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UniFi - Set up a UniFi Network Controller

The UniFi Network Controller is pre-installed on UniFi Dream Machines (UDM and UDM-Pro) and UniFi Cloud Keys, so no manual installation is necessary.

Alternatively, you can download and host the controller software yourself on a local device or a server.

This article describes how to install, configure and manage the UniFi Network Controller software to manage your UniFi Network.

Use the UniFi Dream Machine 

UniFi-dream-machine-pro.png

Additionally to hosting the UniFi Network Controller, UDM-Pro offers advanced features such as topology diagrams, device identification, Intrusion Prevention and Deep Packet inspection features not available on locally hosted controllers.

For more information on setting up the UniFi Dream Machine Pro, see UniFi - UDM: How to Set Up a Dream Machine.

 

Host the UniFi Network Controller yourself

Alternatively, you can download and host the UniFi Network Controller yourself on a local device or a server.

First, you'll need to install the controller version for your platform. Make sure to meet system requirements before you begin.

Windows
macOS
Linux

1. Download UniFi Network Controller for Windows

You can find the latest controller version for Windows on our Downloads page.

unifi-controller-setup-download.png

2. Run the installer

Install the controller by running the installer and following the setup steps.

If you encounter a "This application requires Java" error, download and install Java 8 before re-running the installer.

unifi-controller-setup-windows-installer.png

3. Launch the UniFi Network Controller

Launch the UniFi application from the Start menu if it does not start automatically.

You will see a success message indicating the controller has started and proceed to start configuring it via your browser by clicking "Launch a Browser to Manage the Network".

unifi-controller-setup-windows-initializing.png     unifi-controller-setup-windows-started.png

 

1. Download UniFi Network Controller for macOS

You can find the latest controller version for macOS on our Downloads page.

unifi-controller-setup-download.png

2. Run the installer

Install the controller by opening the UniFi.pkg file and following the setup steps.

If you receive a message that says "UniFi.pkg can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software" adjust your security settings.

unifi-controller-setup-macos-installer.png

3. Launch the UniFi Network Controller

Launch the UniFi application from the Applications folder if it does not start automatically.

You will see a success message indicating the controller has started and proceed to start configuring it via your browser by clicking "Launch a Browser to Manage the Network".

If you encounter a "Unable to load Java Runtime Environment", download and install Java 8 before re-running the installer.

unifi-controller-setup-macos-starting.pngunifi-controller-setup-macos-started.png

1. Open a shell connection with the controller host

SSH or open a console to the controller host.

Switch to the /tmp/ directory with the command cd /tmp/.

2. Copy the download link for the UniFi Network Controller for Debian/Ubuntu Linux

You can find the latest controller version for Debian/Ubuntu Linux on our Downloads page.

Click download and copy the URL.

unifi-controller-setup-download.png

3. Download the controller

Download the .deb software file with wget followed by the link you copied from the Downloads page.

unifi-controller-setup-linux-wget.png

4. Install the controller

After the download completes, use sudo dpkg -i unifi_sysvinit_all.deb to unpack the .deb file and install the controller.

If an error about missing dependencies is received, input the command sudo apt-get install -f to solve.

5. Installation complete!

After the process completes the command prompt will return to entry. The controller software should be installed successfully at this point.

Some useful commands:

  • To start UniFi if the webpage prompt does not appear: sudo service unifi start
  • To stop the UniFi service: sudo service unifi stop
  • To restart the UniFi service: sudo service unifi restart
  • To see the status of UniFi service: sudo service unifi status

 

Configure the UniFi Network Controller

The process of configuring the controller is the same for all platforms. You can access the configuration page at any time by typing https://<IP_of_Controller_host>:8443 into the navigation bar of a browser. 

If you see a "Your connection is your private" error, simply proceed to the next page via Advanced > Proceed.

