Nominatim installation

This page contains generic installation instructions for Nominatim and its prerequisites. There are also step-by-step instructions available for the following operating systems:

These OS-specific instructions can also be found in executable form in the vagrant/ directory.



For compiling:

Nominatim comes with its own version of osm2pgsql. See the osm2pgsql README for additional dependencies required for compiling osm2pgsql.

For running tests:

For running Nominatim:

  • PostgreSQL (9.1 or later)
  • PostGIS (2.0 or later)
  • PHP (5.4 or later)
  • PHP-pgsql
  • PHP-intl (bundled with PHP)
  • PEAR::DB
  • a webserver (apache or nginx are recommended)

For running continuous updates:


A minimum of 2GB of RAM is required or installation will fail. For a full planet import 32GB of RAM or more strongly are recommended.

For a full planet install you will need about 500GB of hard disk space (as of June 2016, take into account that the OSM database is growing fast). SSD disks will help considerably to speed up import and queries.

On a 6-core machine with 32GB RAM and SSDs the import of a full planet takes a bit more than 2 days. Without SSDs 7-8 days are more realistic.

Setup of the server

PostgreSQL tuning

You might want to tune your PostgreSQL installation so that the later steps make best use of your hardware. You should tune the following parameters in your postgresql.conf file.

shared_buffers (2GB)
maintenance_work_mem (10GB)
work_mem (50MB)
effective_cache_size (24GB)
synchronous_commit = off
checkpoint_segments = 100 # only for postgresql <= 9.4
checkpoint_timeout = 10min
checkpoint_completion_target = 0.9

The numbers in brackets behind some parameters seem to work fine for 32GB RAM machine. Adjust to your setup.

For the initial import, you should also set:

fsync = off
full_page_writes = off

Don’t forget to reenable them after the initial import or you risk database corruption. Autovacuum must not be switched off because it ensures that the tables are frequently analysed.

Webserver setup

The website/ directory in the build directory contains the configured website. Include the directory into your webbrowser to serve php files from there.

Configure for use with Apache

Make sure your Apache configuration contains the required permissions for the directory and create an alias:

<Directory "/srv/nominatim/build/website">
  Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews
  AddType text/html   .php
  DirectoryIndex search.php
  Require all granted
Alias /nominatim /srv/nominatim/build/website

/srv/nominatim/build should be replaced with the location of your build directory.

After making changes in the apache config you need to restart apache. The website should now be available on http://localhost/nominatim.

Configure for use with Nginx

Use php-fpm as a deamon for serving PHP cgi. Install php-fpm together with nginx.

By default php listens on a network socket. If you want it to listen to a Unix socket instead, change the pool configuration (pool.d/www.conf) as follows:

; Comment out the tcp listener and add the unix socket
;listen =
listen = /var/run/php5-fpm.sock

; Ensure that the daemon runs as the correct user
listen.owner = www-data = www-data
listen.mode = 0666

Tell nginx that php files are special and to fastcgi_pass to the php-fpm unix socket by adding the location definition to the default configuration.

root /srv/nominatim/build/website;
index search.php index.html;
location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
    if (!-f $document_root$fastcgi_script_name) {
        return 404;
    fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index search.php;
    include fastcgi.conf;

Restart the nginx and php5-fpm services and the website should now be available on http://localhost/.

Now continue with importing the database.