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Installation and Migration

This chapter walks you through the basic installation steps for EMQX, the minimum hardware specification, and the file and directory locations to facilitate future configuration and maintenance jobs.

This chapter also covers how to migrate from EMQX 4.4 to EMQX 5.1.

Installation Environment

The Erlang VM powering EMQX relies on system locale settings to enable Unicode support for various functionalities, including filenames and terminal IO in interactive Erlang shells.

If you use the Linux operating system, it is recommended to make sure that UTF-8 locale is enabled in the system environment before starting EMQX. Click the tabs to see how to enable the UTF-8 locale on different platforms:


EMQX releases the installation packages for different operating systems or platforms in each release. You may click the links below to download.

EMQX website:

You can also download the alpha, beta, or rc versions from our GitHub pages. {% endemqxce %}


Besides the above deployment methods, you are also welcome to try our EMQX Cloud, a fully managed MQTT service for IoT. You only need to register for an account before starting your MQTT services and connecting your IoT devices to any cloud with zero need for infrastructure maintenance.

Supported Operating Systems

The table below lists the operating systems and versions that EMQX supports.

Operating systemVersions supportedx86_64/amd64arm64
UbuntuUbuntu 18.04
Ubuntu 20.04
Ubuntu 22.04
DebianDebian 10
Debian 11
Debian 12
Rocky Linux 8
Rocky Linux 9
Amazon LinuxAmazon Linux 2
Amazon Linux 2023
macOSmacOS 11
macOS 12
macOS 13 (Homebrew)

Files and Directories

After installation, EMQX creates some directories to store running and configuration files, data, and logs. The table below lists the directories created and their file path under different installation methods:

DirectoryDescriptionInstalled with tar.gzInstalled with RPM/DEB
etcStatic config files./etc/etc/emqx
dataDatabase and config./data/var/lib/emqx
logLog files./log/var/log/emqx
releasesBoot instructions./releases/usr/lib/emqx/releases
libErlang code./lib/usr/lib/emqx/lib
erts-*Erlang runtime./erts-*/usr/lib/emqx/erts-*


  1. When installed with the compressed package, the directory is relative to the directory where the software is installed.
  2. When installed with Docker container, EMQX is installed in the /opt/emqx directory.
  3. The data, log, and plugins directories are configurable via the configuration files. Mounting the data directory to a high-performance disk is recommended for better performance. For nodes belonging to the same cluster, the configuration for the data directory should be the same. For more information about clusters, see Cluster.

The table below introduces the files and subfolders of some directories.

binExecutablesReademqx and emqx.cmd: Executables of EMQX. For details, see Command Line Interface.
etcConfiguration filesReademqx.conf: Main configuration file for EMQX, contains all the commonly-used configuration items.

emqx-example-en.conf: Demo configuration files of EMQX, contains all the configurable items.

acl.conf: Default ACl rules.

vm.args: Operating parameters of the Erlang virtual machine.

certs/: X.509 keys and certificate files for EMQX SSL listeners, may also be used in the SSL/TLS connection when integrating with external systems.
dataOperating dataWriteauthz: Stores file authorization rules uploaded by REST API or Dashboard. For details, see Authorization - File.

certs: Stores certificate files uploaded by REST API or Dashboard.

configs: Stores configuration files generated at boot, or configuration overrides by changes from API or CLI.

mnesia: Built-in database to store EMQX operating data, including alarm records, authentication and authorization data of the clients, Dashboard user information, etc. If the directory is deleted, all these operating data will be lost.

— May contain subdirectories named after different node, e.g., emqx@ Note: In case of node renaming, you should also delete or remove the corresponding subdirectory.

— Can use command emqx ctl mnesia to query the built-in database. For details, see Management Command CLI.

patches: Stores the .beam files for EMQX to load as a hot patch. Can be used for a quick fix.

trace: Online tracing log files.

In production, it is recommended to periodically backup the data directory (excluding the trace folder ) for data safety.
logOperating logsReademqx.log.*: Operation logs of EMQX, for more information, see logs.


EMQX stores the configuration information in the data/configs and the etc directory. The etc directory stores read-only configuration files, while configuration updates from the Dashboard or REST API are saved in the data/configs directory to support hot configuration reloads at runtime.

  • etc/emqx.conf
  • data/configs/cluster.hocon

EMQX reads the configuration items from these files and converts them to the Erlang native configuration file format, to apply the configurations at runtime.