Ubuntu Server with Docker

Following tutoral will use Ubuntu Server 22.04 minimal as example. And especially┬ácommand line procedures, because lowest price spec of VPS can’t handle desktop environment.


First, you need:

If you want to install with your local machine, I assume you install your Ubuntu Server as a virtual machine.
You will also need:

  • Public IP, dynamic IP is fine, but static IP would be better
  • Ubuntu Server ISO
  • Ability to setup port forwarding on your ISP modem or router, if you got these devices from your ISP and don’t know how to enter the admin page, please ask your ISP

VPS/VM specs choosing/setting

If you plan to run only RustDesk Server, lowest spec should be fine, except AWS Lightsail, because its lowest spec is 512MB RAM which may too low and crash, any spec with 1GB RAM should fine.

For self-hosted VMs, 1GB RAM and 32GB of disk will suit your need, and UEFI BIOS is preferred.

For any other hypervisor that runs on Windows or Linux with GUI, such as VirtualBox or VMware Workstation, please set your virtual network card to bridged mode.

1. Installing Ubuntu Server

Skip if you decide to rent a VPS.

This tutorial assume you install your Ubuntu Server as a virtual machine. If you decide to install on a physical machine, doing wrong procedures, may cause data loss.

Use Tab to navigate different options, use Space to choose different options, use Enter when hitting Done.

  1. Choose language

  2. Choose your keyboard layout

  3. Network Configuration, please keep it DHCP

Now, you could go to your router’s DHCP settings, find and add your VM’s LAN IP address to DHCP reservation, if you want, you could also assign other IP address.

  1. It should choose mirror automatically, if yes, next

  2. Choose minimized to reduce memory and disk usage

  3. Use entire disk, next

  4. Confirm your disk options

  5. Set your server name, username, and password

  6. Skip Ubuntu Pro register, or you could do it right now

  7. We need to install OpenSSH

  8. Skip anyting at this page, because it is snap package

  9. After installed it may doing auto update, you could let it update, after it done, reboot.

2. Setup Server

  1. Open VSCode, click button at left corner and select SSH

  2. Enter username@IP

For example: demouser@, and then enter

  1. Select your system, Linux

  2. Confirm the fingerprint of the server

  3. Enter the password of your user

  4. Open your home folder

  5. Click, Yes, I trust the authors

  6. Open terminal

  7. Install packages

sudo apt install docker.io docker-compose python3-pip curl git vim nano zram-config -y
  1. Disable disk swap

Check if swapfile exists

sudo vim /etc/fstab

If you find anything similar to:

/swap.img       none    swap    sw      0       0

If not: Type :qa! then enter to exit. And go to Step. 12

If yes: Press i to activate edit mode, comment that line with # like this:

#/swap.img       none    swap    sw      0       0

Press Esc and type :wq then enter to save the changes.

  1. Adjust ZRAM size

ZRAM means “compress ram”, it is more efficient and won’t occupy disk space.

sudo vim /usr/bin/init-zram-swapping

Find the line with

mem=$((totalmem / 2 * 1024))

And adjust it to:

mem=$((totalmem * 2 * 1024))

Save and exit

  1. Set your timezone

Find your timezone at Wikipedia

sudo timedatectl set-timezone "Asia/Taipei"
  1. Reboot
sudo reboot

After reboot, reconnect with your VSCode and open terminal.

  1. Delete swap.img

(Skip if you don’t have it.)

We’ve replaced swapfile with ZRAM, now we can delete swap.img now, replace swap.img with others if your name is different.

sudo rm /swap.img

3. Setup RustDesk Server

  1. Run this command to create required folders once:
cd ~ && mkdir -p docker/rustdesk-server/data
  1. Create compose.yml

Right click rustdesk-server folder, create new file named compose.yml

Paste this to compose.yml.

After you copied, you should replace rustdesk.example.com (Which point to your hbbr) to the domain that will point to your server.

You could modify the line with hbbs to your server’s LAN IP temporarily (If you’re deploying in your LAN) to ensure it is working. After you verify your server is working, you should change back.

Having problem after you changed LAN IP to domain? You should check this article.

    container_name: hbbs
    image: rustdesk/rustdesk-server:latest
    command: hbbs -r rustdesk.example.com:21117 -k _
      - ./data:/root
    network_mode: host
      - hbbr
    restart: always

    container_name: hbbr
    image: rustdesk/rustdesk-server:latest
    command: hbbr -k _
      - ./data:/root
    network_mode: host
    restart: always

# Because using docker host mode
# Just in case you forgot the ports:
# 21114 TCP for web console, only available in Pro version
# 21115 TCP for NAT type test
# 21116 TCP TCP hole punching
# 21116 UDP heartbeat/ID server
# 21117 TCP relay
# 21118/21119 TCP for web socket if you want to run web client

Check here to set up your client. Only ID server and Key is needed. Relay server isn’t needed because we’ve set it in hbbs, hbbs will provide this information automatically.

  1. Start the server
cd ~/docker/rustdesk-server
sudo docker-compose up -d
  1. Check it is working

In your VSCode, you should see id_ed25519, id_ed25519.pub on your docker/rustdesk-server/data folder. You could click id_ed25519.pub, this is the public key that you need for your RustDesk client.

The public key will looks like this:

5. Set port forwarding on your router/VPS

Go to your router’s admin webpage, find anything related to Port forwarding, it should appear in WAN or Firewall settings.

If you still can’t find the setting, Google search {Router brand} + port forwarding or {Router model} + port forwarding. If this device is from your ISP, ask them.

If you’re using VPS, Google search {VPS vendor name} + firewall port to find the specific procedure for your VPS.

Open these required ports:

  • 21114 TCP for web console, only available in Pro version
  • 21115 TCP For NAT type test
  • 21116 TCP TCP hole punching
  • 21116 UDP Heartbeat/ID server
  • 21117 TCP Relay
  • 21118/21119 TCP for web socket if you want to run web client

6. Some basics

  1. How to apply the settings after you modified compose.yml?

Run this again:

sudo docker-compose up -d
  1. How to stop and delete the container?

(This won’t clear your data)

sudo docker-compose down
  1. How to backup the server?

First, run sudo docker-compose down, than download it.

Drag and drop them to VSCode Explorer if you want to upload it.

  1. How to update the container automatically?

Use Watchtower.

Create folder and put the compose.yml in it.

mkdir ~/docker/watchtower

Change your timezone with yours at TZ.

If you didn’t specify any container name, it will update all of your containers.

At the following command, it will run everyday at 3 AM, for more details, check their documentation.

version: "3"
    image: containrrr/watchtower:latest
    container_name: watchtower
    network_mode: bridge
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock
      TZ: Asia/Taipei
    command: --cleanup --schedule "0 0 3 * * *" hbbr hbbs
    restart: always
  1. How to update Ubuntu system automatically?

By default, Ubuntu will installing security updates automatically, Google search: ubuntu unattended-upgrades or check the file at /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/50unattended-upgrades for more details.