Back to posts.

How to setup a self-hosted Unifi NVR with Arch Linux

In this article I'll explain how to install anj Unifi Network Video Recorder (NVR) that you can use with e.g. your Unifi G3 camera. The Unifi G3 camera is an amazing camera that you can use as a security cam. By configuring the motion detection it can automatically start a recording that will be saved at a location you specify. I'll show examples how to configure a remote NFS share to store the videos and how to install the unifi-video package on Arch Linux.

Install unifi-video from the AUR packages

Install unifi-video dependencies

The unifi-video AUR package contains the server that is used to manage the Unifi NVR. It's the central place that allows you to configure your cameras, configure motion detection, etc. First you have to install the required dependencies.

The unifi-video package requires a Java Runtime Environment (JRE), to be more precise, it needs version 8. Arch Linux provides several ways to install Java as there are different implementations. I chose to use the OpenJDK implementation. Besides the JRE we have to install mongodb. You can either install mongodb from source or by using the pre-packaged binaries from MongoDB. I'll use the pre-packaged binaries as compiling MongoDB from source can take a very long time.

Note: I'll use -- some comment to add inline comments. Commands prefixed by # are executed as root and $ as a user.

On the PC where you want to install the Unifi Video NVR, run the following commands.

# pacman -Syu                            -- make sure that your system is up-to-date
# pacman -S jre8-openjdk-headless
$ cd ~
$ mkdir packages
$ cd packages
$ git clone
$ cd mongodb-bin
$ makepkg -si
$ git clone
$ cd unifi-video
$ makepkg -si

Setting up a NFS share to store the video recordings

When you want to store the video recordings on another server you can use NFS to share a directory on the remote server and mount it on the Unifi NVR that you've just installed. When you don't want to save the videos on a remote server you can skip this step.

Install NFS on your storage server

On the PC where you want to store the video recordings you have to install and configure NFS. I assume you're using Arch Linux for this too. Follow these steps to install the required packages for the NFS server:

# pacman -Sy
# pacman -S nfs-utils
# systemctl enable nfs-server     -- make sure the nfs-server start on reboots
# systemctl start nfs-server

This next step is critical and the reason why some people run into issues when trying to use a NFS share to store recordings. The issue seems to be related with the Unifi Video Controller 3.10.10 and some olders versions like Unifi Video 3.8.1. When you don't follow these steps you might run into permission issues. You'll see an error like "Validation Failed" follow with "Please correct permissions or ownership and try again".

Create the unifi-video user and group

You have to create a directory to store the recordings and you have to make sure that the user and group is set to unifi-video. I added a unifi-video user and group on the PC on which I store the videos. I made sure that the user-id and group-id are similar to those on the PC onto which I installed unifi-video. So you first check the user-id and group-id of unifi-video on the PC on which you've just installed the unifi-video package:

# id unifi-video
uid=971(unifi-video) gid=971(unifi-video) groups=971(unifi-video),985(users)

Next login into your remote server and create the same user and group:

# groupadd -g 971 unifi-video
# useradd -u 971 -g 971 -r -s /usr/bin/nologin unifi-video

Create the storage directory

Once you have created the user and group you have create the directory where you want to save the recordings and make sure to set the ownership the unifi-video.

# cd /data/unifi-videos
# chown unifi-video:unifi-video /data/unifi-videos

Make storage directory available via NFS

There are different ways to share the directory you've just created via NFS. Here I'll describe a simple solution which works. We're going to share the /data/unifi-videos directory with the following features:

  • We only allow the PC with IP address to access the share.
  • We use the all_squash option with the anonuid=971 and anongid=971 to make sure that all uids and gids are mapped to the ids of the unifi-video user and group.
  • We also use the no_subtree_check and sync options; see links for more info.

NFS uses the /etc/exports file to define what directories should be shared. Open this file and add the following line. Make sure that the uid and gid match the unifi-video user and group. Adjust the IP to the IP of the NVR. You might want to use ZeroTier to create a VPN which allows you to configure a NFS share without the need to configure the necessary ports for the NFS-server on your firewall.


Once we've added the line to /etc/exports we have to execute the following command to update nfs.

# exportfs -arv

Mounting the NFS share on the NVR

Ok nice! When you got to this point you've got a NFS server running that shares a directory into which we can store the video recordings of your Unifi cameras (e.g. like the G3). The next step you have to follow is to mount the share on your PC that runs unifi-video.

First let us check if the share is exposed by the server. Login into your NVR PC and run the following command:

# showmount -e [IP.OF.YOUR.NFS.SERVER]
Export list for [IP.OF.YOUR.NFS.SERVER]

When you don't see the list of exported shares, something went wrong in the previous step. Go back and make sure everything has been setup correctly. Next you want to mount hte NFS share:

# mkdir /mnt/unifi-videos  -- make sure the mount point exist.
# mount -t nfs -o vers=4 /mnt/unifi-videos

That's it!

At this point you should have mapped the remote NFS share onto your unifi-video NVR. The last step we have to do is login into the unifi-video web admin and set he directory where you want to save the videos.

Configure unifi-video to use the NFS share

Open a browser and open http://[IP.OF.YOUR.NVR]:7080 and login with the credentials you specified the first time you've opened the controller. When you haven't done this yet, follow the steps as explained in the wizard you should see.

Click Settings at the lower left bottom then at the top of the right content area click the System Configuration button. There, select the Configure tab and enter the mounted directory, e.g. /mnt/unifi-videos.

When you get a permission error, make sure that the mount point uses the unifi-video user and group as explained above.

Auto mount the NFS share

One thing we don't want to forget is to make sure that we mount the storage directory after a reboot. You can do this by adding the following line to /etc/fstab (adjust the values accordingly): /unifi-videos nfs defaults,timeo=900,retrans=5,_netdev 0 0


While setting up unifi-video I stumbled upon the following posts; some with the same issues I was running into and hopefully solved for your in this article.