How to Install Alertmanager on Ubuntu 16.04

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For this post I will assume that you already have Prometheus 2.0 installed.

If not, follow one of these two tutorials:

Create a separate user that will be used to run this application:

sudo adduser --no-create-home --disabled-login --shell /bin/false --gecos "Alertmanager User" alertmanager

Next thing you have to do is to create necessary directories and dummy configuration files:

sudo mkdir /etc/alertmanager
sudo mkdir /etc/alertmanager/template
sudo mkdir -p /var/lib/alertmanager/data
sudo touch /etc/alertmanager/alertmanager.yml

/etc/alertmanager will be used to store configuration (aletmanager.yml) and template (locate in template/) files. Data generated by the alertmanager will be stored /var/lib/alertmanager. The rationale to store data in that folder is explained here and here. Look at the /var/lib section for explanation (tl;dr UNIX standard).

Now that the directories are created, we have to change their ownership, so that the alertmanager user could use them:

sudo chown -R alertmanager:alertmanager /etc/alertmanager
sudo chown -R alertmanager:alertmanager /var/lib/alertmanager

Download the latest alertmanager (go to official github repo, and under releases tab find the latest release, you can also download it from the officail prometheus site):

tar xvzf alertmanager-0.12.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz

Copy utilities to appropriate places in the filesystem:

sudo cp alertmanager-0.12.0.linux-amd64/alertmanager /usr/local/bin/
sudo cp alertmanager-0.12.0.linux-amd64/amtool /usr/local/bin/

And make sure that alertmanager user owns them:

sudo chown alertmanager:alertmanager /usr/local/bin/alertmanager
sudo chown alertmanager:alertmanager /usr/local/bin/amtool

Next, we will add some very generic configuration:

sudo nano /etc/alertmanager/alertmanager.yml

Add this to your configuration file:

  smtp_smarthost: 'localhost:25'
  smtp_from: ''
  smtp_auth_username: 'alertmanager'
  smtp_auth_password: 'password'

- '/etc/alertmanager/template/*.tmpl'

  repeat_interval: 3h
  receiver: team-X-mails

- name: 'team-X-mails'
  - to: ''

At this point I will assume that you know how to configure the alertmanager yaml file. The simple example file should be enough to get you started with the simplest use case (sending mail notification through third party smtp such as If you are using the alertmanager for small home project, or think that self-hosted mail servers or third party servers are an overkill, you can configure the alertmanager to notify you using your personal gmail (see here).

Next thing we have to do is to setup alertmanager as systemd unit:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/alertmanager.service

Copy and paste this into the editor:

Description=Prometheus Alertmanager Service

ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/alertmanager \
    --config.file /etc/alertmanager/alertmanager.yml \
    --storage.path /var/lib/alertmanager/data


After that, reload daemons, enable alertmanager service on startup, and restart it.

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable alertmanager
sudo systemctl start alertmanager

Don’t forget to clean up after yourself:

rm alertmanager-0.12.0.linux-amd64.tar.gz
rm -rf alertmanager-0.12.0.linux-amd64

And that’s it. The only thing we have to do is to edit the prometheus configuration file so it could be aware of the alertmanager. Add this to the /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml file:

  - static_configs:
    - targets:
      - localhost:9093

Whew… the only thing you have to do now is to (learn to) write the rules. Good luck! ;)

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