Deploy Livebook on

In this guide we’ll deploy Livebook, the interactive Elixir notebook app, to a single Fly Machine using the Fly Launch approach.

We’ll give Livebook a 1GB persistent volume on which to store notebooks and other data.


  1. Create a fly.toml file with the contents in the next section.
  2. fly launch --no-deploy
  3. fly secrets set LIVEBOOK_PASSWORD="<my-super-sekrit-password>"
  4. fly deploy --vm-size shared-cpu-2x --volume-initial-size 1
  5. fly apps open

Prepare a Fly Launch config

Fly Launch uses a TOML configuration file—called fly.toml by default.

Prepare a directory for your Livebook app config and place a fly.toml file inside, with the following contents:

  image = ""
                                               # use a prebuilt Livebook Docker image

  ELIXIR_ERL_OPTIONS = "-proto_dist inet6_tcp" # enable ipv6 for private networking
  LIVEBOOK_DATA_PATH = "/data"                 # /data is the mount point of the persistent volume
  LIVEBOOK_HOME = "/data"
  LIVEBOOK_IP = "::"                           # listen on all ipv6 interfaces
  PORT = "8080"                                # listen on port 8080

  source = "data"                              # first deployment creates a volume with this name
  destination = "/data"                        # mount location on the Machine file system

  internal_port = 8080                         # the Livebook app listens on [::]:8080
  force_https = true                           
  auto_stop_machines = true                    # when no http connections, the Machine stops
  auto_start_machines = true                   # Fly proxy restarts the Machine on request
  min_machines_running = 0                     # allow all Machines to stop
  processes = ["app"]                          # the default process group

This is the app-wide config that gets applied to all the Machines in the app when you run fly deploy.

Create a new Fly app

Create a new app by running fly launch from the directory containing the app’s fly.toml config file.

fly launch --no-deploy

Follow the prompts. Respond Y to copy the configuration from your existing fly.toml to the new app. You’ll be asked for an app name and a primary region, which will be added to your local fly.toml. The app name must be unique across The primary region is the region where Machines are created for this app when not otherwise specified.

Set a Livebook password

Livebook stores your password in an environment variable. Set that variable securely using fly secrets set.

fly secrets set LIVEBOOK_PASSWORD="<my-super-sekrit-password>"

Livebook requires that this password be at least 12 characters long. Don’t use this example password as a real password.

Deploy the app

Now that the app has been created and the LIVEBOOK_PASSWORD secret is set, you can deploy to a Machine.

The fly deploy command creates a new release of an app using the fly.toml in your working directory, and rolls that out to its Machines.

The first time it’s run on a given app, and when it’s run on an app that currently doesn’t have any Machines, fly deploy does some extra work. For our Livebook app, it provisions public IP addresses for the HTTP service and creates the volume referred to in the mounts section in fly.toml, before creating and starting the app’s Machine(s).

fly deploy --vm-size shared-cpu-2x --volume-initial-size 1

The fly deploy command accepts some options to tune the initial resource provisioning.

Livebook seems to want something a bit heftier than the default shared-cpu-1x Machine with 256MB RAM, so for the purpose of demonstration we chose a shared-cpu-2x size, which comes with 512MB. You can experiment with CPU and memory to see what you need for your project.

We explicitly set the size of the volume to be created, although 1GB happens to be the default size for a new volume created on fly deploy.

At the time of writing, you may see this error message as the first deployment finishes:

WARNING The app is not listening on the expected address and will not be reachable by fly-proxy.

If you can reach your Livebook in the browser, then you can ignore this message. Occasionally, provisioning the storage volume can delay startup of Livebook until after this check times out.

Visit your Livebook app

To use your Livebook, visit https://<your-app-name> in the browser, or type fly apps open, and enter your password where prompted. Create a new notebook, and save it in the /data directory.

You can test that your notebook was saved onto the persistent volume by running fly apps restart and clicking “Open” on the Livebook home page to find and open it from storage.

A note on auto start and stop settings

The auto_stop_machines and auto_start_machines config options are set to true in the app config. The Fly proxy will shut down the Machine when there’s nobody connected to it. Livebook does try to save even “unsaved notebooks,” but principle you can lose data if it shuts down and you have not saved your work.

The proxy will also start the Machine when a connection is requested. This means bots may wake up your app.

When you visit the app when it’s stopped, it will take a moment before it’s running again.

If you’d rather start and stop your Livebook app manually, you can do so directly with flyctl. Set auto_stop_machines and auto_start_machines both to false, and redeploy. Use the fly machine stop and fly machine start commands to stop the Machine when you’re not using it and to start it up again when you’re ready.

A note on persistent storage

Fly volumes don’t automatically synchronize across an app, so the simplest way to run Livebook with volume storage is as a single Machine, with the availability repercussions that implies. Other deployment configurations are beyond the scope of this guide, but Livebook does provide the option to connect with an object storage service.