How to Install and Use Wekan – the Best Self-Hosted Trello Alternative

When most people think of project management tools, they think of Trello. It’s a web-based tool that lets you use cards (or Kanban) to manage ongoing projects. For most, this app is great and worth the price needed for more advanced features. This article is not for those people. Instead, this article is for those looking to ditch Trello for a self-hosted alternative: Wekan.

Wekan, like Trello, is a web-based project management tool that lets users create boards and cards, invite users, send project notifications, etc. In this article we’ll go over everything you need to know to get Wekan working on your server including what hardware to use, how to invite users, installation methods and everything in between! Let’s get started!

  • a Debian server or any other Debian-based Linux distribution to run the automated installer
  • Ubuntu server capable of running Snap packages or a Linux server distribution capable of installing the available tar.gz and necessary dependencies to get Wekan running
  • any moderately powerful old desktop PC (DDR-2 era or better) that can stay on at all times and act as a server
  • a VPS or any other type of enterprise grade server

There are several ways to install Wekan. In this guide we’ll be using an instruction set that is for Debian-based Linux distributions. This does not mean that Wekan will not run on other server operating systems like Redhat, Suse, CentOS, etc.

On Debian-based Linux server distributions, there is an auto-installation script for Wekan. This installation tool is meant to remove a lot of the tediousness that usually happens when installing server programs. Ubuntu server running 14.04 LTS should also use this script.

wekan-auto-install-script

To start the installation process on Debian, download this script:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wekan/wekan-autoinstall/master/autoinstall_wekan.sh > autoinstall_wekan.sh

Then, run the installation tool:

sudo bash autoinstall_wekan.sh

Running the script with sudo privileges allows “autoinstall_wekan.sh” to install all necessary dependencies that Wekan relies on, like NodeJS, MongoDB, and other important tools.

wekan-auto-installation-menu

When the automated installation tool finishes installing Wekan, a prompt appears. This prompt gives the user three choices. The first choice is to start the Wekan service. The second is to reboot the server and have the system take care of it, and the third is to exit the installer. Select #1 by entering “1” in the prompt and pressing the Enter key.

Those running Ubuntu server 16.04+ have the ability to install snap packages. These packages are neat and useful ways of distributing software easily. It is because of this technology that getting Wekan up and running is a snap.

sudo snap install wekan-ondra

Wekan is installed on the server. Now, it’s time to set it up. First thing’s first: figure out the server’s IP address. This is done with the ifconfig command. Take note of the Internet ipv4 address, and enter it with :8080 on the end into a web browser. For example: http://192.168.1.107:8080

wekan-startup-screen

From here, just register an account on the page and start working. Additionally, tell other users to register an account on the server from the same page.

Making a new project board

Create a new project board on your Wekan server by clicking the “Create new board” on the Welcome page. This board can house new project information you create along with other stuff contributed by other users added to it.

Inviting new users to boards

wekan-add-user

Users are able to create boards, and any user on the server can be invited to a board. Click the “+” icon, then enter the username of the user to add to the board.

Note: you must have email set up on your server for the emailing feature to work.

Importing Trello data

wekan-import-trello

On the board creation screen, click “Create a new board.” Name it and then click on the “import from Trello” link.

wekan-import-from-trello-json

Clicking the import link brings the user to a JSON import screen. To import Trello data to a new board, paste your Trello JSON data to it, then click the “Import” button. Soon after, the data will be present in the new board.

Though Trello has what is essentially a monopoly on the market, Wekan is a tool many should take note of. While it’s true that it can be a bit of work to maintain your own server, in the end it’s worth it. Instead of paying the freemium fees Trello offers, all of the people using Wekan on your server will get great features at zero cost. And best of all, who doesn’t love an open-source alternative?

Do you use Trello? Would you switch to Wekan? Tell us why or why not below.

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