1. Name your controller

Specify the name for your controller to make it easier to identify it when managing multiple networks.

unifi-controller-setup-name-controller.png

2. Sign in with your Ubiquiti Account

You will need to sign in with your Ubiquiti Account you will use to manage your controller. If you don't have an account yet, create it now.

unifi-controller-setup-sign-in.png

3. Configure the basic network settings

Choose whether you want to enable automatic network optimization and auto backups (we recommend keeping both enabled).

unifi-controller-setup-basic-config.png

4. Set up your UniFi devices

If you have unadopted UniFi devices connected to your network, you will be able to configure them during this step.

unifi-controller-setup-device-setup.png

5. Create a WiFi network

Specify a name and password for your new wireless network.

unifi-controller-setup-wifi-setup.png

6. Complete the setup

Review your configuration to make sure everything looks good before completing the setup.

unifi-controller-setup-review-config.png

Manage your new UniFi Controller

You're all set! Log into your new controller to manage your devices and networks.

unifi-controller-setup-done.png

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I install the controller on my UniFi Dream Machine or UniFi Cloud Key?

There's no need for a separate setup since all UDM, UDM-Pro and UCK models come with the UniFi Network Controller pre-installed.

You will go through the process of configuring the controller on these devices during the initial device setup and configuration.

 

I'm getting a Java-related error during setup, what do I do?

The UniFi Network Controller requires Java, so you'll need to install Java 8 for your specific platform before re-running the installer.

 

The install is not finishing successfully, what could it be?

Make sure that all system requirements are met and that all ports used by UniFi are open. If that is all in order, check that the ethernet cables are in good working condition, changing them with others if need be.

 

How do I access the controller configuration page if I don't know my IP?

First, try accessing the controller via one of the common addresses: localhost:8443 or 192.168.1.1:8443

If this doesn't work, you will need to find out the address of your gateway by using commands like ipconfig/ifconfig or device discovery tools like Ubiquiti's WiFiman.

 

I'm getting a "Your connection is not private" security warning when accessing the controller in my browser, should I be concerned?

There's nothing to worry about as it's the intended behavior when connecting to your controller locally. Simply proceed to the next page by clicking Advanced > Proceed.

 

How do I upgrade after the initial setup?

When a new stable controller version becomes available, you will receive an upgrade prompt in your dashboard. Click it to upgrade to the latest version.

 

What are the UniFi Network Controller system requirements?

For self-hosted controller setups, we recommend the following minimum system requirements (make sure to read the Release Notes for more details about a particular controller version):

  • Operating system:
    • Linux: Ubuntu Desktop / Server 16.04; Debian 9 "Stretch"
    • Windows: Windows 10; Windows Server 2016
    • macOS: Mavericks 10.9, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, 10.12 Sierra, 10.13 High Sierra, 10.14 Mojave, 10.15 Catalina.
  • CPU: x86-64 Processor (Intel / AMD x64 Processors)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Network: 100Mbps Wired Ethernet
  • HDD: Minimum 10GB free (20GB or more preferred)
  • Java: Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 8
  • Web Browser: Google Chrome
  • MongoDB: version 3.2 or later. Mongo is offered bundled: default is 2.4.14 (for macOS and Windows only).

 

Does the UniFi Network Controller have to run at all times?

Since UniFi devices retain their settings, internet connectivity will work even if the controller is offline.

However, the features running directly on the controller will be lost. This includes statistics, reporting, manually applied user groups and the Guest Portal.

For more information about using Guest Networks and running UniFi Access Points without the controller, see UniFi - Configuring the SELFRUN State and UniFi - Guest Network, Guest Portal and Hotspot System.

 

How do I reset my UniFi Network Controller admin password?

To use the 'Forgot Password' option, you will need to configure your SMTP credentials first.

Related Articles

UniFi - UDM: How to Set Up a Dream Machine
UniFi - Device Adoption
UniFi - Layer 3 Adoption for Remote UniFi Controllers
UniFi - Getting Started with the UniFi Mobile App
UniFi - Getting Started

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