UniFi – Install the UniFi controller software on the UniFi-Video NVR


Readers will learn how to install the UniFi package on the UniFi-Video NVR. 

This is not as simple as “apt-get install unifi”, however.  The NVR, by default, uses LVM and has a very spacious volume setup which is where all of the recordings are saved.  Installing installing UniFi outside of this volume will result in a loss of space on other volumes that are important to the system. 

info_i_25x25.png Please note that these steps only need to be applied to the airVision-C. They do not apply to the UVC-NVR. For the UVC-NVR, simply follow the steps for the Linux/Debian install outlined in this article.  To determine if you have the UVC-NVR or the airVision-C, you can check the label on the bottom of the device, check the label on the top, or log in to the unit via SSH.  If the ASCII art and/or prompt says airVision, you have the airVision-C and should follow this article.


Note: Before proceeding to the steps, ‘vi’ is the default text editor on the NVR.  If you are a Linux beginner or not comfortable with vi, it’s recommended you install ‘nano’ as your text editor for step #4.  You can do this by:

apt-get update; apt-get install nano

Then for step #4, you would issue nano /etc/apt/sources.list

To install UniFi on the NVR:

  1. SSH in to the NVR (default credentials are root/ubnt)
  2. Issue mkdir /srv/unifi – This will make the directory where UniFi will be installed
  3. Issue ln -s /srv/unifi /var/lib/unifi – This will make the install process place the UniFi files in /srv path which is the larger volume to store the UniFi-Video recordings
  4. Use your favorite text editor to modify /etc/apt/sources.list – This will edit the sources.list file where apt searches for available packages
  5. Scroll to the bottom, put a couple of new blank lines in and add the following regardless of what UniFi version you want:
    # Ubiquiti UniFi deb http://downloads-distro.mongodb.org/repo/debian-sysvinit dist 10gen
  6. If you want the version 4 controller, add the following on a new line in that same file:
    deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti
  7. If you want the version 3 controller, add the following on a new line in that same file:
    deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian oldstable ubiquiti
  8. Save and exit the file.
  9. Issue the following command to get the GPG keys:
    apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 06E85760C0A52C50; apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 9ECBEC467F0CEB10
  10. Issue apt-get update – Updates the apt cache to include the packages at the above lines
  11. Issue 
    apt-get install unifi; apt-get install -f; apt-get clean

    to install the UniFi controller 


  • If you factory default your NVR, these changes will not persist, you’ll need to repeat the process
  • After UniFi is done installing, it may take a minute or two to be available at https://[your NVR IP address]:8443 . This is because it’s creating the necessary database structure.

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