Set up a manga server with Komga and mangal

I’ve been wanting to set up a manga media server to hoard some mangas/comics and access them via Tachiyomi, but I didn’t have enough space in my vultr VPS. Now that I have symmetric fiber optic at home and my spare PC to use as a server I decided to go ahead and create one. As always, i use arch btw so these instructions are specifically for it, I’m not sure how easier/harder it is for other distros, I’m just too comfortable with arch honestly.

I’m going to run it as an exposed service using a subdomain of my own, so the steps are taking that into account, if you want to run it locally (or on a LAN/VPN) then it is going to be easier/with less steps (you’re on your own). Also, as you might notice I don’t like to use D*ck*r images or anything (ew).

At the time of editing this entry (06-28-2023) Komga has already upgraded to v.1.0.0 and it introduces some breaking changes if you already had your instance set up. Read more here. The only change I did here was changing the port to the new default.

As always, all commands are run as root unless stated otherwise.

Table of contents


Similar to my early tutorial entries, if you want it as a subdomain:


This is the first time I mention the AUR (and yay) in my entries, so I might as well just write a bit about it.

The AUR is the Arch Linux User Repository and it’s basically like an extension of the official one which is supported by the community, the only thing is that it requires a different package manager. The one I use (and I think everyone does, too) is yay, which as far as I know is like a wrapper of pacman.


To install and use yay we need a normal account with sudo access, all the commands related to yay are run as normal user and then it asks for sudo password. Installation its straight forward: clone yay repo and install. Only dependencies are git and base-devel:

Install dependencies:

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Clone yay and install it (I also like to delete the cloned git repo):

git clone
cd yay
makepkg -si
cd ..
sudo rm -r yay


yay is used basically the same as pacman with the difference that it is run as normal user (then later requiring sudo password) and that it asks extra input when installing something, such as if we want to build the package from source or if we want to show package diffs.

To install a package (for example Komga in this blog entry), run:

yay -S komga


mangal is a CLI/TUI manga downloader with anilist integration and custom Lua scrapers.

You could install it from the AUR with yay:

yay -S mangal-bin

But I’ll use my fork as it contains some fixes and extra stuff.

Install from source

As I mentioned in my past entry I had to fork mangal and related repositories to fix/change a few things. Currently the major fix I did in mangal is for the built in MangaDex scraper which had really annoying bug in the chunking of the manga chapter listing.

So instad of installing with yay we’ll build it from source. We need to have go installed:

pacman -S go

Then clone my fork of mangal and install it:

git clone # not sure if you can use SSH to clone
cd mangal
make install # or just `make build` and then move the binary to somewhere in your $PATH

This will use go install so it will install to a path specified by the go environment variables, for more run go help install. It was installed to $HOME/.local/bin/go/mangal for me because my env vars, then just make sure this is included in your PATH.

Check it was correctly installed by running mangal version, which should print something like:

▇▇▇ mangal

  Version         ...
  Git Commit      ...
  Build Date      ...
  Built By        ...
  Platform        ...


I’m going to do everything with a normal user (manga-dl) which I created just to download manga. So all of the commands will be run without sudo/root privileges.

Change some of the configuration options:

mangal config set -k downloader.path -v "/mnt/d/mangal" # downloads to current dir by default
mangal config set -k formats.use -v "cbz" # downloads as pdf by default
mangal config set -k installer.user -v "luevano" # points to my scrapers repository which contains a few extra scrapers and fixes, defaults to metafates' one; this is important if you're using my fork, don't use otherwise as it uses extra stuff I added
mangal config set -k logs.write -v true # I like to get logs for what happens

Note: For testing purposes (if you want to explore mangal) set downloader.path once you’re ready to start to populate the Komga library directory (at Komga: populate manga library).

For more configs and to read what they’re for:

mangal config info

Also install the custom Lua scrapers by running:

mangal sources install

And install whatever you want, it picks up the sources/scrapers from the configured repository (installer.<key> config), if you followed, it will show my scrapers.


