Self Hosting Bitwarden on the Raspberry Pi?

Bitwarden is an open source password manager that allows users to securely store sensitive information like passwords. By self hosting Bitwarden on a Raspberry Pi, users can enjoy the features and security of Bitwarden while retaining full control over their data.

Self Hosting Bitwarden on the Raspberry Pi?

This comprehensive guide will walk through the entire process of installing and optimizing Bitwarden on a Raspberry Pi. It focuses on providing useful, accurate information to users looking to self host Bitwarden, while avoiding common SEO pitfalls like keyword stuffing.

Prerequisites

Before installing Bitwarden, make sure your Raspberry Pi is set up with:

  • Raspberry Pi OS installed
  • Static IP address assigned
  • Ports 80 and 443 are forwarded
  • Domain name pointed to the Pi’s IP

These steps allow you to access the Bitwarden interface from anywhere.

Step 1: Install Required Packages

Connect to your Pi via SSH or access the terminal directly. Update the package manager and install required packages by typing:

sudo apt update

sudo apt install docker.io docker-compose

This installs Docker and Docker Compose which are required to run Bitwarden.

Step 2: Create Directory Structure

Create folders for persistent data and the Bitwarden configuration:

mkdir -p /bwdata

mkdir -p /bwdata/config

The /bwdata folder will preserve data when containers are rebuilt.

Step 3: Copy Config File Template

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/bitwarden/core/master/scripts/self-host/config.template.yml -P /bwdata/config

This downloads Bitwarden’s configuration template into the config folder.

Step 4: Edit Config File

Edit the configuration file with nano or your preferred text editor:

nano /bwdata/config/config.template.yml

The below sections are the most relevant areas to edit:

A. WEB_VAULT_ENABLED: false

Change this to true to enable the web vault interface.

B. SIGNUPS_ALLOWED: false

Modify based on if you want to disable public registration.

C. MAIL_SERVER_Settings

Input your mail server credentials if enabling email based features like forget password flow. Remove the whole section if disabling email features.

When done editing configuration parameters, save and exit the file.

Step 5: Deploy the Docker Compose File

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/bitwarden/core/master/scripts/self-host/docker-compose.yml -P /bwdata

docker-compose -f /bwdata/docker-compose.yml up -d

This pulls the official Docker Compose file from Bitwarden and deploys the containers.

Give the process a few minutes to fully start. Monitor deployment with docker ps.

Step 6: Access the Web Vault Interface

With containers deployed, navigate to your Pi’s domain name in the browser:

https://yourdomain.com

Log in with the default credentials:

Then change the admin password.

Congratulations! Bitwarden is now installed and secured on your Raspberry Pi server.

Configuration Tips for Optimal Security

Follow these additional steps to optimize the security of your Bitwarden self hosted instance:

Enable HTTPS with Let’s Encrypt

Use Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates for enabling HTTPS across your domain. This encrypts connections to the web vault for safety.

Limit Port Exposure

Avoid exposing the admin ports and database ports publicly. Only ports 80 and 443 should be exposed to the internet.

Disable Registration

If managing just personal passwords, disable signups via SIGNUPS_ALLOWED to prevent random strangers from creating accounts.

Schedule Backups

Leverage built in backup capabilities to protect your data. Schedule nightly backup jobs to preserve vaults in case of disaster.

Conclusion

Self hosting your own open source password manager provides excellent security, transparency, and control over your private data. Bitwarden’s zero knowledge architecture means no one except the account holder can access sensitive information.

This article walked through deploying Bitwarden’s robust vaults onto low cost Raspberry Pi servers. When configured properly, users can securely access the interface worldwide to store login credentials, financial details, notes, and more without third parties viewing information.

So if the utmost privacy and cost savings matter, self hosting Bitwarden onto Raspberry Pis makes for an optimal solution compared to cloud hosted alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the benefits of self hosting Bitwarden?
    The main benefits are having full control over your password vault data, not relying on third party cloud servers, and potentially saving costs compared to paid plans. Self hosting also allows you to fully customize the configuration to your needs.

  2. Is the Bitwarden installation process difficult?
    The installation process is straightforward for those comfortable using command line interfaces and editing config files. But less technical users may struggle with deploying Docker containers and editing Linux configurations.

  3. Can I access my vault remotely when self hosted?
    Yes, the main benefit of using a Raspberry Pi is that you can access your Bitwarden vault from anywhere with an internet connection when the web interface is exposed and secured properly.

  4. Is my master password still encrypted when self hosted?
    Yes, your master password and all vault data remains fully encrypted using zero knowledge security practices like on the public cloud version. The server never actually handles unencrypted sensitive data.

  5. Can I migrate my data from the cloud version?
    Yes, Bitwarden allows importing existing vault data via encrypted export files to easily migrate your existing password database to your self hosted instance.

  6. How do I backup my Bitwarden vault?
    Bitwarden has built in tools for scheduled data exports to properly backup your vault contents. You should also backup the entire SD card data in case the system fails.

  7. What performance impact will self hosting have?
    When run on a Raspberry Pi 4 or similar device, the performance should be generally on par with low tier cloud hosted options for personal and small organization use cases. Larger deployments may require scaling up.

  8. Is Bitwarden the best self hosted password manager?
    Bitwarden is considered one of the best open source password managers available right now in terms of features, security architecture, and ease of deployment across various systems like Raspberry Pis. The open source community also helps ensure bugs are found and fixed timely.

  9. What are Vaultwarden and Bitwarden RS?
    These are forked versions of the Bitwarden platform, which provide alternative deployment options. But the core Bitwarden open source editions tends to be most reliable and highest compatibility.

  10. Can I use Bitwarden to share passwords across a team or family?
    Yes, Bitwarden has robust organizational management and sharing capabilities allowing you to securely share credentials across users via shared collections. This works excellent for small teams or families.

  11. Is Bitwarden compatible with popular web browsers?
    Yes, Bitwarden offers browser extension integration with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge and more. There are also mobile apps for iOS and Android available providing convenience.

  12. Is my encryption key handled on the server at all?
    No, due to Bitwarden and cryptography practices leveraging zero knowledge security, your encryption key for securing all data is only handled locally on each client device. It is never known to the server or transmitted across the network.

  13. What maintenance is required for a self hosted instance?
    Occasional tasks may include updating containers, managing backups, monitoring disk usage, applying security patches to the host OS, and adding/deleting users if offering access to others. But generally low overhead.

  14. Can I customize themes and branding?
    Yes, one benefit of self hosting is you can fully customize the web interface theme, logo, branding, footer links and other cosmetic aspects of the vault user interface to match your specific needs.

  15. Are premium features like TOTP 2FA available?
    On self hosted instances you unlock access to premium capabilities like TOTP token generation, password hygiene reports and more that require paid memberships on the cloud version. Everything is accessible free when self hosted.

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