My original home surveillance system was two D-Link DCS-932LB cameras. The cameras had motion detection enabled and would upload photos to an FTP server. This served its purpose well until one night that I actually needed the footage. Unfortunately, the frame rate of this approach was so low that we couldn’t see what we needed. ZoneMinder would have given me what I needed, so I installed it and have been using it ever since.

Fast forward to now, and I want to move the ZoneMinder installation to another machine. Instead of going through the painstaking installation process again, I opted to used Docker. The ZoneMinder devs provide Docker images, which made this especially easy.


I started with a clean installation of Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial and installed Docker following the official instuctions.

Installation instructions

Build the image, specifying the version in the tag list.

docker build -t='kylejohnson/release-1.30'

Create a container named zoneminder:

docker create -t -p 80:80  --shm-size 512M --name zoneminder kylejohnson/release-1.30

This took some experimentation to get right. ZoneMinder uses /dev/shm for its shared memory, and docker only uses 64M by default. I was able to create a single monitor with the default setting, but anything beyond that didn’t work. /dev/shm was at 100%. With 512M, I’m sitting at 35% utilization. This gives me some room to grow.

Create a systemd service for starting zoneminder on boot.

Description=Zoneminder Container

ExecStart=/usr/bin/docker start -a zoneminder
ExecStop=/usr/bin/docker stop -t 2 zoneminder


This should be saved in /etc/systemd/system/zoneminder.service, started using systemctl start zoneminder and enabled using systemctl enable zoneminder.

Setup your monitors.


There were a couple times I needed to access the ZoneMinder logs. To do this, I used docker to start a shell in the container.

docker exec -i -t zoneminder /bin/bash

Enabling SSL

First, get some valid SSL Certs using cerbot and Let’s Encrypt:

apt-get update
apt-get install software-properties-common
add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
apt-get update
apt-get install certbot

Then use the webroot plugin to obtain a cert

certbot certonly --webroot -w /usr/local/share/zoneminder/www -d [url]

Add a cron job for renewing the certificate automatically:

0 0 1 * * /usr/bin/certbot renew

The certs end up in:


Then update the apache config to use the new certs by adding the following to /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default.conf.

    <VirtualHost *:443>
        DocumentRoot /usr/local/share/zoneminder/www
        DirectoryIndex index.php

        ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/local/libexec/zoneminder/cgi-bin/
        <Directory />
                Require all granted
        <Directory "/usr/local/libexec/zoneminder/cgi-bin">
                AllowOverride None
                Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
                Require all granted

        ServerName [url]
        SSLEngine on
        SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/[url]/cert.pem
        SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/[url]/privkey.pem
        SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/[url]/chain.pem

Get the image ID:

docker inspect zoneminder

Stop zoneminder:

sytemctl stop zoneminder

Then update /var/lib/docker/containers/[id]/config.v2.json to include:


And /var/lib/docker/containers/[id]/hostconfig.json


And restart docker and zoneminder:

systemctl restart zoneminder docker


This is quick and easy to setup. From start to finish, it took me less than an hour to have a functioning installation. Figuring out the SSL setup probably took me a couple hours, but if I had to do it again, it would be much faster.