Two main ways of using mangal:

Headless browser

Before continuing, I gotta say I went through some bullshit while trying to use the custom Lua scrapers that use the headless browser (actually just a wrapper of go-rod/rod, and honestly it is not really a “headless” browser, mangal “documentation” is just wrong). For more on my rant check out my last entry.

There is no concrete documentation on the “headless” browser, only that it is automatically set up and ready to use… but it doesn’t install any library/dependency needed. I discovered the following libraries that were missing on my Arch minimal install:

To install them::

pacman -S nss at-spi2-core libcups libdrm libxcomposite libxdamage libxrandr mesa libxkbcommon pango alsa-lib

I can’t guarantee that those are all the packages needed, those are the ones I happen to discover (had to fork the lua libs and add some logging because the error message was too fucking generic).

These dependencies are probably met by installing either chromedriver or google-chrome from the AUR (for what I could see on the package dependencies).


Use the TUI by running


Download manga using the TUI by selecting the source/scrapper, search the manga/comic you want and then you can select each chapter to download (use tab to select all). This is what I use when downloading manga that already finished publishing, or when I’m just searching and testing out how it downloads the manga (directory name, and manga information).

Note that some scrapters will contain duplicated chapters, as they have multiple uploaded chapters from the community, usually for different scanlation groups. This happens a lot with MangaDex.


The inline mode is a single terminal command meant to be used to automate stuff or for more advanced options. You can peek a bit into the “documentation” which honestly it’s ass because it doesn’t explain much. The minimal command for inline according to the mangal help is:

mangal inline --manga <option> --query <manga-title>

But this will not produce anything because it also needs --source (or set the default using the config key downloader.default_sources) and either --json which basically just does the search and returns the result in json format or --download to actually download whatever is found; I recommend to do --json first to check that the correct manga will be downloaded then do --download.

Something not mentioned anywhere is the --manga flag options (found it at the source code), it has 3 available options:

Similar to --chapters, there are a few options not explained (that I found at the source code, too). I usually just use all but other options:

That said, I’ll do an example by using Mangapill as source, and will search for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:

  1. Search first and make sure my command will pull the manga I want:
mangal inline --source "Mangapill" --manga "exact" --query "Kimetsu no Yaiba" --json | jq # I use jq to pretty format the output
  1. I make sure the json output contains the correct manga information: name, url, etc..
mangal inline anilist set --name "Kimetsu no Yaiba" --id 101922
  1. If I’m okay with the outputs, then I change --json for --download to actually download:
mangal inline --source "Mangapill" --manga "exact" --query "Kimetsu no Yaiba" --download
  1. Check if the manga is downloaded correctly. I do this by going to my download directory and checking the directory name (I’m picky with this stuff), that all chapters where downloaded, that it includes a correct series.json file and it contains a cover.<img-ext>; this usually means it correctly pulled information from anilist and that it will contain metadata Komga will be able to use.


The straight forward approach for automation is just to bundle a bunch of mangal inline commands in a shell script and schedule it’s execution either via cron or systemd/Timers. But, as always, I overcomplicated/overengineered my approach, which is the following:

  1. Group manga names per source.
  2. Configure anything that should always be set before executing mangal, this includes anilist bindings.
  3. Have a way to track the changes/updates on each run.
  4. Use that tracker to know where to start downloading chapters from.
    • This is optional, as you can just do --chapters "all" and it will work but I do it mostly to keep the logs/output cleaner/shorter.
  5. Download/update each manga using mangal inline.
  6. Wrap everything in a systemd service and timer.

Manga list example:

mangapill="Berserk|Chainsaw Man|Dandadan|Jujutsu Kaisen|etc..."

