Installing the UniFi Controller on the Raspberry Pi

With this tutorial, we will be showing you the process of installing the UniFi Controller on a Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi UniFi Controller


UniFi is a range of network devices created by Ubiquiti. These devices range from Wi-Fi access points to security gateways and switches.

Setting up the UniFi software on a Raspberry Pi is a fairly straightforward process as it just relies on the multi-platform Java runtime to run.

Using the UniFi network controller, you can manage all the UniFi devices that are a part of your network. You will also be able to use this dashboard to see the statistics of your UniFi network.

Please note that before proceeding you will need to be running a 64-bit version of Raspberry Pi OS for this tutorial to work. Recent changes to UniFi have broken support for 32-bit operating systems.

Equipment List

Below is a list of the equipment that you will need to set up the Unifi Network Controller software on your Raspberry Pi

Recommended

Optional

This tutorial on setting up the UniFi Network Controller was tested on a Raspberry Pi 4 running the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye 64-bit.

Preparing your Raspberry Pi for the UniFi Controller

In this section, we will prepare the operating system to run the UniFi software. These steps mainly revolve around getting the database server UniFi requires installed on your Raspberry Pi.

Getting Ready

1. The first thing you should do is ensure that your Raspberry Pi is running up to date packages.

To update all packages, you will be required to run the following command.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Adding Entropy using rng-tools

2. To improve the startup speed of the UniFi controller software on our Raspberry Pi, we need to install rng-tools.

We will utilize this package to ensure the Raspberry Pi has enough entropy for the random number generation that the UniFi software uses.

sudo apt install rng-tools

3. We now need to make a slight change to the rng-tools configuration.

Begin editing the config file by running the following command.

sudo nano /etc/default/rng-tools-debian

4. Within this file, find and uncomment the following line.

Find

#HRNGDEVICE=/dev/hwrng

Replace With

HRNGDEVICE=/dev/hwrng

By uncommenting this line, we are adding to the amount of entropy (The amount of randomness) that the system has available.

The Raspberry Pi features an integrated random number generator that we can utilize to increase the entropy pool.

5. Once you have made the change, save the file by pressing CTRL + X, then Y, followed by ENTER.

6. Finally, restart the rng-tools service by running the command below.

sudo systemctl restart rng-tools

Once the service has finished restarting, it should now be safe to proceed to the next section of this guide.

Installing an Older Release of LibSSL

7. Due to the version of MongoDB that we will be utilizing, we will need to install an older release of LibSSL to our Raspberry Pi.

In particular, we will be installing LibSSL 1.0. You can download this old release by using the following command.

wget http://ports.ubuntu.com/pool/main/o/openssl/libssl1.0.0_1.0.2g-1ubuntu4_arm64.deb -O libssl1.0.deb

8. Once the package has been downloaded, all we need to do to install it is to run the command below.

sudo dpkg -i libssl1.0.deb

Installing MongoDB to your Raspberry Pi for the UniFi Controller

9. To use the UniFi Controller on your Raspberry Pi, we will need to install MongoDB.

This is the database server that UniFi uses to store all of its data. As we can’t rely on the package repository, we will need to follow some additional steps.

For this first step, we will download the latest available version of MongoDB 3.6 to our Pi. We are installing 3.6 as this is currently the only supported release for the UniFi Controller.

wget https://repo.mongodb.org/apt/ubuntu/dists/xenial/mongodb-org/3.6/multiverse/binary-arm64/mongodb-org-server_3.6.22_arm64.deb -O mongodb.deb

10. Once the package is downloaded, install it by using the following command within the terminal.

sudo dpkg -i mongodb.deb

11. Now that we have installed the MongoDB server, set it to start when your Raspberry Pi boots using the command below.

sudo systemctl enable mongod

12. Finally, start MongoDB by running the command shown below in the terminal.

This will start the server immediately, so we won’t have to wait till our device restarts.

sudo systemctl start mongod

Installing the UniFi Controller to the Raspberry Pi

1. Our first task is to add the UniFi repository to our sources list.

We can achieve this by running the command below.

echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/ubiquiti-archive-keyring.gpg] https://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/100-ubnt-unifi.list >/dev/null

You might notice that we are using “amd64” and not “arm64” or “armhf“. This is due to Ubiquiti not having their repository set up to mark “arm64” as compatible. However, it doesn’t hugely matter as, at the moment, it will still download files compatible with our Raspberry Pi.

2. We now need to add the repositories GPG key by using the following command.

curl https://dl.ui.com/unifi/unifi-repo.gpg | sudo tee /usr/share/keyrings/ubiquiti-archive-keyring.gpg >/dev/null

The GPG key is what helps tell the package manager it is downloading the correct package.

