You are not reading the latest stable version of this documentation. If you want up-to-date information, please have a look at 0.3.5.x.

Initial Setup

Power On

  1. Connect your server to power and Ethernet.


    If you built StartOS from source, it may take up to 20 minutes to first initialize.

  2. Power the device on and select which mode you would like to continue in on the tab below:

You can either boot your server as-is (headless mode) or add a monitor, mouse, and keyboard (kiosk mode). Server Lite (Raspberry Pi) is currently headless only. Headless is the default and recommended option. All control of your server can be done from your computer or mobile device.

Ensure the device you are using (desktop/laptop or mobile) is connected to the same network as your server.


Sometimes a router will have a “guest WiFi network,” which might be different than the network your server is placed on via ethernet.

Visit http://start.local from your web browser.

  1. Select “Start Fresh.”

    Fresh Setup


    The “Recover” button is used for hardware upgrades, restoring from backup, data migration, or disaster recovery.

  2. Select your storage drive

    Select Drive
  3. Create a master password for your server and click “Finish.”


    Choose a strong master password. Write it down. Store it somewhere safe. DO NOT LOSE IT.

    Create New Password
  4. StartOS will initialize. This can take up to a few minutes.

    SSD Initialization
  5. You are now hosting your own private server!


    If you are in headless mode, click “Download This Page” to save your server address and certificate info to your computer.

    Setup Complete
  6. Next, you will need to Trust Your Root CA on the device you are connecting from. This is required and your server will not work properly with another device until complete.

    Setup Complete


If you are experiencing issues with setup, try the following:

  1. Confirm that the server is plugged into both power and Ethernet

  2. Confirm your phone/computer is not connected to a “Guest” network

  3. Confirm your phone/computer is not using a VPN, or that if you are, that it allows LAN connections, such as the examples below:

    • Mullvad - Go to “Settings -> VPN Settings -> Local Network Sharing”

    • ProtonVPN - Go to “Preferences -> Connection -> Allow LAN Connections”

  4. Visit or refresh (ctrl+shift+R - Linux/Windows, cmd+shift+R - Mac) the start.local page in a web browser

  5. To avoid networking issues, it is recommended to use your primary router, not an extender or mesh router.

  6. Very rarely, your firewall settings may block mDNS. In this case:

    • From your browser, navigate to your router configuration settings. This is usually an IP address such as A simple web search will usually reveal how to access the router configuration settings for a particular brand.

    • Once in the router config settings, find the section that lists the devices on your network. You should see a device labeled start. Take note of the associated IP address and enter it into your browser’s URL field to enter the setup.

You can always to reach out to support if you need a hand.