Function that handles the download per manga in the list:

mangal_src_dl () {
    manga_list=$(echo "$2" | tr '|' '\n')

    while IFS= read -r line; do
        # By default download all chapters
        last_chapter_n=$(grep -e "$line" "$TRACKER_FILE" | cut -d'|' -f2 | grep -v -e '^$' | tail -n 1)
        if [ -n "${last_chapter_n}" ]; then
            echo "Downloading [${last_chapter_n}-] chapters for $line from $source_name..."
            echo "Downloading all chapters for $line from $source_name..."
        dl_output=$(mangal inline -S "$source_name" -q "$line" -m "exact" -F "$DOWNLOAD_FORMAT" -c "$chapters" -d)

        if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
            echo "Failed to download chapters for $line."

        line_count=$(echo "$dl_output" | grep -v -e '^$' | wc -l)
        if [ $line_count -gt 0 ]; then
            echo "Downloaded $line_count chapters for $line:"
            echo "$dl_output"
            new_last_chapter_n=$(echo "$dl_output" | tail -n 1 | cut -d'[' -f2 | cut -d']' -f1)
            # manga_name|last_chapter_number|downloaded_chapters_on_this_update|manga_source
            echo "$line|$new_last_chapter_n|$line_count|$source_name" >> $TRACKER_FILE
            echo "No new chapters for $line."
    done <<< "$manga_list"

Where $TRACKER_FILE is just a variable holding a path to some file where you can store the tracking and $DOWNLOAD_FORMAT the format for the mangas, for me it’s cbz. Then the usage would be something like mangal_src_dl "Mangapill" "$mangapill", meaning that it is a function call per source.

A simpler function without “tracking” would be:

mangal_src_dl () {
    manga_list=$(echo "$2" | tr '|' '\n')

    while IFS= read -r line; do
        echo "Downloading all chapters for $line from $source_name..."
        mangal inline -S "$source_name" -q "$line" -m "exact" -F "$DOWNLOAD_FORMAT" -c "all" -d
        if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
            echo "Failed to download chapters for $line."
        echo "Finished downloading chapters for $line."
    done <<< "$manga_list"

The tracker file would have a format like follows:

# Updated: 06/10/23 10:53:15 AM CST

And note that if you already had manga downloaded and you run the script for the first time, then it will show as if it downloaded everything from the first chapter, but that’s just how mangal works, it will actually just discover downloaded chapters and only download anything missing.

Any configuration the downloader/updater might need needs to be done before the mangal_src_dl calls. I like to configure mangal for download path, format, etc.. I found that it is needed to clear the mangal and rod browser cache (headless browser used in some custom sources) from personal experience and from others: mangal#170 and kaizoku#89.

Also you should set any anilist binding necessary for the downloading (as the cache was cleared). An example of an anilist binding I had to do is for Mushoku Tensei, as it has both a light novel and manga version, which for me it’s the following binding:

mangal inline anilist set --name "Mushoku Tensei - Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu" --id 85564

Finally is just a matter of using your prefered way of scheduling, I’ll use systemd/Timers but anything is fine. You could make the downloader script more sophisticated and only running every week on which each manga gets (usually) released but that’s too much work; I’ll just run it once daily probably.

A feature I want to add and probably will is sending notifications (probably through email) on a summary for manga downloaded or failed to download so I’m on top of the updates. For now this is good enough and it’s been working so far.


Komga is a comics/mangas media server.

Install from the AUR:

yay -S komga

This komga package creates a komga (service) user and group which is tied to the also included komga.service.

Configure it by editing /etc/komga.conf:

SERVER_SERVLET_CONTEXT_PATH=/ # this depends a lot of how it's going to be served (domain, subdomain, ip, etc)



My changes (shown above):

If you’re going to run it locally (or LAN/VPN) you can start the komga.service and access it via IP at http://<your-server-ip>:<port>(/base_url) as stated at Komga: Accessing the web interface, then you can continue with the mangal section, else continue with the next steps for the reverse proxy and certificate.

Reverse proxy

Create the reverse proxy configuration (this is for nginx). In my case I’ll use a subdomain, so this is a new config called komga.conf at the usual sites-available/enabled path:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name; # change accordingly to your wanted subdomain and domain name

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:25600; # change port if needed
        proxy_http_version 1.1;

        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;

        proxy_read_timeout 600s;
        proxy_send_timeout 600s;

If it’s going to be used as a subdir on another domain then just change the location with /subdir instead of /; be careful with the proxy_pass directive, it has to match what you configured at /etc/komga.conf for the SERVER_SERVLET_CONTEXT_PATH regardless of the /subdir you selected at location.