3. As we made changes to the repositories, we need to now update the package list by running the command below.

sudo apt update

4. Now finally, we can install version 17 of the OpenJDK runtime as well as the Unifi Controller software itself to our Raspberry Pi by running the following command.

sudo apt install openjdk-17-jre-headless unifi

Installing UniFi through this method will automatically set up a service. This service will automatically start the UniFi software at boot.

Additionally, we are installing version 17 of the Java runtime environment as it is currently the only version supported by the UniFi controller.

First Boot of the UniFi Controller on your Raspberry Pi

In this section, we are going to walk you through the initial configuration steps of the UniFi software.

1. First, retrieve the local IP address for your Raspberry Pi.

If you have terminal access to your Pi, you can use the following command.

hostname -I

2. With your Raspberry Pi’s IP address handy, go to the following web address in your favorite web browser.

Ensure that you replace “<IPADDRES>” with the IP of your Raspberry Pi.

https://<IPADDRESS>:8443

If you run into a certificate error, it is safe to ignore it as we know what device we are connecting to.

3. The first step requires you to give a name for your Raspberry Pi powered UniFi controller (1.).

You are also required to agree to the end-user license agreement and terms of service from UniFi, once you have read through them, click the checkbox (2.).

Once all done, click the “Next” button (3.) to proceed.

Set Name of UniFi Network

4. Next, you will need to sign in to your Ubiquiti account (1.).

If you don’t already have an account, you can register at the Ubiquiti website.

Once you have entered your login details, proceed by clicking the “Next” button.

Sign in to Ubitquiti Account

5. Tweak the settings on this page that best suits your needs.

Once configured, click the “Next” button.

UniFi Network Setup

6. Use this screen to connect your Pi UniFi Network controller to the devices on your network.

To proceed, click the “Next” button.

Connect Raspberry Pi to UniFi Devices

7. Now give your new Wi-Fi network a name and a password.

Once you have configured your WiFi details (1.), click the “Next” button to proceed (2.).

Setup UniFi WiFi Details

8. This final screen will get you to review all your settings.

You will also be able to use this screen to set both the country and timezone (1.). Make sure you set these before continuing.

Once you have verified everything is correct, you can now click the “Finish” button (2.) to finish the setup process.

Review Raspberry Pi UniFi Configuration Settings

7. At this point, you should now have successfully set up the UniFi network controller on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi UniFi Dashboard

Conclusion

Hopefully, at this point in the tutorial, you will now have the UniFi controller installed and running on your Raspberry Pi.

The Pi is a great base for your network controller as it can run 24/7 with little power.

If you have run into any issues setting up the UniFi software, feel free to comment below.

Check out our many other Raspberry Pi tutorials to learn more about this versatile system.

164 Comments

  1. Avatar for richy
    richy on

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve bee trying for the past two weeks to get my Rasberry Pi 3b+ to work following this guide.

    A fresh approach today worked perfectly.

    Installed Bookworm 64 Bit Lite – No desktop.
    Followed the guide – System working perfectly with no problems.
    Its not sluggish – restored my current settings from my PC to the PI and current version of the Unifi Controller Network 8.0.26.

    I was going to sell all my equipment today for a New Tplink Omada system.

    Give it another try if you’ve had problems.

    Thank you for the guide.

  2. Avatar for Basti
    Basti on

    Hi i not can download have a error.

    W: Fehlschlag beim Holen von https://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian/dists/stable/InRelease Verbindung mit dl.ui.com:443 nicht möglich (52.222.253.173) - connect (113: Keine Route zum Zielrechner)
    W: Einige Indexdateien konnten nicht heruntergeladen werden. Sie wurden ignoriert oder alte an ihrer Stelle benutzt
    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Basti,

      It looks like your internet connection is having issues connecting to Ubiquiti’s repository. I quickly tested this locally and am not facing the same connection error.

      A couple of things you could try. First is to try using a different DNS provider such as Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) or Google DNS.

      Alternatively, if that still doesn’t work you could attempt to use a VPN.

      Kind regards,
      Emmet

    2. Avatar for Basti
      Basti on

      Unfortunately it doesn’t work either 🙁 At first I thought it could also be due to PIHole, but I also identified it without success

  3. Avatar for Darren McGrandle
    Darren McGrandle on

    Just checking in – I installed on Bookworm using a brand new 64bit install, and all the steps in this guide worked flawlessly. I used the “lite” version since I am running the Pi headless and don’t need a desktop. Thanks for a straightforward guide.

    1. Avatar for Mathias
      Mathias on

      Worked for me. Thanks a lot.

  4. Avatar for Mike
    Mike on

    First off, thank you for putting together and maintaining this guide. It is fantastic.

