepalived IP

Setup data locations

First, we create a directory to hold the metadata and config (Audiobookshelf docs indicate that these should be separate directories):

mkdir /var/data/audiobookshelf/metadata
mkdir /var/data/audiobookshelf/config

Setup environment

It's helpful to keep environment variables in a separate file, so create /var/data/config/audiobookshelf/audiobookshelf.env, as follows (you may want to customise the UID/GID to match those of your media folder):


Audiobookshelf Docker Swarm config

Create a docker swarm config file in docker-compose syntax (v3), something like the example below.. example:

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version: '3'

    image: advplyr/audiobookshelf
    env_file: /var/data/config/audiobookshelf/audiobookshelf.env
      - /var/data/audiobookshelf/config:/config
      - /var/data/audiobookshelf/metadata:/metadata
      # Set this next volume to wherever you store your audiobook library. 
      # You can define multiple libraries within this folder, like `/media/audio/podcasts`, `/media/audio/audiobooks`, etc
      - /var/data/media:/media
      replicas: 1      
        # traefik
        - traefik.enable=true

        # traefikv1
        - traefik.port=80       

        # traefikv2
        - "traefik.http.routers.audiobookshelf.rule=Host(``)"
        - "traefik.http.routers.audiobookshelf.entrypoints=https"
        - ""

      - traefik_public

    external: true

Should we use Traefik Forward Auth?

No, because (a) the mobile apps won't work with session/cookie based auth, and (b) the docs indicate that using middleware which alters CORS with Traefik will cause the app to error!

Run Audiobookshelf

Launch the audiobookshelf stack by running docker stack deploy audiobookshelf -c <path -to-docker-compose.yml>

Setup audiobookshelf

Now hit the URL you created for Audiobookshelf, and you'll find yourself presented with the "Initial Server Setup". After creating a user and password, setup your libraries, and then either stream your audio directly in your browser, or fire up the Android / iOS app and listen on the go! 1


What have we achieved? We can now easily consume our audio books / podcasts via Audiobookshelf, securely over our Traefik-exposed service! 2



  • Audiobookshelf is running, able to access your media libraries, and is streaming books / podcasts to you, wherever you are! 📖 🎧

Chef's notes 📓

  1. The apps also allow you to download entire books to your device, so that you can listen without being directly connected! 

  2. Audiobookshelf pairs very nicely with Readarr, and Prowlarr, to automate your audio book sourcing and management! 

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