SSL certificate

If using a subdir then the same certificate for the subdomain/domain should work fine and no extra stuff is needed, else if following along me then we can create/extend the certificate by running:

certbot --nginx

That will automatically detect the new subdomain config and create/extend your existing certificate(s). In my case I manage each certificate’s subdomain:

certbot --nginx -d -d -d

Start using Komga

We can now start/enable the komga.service:

systemctl enable komga.service
systemctl start komga.service

And access the web interface at which should show the login page for Komga. The first time it will ask to create an account as shown in Komga: Create user account, this will be an admin account. Fill in the email and password (can be changed later). The email doesn’t have to be an actual email, for now it’s just for management purposes.

Next thing would be to add any extra account (for read-only/download manga permissions), add/import libraries, etc.. For now I’ll leave it here until we start downloading manga on the next steps.

Library creation

Creating a library is as simple as creating a directory somewhere and point to it in Komga. The following examples are for my use case, change accordingly. I’ll be using /mnt/d/mangal for my library (as stated in the mangal: configuration section):

mkdir /mnt/d/mangal

Where I chose the name mangal as its the name of the downloader/scrapper, it could be anything, this is just how I like to organize stuff.

For the most part, the permissions don’t matter much (as long as it’s readable by the komga user) unless you want to delete some manga, then komga user also needs write permissions.

Then just create the library in Komga web interface (the + sign next to Libraries), choose a name “Mangal” and point to the root folder /mnt/d/mangal, then just click Next, Next and Add for the defaults (that’s how I’ve been using it so far). This is well explained at Komga: Libraries.

The real important part (for me) is the permissions of the /mnt/d/mangal directory, as I want to have write access for komga so I can manage from the web interface itself. It looks like it’s just a matter of giving ownership to the komga user either for owner or for group (or to all for that matter), but since I’m going to use a separate user to download manga then I need to choose carefully.

Set default directory permissions

The desired behaviour is: set komga as group ownership, set write access to group and whenever a new directory/file is created, inherit these permission settings. I found out via this stack exchange answer how to do it. So, for me:

chown manga-dl:komga /mnt/d/mangal # required for group ownership for komga
chmod g+s /mnt/d/mangal # required for group permission inheritance
setfacl -d -m g::rwx /mnt/d/mangal # default permissions for group
setfacl -d -m o::rx /mnt/d/mangal # default permissions for other (as normal, I think this command can be excluded)

Where manga-dl is the user I created to download manga with. Optionally add -R flag to those 4 commands in case it already has subdirectories/files (this might mess file permissions, but it’s not an issue as far as I konw).

Checking that the permissions are set correctly (getfacl /mnt/d/mangal):

getfacl: Removing leading '/' from absolute path names
# file: mnt/d/mangal
# owner: manga-dl
# group: komga
# flags: -s-

You can then check by creating a new subdirectory (in /mnt/d/mangal) and it should have the same group permissions.

Populate manga library

You can now start downloading manga using mangal either manually or by running the cron/systemd/Timers and it will be detected by Komga automatically when it scans the library (once every hour according to my config). You can manually scan the library, though, by clicking on the 3 dots to the right of the library name (in Komga) and click on “Scan library files”.

Then you can check that the metadata is correct (once the manga is fully indexed and metadata finished building), such as title, summary, chapter count, language, tags, genre, etc., which honestly it never works fine as mangal creates the series.json with the comicId field with an upper case I and Komga expects it to be a lower case i (comicid) so it falls back to using the info from the first chapter. I’ll probably will fix this on mangal side, and see how it goes.

So, what I do is manually edit the metadata for the manga, by changing whatever it’s wrong or add what’s missing (I like adding anilist and MyAnimeList links) and then leave it as is. This is up to you.

Alternative downloaders

Just for the record, here is a list of downloaders/scrapers I considered before starting to use mangal:


By David Luévano

Created: Sat, Jun 10, 2023 @ 19:36 UTC

Modified: Wed, Jun 28, 2023 @ 18:35 UTC