    I am trying to update Unifi, but it thinks it is already at the latest version. Looking at the list of packages, I suspect I tangled myself up somehow as the package has the version listed. I can only guess that I made it 7.4 specific somehow. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    $ sudo apt update
    Hit:1 http://security.debian.org/debian-security bullseye-security InRelease
    Hit:2 http://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye InRelease                          
    Hit:3 http://deb.debian.org/debian bullseye-updates InRelease                  
    Hit:4 https://linux.teamviewer.com/deb stable InRelease                        
    Hit:6 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian bullseye InRelease                 
    Hit:5 https://dl.ui.com/unifi/debian unifi-7.4 InRelease
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree... Done
    Reading state information... Done
    All packages are up to date.
    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry to see that you are having issues updating Unifi.

      My thought immediately goes to you potentially completing this tutorial when we had a different workaround in place. This workaround was pinning UniFi to the older release repository.

      You should be able to just update to the new line where we tell the repository to grab the X64 version of the repository (Unifi is written in Java, so for now we can continue to run the software regardless of what their repo claims.

      Just run the following command.

      echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/ubiquiti-archive-keyring.gpg] https://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/100-ubnt-unifi.list >/dev/null

      And then re-run a “sudo apt update” and “sudo apt upgrade”.

      Please let me know if this resolves the issue you are running into.

      Kind regards,
      Emmet

  5. Avatar for Michael
    Michael on

    Hi there.
    Do I need to run a specific version of raspbian, to get this to work?
    I’m running Bullseye, and I get a lot of errors, while trying to follow your tutorial.

    pi@ubntcontroller:~ $ sudo dpkg -i libssl1.0.deb
    dpkg: error processing archive libssl1.0.deb (–install):
    package architecture (arm64) does not match system (armhf)
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    libssl1.0.deb

    pi@ubntcontroller:~ $ sudo dpkg -i mongodb.deb
    dpkg: error processing archive mongodb.deb (–install):
    package architecture (arm64) does not match system (armhf)
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    mongodb.deb

    Hope to hear from you.

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Michael,

      As mentioned at the start of the tutorial, you must be running a 64-bit (ARM64) version of Raspberry Pi OS for this tutorial to work.

      You are currently running a 32-bit (armhf) version.

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

  6. Avatar for Dupie
    Dupie on

    Thank you very much for this
    I am a farmer and an idiot at this! Every step goes great, cannot resolve ip address in browser, browser instead searches web for hits (step 2 of “first boot”).
    Help please and use small words.
    Much appreciated.

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Dupie,

      Sorry to hear that you are running into issues with connecting to the UniFi controller.

      First, ensure you are connecting to your Pi’s IP address when typing in the URL. For example, our IP for our Pi is 192.168.0.134 so we would use the URL “https://192.168.0.134:8443“.

      If that doesn’t work, try checking the status of the “unifi” service by using the following command.

      sudo systemctl status unifi

      If everything is working properly, you should see something like “Active: active (running)“.

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

    2. Avatar for Dupie
      Dupie on

      Thank you for the speedy reply Emmet. This solved my problem, cause I did not remove the [..] brackets when I entered the IP address. I laughed at myself too.

  7. Avatar for Melen
    Melen on

    Hi.
    Thank you for this easy-to-follow-guide.

    Big up!

  8. Avatar for Veejaymat
    Veejaymat on

    The install process fails for me on step 8, with the following error

    pi@raspiserv:~ $ sudo dpkg -i libssl1.0.deb
    dpkg: error processing archive libssl1.0.deb (–install):
    package architecture (arm64) does not match system (armhf)
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    libssl1.0.deb

    Raspi 3B; running Bullseye

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Veejaymat,

      As mentioned at the start of the tutorial, you must be running a 64-bit version of Raspberry Pi OS. You are using an “armhf” system which is 32-bit.

      Kind regards,
      Emmet

    2. Avatar for Jason
      Jason on

      Very weird… I have a 64bit version installed – yet when I run sudo apt update it gives me the following message:

      N: Skipping acquire of configured file 'ubiquiti/binary-armhf/Packages' as repository 'https://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable InRelease' doesn't support architecture 'armhf'

      When I check if I am running 64 bit – it shows this:

      getconf LONG_BIT
      64
      uname -m
      aarch64

      This is my version:

      cat /etc/os-release
      PRETTY_NAME="Debian GNU/Linux 11 (bullseye)"
      NAME="Debian GNU/Linux"
      VERSION_ID="11"
      VERSION="11 (bullseye)"
      VERSION_CODENAME=bullseye
      ID=debian
      HOME_URL="https://www.debian.org/"
      SUPPORT_URL="https://www.debian.org/support"
      BUG_REPORT_URL="https://bugs.debian.org/"

      THANKS SO MUCH – YOU’RE THE BEST!

    3. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Jason,

      Sorry to hear that you are having issues.

      If you ran this tutorial previously, you will need to update the source file. We have to force the arch to “amd64” to get it to download newer releases from the repository.

      You should hopefully be able to fix this by using the following command.

      echo 'deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/ubiquiti-archive-keyring.gpg] https://www.ui.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/100-ubnt-unifi.list >/dev/null

      Please let me know if this resolves the issue for you.

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

    4. Avatar for Jason
      Jason on

      You’re an absolute boss! Thanks so much for this. After using that command I could run the usual sudo apt update / upgrade route and I updated from Network 7.4.162 to Network 8.0.7.

      Thanks a lot!

  9. Avatar for Dave B
    Dave B on

    I’ve used this method in the past for setting up a PI 3 to run UniFi controller. I’ve just tried to reconfigure on one of my PI s (corrupt memory card) and this method doesn’t seem to work for me any more, I get to the 88% when installing.
    Is there a work-around to perhaps use an earlier version of the setup to get this to run?

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Dave,

      The main thing I would recommend is trying Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye. For some reason Bookworm seems to be causing some weird issues, I’ve managed to successfully install it but others are still reporting issues.

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

  10. Avatar for Eric
    Eric on

    Anyone got it works on raspberry 3B 1G ram?
    I got it to the step:
    sudo apt install openjdk-17-jre-headless unifi
    Stucked at 88% and the whole system freeze
    Task manager shows 774MB of 908MB used, not sure if thats the issue?

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Eric,

      While you should still be able to install OpenJDK 17, you will definitely run into issues if you did manage to install UniFi Controller. They recommend a minimum of 2GB of RAM.

      EDIT: It appears there might be something going on weird with Bookworm on UniFi. Try using Buster in the mean time.
      EDIT2: Testing the tutorial again on a clean installation of Raspberry Pi OS 64-bit Bookworm, everything does seem to be working. Installation seems to take a bit longer than I remember it, but it does work.

      I tested this on a Raspberry Pi 400 so that has 4GB of RAM.

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

    2. Avatar for Volker
      Volker on

      Hi Eric,
      I had also problems at the same step.
      I have a raspberry Pi 4. I had the problems with the newest OS.

      With Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye 64-bit It runs.

    3. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Volker,

      I have successfully installed Unifi on to Raspberry Pi OS Bookworm 64-bit. So I’m not completely sure what is going wrong here.

      The first time I tried with a non-clean system everything broke and it refused to install. But a clean install worked fine.

      If someone is having issues with it getting stuck during setup, could you see if it has attempted to start up the UniFi service, and if there is anything in the logs if it does give a response.

      You can check the status of the Unifi servce by running the following command.

      sudo systemctl status unifi

      Kind Regards,
      Emmet

  11. Avatar for b0bz0r
    b0bz0r on

    Thanks for the great tutorial.
    Installed it on a Raspberry Pi 5, and it runs super smooth!

  12. Avatar for Zhi Ming
    Zhi Ming on

    This updated guide (4th Oct 2023) is superb! I followed the steps on the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS (Bookworm) on my RPi 4B, everything runs like clockwork.

    One thing to note from my experience and already reminded at the top of the article is to use only the 64 bit version of the OS. Otherwise you will get an libc error when trying to install LibSSL 1.0.

    Hello from Singapore and thank you Emmet, I hope you will continue to keep this article updated. It helps many folks round the globe.

    1. Avatar for Matej
      Matej on

      Thanks a lot, installation went smoothly with 64bit OS.

  13. Avatar for Graham
    Graham on

    Thank you so much! It just worked, straight up first time!! Much appreciated.

  14. Avatar for Maynard
    Maynard on

    Thx Emmet
    Updated to 7.5 without issue
    Much appreciated

  15. Avatar for Bartwick
    Bartwick on

    Thank you! From the image, it looks like firmware 7.5 is being installed now? I used this a few months back and it’s been flawless but at the time 7.4 was the latest firmware. Could you please provide update instructions?

    1. Avatar for Emmet
      Emmet on
      Editor

      Hi Bartwick,

      As long as you are running a 64-bit operating system, you should be able to follow the first few steps under the “Installing the UniFi Controller to the Raspberry Pi” section.

      At step 4, you will want to run “sudo apt install openjdp-17-jre-headless“, and then after that run “sudo apt upgrade -y“.

      Hopefully that should update your safely from Unifi 7.4 to 7.5. Just ensure you make a backup before following these steps.

      Cheers,
      Emmet

  16. Avatar for Blazej
    Blazej on

    Great job!
    Thank you

  17. Avatar for Jens
    Jens on

    Thanks Emmet! Followed step-by-step and everything worked fine.

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